Photo showing the execution of German SS Guards by U.S. Troops during the liberation of Dachau.

  1. This is the 45th Div. There's actual video of this, without audio of course. I saw it a couple of years ago, but don't have a source. I think a documentary. The SS are standing against the wall and someone just spontaneously starts shooting, then 30 cal. joins in. An officer or NCO starts waving his hands running towards the scene and the shooting stops. It's really quick.

  2. I'm sure there were a few officers that were struggling to keep their troops from committing some heinous war crimes in the camps they went to. Also sure quite a few officers just looked the other way.

  3. I can’t condone the execution of surrendered prisoners; I also can’t blame the men who witnessed the horrors first hand for wanting vengeance. I wonder if the allies had a protocol in place for who they allowed to guard these prisoners so they might survive to be brought in front of a military court?

  4. It’s like the scene in Saving Private Ryan. The Germans come out of the bunker with their hands up surrendering. They are shot and the American says “look how clean their hands are!”

  5. After the liberation, US troops forced the citizens of Dachau to go through the camp to see what they were blatantly ignoring. Visited here in 2019.

  6. I have never been to Germany. After visiting and hearing the history do you think the people of Dachau knew about the camp and what was happening there? Honest question

  7. Band of Brothers handles this exceptionally well in a truly heartbreaking episode. Hard to believe that BofB is more than 20 years old now. I watch it annually and it only improves.

  8. I visited a few years ago. A mentally difficult place to visit although not as rough to visit as Auschwitz with it's torture chambers and gas chambers. Dachau is relatively small, yet they had 32,000 prisoners there. Most people don't realize that Nazi Germany operated over 1,000 concentration camps across Europe.

  9. During my career as a VA physician, I spoke with more than one World War II veteran involved in the liberation of a concentration camp. Asking them about taking German prisoners, more than once I heard “well, there were German soldiers there, but we did not take prisoners.“

  10. My father helped liberate a few camps; mostly POW. He said they gave knives to the prisoners and gave them time to deal with the guards on their own because they knew who deserved to live and who didn’t.

  11. Important to note that according to the article, the reprisals were blown out of proportion in the media. Apparently over 1000 POW’s were extracted from there, but only 25-50 were killed, all of whom either tried to fight or escape. A few in that number of the more sadistic guards were beaten to death by inmates. It’s an angelic few who wouldn’t do the same

  12. Yeah... a forced death march of 7000 people. Shootings were ongoing against them as the US troops approached. 39 rail cars with bodies stacked up in each etc.

  13. (29 April 1945) Judging by the ammo box and possible tripod, one of the soldiers appears to be setting up a M1919 Browning machine gun. You can also see fearful Germans laying down and looking back on the left side.

  14. Same! My great grandfather was at Dachau when this happened and my dad has a whole box of incredibly graphic pictures that my great grandfather took.

  15. My grandfather was part of the team that first went into Dachau. I think he talked about it..... once? Much later in life. He took loads of photos from the guards lockers and brought them back to the states. I think my aunt donated them to a museum.... I wonder if grandpa is in any of your photos.

  16. Just watch a documentary of the films shot during the liberation of the camps. Still shaking my head. Visited Dachau in 2001. Never again with these fucking Nazis.

  17. Jan Stasiak was my uncle many times removed and a Catholic priest. He was imprisoned at Dachau Concentration Camp. I've never met him personally or otherwise.

  18. Imagine the emotion that washes over you if all that happened while reciting the sacred words.

  19. I worked on a project with a veteran who passed away a few years ago at 93. He talked about this while we had lunch together... they didn't have intel or news reports like we do today and they didn't realize what the camp was all about until they got there in person. Once they figured out what was going on, 'we lined them up against a wall and shot them all... even the women. Pass the salt.'

  20. Yes, something called "refeeding syndrome" was discovered in the process of trying to rehab survivors of these camps. Basically once you've starved a long time, you can only take small amounts of nutrition at a time to recover.

  21. When visiting Dachau in 1984, an older woman stood up on the bus and lectured younger Germans that it was " all built for tourists" and that her parents had nothing to do with it. A younger German replied that she was full of shit and if there was nothing going on, why were her parents denying anything? At which point she became angry and flustered and the bus driver asked her to get off the bus or he would call the police. She left the bus but not without an exchange of xenophobic an antisemitic comments which were dismissed by the younger Germans. It was satisfying to see the younger Germans quickly shout down this denier and comforting today that she is more than likely dead.

  22. My great uncle was at Dachau. He is 98 and has never been fully able to vocalize what he saw as a very young U.S. soldier. We must never forget what happened.

