Today marks the anniversary of the day that 31,601 were released from the hell that was Nazi Germany’s Dachau concentration camp. The camp was the first to be established under the Nazi regime and the freeing of its victims was a huge victory not only for the Allied Forces but for humanity itself.

Dachau’s hellish legacy

First opened in 1933, the camp had been a nightmare dedicated to imprisoning a huge number of Jews, as well as German political opponents of the Nazis, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others who Hitler didn’t see as part of his plan. Before the camp’s liberation in 1945, the prisoners of Dachau were subjected to every reason the entire world hates Nazis today. That’s until the hands of karma came in swinging in the form of the U.S. Seventh Army’s 45th Infantry Division.

The Allies close in

In the days prior, the Nazis knew that the Allied forces were closing in and got an idea to move about 7,000 prisoners to Tegernsee, further south. So some of the Nazi guards had already left with the prisoners, two days before the Americans arrived. A few more of the remaining SS guards were basically peeing their pants to the extent that they chose to flee the camp the next day. When the Americans reached the scene, the guards who had stuck it out were easily defeated as the Americans swept in with the wrath of hell.

Judgment day for Germany

So disgusted were the liberators with what they found that they treated many of the remaining guards to a taste of their own medicine, as delivered by machine guns. As for the citizens of the town of Dachau? The liberators decided to give them a look at what they’d let go on in their back yard. Not only did they give them a tour around the camp, but they also forced them to bury around 9,000 dead inmates who weren’t able to make it until the day help arrived. The same day, another major subcamp of Dachau was also liberated by the  42nd Rainbow Division and the 7,000 prisoners the Nazis had tried to move were soon liberated early that May.