Dachau concentration camp was the first Nazi concentration camp opened in southern Germany. Dachau was located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory near the medieval town of Dachau, about 10 miles northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria. Dachau served as a prototype and model for the other Nazi concentration camps that followed.  In total, over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were housed in Dachau— of whom two-thirds were political prisoners and nearly one-third were Jews.  25,613 prisoners are believed to have died in the camp and another 10,000 in its subcamps; primarily from disease, malnutrition and suicide.

The camp was divided into two sections: the camp area and the crematorium. The camp area consisted of 32 barracks, including one for at least 3,000 Christian clergy imprisoned for opposing the Nazi regime, and one reserved for medical experiments. The courtyard between the prison and the central kitchen was used for the summary execution of prisoners. The camp was surrounded by an electrified barbed-wire gate, a ditch, and a wall with seven guard towers.

Owing to continual new transportations from the front, the camp was constantly overcrowded and hygiene conditions were beneath human dignity. Starting from the end of 1944 up to the day of liberation, 15,000 people died. Five hundred Soviet POWs were executed by firing squad.

The camp complex was liberated by U.S. soldiers on April 29, 1945. The Americans found approximately 32,000 prisoners crammed 20 barracks which had been designed to house 250 people each.  The American soldiers were so horrified by what they found that they immediately executed several camp guards who had already surrendered.