Frequently asked questions

Question:

Is it correct that not only members of the SS were deployed as guards in concentration camps, but also regular army soldiers?

Answer:

The first guards at the Dachau concentration camp upon its opening in March 1933 were members of the Bavarian State Police, before after a few weeks the SS took over complete command of the camp. In the subsequent period the SS provided the guard units at the Dachau concentration camp; these men were volunteers and many had joined the SS and the Nazi Party before the outbreak of the war.

During the second half of the war, “ethnic Germans” were also used in to guard the concentration camps; they were members of German-speaking minorities who lived outside the territory of the Reich and were drafted into the Waffen-SS. In addition, taking up a proposal from Reich Leader of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, in the spring of 1944 Hitler ordered that regular army soldiers could be integrated into the SS if they were over 40 years old and could no longer serve at the front. Besides regular members of the SS, the Dachau camp leadership deployed many army soldiers and “ethnic Germans” at the large subcamp complexes of Kaufering and Mühldorf.

Until the end of the war in 1945, most of the leaderships posts at the Dachau concentration camp, foremost that of the camp commandant, remained the domain of longstanding SS members