In the meantime the inhuman scheme of the National socialists becomes successful after less than three years. Through his terror Himmler had been able to destroy or silence most of the political opposition. Hitler is triumphant: "Cruelty is impressive. Cruelty and brutal strength. The simple man in the street can only be impressed by brutal force and ruthlessness. Also women, women and children. The people need salutary terror (...) Terror is the most successful political tool. I will not give it up, just because those middle-class fools take offence at it. It's my duty to apply every method in order to make the German people tough and to prepare it for war."
The concentration camp of Dachau still receives newcomers, prisoners from other closed-down camps, such as the "Oberer Kuhberg" near Ulm. Among the 30 prisoners arriving from there is the Social Democrat Karl Schumacher, who was detained in Dachau from 1935 to 1943 (with some breaks) as well as the communist member of the state parliament of Württemberg, Alfred Haag.
In the beginning of 1936, the camp leader Heinrich Deubel is dismissed because he had treated his inmates more or less human. His successor Hans Lauritz is appointed in April 1936 and immediately the situation for the inmates deteriorates dramatically. Sadistic penalties, such as hanging from a stake become everyday practise. Also the SS tries to break the existing solidarity of the inmates and to discredit the political detainees publicly by admitting also antisocial elements, so-called workshy men, bums, beggars and peddlers as well as Sinti and Roma into the camp. In 1937 they are followed by the inmates of jails and by professional criminals. They are distinguished from the other prisoners by a green triangle on their prison uniform, whereas the political prisoners get a red triangle, the homosexuals a pink, and the antisocials a black one.
In 1937, another dramatic change takes place: The old concentration camp, which still had consisted of the old buildings from the ammunition factory, is torn down. It no longer meets the safety and control requirements of the SS. The construction work for the new camp is carried out by the camp inmates under inhuman conditions. The new camp is rectangular with 600 by 250 meters. On both sides of the wide camp street there are 15 baracks (called "blocks"), of which each is intended to house 180 inmates. The dimension of the new "bunker", the working quarters with kitchen and work shops as well as the roll call site have grown tremendously. The camp is fenced in by electrified barbed wire, ditches, walls and seven watchtowers, each occupied day and night by two guards equipped with machine guns.
Although the new camp had been designed for 5000 inmates, it is overflowing with prisoners short after its completion. The "annexation" of Austria in March 1938 adds new prisoners. The entire non fascist spirituel elite of the alpine republic is taken into protective custody. SS men from Dachau travel to Vienna in order to pick up their prisoners, among them many members of the previous Austrian government. Following the so-called "Reichskristallnacht" on November 9, another 10.911 persons, called "Jews from the campaign", are crammed into the Dachau camp between November 10 and December 22, 1938. Most of these unfortunates will be released soon. Shortly afterwards however they have a dreadful end in the extermination camps of Auschwitz, Treblinka and Maidanek.
1939, the first year of war, brings some changes to the concentration camp. One of the changes, of which the inmates know little, is: As of April 1, 1939 the community of Etzenhausen and parts of Augustenfeld, Günding, Hebertshausen and Prittlbach become incorporated into the city of Dachau. Therefore the camp comes under the domaine of the town government. A few months later, however, the camp is being cleared temporarily, in order to prepare the "SS death's head units" for combat.
Only 100 prisoners remain in Dachau. They do not know, of course, how lucky they are. All their comrades are taken to Flossenbürg and, including 300 Austrians, to Mauthausen, where they have to build a new concentration camp, accompanied by the most painful maltreatments by the SS. Different from the camp of Dachau the important positions for prisoners (foremen, quarter chiefs, block seniors) are taken by criminals who make common cause with the SS and even don't shrink back from killing the political inmates. Soon the camp of Mauthausen is called "Murderhausen". It's here where Eicke's "Disciplinary and Penal Regulations" are turned into perfidious action.
Only after the few survivers had come back five months later from the camps of Flossenbürg and Mauthausen, the men who had remained in Dachau knew what they had been spared. They are mere skeletons. After having experienced the extreme horrors of Mauthausen, the prisoners swear to each other to fight for giving positions like block leaders and foremen only to trustworthy comrades. Thus in 1939 the men form "the base for a resistance, which is eventually growing from the initial attempts for solidarity".
Hitler's attack on Poland on September 1, 1939, which started World War II, changed the situation of the Dachau concentration camp decisively. More and more inmates carry above the red angle on their uniforms a "P" for Polish. Many of these men are clergymen and priests. The victories of the Wehrmacht contributed to the fact that eventually prisoners from 27 nations are left to the SS terror in Dachau. The Poles are followed by Danes and Norwegians. Later Frenchmen, Spaniards, Luxembourger, Dutch and Belgians follow. The camp resembles a pandemonium.
Now the work of the secret resistance organisation, which is carried by the spirit of international solidarity, shows its benficial effect. After the war, the German camp prisoners Karl Wagner and Walter Vielhauer summarize this work with the following words: "The goals, which determined all our actions and the viewpoints under which all our doings and efforts had to be seen, were these:
1. Keep as many prisoners as possible alive over the years
2. Show the peoples that had been attacked by Hitler Germany and whose members were taken to Dachau that the humanitarian Germany still existed, even under the brutal fist of the SS dictatorship and that it had been maintained for more than a decade in the camp
3. Do anything to end the war as soon as possible by trying to sabotage the arms production. It may be possible that some people will look upon us a traitors to our country, but every day that takes us closer to the end of the war is an advantage for our own country and the countries of Europe.
4. Prepare the fellow inmates for the increased brutality through the SS towards the end of the war and to make plans (...) of how to face the bitter end".
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