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July 09, 2003

Unseen History: Schwabmunchen 2
Their Hands Are Bloody With The Guts Of Humanity

Note: This post will be at the top of the site for most of the day, then revert to its original publishing time at midnight. New content will appear below. An up-to-date list of all the Unseen History posts can be seen here, and will eventually be mirrored here.

For those of you happening upon these pictures for the first time, an explanation of how they came to appear on this site can be found in the first post in this series.

---------------------------

Albert Gaynes visited Kaufering4/Schwabmunchen two days afeter it was liberated. He wrote home to his wife about what he saw there. I've added links tho the letter where I've been able to locate further information about the people and places he mentions.

Debbie,

I have seen today the full, complete bestiality of what was one of the Nazis horror concentration camps. I saw for myself with my own eyes the ungodly sight. Debbie, I hope that you will never see what I will see until I die.

Our division overran a concentration camp located in the path of our advance. The last town I visited before this location was Augsburg in southern Germany. It has been several days since its capture when I visited it.

The camp is located about 300 yards off a main road. It's not hidden or out of the way. The shacks resembled the OCS barracks which you saw at Aberdeen - the tar paper ones. But for sleeping quarters the prisoners lived on the dirt floor with nothing but some dirty straw.

But how can I describe the actual inhuman, unbelievable sights.
I saw dead men lying inside of these shacks. I saw them lying in the fields and on the ground.

They were naked. How had they died? They were starved and tortured to death. They were skeletons with skin. Their hideous faces appalled me, but I wandered about almost refusing to believe that I was not dreaming. I saw men with their arms broken into all shapes; men with arms and legs cut off; men with their throats slit; men with their heads cut off; men with their legs twisted and misshapen. I personally saw 50 or 60 of these creatures which once were Human beings. There were some shacks which the Nazis had burned and I saw the charred bodies.

When I had seen all my mind and stomach and heart stand, I left. Others of the company who explored the area found long ditches for graves which were littered with dead bodies which had not even been filled with dirt
.
What had these men done to warrant being tortured. (They were tortured; not just starved. The arms and legs and countless other mutilations must have been done while the inmates still lived.)

These men had disagreed with the Nazis. They were political prisoners - Jews, communists, liberals, devout Catholics - anyone who had disagreed with the Nazi political philosophy.

I saw these mangled, misshapen, starved bodies being carried to be buried by German civilians at the point of our soldiers guns. These German bastards looked just like the corner delicatessen owner. But they were black inside and their hands are bloody with the guts of humanity.

Don't ever let another sonofabitch tell you that the rape of Lidice, that the slaughter of 2,000,000 Jews in Poland, that the human furnaces, that the concentration camps you read about are lies. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have seen the unbelievable. I have seen the depths of depravity to which so called human beings - the nazis - can fall. Debbie it is unbelievable--but, believe me. I have seen It.

I could expound on my observations going into details, but my pen cannot continue. I shall remember what I have seen. I shall never forget it. Whatever is done with the Nazis - leaders and followers cannot repay them for what they have done - unless it is the same torture.

I have read Ilya Erhenberg - the Russian correspondents Communiques on German atrocities and the proposals for reprisals. I had read the smug American newspapers criticism of his suggestions of extermination of Nazis. I thought he was bloodthirsty. But after witnessing what he must have seen I can countenance any acts against the Nazis which he proposes.

My heart is heavy and sad. For the rest of my life I shall have impressed upon me the possibility of another Hitler and his gang of inhumans. They must never be permitted to rise again. We must also recognize the possibility of such individuals gaining control over our own country. The fascists of our own nation - the Coughlins and Smiths and Pilleys and Williams - are capable of the same inhumanities. The Nazis are not the exclusive possessors of warped minds. I will never tolerate the anti-Semite or the fascist. He is dangerous and a potential torturer.

The war has a newer meaning to me - the extermination of Nazism must be accomplished and the recurrence of such a regime must be prevented.

I repeat, my Debbie. It is true - all the horror stories that the Nazis have perpetrated. From what I have seen they are capable of any inhumanity describable. There are none which they would not or could not execute. In all the world's history this black mark is most, horrible. We are supposed to live in a civilized world. But I have seen the barbarism and cannibalism of a so called civilized nation. Their scientific achievements are dwarfed by their utter lack of _______ . I am lost for words.

All of Germany will soon be occupied. The Nazi regime will have been defeated. But it is the peace to follow which will have to be won. Another Nazi regime or its counter part must be prevented. And I shall do some serious thinking. I must find the solution. And when I do I will do my utmost to see that it succeeds. And you must help me think and act.

Goodnight, Debbie. My heart is heavy. But the knowledge that we are eliminating this scourge on the earth - and quickly - fills me with joy. On the streets of this City I see free Poles, Russians, Jews, Catholics, Mongols, Blacks, French et al. I am proud that I played a part in their freedom.

Do not fear for my feelings or attitude. Despite all the horror I have seen, I am glad that I saw it. I no longer fear that we may do an injustice to the Germans. They are guilty of inhumanity and murder.

I should like to continue writing now, but I will close.

