Whereas those camps in occupied Poland primarily were places for the "industrialized extermination" of the European Jews, the concentration camps modelled on Dachau, and located on German soil, were large-scale detention and torture centres, and later forced labour camps too, but not death camps.
Jews were just one of many groups of prisoners, and the Holocaust was not its primary function.
A particularly large proportion of foreign visitors are Americans, probably because of the camp's history, having been liberated by US soldiers and having been used in US media so extensively.
Soviet POWs were shot at a site near Dachau, but the main cause of death at Dachau camp was any combination of exhaustion, malnutrition, brutal treatment and diseases resulting esp. What is definitely clear beyond any doubt, on the other hand, is the fact that at Dachau horrifically cruel medical experiments were conducted on prisoners.
This included "research" into hypothermia in order to find out what chances German Luftwaffe pilots may have if they had to bail out of their planes over icy waters.
In these secondary camps, more so than in the base camps, the principle was that of literally working the prisoners to death ("Vernichtung durch Arbeit").
Sure, there were executions at Dachau too, and thousands of esp.
Sachsenhausen near Berlin, which also served as a training institution), and the exact wording of camp rules, commands, rations, routines, etc. But what probably lifted the place into public consciousness more than any of those factors were the images taken by the US army of the liberation of the camp – including those particularly haunting images of heaps of bones-and-skin corpses outside the crematoria.
Together with some photographs taken in Buchenwald on liberation (also by the US), these Dachau images shaped public perception of what the Nazi concentration camps were possibly more than any other.Covertly, the results of, as well as the principal heads behind, such "research" were highly prized by the emerging superpowers of the Cold War …not only German rocket scientists were happily snatched up by both the USA and the USSR for their own purposes …Immediately after WWII, the site was used to intern German POWs and (suspected) war criminals, but the grounds were then also used to house thousands of displaced persons.It wasn't until 1965 that parts of Dachau were turned into a proper memorial site, and survivors had a lot of input into the design.What is often blurred in public perception, however, is the fundamental difference between a camp like Dachau and places like Auschwitz or Majdanek, and esp.