“…life is futile without friendship”

Eugen Kessler

On Wednesday, February 29, 2012 the Memorial Site will mark the 100th birthday of Eugen Kessler, a former Dachau concentration camp prisoner, by holding a function in his honor. The event is scheduled to begin at 7 pm in the Visitors’ Center. Admission is free and no prior registration is required.

After an official welcome and introduction by Dr. Gabriele Hammermann, the Memorial Site director, Dr. Jürgen Müller-Hohagen will speak about Eugen Kessler as a private person. This will be followed by Ernst Antoni paying tribute to Eugen Kessler’s political commitment. Video excerpts of an interview Eugen Kessler gave in 1995 will round off the evening.

Born in 1912, Eugen Kessler was accused of distributing banned Communist Party pamphlets in 1935 and put under so-called protective custody by the Gestapo. A few weeks later he was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp. The degrading arrivals procedure left an indelible impression on him. In contrast to this ordeal, he considered the solidarity amongst Communist prisoners to have greatly tempered the otherwise severe conditions of imprisonment. In October 1937 Kessler was released from the Dachau concentration camp, and following the outbreak of the war he was drafted into the German Army in the fall of 1939. In February 1945 he defected to the Red Army. At the beginning of 1949 he returned to Germany and was active until his death in 1999 in the “Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes” as well as the “Lagergemeinschaft Dachau”.