Scrapbookpages Blog

September 13, 2015

Why were additional SS soldiers sent to Dachau just before the American liberators arrived?

Dachau prisoners on the day that they were liberated by American soldiers

Dachau prisoners on day that they were liberated by American soldiers (click to enlarge)

Scroll down for an update on why the Commandant was not at Dachau when the American liberators arrived.  He was leading a march of the prominent prisoners to the South Tyrol.  No one knows what happened to him.  He allegedly killed himself, but he was probably killed by the American liberators, whose policy was to shoot first and ask questions later.

Continue reading my original post:

This morning I read a news article which included the photo above, and contained the following quote:

American soldiers executed dozens of German guards at the Dachau WWII concentration camp after screaming: ‘Let’s get those Nazi dogs!’

The US troops opened fire on 50 members of the SS and the Wehrmacht with a machine gun after lining them up and saying: ‘Take no prisoners!’

One commander [Lt. William P. Walsh] shot dead four other Germans and became so hysterical that his own colonel had to hit him with the butt of his gun to stop him battering a fifth.

According to a new book, the Americans took revenge because they were so outraged at what they saw when they liberated Dachau, which was home to 32,000 prisoners kept in horrific conditions.

But what they did themselves on April 29, 1945 became one of the most controversial episodes in the US involvement in WWII.

Note that the article says that the Americans opened fire on dozens of German guards.  Wolf Murmelstein, a regular reader of my blog, wrote this in a recent comment:

I wonder who and why additional SS men were sent to Dachau and what were they supposed to do, as the Nazi SS High Commander surely had not been interested in keeping order at the moment of surrender. Maybe these SS men had been ordered to prevent the surrender, which had been decided upon by the acting Camp Commandant. In those days there had been many SS Officers who refused to obey Himmler –  who had already been removed by Hitler! – and his order to surrender the camps. A critical study of facts is necessary.

I have made a critical study of the facts of the Dachau surrender, and I have written extensively about Dachau on my website, starting in 1998, after my first visit to the former Dachau camp in 1997.

I have a whole section on the liberation of the Dachau camp:  http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScrapbook/DachauLiberation/index.html

Lt. Wicker surrendered the Dachau camp to American soldiers under a white flag of truce

SS 2nd Lt. Heinrich Wicker surrendered Dachau to Brig. Gen. Henning Linden under a white flag of truce, after which Wicker was killed by the American liberators.

The main Dachau camp was surrendered to Brigadier General Henning Linden of the 42nd Rainbow Division by SS 2nd Lt. Heinrich Wicker, who is the second man from the right in the photo above.

Wicker was accompanied by Red Cross representative Victor Maurer who had just arrived the day before with five trucks loaded with food packages. In the photo above, the arrow points to Marguerite Higgins, one of the American reporters, who was covering the story.

The dead body of Lt. Wicker who surrendered Dachau to the Americans

The dead body of Lt. Wicker who surrendered Dachau to the Americans “liberators”

The liberation of Dachau was America’s finest hour. Americans still brag out it.  The killing of German soldiers who had surrendered didn’t bother them a bit.

Dachau prisoners celebrate their liberation from Dachau by drinking wine

Dachau prisoners celebrate their liberation from Dachau

In the photo above, notice how emaciated and tortured the prisoners are — NOT!

Lt. William P. Walsh was one of the liberators of Dachau.  I have written about him in several blog posts which you can read at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/lt-william-walsh/

Lt. Walsh is a despicable person, who readily admits that he committed a crime by killing German soldiers who had been sent to surrender the Dachau camp to the Americans. But he could care less; he is proud of committing a war crime.

Bodies of German SS soldiers who were killed after they surrendered

Bodies of German SS soldiers who were killed after they had surrendered

An investigation of the Dachau surrender was  conducted between May 3 and May 8, 1945 by Lt. Col. Joseph M. Whitaker. This is known as the I.G. Report, which concluded that the total number of SS men killed on April 29, 1945 at Dachau was somewhere between 50 and 60, including the SS soldiers who were killed after they surrendered at Tower B, shown in the photo above.

Most of the bodies of the dead German soldiers had been thrown into the moat and then shot repeatedly after they were already dead, according to testimony given to the investigators by American soldiers who were there.

