Popular German Organic Gardener Learned Growing Tips from Experiments Run in Dachau Concentration Camp

Posted on October 9, 2009

From the UK’s TimesOnline:

Alwin Seifert, best-selling German author of the book “Gardening, Working the Soil Without Poison,”  may have learned gardening tips from gardening experiments run in the Dachau concentration camp.

In her book “Between Heaven and Hell,”  Daniella Seidl  says that Seifert, who died in 1972, was “one of the top landscape gardeners of the Nazi era,” and visited Dachau to see the experiments being run there mostly in regards to their composting techniques.  The gardens had been set up at the behest of Heinrich Himmler and were maintained by “half-starved slave labourers.”

Seidl claims Seifert was good friends with the head gardener, Franz Lippert and frequented the grounds, “oblivious to the emaciated prisoners”:

“He was a regular visitor, maintained a correspondence with the head gardener Franz Lippert, and even arranged for a couple from the camp to work in his own household.” Some of the ideas being tried out in the Dachau gardens were certainly adopted by Seifert for use in his own garden in the Tyrol.”

Siefert joined the Nazi party in 1937.  He became a professor and was head of the organization that was a forerunner to the Green Party. 

Creepy and spooky history.