The following are entries from the journal of Elizabeth.
Hello! I have just been moved to Dachau today. I have not yet decided whether I like this camp or not.
I arrived in Dachau on an enormous bus this morning. Soon after the bus parked, the SS guards immediately approached and told us to get off the bus and line up. This was an incredibly hard task to obey, as our bodies, especially our legs, were very stiff and cramped from the long journey to Dachau. One man in particular had lost consciousness. The SS guards dragged him off the bus by his ankles causing him to waken as he hit his head off the steps on the bus.
When we formed a line, I could clearly see that all those on the bus had been violently abused. Everyone had black and blue marks and welts on their faces. The SS guards took what seemed like forever to count us. It was torturous, and I had to go to the bathroom but was not permitted to.
Finally, after we were all counted, we were led to the camp, which is approximately fifteen minutes away from Munich. Ten-foot tall fences that have electrical barbed wire and watchtowers surround the camp. Imprinted on the entrance gate is the message, Abreit Macht Frei, Work Makes Free.
Once inside our guard led us to the Appellplatz, the drill field. This field separates the administration building on our right, from our barracks on our left. These barracks are located on Lagrasse, the Camp Street. There are eighteen huts on each side of the street, all perfectly parallel. We were ordered to align ourselves facing the barracks.
It was nine o’clock p.m. when we went to a barrack, and it too had fences of barbed electrical wire. It was practically a camp within a camp. Outside we were required to take off our shoes and neatly put them in a line.
The Kapo, a trustee of the prisoners, met us inside. He took us to be processed. There we were ordered to remove all of our clothes. Then they shaved our heads. I was most embarrassed to be in front of distant relations unclothed with my head shaved. This humiliation was a vmbrageous long process.
There are many rules at this camp. All prisoners are to be coded by colors. This is in accordance to the Kapo. Green represents a felon, purple a Bibelforscher or Jehovah’s Witness, pink is a homosexual, and yellow symbolizes a Jew. We are not permitted out of the barracks after dark, and anyone who does so may possibly be shot. We must stand in attention in front of an SS guard until we are told to do otherwise, and we may not have any nourishment until all the “counting” for the day has been completed. In other words, we must do whatever they command when they command it. I don’t know how much longer I can live like this.
I have to try and get some rest now, for it is late and I am tired. Hopefully I can sleep despite the crowded conditions of the barracks. Goodnight.
Flares of Memory, Brostoff Anita. Oxford University Press, Oxford New York
Uniform image taken by team at Holocaust Center of Greater Pittsburgh.
Patches image courtesy United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, sent in a letter.