On this day in 1945, Dachau was liberated by American troops of the U.S. Seventh Army’s 45th Infantry Division, headed by Gen, George Patton, and subdivision of the camp by the 42nd Rainbow Division. There were 123 sub-camps and factories in the vicinity of the town.
Dachau was the first concentration camp opened by the Nazi regime in 1933 on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory less than 10 miles northeast of Munich. The camp was established 5 weeks after Adolf Hitler took power as chancellor and was used to house political prisoners, In 1938, the camp was primarily occupied by Jews. The camp served as a training center for the SS guards at other camps, medical experiments and forced labor.
Thousands of inmates died or were executed at Dachau, and thousands more were transferred to a Nazi extermination center near Linz, Austria, when they became too sick or weak to work. In 1944, to increase war production, the main camp was supplemented by dozens of satellite camps established near armaments factories in southern Germany and Austria. These camps were administered by the main camp and collectively called Dachau.
As they neared the camp, the Americans found more than 30 railroad cars filled with bodies in various states of decomposition. Inside the camp there were more bodies and 30,000 survivors, most severely emaciated. Some of the American troops who liberated Dachau were so appalled by conditions at the camp that they machine-gunned at least two groups of captured German guards. It is officially reported that 30 SS guards were killed in this fashion, but conspiracy theorists have alleged that more than 10 times that number were executed by the American liberators. The German citizens of the town of Dachau were later forced to bury the 9,000 dead inmates found at the camp.
1624 In France, Richelieu assumes as Prime Minister of Louis XIII.
1672 Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invades the Netherlands.
1707 Scotland and England unified in United Kingdom of Great Britain.
1770 James Cook arrives at and names Botany Bay, Australia.
1810 Thomas Adolphus Trollope, English author and journalist, (d. 1892)
1832 Évariste Galois released from prison.
1861 American Civil War: Maryland’s House of Delegates votes not to secede from the Union.
1862 American Civil War: New Orleans, Louisiana falls to Union forces under Admiral David Farragut.
1882 The “Elektromote” – forerunner of the trolleybus – is tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin.
1899 Duke Ellington, American jazz pianist and bandleader (d. 1974)
1901 Hirohito, Emperor of Japan (d. 1989)
1903 A 30 million cubic-metre landslide kills 70 in Frank, Alberta, Canada.
1916 World War I: The British 6th Indian Division surrenders to Ottoman Forces at the Siege of Kut in one of the largest surrenders of British forces up to that point.
1916 Easter Rebellion: Martial law in Ireland is lifted and the rebellion is officially over with the surrender of Irish nationalists to British authorities in Dublin.
1945 World War II: The German Army in Italy unconditionally surrenders to the Allies.
1945 World War II: Start of Operation Manna.
1945 World War II – Fuehrerbunker: Adolf Hitler marries his long-time partner Eva Braun in a Berlin bunker and designates Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor. Both Hitler and Braun will commit suicide the next day.
1945 The Italian commune of Fornovo di Taro is liberated from German forces by Brazilian forces.
1946 Former Prime Minister of Japan Hideki Tojo and 28 former Japanese leaders are indicted for war crimes.
1951 A Tibetan delegation to the Chinese government is presented with a draft treaty regarding the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
1951 Dale Earnhardt, American race car driver (d. 2001)
1953 The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV.
1965 Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) successfully launches its seventh rocket in its Rehber series.
1967 After refusing induction into the United States Army the day before (citing religious reasons), Muhammad Ali is stripped of his boxing title.
1968 The controversial musical Hair opens on Broadway.
1970 Vietnam War: United States and South Vietnamese forces invade Cambodia to hunt Viet Cong.
1974 Watergate Scandal: President Richard Nixon announces the release of edited transcripts of White House tape recordings related to the scandal.
1975 Vietnam War: Operation Frequent Wind: The U.S. begins to evacuate U.S. citizens from Saigon prior to an expected North Vietnamese takeover. U.S. involvement in the war comes to an end.
1980 Corazones Unidos Siempre Chi Upsilon Sigma National Latin Sorority Inc. is founded.
1986 Roger Clemens then of the Boston Red Sox sets a major league baseball record with 20 strikeouts in nine innings against the Seattle Mariners.
1986 A fire at the Central library of the City of Los Angeles Public Library damages or destroys 400,000 books and other items.
1991 cyclone strikes the Chittagong district of southeastern Bangladesh with winds of around 155 mph, killing at least 138,000 people and leaving as many as 10 million homeless.
1992 1992 Angeles riots: Riots in Los Angeles, California, following the acquittal of police officers charged with excessive force in the beating of Rodney King. Over the next three days 53 people are killed and hundreds of buildings are destroyed.
1997 The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 enters into force, outlawing the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons by its signatories.
1999 The Avala TV Tower near Belgrade is destroyed in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
2002 The United States is re-elected to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, one year after losing the seat that it had held for 50 years.
2003 Barbaro, American thoroughbred racehorse (d. 2007)
2004 Dick Cheney and George W. Bush testify before the 9/11 Commission in a closed, unrecorded hearing in the Oval Office.
2004 Oldsmobile builds its final car ending 107 years of production.
2005 Syria completes withdrawal from Lebanon, ending 29 years of occupation.
2005 New Zealand’s first civil union takes place.
93 Celeste Holm, American actress
77 Mark Eyskens, Prime Minister of Belgium
77 Rod McKuen, American poet and composer
74 Zubin Mehta, Indian-born conductor
72 Bernard Madoff, American convict, who was a financier and Chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange.
66 Princess Benedikte of Denmark
66 Richard Kline, American actor and director
63 Olavo de Carvalho, Brazilian philosopher
63 Tommy James, American musician
63 Jim Ryun, American athlete and politician
62 Bruce Cutler, American attorney, John Gotti’s attorney
60 Debbie Stabenow, American politician
58 Nora Dunn, American actress
58 David Icke, English writer
58 Bob McClure, American baseball player
56 Jake Burton Carpenter, American snowboarder
56 Jerry Seinfeld, American comedian
55 Kate Mulgrew, American actress
52 Michelle Pfeiffer, American actress
52 Eve Plumb, American actress
52 Gary Cohen, Baseball broadcaster
52 Martin Whitmarsh, Current CEO of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 Racing Team
46 Mohammad Qatanani, Muslim Imam
43 Curtis Joseph, Canadian ice hockey player
43 Master P, American rapper
42 Carnie Wilson, American singer
40 Andre Agassi, American tennis player
40 China Forbes, American singer and songwriter (Pink Martini)
40 Uma Thurman, American actress
30 Mathieu Biron, Canadian ice hockey player