Polish inmates at Dachau concentration camp celebrate their liberation by elements of the U.S. Army’s 42nd and 45th Infantry Divisions, XV Corps, of the Seventh United States Army. Dachau was the first concentration camp opened by the Germans, opening in 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler became Reich Chancellor and served as a prototype and model for the other Nazi concentration camps that followed. Over the 12 years of use as a concentration camp, the Dachau administration recorded the intake of 206,206 prisoners and deaths of 31,951. Crematoria were constructed to dispose of the deceased next to, but not directly accessible from within the camp, in 1942. From the start of the war against Poland, Germany intended to realize the plan laid-out by the Hitler in his 1925 book “Mein Kampf”. The aim of the plan was territorial expansion in Eastern Europe and to repopulate the area with ethnic Germans: so-called Lebensraum (living space). The object of war was to fulfill this territorial policy within the framework of Nazi racial ideology. On 22 August 1939, just before the invasion of Poland, Hitler gave explicit permission to his commanders to kill “without pity or mercy, all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language.” Aproximately 2.77 million ethnic Poles (not including Polish Jews) would be killed from the outbreak of the war in 1939 and the end of the war in 1945, many of whom would die in concentration camps like Dachau. Dachau concentration camp, near Dachau, Bavaria, Germany. 29 April 1945. Image taken by U.S. Army Technician Fourth Grade (T/4) Arland Musser.