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View Diary: More on Durbin (128 comments)

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  •  Further pedanticism (none)
    And IIRC, although the town of Dachau itself is on a hill, the concentration camp is on a plain below the town only a couple miles away.

    "Those who betray the trust...are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." - George HW Bush

    by DavidW in SF on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 05:29:26 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Even more pedanticism (4.00)
      Dachau was a concentration camp in the original sense - a prison, a place where those Germans the Nazis wanted to confine and sometimes kill were taken. It was not an extermination camp with crematoria or mass killings such as occurred in Auschwitz and other places. Most prisoners who died at Dachau did from hunger or hanging.

      I have been to both Dachau (which is a suburb of Munich) and Auschwitz (which is about an hour from Krakow, Poland). The Nazis wanted the death camps to be outside of Germany proper - first of all to not get their hands so dirty, second to not make what they were doing so apparent to other Germans (deniability), and perhaps most hideously, because someone figured out the most German life insurance policies did not apply to deaths off of German soil.

      •  BTW (none)
        The comment posted above was not meant to be in response to anything you said.  I just thought I would post links for anyone who comes by this discussion and is motivated to do some reading.
      •  Correction of the Correction (4.00)
        Dachau started out as a camp to imprison political enemies (and became a model for all the other camps) but from 1941 mass murder did take place here as well, just not on the same scale as in the extermination camps.
        Dachau did have a crematorium and it WAS used. What was never used was a gas chamber, built when the crematorium was enlarged.

        It's obvious that what happened in Dachau bears no comparison with Abu Ghraib or Gitmo. Yet when you compare the underlying principles of Dachau and Gitmo, the alarm bells must ring.

        Dachau was founded after the famous Reichstag blaze. The Nazis used the word "terrorists" all the time then. Only after passing the "Ermaechtigungsgesetz" were they able to intern people who couldn't be brought to "justice" (which still existed in 1933) because those people didn't commit a "crime" that could be proven.

        Dachau certainly was far more brutal than Gitmo even in the first days. But that's not the problem. German people looked away then, preferred to ignore what went on there. Many were afraid, but many just preferred to be ignorant.

        And that's what's going on with Gitmo. We don't have to be afraid (yet?) to speak up against the utterly lawless situation in Gitmo which is absolutely against any principles we should stand for. But many either look away (hey it's not on our soil, inmates are Arabs, terrorists, whatever). What is more, many approve Gitmo.

        When US troops marched into Germany and liberated the camps they forced the locals to go and see what happened there.

        Will we have to, as well? And what excuses will we have? "I didn't know" will NOT do this time.

        •  Thanks for clarification (none)
          One point of similarity is that for legal convenience but also to keep it further out of site we use a base not located within our country for our heinous actions.
        •  Dachau, continued (4.00)
          It started out as a prison camp for the Communists, because they were so dangerous (!)

          It's worthwhile to note that the Weimar Constitution was theoretically in effect for the entire twelve years of the Third Reich. So one could point to the rule of law long after it had become a complete fraud and mockery.  And, of course, the Reichstag continued to meet, even though it became merely a rubber stamp and cheering section for the Fuehrer.

          A Constitution is only a piece of paper if the will of the people has deserted it.

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