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Thread: "Vengeance at Dachau" (U.S. Soldiers nearly massacred concentration camp guards)

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    Default "Vengeance at Dachau" (U.S. Soldiers nearly massacred concentration camp guards)

    This is from an excellent series The Boston Globe ran on WWII in 2001 after the declassification of numerous CIA files on WWII. The dark side of the Allied victory...

    By Thomas Farragher / The Boston Globe Staff / July 2, 2001

    It was a chilling spring dawn a lifetime ago, the day before Hitler's suicide, a week before Americans danced in the streets to sweetly toast triumph in Europe.

    But in that wan Sunday sunlight as the Allies raced for Munich and history, Felix Sparks, William Walsh, and John Lee were still combat soldiers trying to stay alive at the end of a long and bloody war. Still on fierce duty. Still hunting desperate Germans pushed to the brink of defeat and disgrace.

    As the GIs were detoured into an intersection of righteousness and revenge at the Bavarian town of Dachau, they had no way of knowing they were marching toward one of the war's most egregious but barely explored cases of prisoner mistreatment by US forces in Europe.

    They could not have fathomed that they would soon find themselves at the center of a US Army investigation into a massacre of German soldiers that General Dwight D. Eisenhower worried might erode America's moral authority to prosecute the Nazis at Nuremburg.

    At first, they simply saw a train.

    ''The first goddamn thing we saw were 20 or 30 boxcars,'' said Walsh, a Newton native, his Boston accent chowder-thick. ''Some open at the top, some closed in. And here are all these goddamn people in it. And you kind of figure, well, maybe they're sleeping. Maybe they're hungry.

    ''You soon realize: They're all dead! What the hell is this? We had never seen anything like that before.''

    Few had. The horrific lexicon is familiar now. Concentration camps. The Final Solution. Six million Jews murdered by a megalomaniac on a satanic mission. The Holocaust.

    But the war-worn members of the 45th Infantry Division, who received radio orders to take Dachau on April 29, 1945, knew little or nothing of concentration camps. They knew only what they could see, hear, and smell.

    The sight of 2,310 decomposing corpses on that train, an edgy silence interrupted by episodic gunfire, and the stench of death that hung in the air that day ignited a deadly fuse. It would quickly explode with fury and linger like gunsmoke for more than a half century.

    The word went out at Dachau: We'll take no prisoners here. A machine gun was set up. Scores of captured acolytes of Hitler's Third Reich were herded into a dusty coal yard and lined up against a stucco wall.

    Then American gunfire crackled. Germans fell. Officially, at least 17 were killed. Eleven other Germans who had surrendered were shot in two other locations at Dachau that day, according to records and interviews.

    As an eye blink's worth of springtime light slipped onto black-and-white film from behind a camera's shutter, the dark image that slowly took focus endures today. It is frightful evidence that the evil the Nazis manufactured at their death camps was strong enough to badly cloud the judgment of some Americans who tore down Hitler's barbaric cages.

    In an almost forgotten footnote of history, American investigators concluded that some of the GIs who rounded up elite SS troops during Dachau's liberation were not heroes, but murderers - the ugly underbelly of the Greatest Generation.

    ''It certainly has to be among the most egregious imaginable examples of misbehavior by the US military in the Second World War,'' said Douglas Brinkley, director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans. ''It's a low point in an otherwise gallant effort to beat facism. It's an example of what every commading officer does not want to see happen. ... I think the general sentiment about this is: 'Oh, come on. Look how horrible the Nazis were. I would have done the same thing.' We give a bit of empathy to the soldiers who killed the Nazis. And yet, they became very much like the Nazis they were gunning down.''

    That sharp assessment is shared by some of the soldiers who witnessed the shootings. When forces have surrendered, their hands in the air, you don't fire, they say. If you do, you cross the line that separates soldier from criminal.

    ''That is not the American way of fighting,'' Second Lieutenant Daniel F. Drain, who was ordered to set up his machine gun on that unseasonably cool April day, testified at the Army's official inquiry 56 years ago.

    But men like General George S. Patton did not believe that. Patton dismissed the murder charges with a flourish, tossing all of the investigative files into a trash can and telling the accused men to go home and get on with their lives, according to two officers interviewed by The Boston Globe.

    One copy of the classified investigation survived, however, sandwiched into a gray cardboard box at the National Archives outside Washington, D.C., mislabeled, undisturbed for nearly 50 years, and reviewed by the Globe as the basis for this article.

    The investigation was declassified in 1987, before the 3 million pages that have become available in the last few years under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, some of which have formed the basis for other articles in this series. Yet according to National Archives historian Greg Bradsher, some of the best material was declassified long ago, but never examined by anybody. ''If something has sat here for 50 years and nobody's used it, it's basically news,'' he said.