I feel very close to you Debbie. I am happy that you are safe. I feel almost that I have personally saved you and your Mom and our folks and all our relatives from the Nazis because that would have been our fate also.

Other Eyewitness accounts from the men of the Twelth Armored Divison, the unit that liberated Kaufering IV, can be seen here.


Click on picture for a larger version.

AP 64696
THIS PHOTO SHOWS: The gutted remains of the burnt-out prison camp. In the foreground are burnt, emaciated bodies of prisoners.
Associated Press Photo 278019
WAR POOL PHOTO, NOT FOR USE IN BRITISH ISLES, FRANCE, OR WESTERN HEMISPHERE
SERVICED BY LONDON OWI TO LIST B-1
CERTIFIED AS PASSED BY SHAEF CENSOR

Notes: Blue ink #14090 Only about half the barracks, which look like they were constructed by piling dirt on top of lumber appear burned. The building in the upper right appears to be of a more solid construction, likely it was the guardhouse. Like the Ohrdruf exterior, this is the only photo I've found of Kaufering that shows something of the layout of the camp.


Click on picture for a larger version.

AP 64699
THIS PHOTO SHOWS: Emaciated and burned bodies of prisoners litter the camp enclosure. In the background are the smoldering remains of their crude living quarters in which they were burnt alive of shot as they tried to escape the flames.
Associated Press Photo 278021
WAR POOL PHOTO, NOT FOR USE IN BRITISH ISLES, FRANCE, OR WESTERN HEMISPHERE
SERVICED BY LONDON OWI TO LIST B-1
CERTIFIED AS PASSED BY SHAEF CENSOR

Notes: Blue ink #14149 The large number of naked corpses in these photos are due to Schwabmunchen/Kaufering IV having been declared a Krankenlager, or sick camp, earlier in the war. After that, sick prisoners were not allowed clothing. Most spent their days lying naked atop the one woolen blanket they were issued.


Click on picture for a larger version.

AP 64697
THIS PHOTO SHOWS: Naked, starved and half-burned bodies line in the gutter of a raodway through Schwabmunchen.
Associated Press Photo 278018
WAR POOL PHOTO, NOT FOR USE IN BRITISH ISLES, FRANCE, OR WESTERN HEMISPHERE
SERVICED BY LONDON OWI TO LIST B-1
CERTIFIED AS PASSED BY SHAEF CENSOR

Notes: Blue ink #14091

For the dead prisoners in camp Kaufering IV, there was a special work detail. ... The task of this detail was to bury the 20, 25, or 30 people who died each day. Since this was the only possibility for me to get out of the camp, I volunteered for this detail on March 21, the first day of spring. The naked corpses were placed on a hand cart. The gold teeth had already been removed. This was a special task for one of the prisoners- - a dentist. The teeth were broken out of the mouths of the dead people under the supervision of an SS- guard. ... The burial detail left the camp every day - 15-20 corpses and more. It was a rule to have as many prisoners on the detail as there were corpses. - Dr. Norbert Fried

Johann Baptist Eichelsdorfer, the Commandant of Schwabmunchen/KauferingIV, was found guilty of Violation of the Laws and Usages of War, sentenced to death, and hung on the 29th of May, 1946

The ninth post in the series can be seen here.

Posted by Bigwig at July 9, 2003 12:38 AM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Comments

hhmmm....

sad fact that cameras were not in widespread use to document the obliteration of the North American Indian tribes....

the scenes were no doubt similar.

Posted by: daddyeaux at July 9, 2003 10:44 PM

You really should try reading all the posts before exposing yourself as a denier. It saves time.

In the first concentration camp to be liberated by the Western Allies, Don Timmer was the first soldier to hear the tales of horror. 58 years later, one of his countrymen tells the first American Holocaust witness to his face that what he saw and heard first hand was nothing but lies.

I wouldn't be surprised if the speaker added something along the lines of "Besides, it's no worse that what we did to the Sioux."

The new flavor of Holocaust denial is not to deny that it happened, but to deny it significance, to reduce 6 million dead Jews to a mere blip on the bloody radar of human history. "Bad things have happened to people all through history" goes the logic. "Besides, everyone does it." It's an argument that demands the perfection of human character before allowing action against evil while simultaneously denying that such perfection can possibly exist.

It's a neat rhetorical trick, an excuse for inaction in the face of evil. Given the numerous discoveries of mass graves and documented atrocities visited upon the people of Iraq by the recently deposed Ba'athist regime, the timing of its emergence is suspicious, and saddening.

The argument's aim is clear, though not all who ascribe to its logic recognize what that goal is. It seeks to make all of the human tragedy and suffering equally important, which sounds noble enough. But, if all deaths are equally important, then they are also equally unimportant, which leads to

"Bad things have happened to people all through history,"

So there's no rush to when it comes to freeing Iraqis from their dictator, to defend Liberians from theirs, and suicide bombers and those who hunt them are morally equivalent.

and "Besides, everyone does it."

Not the Germans. Not anymore. I wonder why that is?

Posted by: bigwig at July 9, 2003 11:04 PM
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