Murderous Kapos

One of the most feared Kapos in Dachau was the German prisoner Johann Brüggen (he wore a blue triangle, as a political émigré). He supervised a large building site and singled out Jews for special torture. Among his many victims was 27-year-old Gerhard Brandt. Gravely injured in the Dachau infirmary, Brandt testified about the abuse he had suffered at the hands of Kapo Brüggen. Just a few hours later, Brandt was dead – one of countless prisoners murdered by a fellow inmate in the camps.

066 – A Dachau prisoner testifies about Kapo violence, 1940

I have been in Dachau concentration camp since 24 May 1940. The insults and physical abuse began right away on the work site. The perpetrator is the Kapo at the work site. He wears an armband with “Kapo” written on it, he wears a blue triangle on his prison shirt and is called Brüggen, I think, or something like that. He insulted me by calling me “Jewish pig”, “filthy Jew” and saying “You shouldn’t be here at all because you’re not a human being” and other similar things.

punched me in the face

I cannot give a precise description of the insults and abuse today because I feel so exhausted. Every day I was kicked two or three times, usually in the backside. If I fell down Brüggen then always trampled on me as well. Every day I was also beaten about the head and face with a wooden cudgel. Brüggen also punched me in the face, which always gave me a heavy nosebleed. My handkerchief was so saturated with blood that I couldn’t use it any more.

Source: Staatsarchiv Munich, StA Nr. 34398, KL Dachau, Vernehmung G. Brandt, 10 June 1940

Translation: Lesley Sharpe and Jeremy Noakes