Name of Object: Whip
Photo: Turkish Whip on display
The whip has a long and painful place in the history of torture. This is a multi- tailed whipping device that originated as a way to implement severe physical punishment. In particular, this whip was used for punishment and torture purposes during the Second World War at many concentration camps; the one above was used in the Dachau Concentration Camp.
Dachau, located in Germany, was one of the first Nazi concentration camps and was opened in March 1933. This camp was created in a former gunpowder factory, and was designed specifically for the purpose of forced labor. Since this was the first of many camps, the initial prisoners of the camps were known political opponents of the Nazis: Communists, Social Democrats, and others who had been condemned in a court of law. Later, as the camps began to grow and expand, the prisoners in many of the camps began to include Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gypsies, dissenting clergy, homosexuals, and those who had made critical remarks about the Nazis.[i] For Dachau, however, the majority of prisoners were Christians, including Protestants, Roman Catholics, Orthodox clergy, and lay people. The prisoners of Dachau were forced to participate in cruel medical experiments conducted by Dr. Sigmund Rascher. As well, upon arrival to the camp, prisoners were beaten, insulted, shorn of their hair, and had all of their belongings taken away from them.[ii] Dachau continued to operate as a forced labor camp until April 1945, when it was liberated by the United States.[iii] During its years of operation, Dachau was responsible for over 200,000 prisoners[iv]