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April 26, 2010

Newspaper accounts of the liberation of Dachau on April 29, 1945

Mon., April 30, 1945***** Chicago Herald-American

BY HOWARD COWAN

DACHAU, Germany, April 30. –(AP)–

The U.S. 42nd and 45th divisions captured the infamous Dachau prison camp today and freed its 32,000 captives.

Two columns of infantry, riding tanks, bulldozers and Long Tom rifles – anything with wheels – rolled down from the northwest and surprised the S S (Elite Corps) guards in the extermination camp shortly after the lunch hour.

Score of  S S men were taken prisoners and dozens slain.

The Americans were quickly joined by “trusties” working outside the sprawling barbed wire enclosure. Poles, Frenchmen and Russians seized S. S. weapons and turned them against their captors. Jan Yindrich, British war correspondent, and I saw things that greeted our soldiers – 39 open-type railroad cars standing on a siding which went through the walls of Dachau camp.

At first glance the cars seemed loaded with dirty clothing. Then you saw feet, heads and bony fingers. More than half the cars were full of bodies, hundreds of bodies.

Two SS guards fired into the mass, betraying their presence.

American infantrymen instantly riddled the Germans. Their bodies were hurled down into the moat amidst a roar unlike anything ever heard from human throats.

Almost 100 naked bodies were stacked neatly in the barren room with cement floors. They had come from a room on the left marked “shower bath.”

REALLY A GAS CHAMBER

It really was a gas chamber, a low-ceilinged room about 30 feet square. After 15 or 20 persons were inside the doors were firmly sealed and the faucets were turned on and poison gas issued. Then the bodies were hauled into a room separating the gas chamber from the crematorium. There were four ovens with a huge flue leading to a smoke-blackened stack.

Outside this building were tens of thousands of articles of clothing stacked in orderly piles.

Typhus cases were scattered throughout the camp. The water supply of the city was reported contaminated from 6,000 graves on high ground which drains into the Amper river.

A French general was slain last week.

The GIs stormed through the camp with tornadic fury.

A Swiss Red Cross representative and two SS officers came out of the building behind a white flag. Gen Linden said:

“The Red Cross man said the real heads of the camp had fled and placed these two fellows in charge of the camp last night. I accepted their surrender, loaded the three of them in a jeep and drove them down to the train and made them look. One SS. fellow asked for safe custody.”

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33,000 Dachau Captives Freed By 7th Army

110,000 Are Liberated at Moosburg; Nazi Doctor Admits Killing 21,000

By Marguerite Higgins

DACHAU, Germany, April 29 (Delayed) Troops of the United States liberated 33,000 prisoners this afternoon at this first and largest of the Nazi concentration camps. Some of the prisoners had endured for eleven years the horrors of notorious Dachau.

The liberation was a frenzied scene: Inmates of the camp hugged and embraced the American troops, kissed the ground before them and carried them shoulder high around the place.

At Moosburg north of Munich the United States 14th Armored Division liberated 110,000 Allied Prisoners of War, including 11,000 Americans from Stalag 7A.

From United States 12th Army Group headquarters came the story of a captured Nazi doctor, Gustave Wilhelm Schuebbe, who said that the Nazi annihilation institute at Kiev, Russia, killed from 110,000 to 140,000 persons “unworthy to live” during the nine months he worked there. He himself, he said, murdered about 21,000 persons.

The Dachau camp, in which at least a thousand prisoners were killed last night before the SS (Elite Guard) men in charge fled, is a grimmer and larger edition of the similarly notorious Buchenwald camp near Weimar.

This correspondent and Peter Furst, of the Army newspaper, “Stars and Stripes,” were the first two Americans to enter the inclosure at Dachau, where persons possessing some of the best brains in Europe were held during what might have been the most fruitful years of their lives.

While a 45th Infantry Division patrol was still fighting a way down through SS barracks to the north, our jeep and two others from the 42d Infantry drove into the camp inclosure through the southern entrance. As men of the patrol with us busied themselves accepting an SS man’s surrender, we impressed a soldier into service and drove with him to the prisoners barracks. There he opened the gate after pushing the body of a prisoner shot last night while attempting to get out to meet the Americans.

There was not a soul in the yard when the gate was opened. As we learned later, the prisoners themselves had taken over control of their inclosure the night before, refusing to obey any further orders from the German guards, who had retreated to the outside. The prisoners maintained strict discipline among themselves, remaining close to their barracks so as not to give the SS men an excuse for mass murder.

But the minute the two of us entered, a jangled barrage of  “Are you Americans?” in about 16 languages came from the barracks 200 yards from the gate. An affirmative nod caused pandemonium.

Tattered, emaciated men weeping, yelling and shouting “Long live America!” swept toward the gate in a mob. Those who could not walk limped or crawled. In the confusion, they were so hysterically happy that they took the SS man for an American. During a wild five minutes, he was patted on the back, paraded on shoulders and embraced enthusiastically by the prisoners. The arrival of the American soldier soon straightened out the situation.

3 Comments

  1. Propaganda?

    45th Division News, May 13: “Dachau Gives Answer to Why We Fought”.

    http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t918880-2/#post10706992

    Comment by hermie — December 22, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

    • Long live America!! That’s the sentiment and deservedly so WHEN you have the moral imperative on your side!!!

      Comment by xmy556ab — November 2, 2014 @ 4:04 pm


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