    The report on the Dachau investigation tells a story that has gone virtually unreported in major American newspapers and magazines, meriting just several sentences, for example, in a 1995 US News & World Report account of the 50th anniversary of Dachau's liberation.

    Inside those archived files, however, is gripping testimony of citizen-soldiers -- some of them just teenagers at the time -- who never forgot the moment they confronted the devilish divide between good and evil. Walk a mile in my boots, those men later would implore, before passing judgment on what happened that day at Dachau.

    The Rest Here.

    ...

    Thomas Farragher's email address is farragher@globe.com.

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    Default Re: Military executions in WWII

    Regarding the theme. Do you know where is next photo from ?

    The post under says that this is mass execution the personall one of concentration camp, liberated by Americans.
    On far rear front of picture there a tens of corpses are observed.
    The american soldiers probably use a mashine-gun.

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    Default Re: Military executions in WWII


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    Default Re: Military executions in WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    Regarding the theme. Do you know where is next photo from ?

    The post under says that this is mass execution the personall one of concentration camp, liberated by Americans.
    On far rear front of picture there a tens of corpses are observed.
    The american soldiers probably use a mashine-gun.
    I've already posted this. The Boston Globe newspaper did a story on this years ago. The execution was not sanctioned by the command in anyway as a Lieutenant, outraged at the stench of bodies in the concentration camp, gathered the SS guards and ordered men to --yes-- amass automatic weapons such as BARs and M1919s. Some did willfully or reluctantly, other's refused and ran to get their colonel, who promptly halted the massacre.


    Seventeen Waffen SS men were killed, the rest hit-the-deck so to speak when the shooting started...

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    Default Re: "Vengenace at Dachau" (U.S. Soldiers nearly massacred concentration camp guards)

    From pages 6 and 7 from the link


    ...''I was there when they took [the Germans] behind the wall, but didn't have the nerve to see what was going on,'' Competielle testified at the inquiry. ''There was so much excitement that everybody was shouting so you could not tell who the order [to separate the SS men] came from. And all I do know was they separated the SS troops from other prisoners.''

    But Competielle knew the Americans' intentions. ''The word just got around that they were going to shoot all the SS'ers,'' he said. ''I figured that is why they were taking them behind the wall. Then I heard somebody ask: Where is a machine gun?''

    At that moment Sparks, the battalion commander, said he considered his German captives under guard and secure.

    ''There was nothing really going on at that time,'' he said in the recent interview. ''It looked like everything was under control, and then I heard some firing off in the vicinity of the concentration camp.''

    The gunfire in the near distance, last remnants of resistance from the rapidly retreating and uncaptured German guards, distracted Sparks. He left the coal yard to investigate.

    But Sparks's men remained. Lee stood guard with his rifle.

    Lieutenant Drain, as ordered, set up his machine gun. Then, he said, he turned and walked away.

    Corporal Martin J. Sedler stood next to the gun, and Private William C. Curtin took aim at the Germans, according to testimony at the inquiry.

    Lieutenant Walsh was in command.

    ''He said he was going to shoot the machine gun, and lined up [rifle] men, and called for a few Tommy gunners,'' Curtin testified of Walsh.

    Curtin said as he fed the belt into the machine gun, the SS prisoners, by now apparently certain of their captors' intentions, began to move toward the Americans.

    ''[Walsh] cut loose with his pistol and said, 'Let them have it,''' said Curtin, telling investigators that he fired 30 to 50 rounds in three long bursts.

    Lee said he fired only once before his gun jammed. ''Somebody hollered, 'Fire!' and about three rifles and a machine gun started shooting, and my BAR [Browning automatic rifle],'' Lee testified.

    Bushyhead, Walsh's executive officer, testified that he believed that he, too, had joined in the firing.

    ''It was probably no more than 10 seconds, but it seemed like much longer,'' Karl O. Mann, Sparks's interpreter, who witnessed the shooting, said in an interview. ''They fired from left to right and right to left and so on. It wasn't very long, but it was long enough to inflict damage.''

    Sparks, alarmed by the sudden machine-gun burst, raced back to the coal yard, firing his pistol in the air and furiously signaling with his left hand for his men to stop shooting.

    ''Some young private was on the machine gun, and I kicked him and knocked him forward,'' Sparks recalled in the interview. ''I then dragged him by the collar -- he was a small man -- and he was crying. He said, 'They were trying to get away.' They weren't trying to get away at all. And then everything was very quiet.''

    The Germans lay crumpled at the base of the stucco wall. At first, it seemed scores had been killed in the gunfire. When the Americans ordered survivors to stand, however, they said many did.

