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Dachau: Prisoner 89012
   
  Two out of six survived. My sister and I. - Irving Eisner author
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Irving Eisner was among more than 200,000 people to be interned at Dachau, the first German concentration camp officially declared by the Nazis, in March 1933.

Dachau was established at the site of a deserted gunpowder factory near Munich, and first held political enemies of the Nazis arrested after the January 30 Reichstag fire. Through most of the Second World War, Dachau was used primarily to hold criminals, political and other religious opponents of the Nazis, and many if not most of the 32,000 who were registered as having died there were Christian.

But in the final eight months of the war, as the Nazis were forced to abandon their death camps in Poland, inmates were transported to German camps that included Dachau. Of all the people who died during the 12 years of Dachau's existence, nearly half died of typhus during the last four months. The epidemic had come with prisoners transported from Polish camps.

The US Seventh Army liberated Dachau and its sub-camps in late April 1945, freeing 70,000 prisoners, many of whom had arrived only weeks before. Many of the liberated prisoners died, however, victims of the typhus or from eating too much too soon, after living so long on meager diets.

During those final days at Dachau, Eisner prayed that he might be spared, so he could teach others, particularly children, about the Holocaust experience. He kept his promise, and has dedicated his life to teaching. His book answers the question he was asked at every presentation: "Why didn't you write down your memories?"

From the book

  Excerpt

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Holocaust Collection, Centennial College Libraries.      Tel: 416.289.5000 x5410      Fax: 416.289.5228      Email: library@centennialcollege.ca