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Dachau Liberated : The Official Report Paperback – August, 2000

3.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Join prisoners as the first American soldiers reach the camp:

"Sunday, just after the noon meal, the air was unusually still. The big field outside the compound was deserted. Suddenly someone began running toward the gate at the other side of the field. Others followed. The word was shouted through the mass of gray, tired prisoners. Americans! That word was repeated, yelled over the shoulders in throaty Polish, in Italian, in Russian, and Dutch and in the familiar ring of French. The first internee was shot down as he rushed toward the gate by the guard. Yet they kept running and shouting through eager lips and unbelieving eyes. Americans!"

Read from a diary whose very existence, if discovered, meant certain death:

"Will you ever read these pages? Each page is a source of danger and who knows how many pages I will write, but even if I can put down all I experience. . . . it is so hard to hide these pages. May a good power protect them and keep them in safety, so that one day I can give them to you, together with the heart of stone that was wrought for you secretly during days and days and that I wore for a long time. Perhaps these pages will survive me, and some stranger will bring them to you. . . .

"Someone came and pulled the blankets from my head. It was a Polish friend of mine. He told me about a priest, a schoolmate of his. Here in Dachau they met again. The priest was suddenly taken to the Revier--that is the name they give to the hospital here, to be experimented on. . . . The priest secretly sent a short note to his friend. The last sentence was not legible, for, as he himself said, he had 40 degree temperature. He did not ask for help because he knew all was lost. He only prayed that a way be found to prepare his family for the worst. . . .

"I was talking to a friend today. Some months ago he left with a transport to Mauthausen. There were 1600 of them. Now, after nine months, he too returned, as in another world. More dead than alive, he was . . . he and the remaining nineteen men. That means that 20 men remained out of 1600."

Then there is the woman, interviewed at Dachau, who claimed to have been the mistress of Auschwitz's infamous Rudolf Hess, a man responsible for over two million deaths:

"I hadn't heard the opening of my cell and was such frightened. It was dark in the cell. I believed at first it was an SS man or a prisoner and said, "What is this tomfoolery. I forbid you." Then I heard "Pst" and a pocket lamp was lighted and lit the face of the C.O. I broke out, "Herr Kommandant."


Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Inkling Books; 2nd edition (August 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587420031
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587420030
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,270,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The writings of Michael W. Perry are many and varied. They range from an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's children's stories (Stories for Girls) to a scholarly 447-page look at the causes of World War II (Chesterton on War and Peace). He is the author of Untangling Tolkien, the only book-length, day-by-day chronology of The Lord of the Rings, and has contributed to encyclopedias on the writings of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R Tolkien, as well as the scandals of U.S. presidents (Presidential Scandals). His books have been translated into Polish (Klucz Do Tolkena) and Italian (Eugenetica e altri malanni).

Most recently, he's taking a look back at the experiences that shaped his life. Three books in the 'hospital series' look at what it was like to care for children with cancer (Nights with Leukemia) and teenagers (Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments), as well as a telling criticism of the legally sanctioned medical mistreatment given to an unfortunate teen-aged girl (Caria, The Girl Who Couldn't Say No).

That'll be followed by a series on politically driven hatred in America. The first in the series, tentatively named To Kill a Mockingbird Revisited, will describe what it was like to grow up in the South in the last days of segregation. The author grew up one-generation removed and some forty miles from the town described in Harper Lee's popular novel.

Partial Bibliography

* Assistant editor and major contributor: The C. S. Lewis Readers Encyclopedia (Zondervan, 1998), winner of the 1999 Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion Book Award as the best biography/autobiography.

* Major contributor: Presidential Scandals (CQ Press, 1999).

* Editor of a research edition of G. K. Chesterton's Eugenics and Other Evils (2000) that was praised in by bestselling author Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park), who said that: "The editor of this editor of this edition has included may quotations from eugenicists of the 1920s, who read astonishingly like toe words of contemporary prophets of doom."

* Author of Untangling Tolkien (2003), a detailed chronology of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and a must-have reference work for Tolkien fans.