No Americans were killed or wounded during the liberation of Dachau. The SS men had been ordered not to shoot and there was no resistance as they were massacred by the liberators.

The body of a dead SS soldier who was sent to surrender the camp

The body of a dead SS soldier who was sent to surrender the Dachau camp

So get the story straight, all you readers of my blog.  It was the Americans who acted badly and committed war crimes at Dachau.  Those who are still alive are still going around bragging about their crimes.

Update 11:26 a.m

Wolf Murmelstein has pointed out that I did not mention the prominent prisoners at Dachau.  I am adding the following information:

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.

At the Nuremberg IMT, on January 2, 1946, Lt. Commander Whitney R. Harris submitted Document 3462-PS, the sworn interrogation of Bertus Gerdes, the former Gaustabsamtsleiter under the Gauleiter of Munich. This interrogation was taken in the course of an official military investigation by the U.S. Army. During the interrogation, Gerdes was ordered to state all he knew about Kaltenbrunner.

Lt. Commander Harris read part of Document 3462-PSI, beginning with the third paragraph of Page 2, as quoted below from the transcript of the Nuremberg IMT on January 2, 1946:

“Giesler told me that Kaltenbrunner was in constant touch with him because he was greatly worried about the attitude of the foreign workers and especially inmates of Concentration Camps Dachau, Mühldorf, and Landsberg, which were in the path of the approaching Allied armies. On a Tuesday in the middle of April 1945 I received a telephone call from Gauleiter Giesler asking me to be available for a conversation that night. In the course of our personal conversation that night, I was told by Giesler that he had received a directive from Obergruppenfuehrer Kaltenbrunner, by order of the Fuehrer, to work out a plan without delay for the liquidation of the concentration camp at Dachau and the two Jewish labor camps in Landsberg and Mühldorf. The directive proposed to liquidate the two Jewish labor camps at Landsberg and Mühldorf by use of the German Luftwaffe, since the construction area of these camps had previously been the targets of repeated enemy air attacks. This action received the code name of ‘Wolke A-1.'”

“I was certain that I would never let this directive be carried out. As the action Wolke A-1 should have become operational already for some time, I was literally swamped by couriers from Kaltenbrunner and moreover I was supposed to have discussed the details of the Mühldorf and Landsberg actions in detail with the two Kreisleiter concerned. The couriers, who were in most cases SS officers, usually SS Untersturmfuehrer, gave me terse and strict orders to read and initial. The orders threatened me with the most terrible punishment, including execution, if I did not comply with them. However, I could always excuse my failure to execute the plan because of bad flying weather and lack of gasoline and bombs. Therefore, Kaltenbrunner ordered that the Jews in Landsberg be marched to Dachau in order to include them in the Dachau extermination operations, and that the Mühldorf action was to be carried out by the Gestapo.

“Kaltenbrunner also ordered an operation Wolkenbrand for the Concentration Camp Dachau, which provided that the inmates of the concentration camp at Dachau were to be liquidated by poison with the exception of Aryan nationals of the Western Powers.

“Gauleiter Giesler received this order direct from Kaltenbrunner and discussed in my presence the procurement of the required amounts of poison with Dr. Harrfeld, the Gau health chief. Dr. Harrfeld promised to procure these quantities when ordered and was advised to await my further directions. As I was determined to prevent the execution of this plan in any event, I gave no further instructions to Dr. Harrfeld.

“The inmates of Landsberg had hardly been delivered at Dachau when Kaltenbrunner sent a courier declaring the Action Wolkenbrand was operational.

“I prevented the execution of the Wolfe A-1’ and ‘Wolkenbrand’ by giving Giesler the reason that the front was too close and asked him to transmit this on to Kaltenbrunner.

“Kaltenbrunner therefore issued directives in writing to Dachau to transport all Western European prisoners by truck to Switzerland and to march the remaining inmates into Tyrol, where the final liquidation of these prisoners was to take place without fail.”

Rudolf Hoess, the former Commandant of Auschwitz, testified at Nuremberg, as a defense witness for Ernst Kaltenbrunner, that he had no knowledge of a plan to destroy the Dachau camp with a bomb or with poison.

February 28, 2010

The “accidental slaughter” of German soldiers at Dachau was “an unintended massacre”?

