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April 29, 2012

April 29, 1945 — the day that Dachau was liberated by American soldiers

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — furtherglory @ 9:26 am

Prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp after they were liberated

Prisoners at Dachau celebrating the liberation of the camp

You can read all about the liberation of Dachau on my website here.

The online Ventura County Star newspaper has an article about a soldier who was with the American soldiers who liberated the camp. This quote is from the newspaper:

On Sunday, Congregation Am Hayam in Ventura held its first Jewish Heritage Celebration to commemorate the 64th anniversary of Israeli independence and the 67th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau. Sandy Lebman, an Am Hayam member, was the featured speaker.

In 1945, he had just turned 20 and was serving as an Army radio gunner in the 42nd “Rainbow” Infantry Division. He was part of a seven-man reconnaissance team that came upon a walled-in area he guessed might be a POW camp. Shots rang out, and Lebman jumped back into an armored car and told the driver to rush the gate.

“I began firing from the turret with my machine gun and wiped out all the guards,” he said. “I will never forget what I saw when we broke into that crematorium where these walking skeletons were shoveling dead bodies from a stack and throwing them into the furnaces.”

Lebman looked down and saw an arm moving on a body buried in the pile. “My first thought was: Could any of these bodies or inmates be my relatives?”

When Lebman was 15 and growing up in Ohio, his father was told to stop sending money to his parents and siblings in Poland because, “They were all gone.” The boy vowed that day that as soon as he graduated from high school he would join the Army “and wipe them (the Nazis) all out.”

In Yiddish, Lebman told the Dachau crematorium workers, “Ich bin yuden!” (“I am a Jew!”) He said he will never forget the look in their eyes when they realized he was a U.S. soldier there to liberate them.

You can read about the role of the 42nd Division in the liberation of Dachau on my website here.


  1. The Memory of Judgement: Making Law and History on the Trials of the Holocaust by Lawrence Douglas. This is the story of how film was first introduced as evidence at the Nuremburg IMT trial. It’s a good unintentionally revisionist read for those who knows anything about the OSS Field Photographic Branch’s concentration camp liberation films
    made by Hollywood directors John Ford, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock and George Stevens. They went to their graves without ever letting on that the footage shot of the the liberation of Buchenwald and the Dachau gas chamber was pure propaganda. Bud Schulberg and his brother Stuart were also in on the deception that continues to this day: Kenneth Anger once stated that “making a movie is casting a spell.”

    Comment by who dares wings — April 30, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    • I read the description of the trials discussed in the book: “a study of five exemplary proceedings – the Nuremberg trial of the major Nazi was criminals, the Israeli trials of Adolf Eichmann and John Demjanjuk, the French trial of Klaus Barbie, and the Canadian trial of Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel.”

      What about the American Military Tribunal which conducted the trials for the war criminals who worked in the concentration camps? These trials used laws that were not yet in existence when the war crimes were committed, and were worse than the Nuremberg IMT.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 30, 2012 @ 10:40 am

    • I blogged about the film of the Dachau gas chamber which was shown at the Nuremberg IMT.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 30, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  2. There is nothing more to say than the old latin:
    Beati monoculi in terra caecorum.
    Unfortunately “caecorum” are near all the people. That is the story.

    Comment by mincuo — April 29, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

    • There is a sign at the entrance to the Dachau Memorial Site which has these words, written by Eugen Kogan:

      “Dachau- the significance of this name will never be erased from German history. It stands for all concentration camps which the Nazis established in their territory.” (Eugen Kogan)

      Although Dachau was a Class I camp which was considered the mildest of all the camps, it now “stands for” all the camps. Since it is located close to Munich, which is a big tourist center, there are lots of visitors to the camp and they want the “death camp” experience when they visit, so that’s what they get. The tour guides do not tell visitors anything remotely resembling the truth.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 29, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

      • Speaking of anything remotely resembling the truth, this recent BBC documentary discusses almost objectively the Denis “Swap” Avey case; you won’t escape the Soviet-era watchtowers and ominous music though.

        Comment by Eager for Answers — April 29, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

        • Thanks for the link. I had updated my post on the Dachau liberation and added some new information told by one of the liberators of Dachau. He tells about how he confronted the prisoners who were working in the crematorium, burning the bodies. Other men who participated in the liberation have said that the ovens were cold because the camp had run out of coal. The Dachau massacre took place in the empty coal yard.

          Comment by furtherglory — April 29, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

  3. It’s really upsetting that all the German soldiers who were captured, or rather who surrended, during the liberation of Dachau were immediately killed. Surely this is a War Crime? It was even admitted by American soldiers present during the liberation to investigators for the I.G Report! I would have loved to have seen whether Lieutenant Heinrich Wicker (who actually surrended the camp) was treated as a P.O.W or a war criminal. Even though he was in the SS, it seems that the was either killed by the prisoners or American soldiers. Speaking of the prisoners, they look relatively well-fed and not abused in the slightest. Prisoners even kept personal diaries! I feel sorry for the German families who have to relive this period of history over and over due to White Guilt and because the Holocaust seemingly has become more of a business than a tragedy. Tragedy not because of the high number of deaths, which I and countless others dispute, but tragedy because it’s being exploited and used as a bargaining chip nowadays.

    Comment by Mic Filler — April 29, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    • There was one survivor of the Dachau massacre (the killing of the German soldiers at Dachau).

      Hans Linberger was a Waffen-SS soldier who had been wounded in battle on the eastern front and, after a long hospital stay, had arrived at the Dachau SS garrison on March 9, 1945 as a member of a Reserve Company. On April 9, 1945, the men of the Reserve Company were put into the hospital that was right next to the scene of the Dachau massacre. These men in the Reserve Company had been so severely wounded that they were no longer fit for combat; Linberger had been wounded in battle four times and had lost an arm.

      You can read the full story of Hans Linberger on my website here:

      You can read the testimony of Hans Linberger in English on my website here:

      Comment by furtherglory — April 29, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

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