Dachau Concentration Camp Records

Liste inter Dachau 1-5
from the
Captured German Records Collection

Project Developers: Joyce Field and Peter W. Landé
Project Coordinator: Nolan Altman

INTRODUCTION

This project was started as a result of discussions between Joyce Field and Peter W. Landé, a Holocaust researcher.  The source of this list is five reels of film from the larger collection called "Captured German Records" (189 reels, equivalent to 189,000 pages) held at the United States National Archives (NARA) in College Park, Maryland, under the heading "Liste inter Dachau 1-5" (see description of reels 15 through 19).

Peter photocopied some sample pages to review, but it was then agreed that their uneven quality would hamper an indexing project.  Therefore, it was decided to experiment with newer technology.  A set of microfilms was ordered from NARA, which were then converted to CD-ROMs.  Each page on the microfilm became its own JPG image, which could then be sent to data entry volunteers all over the world instead of paper copies.  It took five months of planning to get the films into CD-ROMs, to recruit coordinators and data entry volunteers for the project, and to test the process.  The project then began working smoothly. 

The project started with three coordinators -- Harriet Brown, Heidi Urich, and Paula Zieselman -- but recently we have revised the structure and there are now two, Nolan Altman and Heidi Urich.  Nolan is handling all the administrative details associated with distributing images to volunteers, receiving completed spreadsheets, and supervising the work of the current validators, Max Heffler, and Aneroos Reich.  The validated files are sent to Joyce Field, who collates them into master lists which are then sent to Peter W. Landé at USHMM for additional proofreading.  Peter also tries to decipher the records which are indistinct or illegible, and sometimes, based on prisoner number, he is able to confirm illegible names from other sources.  At any time there may be 40-60 volunteers performing data entry.  After all the indexing is completed, the names of all the data entry volunteers will be added to this introduction.

Rather than wait until all 160,000+ records are indexed, it was decided to get the data online in batches.  The first 13 batches (July 2002, January 2003, April 2003, May 2003, June 2003, Nov 2003, Feb 2004, October 2004, March 2005, August 2005, December 2005, July 2006, July 2007) contain over 168,000 records.

The original documents have information divided into five columns, usually with two pieces of information, one over the other, in each column.  The information was entered exactly as it appears in the original (including obvious typographical and other errors).

Column 1 Family name
Given name
 
Column 2 Date of birth
Place of birth
 
Column 3 Last place of residence
Street or other address (often omitted)
 
Column 4 Prisoner number
Category of prisoner (usually includes nationality)
 
Column 5 When arrived and from where
What happened to prisoner

The fields included in this list and the instructions given to data entry volunteers were as follows:

Two fields in particular, Category of prisoner and Disposition, contain many abbreviations, which the volunteers were told to enter exactly as written.  To help both future researchers and the volunteers to understand the information they were entering, with the help of Peter W. Landé an extensive list of abbreviations and their meanings was created, from the original data found in these fields.

Where a page or record was totally illegible (estimated at less than 5% of the material) it was, necessarily, not entered.  Where a record was partially legible -- e.g., prisoner number but not full name -- the legible material was entered.  This partial information can then sometimes be compared to other material in the Captured German Records collection.  For instance, there are an additional five reels of Dachau material, some of it organized chronologically, some by prisoner number.  There is also relevant information in other sources -- e.g., Dachau survivor lists.

A list of all the illegible pages will be appended to the introduction when all the records have been indexed.

We have been asked why we began this project.  In his Captured German Records file, Peter W. Landé describes what these 189 reels are and are not.  What they are not offers good reasons why we embarked on the project.  Peter wrote, “First, as valuable and extensive as this collection is, it is nowhere near complete.  I would guess that more than 4 million names appear somewhere in these records, many more than once.  While some parts of the collection are alphabetized, most of the material is organized by date or prisoner number.  Again, I would guess that less than half of these names are of Jews, of which the largest numbers would be Hungarian, Polish and German, though with significant numbers of Jews from virtually every other European country.  This is not surprising given the location of these camps and the fact that a high percentage of East European Jews were never sent to camps -- i.e.,they were murdered where they were found.  Second, and obvious from the above, this collection is extremely difficult to search for individual names, unless one already has considerable information, e.g., camp where held, dates, etc.  The collection is, therefore, both a genealogist's dream as well as nightmare.”

The Captured German Documents—and the Dachau files among them -- are a remarkable historical collection.  The Disposition column in the Dachau file, for example, often is mind-boggling.  It shows prisoners being moved from Dachau to another camp and then back to Dachau.  This entry is not atypical:

17 Nov 1944 Bu. (Abg. D. Flucht am 24 May 1944, Rü. Am 21 Jun 1944) befr. Da. üb. 4 Sep 1942 Sa., Rü. 2 Apr 1945

However, although we don’t know why prisoners were moved so frequently, the facts of their handling are there for us to interpret.  The categorization of the prisoners is also of great interest.  Nationality, religion (particularly Jew [Jude] and also Jehovah's Witness), and political status are meticulously entered.