  23. My grandfather was also there, his company arrived in the second group. He said liberating this camp was one of his worst experiences of the war.

  24. Kanye is about to step in to stop the execution....."Dude, these guys invented the microphone and highways."

  25. My uncle was part of the US Army that assisted with the liberation here. He was quite honest about what he experienced and those experiences impacted the rest of his life.

  26. They used to rent the women out as sexual servants too. So being executed was really too good for the horrors they inflicted on those innocent men, women and children.

  27. Visited Dachau in 1969 when I was stationed in Nuremberg. After touring the Camp and the ovens…the guards received what THEY DESERVED

  28. I just can't imagine the horrors of the war itself these guys experienced. It was a living hell with death all around (their words from Band of Brothers for example). Brutality never before seen until Ukraine. And then it got even worse. Just when there was no way it could conceivably be worse, then they are hit with this.

  29. the wehrmacht were complicit in the atrocities committed by germany and took part. the myth of the clean wehrmacht was a fabrication that attempted to clear german generals names so that they wouldn't be prosecuted for war crimes and could continue to serve in western germany.

  30. Most people outside Germany don't understand that this did not happen within a few years of Nazi regime. There was propaganda and misinformation much longer than that. People were told for years that it was the jews fault that things went bad. It did not start suddenly but step by step everso slightly. It took so long that an entire generation grow up being taught that lies from kindergarden to school.

  31. It was a warcrime then and now. In fact I believe these extrajudicial killings were known all the way up the chain of command, even reaching the desk of George S. Patton, who deliberately chose not to prosecute them. Mark Felton on YouTube made a video all about this. Search for "Liberating Dachau 1945" to find it.

  32. That's not how it works, though. It either is a war crime or it isn't. And as other have pointed out, it was. It's probably understandable to most people why they would commit such a war crime at the time, under the circumstances, but it is nevertheless a war crime.

  33. I'm all broken up inside thinking about these poor SS concentration camp guards being summarily lined up against a wall and shot by soldiers who had just discovered forty train cars full of thousands of stinking, emaciated corpses, piles of clothing the size of houses stripped from prior vctims, thousands more bodies strewn around inside the camp, and 32,000 deathly ill, starved "walking skeletons". I tell you, it tears me apart that these guards were shot.

  34. One of my grandfathers could have been the photographer. I saw his photos. Rainbow Division. The only thing worse were the kapos. Keep in mind. Some of the worse lived out their lives. Arrived in Argentina and fear of the nazi hunt moved into North America. Some pows brought to Texas. Eventually allowed to just walk out among the citizenry. Not all had the SS mentality. Yet, Josef Mengele purportedly kept his sick experiments going. He died in 1979. That is the Angel of Death. They infiltrated the local government.

  35. Had some relatives who fought in Europe. He said after the Allies found out that the SS were executing prisoners, it became relatively normal to not take SS troopers prisoner

  36. This is true. My father was an RAF Hawker Typhoon pilot that helped to liberate Bergen Belsen. The RAF officer corps were very disciplined, but that experience changed many of them. Because he was an officer he and the others in his squadron became part of the security apparatus for some of the "liberated" towns, as the end of the war approached. When the locals would round up the German forces they would often summarily shoot them, and my father said that for the most part he and the others just didn't care.

  37. My grandpa was at the liberation of Dachau. He died in 2003 but I've heard a little bit about his time there and that he had kept a collection of postcards he had gotten from there. The story goes that when they were at Dachau the commanding officer told them to take these postcards and said "If you ever forget why you're here, look at them." I was able to ask my grandma if I could see them. They are horrifying. The one that I remember most vividly is a photo of a German dragging a prisoner by the leg with a smirk on his face. Couldn't tell if the man being dragged was alive but it was really disturbing. There were other photos of dead people, mass graves, etc and the fact that they took these photos and made them into postcards is fucking disgusting. I can't even imagine how the American troops felt when they discovered what was going on there. Not trying to justify what may or may not have happened in the photo above, but I think I can understand.

  38. You can read about how it felt but nothing could compare to actually living through and witnessing the atrocity. Many of them were changed forever.

  39. I have been to Dachau, the barracks, the trenches of bodies, the ovens. I was a 20 year old military on leave visiting Germany and saw the horror first hand It was in 1970, still fresh in my mind. The Germans were animals.

  40. Mark Felton, a world-renowned historian of the 20th century, produced a video on YouTube all about the liberation of Dachau in 1945 and many of the reprisals that occurred in its wake. I highly recommend it.

