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The last days of Dachau - a harsh testimony of a Dachau camp prisoner. France, 1947

Opening price: $200

Commission: 22%

Sold: $220
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12.05.2022 07:00pm

Die letzten Tage von Dachau Elsasser und Lothringer in Dachau - The Last Days of Dachau Alsace and Lorraine in Dachau, by Francois Goldschmidt. Early testimony from a Dachau camp prisoner in the most difficult year, in the months before the liberation of the camp from mid-1944 until the liberation in May 1945. France, 1947. Rare.

The author, a former prisoner in the Dachau camp in block 26, tells in detail his shocking story while he was a prisoner in the camp from May 1944 to April 1945 almost month by month. Goldschmidt served as an interpreter in biased trials conducted by the Nazis for various prisoners on charges of violating the camp's laws, when many times he deliberately changed the things said in order to make him appear innocent in the eyes of the Germans, thereby saving many prisoners from a death sentence in a period of almost a year. In addition, he tells about his horrific work in the camp - he and his fellow prisoners were forced to cover the bodies with white lime to prevent the stench that washed all over the camp. Among other things, François describes how he lived in difficult conditions with 350 men in a block, and five people in two adjacent beds. as well as the terrible hunger in the camp and how in less than two months he lost 25 kg and his body weight was 52 kg, under the conditions of one glass of sour milk a day, and how the prisoners would fight with the rest of their strength for one potato. When they went out to work near the camp, he used to eat grass out of hunger. Towards the end of 1944, he describes how the prisoners who looked to the chimney of the crematorium realized that as the rumors of the American troops coming to the camp increased, Thus the chances that they themselves will rise from the smoke of the crematorium increase, because the Nazis increased the murders at this stage of November 1944. At the beginning of 1945, about 100 prisoners died each day of starvation, and he describes how he too was sure that in a few weeks he was going to die. During these months, corpses were scattered throughout the camp area, and near the blocks, so that it was almost impossible to breathe due to the stench of the air. Francois writes that in the month of February only, nearly 4000 prisoners died, and since it was not possible to burn such a large number of bodies in the crematorium, he and his friends were forced to dig four pits six meters deep and four meters wide, into which the bodies were thrown.

On April 24, he and his friends who were still alive were told to prepare for execution by firing squad in the evening of that day. In the meantime, reports arrived that the Nazis were retreating in Munich, and that there was a civil uprising in the area near the camp. That day in the afternoon while the remaining prisoners prepared themselves for the worst, the Nazis began to leave the camp quickly and on the run, and a white flag was seen a few meters near the camp. During those hours, he describes the aerial bombardments that attacked various buildings in the camp. It was not clear to the prisoners whether it was the Americans or the Nazis themselves who were bombing the camp in an attempt to eliminate evidence. At seven o'clock in the evening the Red Cross men entered the camp, and he was finally released. The events that took place during these hours are described by François: prisoners who only a few hours ago had lost their strength and walked around the camp like human shadows, attacked the SS soldiers who were still in the camp and killed them with the SS soldiers' own guns. One of the prisoners even attacked an SS soldier and strangled him by his hands. He adds that he did not understand why on April 24 the Nazis did not execute everyone in the hours they still had left. After the liberation of the camp he learned that the Nazis planned to execute all the prisoners remaining in the camp on April 29 with a machine gun. But they did not have time to do this because the Americans entered the camp a few days before, and thus his life and the lives of his friends were saved.
After the release, François describes how his health slowly returned to him, he returned to Strasbourg, where he met his mother and sister who were the only ones left alive from his entire family. François testified at the trial held against the war criminals in November 1945 in the Dachau camp itself, and gave detailed testimony about the cruelty of camp commander Wicker when he stood in front of him, and of other SS commanders, and personally knew many of the prisoners who testified in it.

The book is accompanied by 144 photographs of former prisoners in the Dachau camp that the author knew, with brief details about each and every one of them. Most of them survived the war. And also in the paintings of block no. 15, where the overcrowding of the emaciated prisoners, and prisoners who found their death, as well as of harsh scenes from the camp.

From 1945 to 1948, the camp was used as a prison for SS officers before their trial. Repressive trials in which the author testified, were held in the camp compound and conducted entirely by members of the United States Armed Forces. As part of the trials, among others, 116 defendants were convicted of crimes committed in the Dachau concentration camp. 36 of the camp's commanders were sentenced to death, and another five defendants were sentenced to death from the staff of the Mildorf sub-camp.

extremely rare. In the global library catalog "world cat" only one copy appears in the library at the Yivo Institute in New York.

79 p. 20 cm. Good condition.

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101. The last days of Dachau - a harsh testimony of a Dachau camp prisoner. France, 1947