Many years ago, before I knew what a blog was, I was contacted by a man who was writing a book about the Dachau prisoners, who had been sent to the South Tyrol, shortly before the Dachau camp was liberated by American soldiers. Franz Halder, the mystery man pictured in the blog post that immediately precedes this one, was among these prisoners.
This man’s theory was that these Dachau prisoners, who had been housed in a separate section of the Dachau camp, were sent to the South Tyrol in order to kill them.
This didn’t make sense to me. Why not just kill them inside the Dachau camp?
I wrote about the Dachau prisoners on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/Background02.html
The following quote is from my website page, cited above:
On April 26, 1945, three days before the American liberators arrived at Dachau, a transport of 1,735 Jewish prisoners left on a train bound for the mountains in southern Germany. Then another 6,887 prisoners, half of them Jews and half of them Russian POWs, were marched south toward the mountains of the South Tyrol. According to testimony given at the Nuremberg IMT, the march to the Tyrol was part of a plan, devised by Ernst Kaltenbrunner, to kill all these prisoners.
The march to the South Tyrol didn’t make sense to me. Why not just kill these prisoners inside the Dachau camp? I thought that the reason that these prisoners were being sent to the South Tyrol was to SAVE them, not to KILL them.
The following quote is from my scrapbookpages.com website:
Nerin E. Gun, a journalist who was a former prisoner at Dachau, wrote the following in his book entitled “The Day of the Americans,” published in 1966:
Begin quote from Nerin E. Gun’s book:
The SS commandant of the camp, Weiter, for having disobeyed Hitler’s orders, was executed by a fanatic SS sergeant, Ruppert, in the countryside while trying to escape. Weiter died with a bullet in the neck, clutching a picture of Hitler.
End quote from Gun’s book
Friedrich Wilhelm Ruppert was the SS officer in charge of executions at Dachau; he was put on trial by an American Military Tribunal in November 1945, but he was not charged with the murder of Weiter, nor with the murder of four British SOE women, another crime that he had been accused of, by a former prisoner.
May 6, 1945, the day that Weiter either committed suicide or was shot by someone else, was the same day that the 137 Dachau VIP prisoners were liberated by American soldiers. According to Gun, an SS man named Fritz threw a grenade at the liberators.
Regarding the American retaliation for the grenade attack, Gun wrote the following in “The Day of the Americans”:
Begin quote from “The Day of the Americans”:
The Americans were furious and shot down all the guards posted around the village. The Resistance, during this time, had not sat on its hands. The six Gestapo functionaries, the professional killers who had joined the convoy at Innsbruck, were hanging from the trees in the village square.
End quote from “The Day of the Americans”.
Nerin E. Gun also wrote that Dr. Sigmund Rascher was shot in Innsbruck, although the Museum at Dachau says that Dr. Rascher was executed, on the orders of Heinrich Himmler, in the bunker on April 26, 1945, the day that the VIP prisoners at Dachau were evacuated from the camp to the South Tyrol.