Many volunteers wrote us of their emotions while working on data entry.  Naturally, they were unsettled; on the other hand, they felt that they were part of an especially important project to record the names of Nazi victims and to ensure that the names will not be forgotten.

BACKGROUND - The History of Dachau

Established in 1933, Dachau was one of the first Nazi concentration camps. Until it was liberated on April 29, 1945, over 206,000 prisoners from all over Europe, Jews and non-Jews, were held there.  Some, particularly in the early years, were released, and transfers to and from Dachau were common.  There are over 31,000 registered deaths in Dachau, but many deaths were not registered, so the total is not known.

The camp, initially utilizing an empty World War I munitions facility, was established in March 1933.  The first prisoners were political, Jews and non-Jews, primarily Communists and Social Democrats.  In the following years other groups were sent there, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals and anyone considered an opponent of the Nazi regime.  During the summer of 1938, several thousand Austrian prisoners, including many Jews, were sent to Dachau.  Then, after Kristallnacht, in November 1938, more than 10,000 German Jews were sent there.  Some perished, but most were released after several months, particularly if they promised to emigrate.

Beginning in 1940, Dachau grew massively.  Most prisoners entered through a main gate under the sign “Arbeit macht frei” (work makes one free).  As many as 33,000 prisoners at one time were scattered in numerous subsidiary camps and used as slave labor in firms producing for the German war effort throughout southern German and Austria.  Private firms could also “hire” Dachau workers, though the payments for these workers were made to the SS, rather than to the workers themselves.

From 1933 to 1945 over 206,000 registered prisoners were held at some time in Dachau.  Many had been transferred from other camps.  Virtually every European nationality was represented, with the largest numbers from Poland, the former Soviet Union, Hungary, Germany and France, but there were also substantial numbers of Italians, Lithuanians, Czechs, Slovenes and Belgians.  Dachau was not a death camp per se, but the harsh conditions there led to over 31,000 registered deaths, though the real number was undoubtedly higher.  Many Soviet prisoners of war were never registered and large numbers of them were simply executed.  Medical experiments were performed on inmates, and many perished.  Dachau was also used in Germany’s euthanasia program and thousands of “invalids” were systematically murdered.

Shortly before liberation, in late April 1945, there were over 67,000 registered prisoners in Dachau, including over 22,000 Jews.  Many perished in forced marches during the last days before liberation of the camp a few days later.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The information contained in this database was indexed from the microfilms available at NARA and USHMM.  This information is accessible to you today thanks to the effort of Peter W. Landé, Joyce Field, and Nolan Altman and the following volunteers who worked diligently on entering data:

Nolan Altman

Al Hersh

Micha Reisel

Cary Aufseer

Bernie Hirsch

Carol Robinson

Helen Banks

Jeremy Hockenstein

Marcelo Rosenbaum

Nancy Biederman

Ernest Kallmann

Gary Rudenis

Anna Blanchard

Ken Kamlett

Kenneth Ryesky

Pia Borjeson

Dan Kazez

Ralph Salinger

Maxine Bromyard

Stephen Landau

Norma Sax

Harriet Brown

Dorothy Leivers

Percy Schacter

Joy Conroy

Bill Liebner

Jerry Schneider

Dora Donis

Eve Line-Blum

Laurence Schneider

Virginia Donis

Gary Maher

Jacqueline Schwab

Joyce Eastman

Elisheva Malovicki

Janice Sellers

Carol Edan

Susan Mann

Charlotte Showel

Cary Elias

Maurine McClellan

Robert Shustack

Joyce Field

Greg Meyer

David M. Simon

Michael Fields

Edward Mitelbach

Susan Sitler

Norm Freedman

George Mitelsbach

Barbara Sloan

Kurt Friedlaender

Gary Morin

Rena Sonshine

Julie Gersh

Fritz Neubauer

Samy Staroswieki

Jeanne Gold

Irene Newhouse

Brian Stern

Moshe Govrin

David Newman

Aida Strocovsky

Harry Green

Hans Nord

Greta Tedoff

Norm Greenfeld

Joan Parker

Naomi Teveth

Bette Greenfield

Judy Pfaff

Heidi Urich

Guy Haber

Sherrill Pociecha

Trish Watson

Tibor Hauerstock

Anneroos Reich

Tom Weiss

Max Heffler

Rebecca Reich

Yehuda Witenoff

Johannes Heidecker

Peter Reiniger

Paula Zieselman


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Last updated 29 July 2007 by MFK