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5 Comments | Vintage
From Gudrun Himmler’s diary, for the July 22, 1941:
>Today we drove to the SS concentration camp in Dachau. There we then toured everything with Hanns Johst and his family, the large nursery, the mill, the bees, saw how all the herbs were processed by Fräulein Dr. Friedrich. Then the books from the sixteenth century onward, all the pictures that the prisoners have made. Magnificent! Then we ate, then everybody got a present. It was lovely. A very big operation.
Gudrun kept defending her father until her last day, helping SS criminals through the Stille Hilfe.
Almost exactly 24 years after this photo was taken I visited Dachau as an American student. It was a horrible and cruel place, a sad place.
I find it interesting that the carrier pigeons of WW1 had a more structurally sound enclosure than that of the gas chambers.
The wording of her diary indicates she was not shown the full reality of the camp, more the administrative background structure to ensure the camps day to day running. Not that this excuses any of her viewpoints or comments as an adult.
Having been to Dachau the camp itself is relatively small compared to the Nazi Death Camps. What struck me the most were three things; the large landscaped embankment where I subsequently learnt was the burial place of 12k Russian prisoners; the locality of the camp – it is literally in a suburb of Munich with houses on the other side of the road overlooking it and finally the unbelievable behaviour of some tourists who were actually half way in the ovens, I mean on one leg, wobbling, so they could get a good shot of the inside. Not that this has anything to do with Himmler’s daughter, it just brought back these memories.