On the morning of 29 April 1945, the inmates of KZ Dachau awoke to find white flags on the camp‘s flagpoles. The inmates also discovered that the regular SS guards had been replaced by a detachment of around 200 combat troops from the 5th Panzer Division
. Around 11 a.m., troops from the 45th and 42nd Divisions of the U.S. 7th Army began to arrive at the concentration camp. The 45th Division men that first entered KZ Dachau were almost exclusively from Lt. William Walsh‘s I Company of the 157th Infantry Regiment. Third Battalion commander Lt. Col. Felix Sparks accompanied Lt. Walsh and his men as they set out from the town of Dachau towards the camp along a set of railroad tracks. Their mission was to take the concentration camp, and "upon capture, post an airtight guard, and allow no one to enter or leave."
"It was whispered from man to man," PFC. John S. ―Jack Edwards of the 3rd platoon recalled, "take no prisoners here". Platoon commander 2nd Lt. Harold T. Moyer (the first officer to enter the camp), recollected similar exhortations. "I heard every man, or a lot of men, who said we should take no prisoners. I felt the same way myself". As they milled amongst the boxcars, four Hungarian soldiers in German uniforms approached the GIs. They exclaimed that they were on the Americans’ side and wanted to surrender. Believing that they were prison guards, Moyer told PFC. L.J. Leath to shoot them. Leath hesitated. "There was another guy, I think his name was Pitt, he grabbed my rifle and started shooting the guys". As Walsh and his men approached the main gate to the camp, a German soldier appeared wearing several Red Cross emblems and carrying a white flag. "They started harming him", Walsh recalled, "and eventually he jumped up into...an empty boxcar and they shot him".
Fearing that the guards would defend the main gate from within, Sparks ordered his men to scale the camp‘s outer wall. The GIs then walked through the camp encountering the recently arrived 5th Panzer Division guards who began to surrender en masse. As they did so, some of the camp‘s recently freed inmates began to attack them. Captain Leland Loy, a chaplain with the 157th Infantry, recalled seeing a guard "pulled to pieces" by the inmates.
John Edwards saw of a group of Russian inmates who tore a guard limb from limb. During the process of interrogating the wounded and sick patients of the hospital, PFC. John Lee and two other GIs noticed a commotion around the side of the building. Investigating the noise, they found two inmates beating a guard‘s head with a shovel. "I have to admit", Lee said, "the three of us turned around and walked away."
Lt. George A. Jackson of the 42nd Division observed a circle of about two hundred inmates surrounding a German soldier. Within the circle, two inmates were trying to apprehend the hapless guard. Finally, one of the inmates managed to grab the German‘s coat-tails, while another inmate grabbed the soldier‘s rifle. The inmates then began to beat the soldier on the head with the rifle‘s butt stock. "I turned and walked away," Jackson said, "when I came back, his head had been battered away." Paul Gumz, a medic in the 3rd Division sent to aid the inmates, witnessed GIs turn four 5th Panzer Division officers over to the inmates. "They just beat them, kicked them, and beat them," Gumz recalled, "We didn‘t stop them." After the inmates had used their fists and feet to their satisfaction, the Americans finished them off with their rifles.
The guards were not the only individuals that the Americans allowed the inmates to kill. During a tour of the Schutzhaftlager, Lt. Walsh witnessed two or three Kapos being hammered to death with shovels.
Later, when Lt. Col. Sparks arrived at the main gate, he witnessed a similar affair. Amid the roaring crowd of ecstatic inmates, he saw bodies being passed through the crowd and flying through the air. Hundreds of inmates were tearing these bodies apart with their bare hands. Confused, Sparks asked an inmate what the crowd was doing. "Colonel, they‘re killing the informers" the inmate replied.
GIs not only watched the prisoners but also helped them exact their revenge. Jack Hallett claimed that GIs intentionally shot numerous guards in the leg and then turned them over to the inmates. "One of the soldiers, gave one of the inmates a bayonet and watched him behead the man. It was a pretty gory mess."
John Edwards witnessed a Polish inmate, who had obtained an M-1 rifle from a GI, drive the rifle sight through the eye of [another man].
After entering the camp, PFC. Peter J. De Marzo and Joseph Ondik from L Company of the 157th Infantry Regiment noticed a mob forming by the main gate. As they approached, several Russian inmates accosted De Marzo and stole his rifle. "Before I know it," De Marzo recalled, "I heard two shots fired." The Russians had killed two men with the rifle and fled. A sympathetic American officer returned the weapon to De Marzo and walked away.
The incidents just mentioned were ones in which American soldiers passively participated in the killing of prisoners. Many GIs, however, took a more active role in exacting revenge upon the 5th Panzer Division guards.
Capt. A. Lewis Greene, a supply and maintenance officer for the 370th Combat Engineer Battalion, witnessed an enlisted man crush an 5th Panzer Division officer against a wall with his jeep. "Whether he just went cuckoo at the time or was carried away, we don‘t know," Greene explained, "but...he was never punished for it."
After a roundup of some thirty POWs, Cpl. Hank Mills saw an American aim his light machine gun at the men. "I wasn‘t standing ten feet from him," Mills recalled, "When he turned it loose and killed damn near all of them."
As Lt. Walsh and an I Company detachment advanced through the camp, four Axis soldiers surrendered to the Americans. After the men emerged from their hiding places, Walsh herded the men into a nearby boxcar and shot them with his .45 caliber pistol. Pvt. Pruitt remembered that the wounded soldiers were "all hollering and taking on". Without waiting for an order, Pruitt killed them with his rifle. "I never like to see anybody suffer" he explained.