    'When I went over there, why, there were, I should say, about 75 or so lying on the ground,'' Private Frank Eggert testified later. ''It looked like they were pretty badly wounded.

    ''Then somebody gave the order for them to get up, and most of them got up. I don't see how they got away with it, with so many shots fired.''

    The inspector general report found that 17 were killed at the wall. And, like the visceral reaction evoked by the death train just outside Dachau, the shootings frightened and disgusted some GIs.

    ''[Drain] said it was one of the worst things he had ever seen since being in the Army,'' Second Lieutenant Donald E. Strickland testified. ''He was sorry that it was his machine gun that had to be used for it.''

    Corporal Henry Mills, then a 22-year-old member of the battalion's intelligence and reconnaissance platoon, remembered his harrowing arrival at Dachau in Strong's 1990 documentary.

    ''I remember saying, 'Geez, we came over here to stop this bullshit, and now here we got somebody doing the same thing.' Once they were prisoners, they were prisoners. They were unarmed, and they were prisoners. You can't shoot them. You can't do that. That's an atrocity, I'm sure.''

    Mills said as he walked around the camp that day, he was overwhelmed by a yearning not often associated with toughened veterans.

    ''I remember it real well, I said: 'I've been here too long. I've to go home now.' And it was a funny thing. I said, 'I want to see my mom.' ... I hadn't seen her for three years. That's what came in to my mind: I wanted to see my mom.''

    --By Mark Fritz of The Boston Globe--

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    Default Re: Military executions in WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I've already posted this. The Boston Globe newspaper did a story on this years ago. The execution was not sanctioned by the command in anyway as a Lieutenant, outraged at the stench of bodies in the concentration camp, gathered the SS guards and ordered men to --yes-- amass automatic weapons such as BARs and M1919s. Some did willfully or reluctantly, other's refused and ran to get their colonel, who promptly halted the massacre.


    Seventeen Waffen SS men were killed, the rest hit-the-deck so to speak when the shooting started...
    What the SS-guard did in Concentration camp?
    As i know the personal of concentration camp was FAR not SS.
    ''That is not the American way of fighting,'' Second Lieutenant Daniel F. Drain, who was ordered to set up his machine gun on that unseasonably cool April day, testified at the Army's official inquiry 56 years ago.
    Accidentally , was a Lieutenant Daniel F. Drain a jew?
    What was a reason of his "initiative"?

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    Default Re: Military executions in WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    What the SS-guard did in Concentration camp?
    As i know the personal of concentration camp was FAR not SS.
    I don't know although there were some SS personal at various camps.

    And are the FAR the polizei? As I have heard German regular police were also used as guards and administrators, but largely escaped scrutiny after the War...

    The article stated that the SS were defending the camp, and that the US 45th Infantry Division members took care to separate the SS from Heer...

    Accidentally , was a Lieutenant Daniel F. Drain a jew?
    What was a reason of his "initiative"?
    I have no idea. But most of the men there were not. And Drain actually set up the machine-guns as ordered but walked away refusing to take part...

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    Default Re: Military executions in WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I don't know although there were some SS personal at various camps.

    And are the FAR the polizei? As I have heard German regular police were also used as guards and administrators, but largely escaped scrutiny after the War...

    The article stated that the SS were defending the camp, and that the US 45th Infantry Division members took care to separate the SS from Heer...
    What was sense to defend a ...concentration camp Nick?
    As i know any camp in the East where Red Army arrived ,Germans simply have run away.
    Even the Aushviz has been liberated quite accidentally - nobody was here except few handred of suffered peoples.No one fought and shoted here.
    All the personal simply escaped out of camp. They even did not attemp to "liqudate" the rest or unlucky prisoners ( as Hitler ordered).

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    Default Re: "Vengenace at Dachau" (U.S. Soldiers nearly massacred concentration camp guards)

    we know when Eisenhower saw these camps he refused to accept Germany's surrender. chosing to send some one else. how could we possibly know how these soldiers felt when they liberated these camps. and I can understand why the took it out on the German.
    >
    >
    several years ago I put up a post on a board. should the allies have bombed these camps???? the prisoners said yes. but can you give the command to do it???? or would you refuse the order to do it.?? that post drew over 70 replies.

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    Default Re: "Vengenace at Dachau" (U.S. Soldiers nearly massacred concentration camp guards)

    Certainly the accounts I have seen suggest they were Waffen SS men sent to guard the place as most of the Camp Guards had legged it. However if a German unit had come across the same in Russia I suggest every last one would have died and probably the inhabitants of any local towns too.