I previously blogged about the movie Shutter Island and the scenes of Dachau in these 3 posts:

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/shutter-island-scene-shows-dachau-massacre/

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/shutter-island-dachau-flashbacks/

https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/the-liberation-of-dachau-scene-in-shutter-island/

I am blogging about the movie again because I was horrified when I read an article today on this website:

“As an American soldier during WWII, DiCaprio’s character is forced into some horrific scenes. These eventually lead to the accidental slaughter of a hundred SS officers. The unintended massacre plagues DiCaprio with guilt; but not too much: he still stands idly by while a Nazi commander botches a suicide attempt and bleeds to death, fully conscious.”

Waffen-SS soldiers surrendering at Dachau

Waffen-SS soldiers, who had come from the battlefield, still wearing their camouflage uniforms, to surrender the Dachau concentration camp, are shown in the photo above with their hands in the air. This scene was re-enacted in the movie Shutter Island.

The shooting of disarmed German soldiers during the liberation of Dachau was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of the Seventh Army. Their report was finished on June 8, 1945 but was marked Secret. The report did not say anything about “the unintended massacre” of German soldiers, nor anything about German soldiers  being “accidentally slaughtered.”

German soldiers executed by American liberators of Dachau

A Waffen-SS soldier named Hans Linberger  survived the shooting at the wall, shown in the photo above.  He had been wounded in battle on the eastern front and, after a long hospital stay, he 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 shooting. They 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.

Hans Linberger was dragged out of the hospital and lined up against the wall to be executed, although he had absolutely nothing to do with the Dachau concentration camp that was next door to the SS garrison.

The photograph above is a still photo, taken by T/4 Arland B. Musser, 163rd Signal Photographic Company, US Seventh Army, on April 29, 1945, the day that the Dachau concentration camp was liberated. It shows 60 Waffen-SS soldiers on the ground, some wounded, some playing dead, and 17 dead, according to Flint Whitlock, historian for the 45th Thunderbird Division, who got this information from Lt. Col. Felix Sparks, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Division of the US Seventh Army, the first unit to arrive at the Dachau camp.

In his book entitled Surrender of the Dachau Concentration Camp 29 April 1945, Col. John H. Linden of the 42nd Infantry Division identified the men in the photo above as follows:

“The second American soldier from the left is Bryant, whose first name is unknown, but whose nickname was “Bird Eye.” The third soldier from the left is Martin J. Sedler, and the man who is kneeling is William C. Curtain. All three of these men were with M Company of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment. The soldier at the extreme right is Pfc. John Lee of I Company.

The buildings in the background are inside the Dachau SS garrison where Waffen-SS troops were quartered; the building on the right is a hospital where a Reserve Company of crippled Waffen-SS soldiers, previously wounded in action, were quartered. The Waffen-SS was the elite volunteer Army which included many divisions from other countries, as well as German soldiers.

According to Col. John H. Linden’s account of the liberation of Dachau, T/3 Henry F. Gerzen, 163 Signal Photographic Company, was filming the shooting with a movie camera. A few frames of this movie, which survived the cover-up of the Dachau massacre, show Lt. Col. Felix Sparks firing his pistol into the air to stop the action shown in the photo above, which allegedly took place around noon.

In 1989, Lt. Col. Sparks wrote an account of the role of the 45th Infantry Division in the liberation of Dachau. His description of what happened at the wall, shown in the photo above, is as follows:

As I watched, about fifty German troops were brought in from various directions. A machine gun squad from Company I was guarding the prisoners. After watching for a few minutes, I started for the confinement area (the concentration camp), after taking directions from one of my soldiers. After I had walked away for a short distance, I heard the machine gun guarding the prisoners open fire. I immediately ran back to the gun and kicked the gunner off the gun with my boot. I then grabbed him by the collar and said: “What the hell are you doing?” He was a young private about 19 years old (Private William C. Curtin) and was crying hysterically. His reply to me was: “Colonel, they were trying to get away.” I doubt that they were, but in any event he killed about twelve of the prisoners and wounded several more. I placed a noncom on the gun and headed towards the confinement area.

