Stanislav Zámečník died

Image of Stanislav Zámečník
© Elija Boßler

Stanislav Zámečník died on June 22, 2011 in Prague at the age of 88 years. His death fills us with great sadness. As a 17-year-old, Stanislav Zámečník joined the Czech resistance movement immediately after the invasion of the German Wehrmacht. When he attempted to leave the country, he was arrested and deported to Dachau in February 1941. From November 1941 onwards he worked in the infirmary. Risking his own life, he procured drugs for his dying comrades, hid prisoners who were supposed to be murdered and got a deep insight into the cruel medical experiments of the SS.

After the liberation of Dachau, Stanislav Zámečník studied history at Prague's Charles University and dealt with the history of National Socialism in his double function as historian and eyewitness. During his time as employee of the Military History Institute from 1960 onwards, he did research on the history of the Czech resistance and the concentration camp Dachau. In 1968 he was involved, together with survivors of other concentration camps, in the "Prague Spring". After the bloody suppression of the rebellion, he lost his job and was banned from employment, which he – being a historian with heart and soul - experienced as a deep deprivation. Only after the political upheavals of 1989/1990 was he able to continue with his research. For decades, Stanislav Zámečník remained in close contact with the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site and its former director Barbara Distel. Thanks to his dedicated research, the memorial site received a lot of documents.

His book "That was Dachau" was the first monograph on the Dachau Concentration Camp published in German. As member of the Scientific Advisory Board, whose task it was to redesign the memorial site and the permanent exhibition, he gave a lot of decisive input. In April of this year, after years of research, the memorial site presented the "Book of Remembrance for the Victims of the Dachau Concentration Camp" to the public. That Stanislav Zámečník could not come to Dachau for health reasons saddened us, as it was his research that led to significant insights, without which the memorial book would not have been published. It was his main mission in life to keep alive the memory of the Dachau Concentration Camp and of those who were murdered.

Stanislav Zámečník’s death tears a big gap in the rank of the survivors. We will always remember his friendly and unassuming nature and the hands-on manner in which he represented his points of view. He has done a lot for the Dachau Memorial Site and will continue to stay with us: in his books that have been translated into many languages, in the exhibitions and in our work. We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family.

 

Gabriele Hammermann and the staff of the Memorial Site

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