On the 20th January Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS and principal architect of the Holocaust, visited Dachau concentration camp with the Dutch fascist leader Anton Mussert. Himmler was organising the expansion of his system of camps in preparation for the Nazi move East. Himmler was a frequent visitor the various camps around his empire. One of the reasons for the lack of paper trail evidence of orders for the Holocaust is that he so often passed on his encouragement in person.
Dachau had been the first concentration camp established by the Nazi’s in 1933 and was used initially to punish political opponents of the regime. As such it was not an extermination camp, although the Nazi’s had no compunction about murdering people there from the very start. It was equally important that a proportion of individuals were released to spread the word about the brutal regime. It quickly gained a notorious reputation and became synonymous with the whole repressive apparatus of Germany. The simple fear of ‘Dachau’ stifled anyone who might voice opposition or even criticism of the Nazi’s. “Dear God, make me dumb, that I may not to Dachau come”.