* Contributor: J. R. R. Tolkien Encyclopedia by Michael D. C. Drout. (Routledge, 2006)

* Editor of Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II. Winner of the American Chesterton Society "Outline of Sanity" award for 2009.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This booklet is a reprint of the various short reports that the American Army sent home on Dachau concentration camp when they liberated it in 1945. As a source, it is very interesting; how did the liberators react to the camp they found? What was their impression of the Germans who lived in the town of Dachau?

As can be expected from a report written early after the war, there are many mistakes in the reports. This would not have been a problem if the book had been properly edited. Unfortunately, someone who is not very knowledgeable on the subject edited the book. There are many mistakes in the German quotations. The camp is also wrongly referred to as a death camp. Death camps differed from concentration camps in that people did not work there, but were killed immediately after arrival. These camps only existed in Poland. The Dachau gas chamber is described but it is now widely accepted that this chamber was hardly (possibly never) used to kill people. That the editor fails to point this out is not just negligent, but it also gives ammunition to the so-called revisionists or holocaust deniers who claim that gas chambers were never in use. They often use Dachau as an illustration of the "false" impression that there were gas chambers.

There are other illustrations of the lack of insight of the editor. For instance, the report of the former mistress of Rudolf Hoess camp commandant of Auschwitz. Her name is only given abbreviated, while there are other reports on her, giving her name as Eleonore Hodys, for instance Hermann Langbeins book People in Auschwitz. This book also offers more information on the affair. Without a further introduction, Hodys' testimony makes little sense at it is on Auschwitz concentration camp.
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I agree with the other reviews that the book isn't the best literary work in the world, but it does offer additional insight into the totalitarian Nazi state. Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp and held all sorts of political prisoners and outcastes prior to the war. Once the war got underway it started to incarcerate POW's. The four most interesting and sad parts to me were:

1. The number of Polish Catholic priests who were tortured by the medical experiments.
2. The medical assessment of the American doctor Charles Larson. I bought a book about him which elaborated about his forensic work at Dachau. This included the fact that most died from typhus and starvation.
3. The greatest number of prisoners were Poles, followed by Russians,French, Yugoslavs,Germans, Jews, and Czechs. The horrors of totalitarianism were not just limited to Jewry, although unfortunately, other groups are scarcely mentioned in school history books and often altogether forgotten. Prisoner Richard Titze's quote sums up the reason for the horrors well; "...[B]ut you see; That is what one must expect under a Fascist state." So sad that the world ignored the Soviet horrors and covered those up. Patton had it right.
4. The camp was self governed by the prisoners and had a hierarchy of control.
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Military reports are usually the picture of banality and jargon, but this is a collection of documents that reveal the horror of evil of the Nazi regime in precise and grim fashion.

When the US 7th Army liberated Dachau, its units had to record the freeing of thousands of prisoners and the discovery of the camp's ghastly features with precision. The 7th Army did so, and left behind a text that remains chilling 70 years later. It is a graphic account of how the sons of democracy came face to face with the impact and works of tyranny, and struggled to make sense of the incomprehensible, while tending and healing the victims of an unparalleled brutality.

I cannot recommend this book too highly for the serious student of the Holocaust and World War II.
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Disappointed and just a little bit mad, that sums up my feelings after reading this book. I had high hopes for the book given that I had read a similar book on another camp that was very good. This book, on the other hand just was very lacking in detail and organization. The book is the 7th Army's report on the camp issued shortly after the liberation. The book tried to cover the set up of the camp, what took place in the camp, the make up of the SS staff, and a few personnel accounts of time in camp. The authors just did none of these items very well. The book was poorly organized. The coverage of the camp set up and running of the camp was far too short and really lacked in detail. And the personnel accounts were mainly of people in somewhat privileged support roles quite unlike the average prisoner.
I wish this was the extent of my issues with the book, but on top of all this the writing just was not that good. The writing was rather jumpy and not very challenging. It was like reading a bad high school history report. Overall I would pass on this book. There are far too many quality books covering this topic to spend any time on this one. The only reason I am giving the book a two is I somehow feel guilty about giving a very low rating to book dealing with such a horrible event.
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