A Secret Diary Chronicled the ‘Satanic World’ That Was Dachau

The final article from “Beyond the World War II We Know,” a series by The Times that documents lesser-known stories from the war, remembers Edgar Kupfer-Koberwitz, a prisoner at Dachau who secretly documented everything he observed in the concentration camp in a diary, which he then buried until the American liberation.

For two years, a prisoner in the German concentration camp kept a journal that would later be used to convict those who had persecuted him and killed his fellow prisoners.

His cheekbones stuck out like mountaintops from a barren valley. Gnawing hunger had tortured him for months. Day and night, his thoughts vacillated between fantasies of his favorite foods — of chewing even — to how he might take his own life. A prisoner’s existence in Neuengamme concentration camp, in the wet and the cold near the German port city of Hamburg, he later explained, was like walking a tightrope. The only way to keep from falling was to focus on yourself and avert your eyes from the unimaginable misery all around you.

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