The first concentration camp of the Nazi period was Dachau. It was reported in the media - one paper showed a swimming pool for inmates. It was twenty minutes walk from the centre of town. It wasn't hidden, and to begin with, people didn't see it as the brutal hell we know it as.
Dachau wasn't the place of routine brutality and slaughter it would develop into, when it opened in 1933.
It was seen by many normal Germans as essential in ridding the country of those they saw as trying to destroy it.
Everything later concentration camps (and death camps) would become, had its origin in Dachau.
To begin with, guards were murderously undisciplined - Theodor Eicke was charged with developing systems of *sustainable* cruelty, years before the pogrom of 1938.
Many Germans weren't afraid of Dachau to begin with, or the sub-camps that spring up nearby.
It was only as the regime tightened it's grip that the saying emerged,
"Lieber Gott, mach mich dumm, damit ich nicht nach Dachau kumm"
(God, make me dumb, so I don't go to Dachau.)
The point I'm making is this:
Dachau didn't appear like our notion of Dachau to begin with.
The concentration camps of the Nazis, in the beginning, looked significantly different to what they became.
Don't be afraid to draw comparisons. In fact, it's vital that we do.
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