The very first incident during which German Waffen-SS soldiers were killed at Dachau was perpetrated by 45th Infantry Division soldiers in the  3rd Battalion, 157th Regiment, I company, under the command of Lt. William P. Walsh; this shooting took place inside the SS garrison at Dachau before any Americans had reached the concentration camp.

According to Lt. Walsh, one of the men of I company shot a handsome SS officer because he had tried to make a break to escape, after he had surrendered. The name of this German soldier is unknown.

Then four more Waffen-SS soldiers in the Dachau garrison emerged with their hands up and surrendered to the men of I company.  Lt. Walsh herded the four SS soldiers into an empty railroad boxcar inside the camp and “emptied his pistol” into them, according to his own account.

There is considerable disagreement about what time the photo above was taken. According to Col. Howard A. Buechner, a medical officer in the 45th Division, the photo was taken at around 2:45 p.m. during a second action when 346 SS soldiers were allegedly killed. In his book, The Hour of the Avenger, Col. Buechner wrote that a second machine gun was located to the right, but out of camera range.

Lt. Jack Bushyhead was in charge of the second machine gun, which Col. Buechner says was set up on top of a bicycle shed. However, Lt. Col. Felix Sparks, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Regiment, has stated that the photo above depicts a shooting which occurred around noon and resulted in 17 deaths, according to his story.

This was not the only shooting that took place during the liberation of Dachau.  There were also SS guards in Tower B who had come down from the tower and surrendered, but were then killed in cold blood by the American liberators.

Tower B where SS guards at Dachau were shot

A dead SS guard at Dachau is pulled out of the moat

After the soldiers in Tower B were shot with their hands in the air, their dead bodies were then thrown into the moat on the west side of the camp, and the American liberators continued to shoot at them.

The U.S. Seventh Army IG report of the shooting of unarmed prisoners at Dachau has since been made public and a copy of it was reproduced in Col. John H. Linden’s book entitled Surrender of the Dachau Concentration Camp 29 April 1945.

Here are four paragraphs from the report which pertain to the shooting of the guards at Tower B:

11. After entry into the camp, personnel of the 42nd Division discovered the presence of guards, presumed to be SS men, in a tower to the left of the main gate of the inmate stockade. This tower was attacked by Tec 3 Henry J. Wells 39271327, Headquarters Military Intelligence Service, ETO, covered and aided by a party under Lt. Col. Walter J. Fellenz, 0-23055, 222 Infantry. No fire was delivered against them by the guards in the tower. A number of Germans were taken prisoner; after they were taken, and within a few feet of the tower, from which they were taken, they were shot and killed.

12. Considerable confusion exists in the testimony as to the particulars of this shooting; however Wells, German interrogator for the 222 Infantry, states that he had lined these Germans up in double rank, preparatory to moving them out; that he saw no threatening gesture; but that he shot into them after some other American soldiers, whose identities are unknown, started shooting them.

13. Lt. Colonel Fellenz was entering the door of the tower at the time of this shooting, took no part in it and testified that he could not have stopped it.

18. It is obvious that the Americans present when the guards were shot at the tower labored under much excitement. However Wells could speak German fluently, he knew no shots had been fired at him in his attack on the tower, he had these prisoners lined up, he saw no threatening gesture or act. It is felt that his shooting into them was entirely unwarranted; the whole incident smacks of execution similar to the other incidents described in this report.”

None of the American soldiers that killed the guards, who had surrendered at Dachau, were ever put on trial for violating the Geneva Convention. The regular guards and staff members had left the camp the night before, so they were not there for the massacre. The guards and staff members, who were captured after the camp was liberated, were prosecuted by an American Military Tribunal.  It wasn’t really a “trial,” because the men on trial were presumed to be guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around.

All of the guards and staff members of the Dachau camp were convicted of participating in a “common design” to violate the Laws and Usages of War under the Geneva Convention of 1929.

Some people have such hatred for the German people that they will go to any length to excuse the actions of the American soldiers at the liberation of Dachau, even though the German soldiers who were killed were not the regular guards in the camp.

Here is a quote from an e-mail that I received recently regarding the Dachau massacre:

I’m Jew (ich bin ein Jude), and it gave me a great deal of pleasure to see photos of German SS soldiers/guards murdered by American soldiers and liberated inmates.  How come you’re not happy?  Cheer up, people 🙂