Also located in the rear area is the execution site used to shot Soviet prisoners of war and Gestapo prisoners.
The crematoria served to dispose corpses from the concentration camp; mostly the ovens were in operation day and night. At the end of 1944 their capacity was no longer enough to cremate the scores of dead from the camp. Upon liberating the camp at the end of April 1945, American soldiers came across countless corpses piled up in the crematorium. The photographs of these scenes went around the world and showed the scale and mercilessness of Nazi persecution and extermination.
As early as summer 1945 the first exhibition on the crimes of the SS was shown in barrack X; its main concern was to document these crimes given the trials against the camp’s SS scheduled for November that year. This exhibition was closed by the Bavarian government in 1953. Another exhibition, put together by the Comité International de Dachau, was open between 1960 and 1964.
Today the area is the main place of remembrance and cemetery in the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. In the Memorial Site archive 32,000 deaths are documented; many thousands died however who were not officially registered:
- Unknown is the large number of the Jewish prisoners killed who were not registered, particularly in the subcamps, with the same applying to Russians and Poles.
- Unknown is the number of victims executed by the Gestapo.
- Unknown is the number of Soviet prisoners of war executed in the years 1941 and 1942.
- Unknown is the number who died on the evacuation marches or those who died shortly after liberation as a consequence of their imprisonment.
Crematory "Barrack X", US-soldiers standing in front of a hill of corps. Unkown photographer, shortly after the liberation may 1945. © National Archives Washington.
Picture of the so called "Barrack X", 2007
Memorial "The unkown prisoner" by Fritz Koelle. The pedestal has the inscription "To honor the death, to warn the living".