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    Default Re: Military executions in WWII

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    What was sense to defend a ...concentration camp Nick?
    As i know any camp in the East where Red Army arrived ,Germans simply have run away.
    Even the Aushviz has been liberated quite accidentally - nobody was here except few handred of suffered peoples.No one fought and shoted here.
    All the personal simply escaped out of camp. They even did not attemp to "liqudate" the rest or unlucky prisoners ( as Hitler ordered).
    Um, because it was part of German territory?


    And what is your point? How would the Germans have been captured otherwise?

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    Default Re: "Vengenace at Dachau" (U.S. Soldiers nearly massacred concentration camp guards)

    I understand the anger,but that is not the right way I think.
    Litigation,and penalty
    "The consciousness that I am alive, makes me wild dreams every day"
    (Helmut Wolff lieutenant colonel, one who survived the breakout of Budapest)

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    Default Re: "Vengenace at Dachau" (U.S. Soldiers nearly massacred concentration camp guards)

    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    I understand the anger,but that is not the right way I think.
    Litigation,and penalty
    that's done on the battlefield. at the point of a gun.

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    Default Re: "Vengenace at Dachau" (U.S. Soldiers nearly massacred concentration camp guards)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    This is from an excellent series The Boston Globe ran on WWII in 2001 after the declassification of numerous CIA files on WWII. The dark side of the Allied victory...

    By Thomas Farragher / The Boston Globe Staff / July 2, 2001

    But men like General George S. Patton did not believe that. Patton dismissed the murder charges with a flourish, tossing all of the investigative files into a trash can and telling the accused men to go home and get on with their lives, according to two officers interviewed by The Boston Globe.
    Patton is overrated in some respects, but here I respect (as distinct from admire) his decision.

    Killing those bastards plugged an important hole in the human gene pool.

    I'm sick to bloody death of vile bastards whingeing when their precious rights to personal liberty and comfortable life are infringed after happily trampling on the rights and lives of others to whom they never gave any rights. For example,

    Karadzic sought to elaborate on "numerous irregularities" in his capture. Before capitulating to Judge Alphons Orie's insistence that this was not the time or place to raise these issues, Karadzic said he had been "kidnapped" prior to the official date given for his arrest: July 21.

    "I was arrested irregularly. For three days I was kidnapped ... I was kept in a place ... my rights were not (read out to) me, I had no right to a telephone."
    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5...Ycwt9oTmkSba_g

    Poor little Radovan, not read his rights (like he wouldn't know them to the letter!) and denied a telephone. Two things none of the poor bastards massacred under his regime ever got when marched into a forest and made to dig their own graves before getting a bullet or five.

    Then we have these martyrs supposedly welcoming death http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-b_n...ure=relatedand , presumably to get their however many virgins in heaven, yet surprisingly determined to exploit every possible legal avenue to delay reaching that orgasmic celestial destination. So what was the response of these bastards to their last court appeal being denied? Oh, please, don't let us suffer a moment of the pain we inflicted on hundreds of others and in which we glory.

    LAWYERS for three Islamic militants on death row over the 2002 Bali bombings today flagged a new legal challenge to their impending executions.

    Defence lawyer Mahendradatta foreshadowed a Constitutional Court challenge next week, arguing the convicted terrorists could suffer unnecessary pain if they do not die immediately when the lethal punishment is carried out.

    It is seen as another attempt to delay the executions of Amrozi, his brother Mukhlas and Imam Samudra, who could be executed at any time over the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people including 88 Australians.

    The three will face an Indonesian firing squad, and would be shot a second time if the first bullet does not kill them instantly, Mahendradatta said.

    "We are not closing our eyes to the possibility of Amrozi being executed,'' he told reporters.

    ''(But) there's time when the convicted will feel pain until he is shot a second time.

    "Amrozi was sentenced to death, not to be tortured.
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24097773-2,00.html

    Really, who gives a stuff if some people who are wasting oxygen while depriving others of it are disposed of in the heat of the moment?

    Not me.

    As far as I'm concerned, if Patton did as reported, good on him.

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    Default Re: "Vengenace at Dachau" (U.S. Soldiers nearly massacred concentration camp guards)

    Just for a separate consideration, assuming the things at the same range as the people with their hands up are bodies, how do we know they're not people killed by the Nazis before the Americans arrived?

    The positions of the American troops are not consistent with a firing party which killed all the bodies supposedly at the wall.

    And, one asks, if the Yanks had been mowing people down, why would there be a few Nazis or Germans holding their hands up at the end of it, before the Yanks were in firing positions?

    I'm not disputing the text posted about the event, but the photo doesn't prove anything.

    Save the picture and examine it with a photo editor. There isn't any indication of uniformed victims in the pile against the wall. Or did the Americans massacre civilians before making uniformed men surrender, which the man in the middle and at far right aren't doing?
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 08-02-2008 at 12:34 PM.

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