The attendant priest was also humiliated and spied upon, but was permitted to hear confessions – in the presence of an SS guard.
Dachau was chiefly a political camp, rather than an extermination camp, but of around 160,000 prisoners sent to its main camp, over of 32,000 were either executed or died of disease, malnutrition or brutalization.The prisoners of Dachau were used as guinea pigs in Nazi medical experiments. Prior to the Reichstag vote for the Enabling Act under which Hitler gained the "temporary" dictatorial powers with which he went on to permanently dismantle the Weimar Republic, Hitler promised the Reichstag on 23 March 1933, that he would not interfere with the rights of the churches.Pastor Martin Neimoller responded with the Pastors Emergency League which re-affirmed the Bible.The movement grew into the Confessing Church, from which some clergymen opposed the Nazi regime.Dietrich Bonhoeffer, another leading spokesman for the Confessing Church, was from the outset a critic of the Hitler regime's racism and became active in the German Resistance – calling for Christians to speak out against Nazi atrocities.
Arrested in 1943, he was implicated in the 1944 July Plot to assassinate Hitler and executed.
On 11 December 1935, Wilhelm Braun, a Catholic theologian from Munich, became the first churchman imprisoned at Dachau.
The annexation of Austria saw an increase in clerical inmates.
The Nazis co-opted the term Gleichschaltung to mean conformity and subservience to the National Socialist German Workers' Party line: "there was to be no law but Hitler, and ultimately no god but Hitler".
Hitler himself possessed radical instincts in relation to the continuing conflict with the Catholic and Protestant Churches in Germany.
On 25 July, the Nazis promulgated their sterilization law, an offensive policy in the eyes of the Catholic Church.