Scrapbookpages Blog

April 28, 2014

“German SS troopers fought to the end” at Dachau

Filed under: Dachau, Germany — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:14 am
German SS soldiers fighting the American liberators with their hands in the air

German SS soldiers fighting the American liberators with their hands in the air

The following quote is from a news article which you can read in full at http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_25635629/local-liberator-among-those-honored-at-holocaust-remembrance

Harold Campbell’s U.S. Army unit was on its way to battle Nazi soldiers in Munich, Germany, when it came face to face with horror.

“We came across the concentration camp in a town called Dachau, about nine miles northeast of Munich, on April 29, 1945,” recalled Campbell, 88, of Red Lion. “The guards were German SS troopers. They fought to the end.”

Survivors found: But the 42nd Infantry Rainbow Division “got rid of them” and found 32,000 camp prisoners who were still alive, Campbell said.
“We saw a train with 50 cars with people who starved to death and one person left alive in there,” he said. “We saw stacks of people that had died and (their bodies) waited to be cremated. I took a camera off a German that got killed and took pictures.”

Campbell said he and his fellow soldiers remained at the Dachau Concentration Camp for a day to keep the rescued people safe until U.S. Army officials and additional units arrived to further help them.

German SS troopers fought to the end at Dachau

Dead bodies of German SS troopers who fought to the end at Dachau

Wall around Dachau camp where German soldiers were killed

My 1997 photo of the reconstructed wall around the Dachau camp

This quote is from a news article about Harold Campbell:

As [the American soldiers] approached the camp, the 42nd took heavy small-arms fire. Whoever was guarding the camp didn’t want the Americans coming anywhere near it. The troops guarding the camp, members of the SS, defended the camp with their lives. At least most of them did. As the Americans approached, the fence around the camp was lined with dead German guards [shown in the photo above].

The photo below shows a “German SS trooper” fighting to the end, as he surrenders the camp to American soldiers of the 42nd Division, accompanied by a Red Cross representative who is holding a white flag.

Famous photo of SS soldier surrendering the camp to American soldiers

Famous photo of SS soldier surrendering the camp to American soldiers

The body of a German soldier at Dachau is believed to be the body of Lt. Wicker who surrendered the camp

This body of a German soldier  is believed to be the body of Lt. Wicker who surrendered the Dachau concentration camp to the Americans

After he surrendered the Dachau camp to the Americans, Lt. Wicker disappeared. It is believed that he was killed by the American liberators.

Some of the bodies of the SS troopers were mutilated by the American liberators after they were killed, as shown in the photo below.

Bodies of guards who were killed at Dachau during the liberation of the camp

Bodies of guards who were killed at Dachau during the liberation of the camp

German SS troopers fighting  to the end with their hands in the air

German SS troopers fighting to the end with their hands in the air

Photo of starving prisoners at Dachau taken by Harold Campell

Photo of starving prisoners at Dachau taken by Harold Campbell

You can read about another American liberator of Dachau who took photos of the camp on another blog post, which I wrote about the camp at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/dachau-liberation/

You can read another news article about Harold Campbell at http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_25637096/wwii-vet-who-liberated-dachau-cant-imagine-people

As they approached the camp, they came under heavy small-arms fire. The firefight was fierce. The German soldiers guarding the camp, members of Hitler’s SS, had pledged to fight to the death. And they did.  […]

As they approached the camp, the 42nd took heavy small-arms fire. Whoever was guarding the camp didn’t want the Americans coming anywhere near it. The troops guarding the camp, members of the SS, defended the camp with their lives. At least most of them did. As the Americans approached, the fence around the camp was lined with dead German guards.  […]

Campbell recorded what he saw. He took a Leca (sic) camera off of the body of a dead German officer. It had a full roll of film, eight shots. He took the photos and saved them to show others what he had seen.

Tomorrow will be the anniversary of the liberation of Dachau on April 29, 1945, and there will be many news stories about the American soldiers who liberated the  camp.

You can read about an SS soldier who survived the liberation of the camp on this page of my website:  http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/SoldiersKilled2.html

You can read about the famous “Death Train” on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/DeathTrain.html

The first SS soldiers who surrendered at Dachau were taken  to the death train and shot

The first SS soldiers who surrendered at Dachau were taken to the death train and shot

The famous photo of the “lone survivor” of the train is shown on this page of my website:  http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/DeathTrain3.html