Scrapbookpages Blog

July 23, 2010

“mass murder” at Ohrdruf?

Ohrdruf was a labor camp that was a sub-camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp during World War II. Ohrdruf was mostly unknown by Americans until President Obama revealed that his great-uncle [the brother of his maternal grandmother] was one of the “liberators” of the camp.  The deserted Ohrdruf camp had been found by American soldiers on April 4, 1945. General Walker and General Middleton had ordered that as many soldiers as possible should be brought to Ohrdruf to view the camp. The bodies were left out until at least the first week of May, so that visiting soldiers could view them.

Obama had first said that his great uncle had liberated Auschwitz, an understandable mistake, that was easily caught by the press because Auschwitz was in what is now Poland and everyone knows that Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet soldiers.  Obama quickly corrected his statement and Ohrdruf became famous.

On July 22, 2010, Prof. Harold Marcuse made a comment on my blog in which he wrote:

Probably correct, that no prisoners were burned alive at Ohrdruf. The charred corpses found by liberators there had probably been dead already, and this was an attempt to destroy evidence of mass murder.

Prof. Marcuse had previously written in a comment that prisoners had been “burned alive” at Ohrdruf, which I had disputed.

If you’ve ever been to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, you have seen the photo of bodies being burned at Ohrdruf.  This is the first photo that you see at the Museum, but the Museum does not claim that the prisoners were burned alive.

A life-sized copy of this photo hangs in the US Holocaust Museum

I have written about the Ohrdruf photo on my web site here. I have written about the Ohrdruf camp on my website here.  In my articles about Ohrdruf, I mentioned Obama’s great uncle, Charles T. Payne, who arrived at Ohrdruf on April 6, 1945, too late to be honored as an official liberator of Ohrdruf.

But what about “mass murder” at Ohrdruf? How did the Germans accomplish “mass murder” at Ohrdruf and WHY?

Ohrdruf was a labor camp; it would have defeated the purpose of the camp to kill the prisoners.  The prisoners were working to build a secret underground bunker for Hitler.

There was no gas chamber at Ohrdruf for mass murder, so the Germans had to improvise something.  So naturally, they came up with the idea of burning the prisoners alive to kill them.  A total waste of gasoline!  But you know how stupid the Nazis were.

I found a web site which features  a letter from a soldier who was one of the American soldiers who visited Ohrdruf on April 11, 1945. In his letter, this soldier wrote:

All day to-day there have been convoys from our division to visit a nearby concentration camp. Other divisions located in the area have been likewise having their men visit the camp. One armored division sent every officer and non-commissioned officer to visit the place. I sent all my men to see it. It is the finest bit of education the army has afforded us into the meaning of fascism and the true nature of the German people.

This soldier also mentioned that

The prisoners were brought here in trains and trucks, and the camp had a quota of 1500 a month to execute.

He had probably learned this from one of the former prisoners who was giving a tour to the Americans.  This could be the origin of the story of “mass murder” at Ohrdruf.   The soldier didn’t mention the typhus epidemic in his letter, probably because he was never told about this.

The Ohrdruf camp is a really big deal because it was the first “horror camp” seen by the American soldiers in World War II.  There were no cremation ovens there because the Nazis didn’t anticipate that the typhus epidemic in Germany would reach Ohrdruf and that so many prisoners would die.

The Germans finally started burning the bodies at Ohrdruf to prevent the spread of typhus. They did not burn prisoners alive to prevent them from testifying about atrocities in a labor camp. Prisoners were NOT sent to Ohrdruf to be executed, but to build a communications center and a bunker for Hitler. Ohrdruf was a labor camp.

The Eisenhower Memorial Commission has a web site where you can read this quote:

Ohrdruf was a holding facility for over 11,000 prisoners on their way to the gas chambers and crematoria at Buchenwald.

If the Eisenhower Memorial Commission says this, it must be true, right?  If you can’t trust General Dwight D. Eisenhower, whom CAN you trust?

It makes perfect sense that the stupid Germans would build a “holding facility” many miles away from the gas chamber at Buchenwald.  Wait a minute! A gas chamber at Buchenwald?  I must have missed it when I  visited Buchenwald.

Barack Obama himself says that there was a gas chamber at Buchenwald.

On June 3, 2009, Obama said in a speech in Cairo, Egypt:

Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and GASSED TO DEATH by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed, more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today.  Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful.

Holocaust denial started when Paul Rassinier, who was  a prisoner at Buchenwald, denied that there was a gas chamber there.  I have written about the Buchenwald gas chamber here.


  1. Actually Obama’s statement is accurate. He clearly states: ” part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich” . He’s referring to Buchenwald as being part of the holocaust machinery that included death camps with gassing chambers and crematoria, not necessarily defining Buchenwald as a death camp with gassing chambers and crematoria in and of itself

    Comment by taleya — May 21, 2014 @ 8:33 pm

    • Obama said that Buchenwald was “part of a network of camps where Jews were …” That is not accurate. Buchenwald was part of a network of German concentration camps, which included camps where “political prisoners” were the majority of the prisoners. At Buchenwald, there is a huge monument to the “Resistance fighters” who were imprisoned there. Buchenwald was primarily a camp for “Resistance Fighters” who were “illegal combatants” under the rules of the Geneva Convention. These “illegal combatants could have been legally killed, under the rules of the Geneva Convention of 1929, but at Buchenwald, they were not killed. Instead, they were allowed to supervise the camp. You can read about it on this page of my website:

      Comment by furtherglory — May 22, 2014 @ 7:16 am

  2. […] Prior to this, Americans had come across the abandoned Natzweiler camp in France and the abandoned Ohrdruf sub-camp of Buchenwald. At Dachau, this was the first chance that Americans had to talk with the […]

    Pingback by Why tour guides at Dachau tell visitors that the gas chambers were used « Scrapbookpages Blog — October 16, 2012 @ 9:18 am

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