As the Americans neared the gate to the Schutzhaftlager, they became aware that several SS guards remained at their post in a nearby tower. Several GIs quickly rushed the tower in order to evict the guards. Marion Okrutnik, Polish inmate No. 39455, witnessed the events at the tower from inside the prison compound. Okrutnik claims that as the Americans got close to the tower, they began shooting at the guards who, incidentally, did not shoot back. Upon reaching the tower, they ordered the Germans out and lined them up near the canal.
Bauerlein claims that after removing the guards, a GI pushed one of the SS men into the nearby canal. When the German soldier fell in, he pulled another German soldier in with him. After they fell, GIs on both sides of the canal began to fire upon the Germans, killing them all.
PFC. John Veitch of the 42nd Division believes that there were at least a dozen SS men in the canal when the shooting started. "The moat turned the color of port wine," Veitch recalled, "I saw that, and frankly, I went over and laid down behind a rock, scared to death".
The previously mentioned acts of revenge only resulted in a relatively
small number of POW deaths. The majority of the POW deaths resulted from two incidents that occurred near the SS hospital.
In his testimony to the German Red Cross (DRK), SS- Oberscharführer Hans Linberger claimed that American extended their acts of carnage to the wounded and sick residents of the camp hospital. As the Americans approached the building, he stood in the entrance holding a small Red Cross flag and declared that it was an unarmed hospital. One American placed his weapon against Linberger‘s chest, hit him in the face, and then proceeded into the hospital. Immediately the American shot a wounded German soldier who fell to the ground motionless. As Dr. Schröder, one of the hospital physicians, tried to surrender, the Americans beat him so badly that he received a skull fracture. The Americans then drove everyone outside and sorted out anyone who appeared to belong to the SS.
According to Sparks, who arrived at the hospital shortly after the eviction of the German patients, the I Company men had collected nearly fifty SS prisoners from the hospital. They positioned the SS men along a masonry wall in the nearby coal yard and placed a machine gun squad to guard them. Sparks watched the scene for several minutes before setting off to inspect the Schutzhaftlager. After walking a short distance, he heard the machine gun open fire. He ran back, kicked the gunner with his boot, and said, "What the hell are you doing?" Sparks claimed that that the private had killed about twelve Germans and wounded several more.
As the shooting started, medic Peter Galary said that one of the Germans yelled for the others to drop to the ground, which they did. Galary tried to grab another soldier‘s rifle to shoot the German who called out, but was unsuccessful. "I wanted to kill that one man" Galary said, "because he seemed to be the leader."
Sparks‘ intervention, however, did not put an end to the killing at the coal yard. Nearly three hours later, Lt. Buechner heard several bursts of machine gun fire followed by the sounds of automatic pistol fire coming from the area. He arrived to find Lt. Jack Bushyhead standing next to several GIs manning a .30 caliber machine gun. Opposite the machine gun, against the masonry wall, lay nearly 350 German soldiers, most of whom were dead. Those that were still alive pointed to their heads begged for mercy by repeating the word "pistola" and pointing to their head. In order to accommodate them, the GIs gave pistols to several camp inmates who went down the line shooting the wounded Germans in the head.
By late afternoon on 29 April, the killing of SS POWs ceased as the American forces secured the camp and restored order. Nevertheless, news of the executions had reached high-ranking American army officials.
been-there wrote: ↑
Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:53 pm
Huntinger wrote: ↑
Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:20 pm
I put this at the same level as fake "holocaust" (((survivor))) stories.
Like these poor starving men.
The well-fed, well-cared for man in the middle is also a brutal murderer. He killed one of the German men who had surrendered with a shovel.
The wounded German soldiers in the hospital and the other soldiers who had just recently replaced the regular guards who had deserted to avoid vengeance upon liberation, were lined up against a wall and machine gunned.
The shooting stopped when that man along with other ex-prisoners came looking for guards to torture and kill.
According to Linberger, the shooting was halted when a few drunken prisoners arrived with shovels, "looking for a man named Weiss." The photo below shows a guard, named Weiss, who is being confronted by two Polish prisoners. In the background of the photograph below, one can see some of the buildings in the SS garrison and the coal yard wall where the bodies of Waffen-SS soldiers are lying on the ground after they had been executed with their hands in the air by the men of I Company, 3rd Battalion, 157th Regiment, 45th Division.
The photograph below shows the same liberated prisoner, now armed with a rifle. He is talking, in a bellicose manner, to a Hungarian soldier who has surrendered, while a young American G.I. looks on in amazement.
The liberated prisoners were armed by the Americans and allowed to kill 40 of the Dachau guards, according to Col. Howard Buechner, who wrote about the Dachau massacre in his book "The Hour of the Avenger," published in 1986.
Herbert Stolpmann was a German POW who worked for the US military at Dachau after the liberation. In a letter, Stolpmann wrote:
When American Troops "liberated" Camp Dachau proper, they forced all the SS-families, including women and children, out of the so-called villas, put their fathers against the wall and shot them. Most of the mothers had cyanide capsules; they gave them to their children and told them, put them into their mouths, bite onto them as soon as Daddy is shot. The American "Liberators" stopped the shooting after about 24 children were dead.
The wounded Axis soldiers in the hospital had bothing to do with the running of Dachau camp. They were casualties from the fighting on the Eastern front. They were still tortuted, beaten and shot. You can see the crutches by one of the corpses.