  41. Maybe world renowned for trawling internet forums which he copies verbatim/plagiarizing other sources. In addition he tends to make videos that upon closer inspection by those who know better, are wrong and never corrects himself, like the atomic Lancasters. Hes a bit of a fraud

  42. I have seen an alternative explanation for this photo by I think by historian Max Hastings. The US troops lined up guards against the wall for processing, one ran and was shot. The rest thought they were being executed and played dead, bar the handful who stayed standing.

  43. My grandfather was with one group that liberated one of the camps. He never said which one. He rarely spoke about the war. He was in his early 70's when he finally accepted Christ. He had always believed in God, but had been taught that killing was a mortal sin. In other words, he was willing, and in his own mind did, give up his immortal soul to rescue those poor people. He had alot of faults, but he was the greatest man I have ever met.

  44. The Buchenwald concentration camp was 5 miles outside the town of Weimar. The Sachsenhausen camp was close to the village of Gross-Rosen and only 42 kilometers from Berlin.Buchenwald was 5 miles northeast of Weimar. Neuengamme was in a suburb of Hamburg. Flossenburg was located outside Weiden. The list goes on. Of course, the locals knew what was happening on their doorstep.

  45. Not trying to defend the SS or German atrocities here at all. But isn’t shooting unarmed military technically a war crime?

  46. One of the few good war crimes; only downside is not getting them to admit to their crimes for the record before execution

  47. I've been to Dachau. Eye opening experience. I remember being shown a wall about that height riddled with bullet holes.

  48. I think that was too easy a way for them to go. Imagine the cruelty and suffering they did. They should have been naked ,starving and cold for days beforehand.

  49. There is a great book written about the Lt Col Sparks for the WW2 history buffs. It follows the mans courageous exploits for four years of brutal warfare. Amazing how he survived some of the hardest fought and brutal battles of the war. It’s great read about a great American.

  50. NOTICE,,, most of the Germans on the ground are not shot/,hurt, they are laying down and watching or laying down flat..

  51. Iirc this happened spontaneously when the US troops encountered the nature of the place. By this point the US knew the SS was often executing captured Allied POWs and seeing this barbarity done to civilians pushed troops over the edge. After the battle of the bulge surrenders by SS officer often ended with a bullet in a ditch.

  52. Couldn’t have happened soon enough. And I’m German-American, but the Germans also killed two of my uncles in the Second World War. Bastards.

  53. Seems to be a lot of misunderstandings, rather, no understanding of anyone. No one wins in war. At this point the war had been also going on for, what I honestly would like to imagine, longer than any of us today could mentally handle. From a modern perspective, I would say that mass execution, even of horrendous people, is uncivilized, but, thinking about the time, and the strain on these people, some leniency in not doing things the way we do things almost 100 years later.

  54. I think this comment thread is a great indication of the state of mind we have about it: half the people pointing out that this is a war crime itself, and the other half lamenting that more SS didn’t meet the same fate.

  55. I went on a study trip to Germany last year, and visited Dachau. You can just,, feel,, the awful things that have happened there..

  56. Lotta “poor wittle SS guards” in these comments, I feel like I’m in historymemes. You had to volunteer to be in the SS, these aren’t innocent conscripts.

  57. Equating what's going on in Ukraine with the US victory over Japan (an aggressor during WWII) is disgusting. Japan waged an incomprehensibly brutal and inhuman war and tortured, raped and executed

  58. Its amazing to see who the pro-war crowd is today. I think back to 20 years ago when it was demanded that terrorists and enemy combatants captured on the battlefield were expected a trial. Regardless of the harm to innocents they caused. I'm saying this as a vet knowing what ROE was like. Today, given the exact same scenario this would be considered murder. There are US military personnel that were charged with murder or other crimes for a lot less on people that people that were in the same camp.

  59. Executing on the spot as a Policy creates a Dangerous precedent for Abuse against innocent civilians: My German born Father served in the US Army as an Interpreter for the Courts prosecuting those Abuses. He has never talked about a single one of those Cases.

  60. If they were pulling random people off the street, maybe we could have that discussion, but these were guards in a concentration camp. They weren't randoms who dilly dallied their way in there.

  61. Speaking from almost 80 years in the future, I just feel pity for all of them. Prisoners, Liberators, Guards...all just humans caught up in forces out of their control. "If I were" is an easy game to play; how would I have behaved in each given situation? Would I have been a murdering/order following guard? A subjugated, beaten prisoner? A winner endorphin-dopamine saturated murdering/order interpreting liberator? Obviously yes. And so would you.

  62. "I feel sorry for the poor guys who tortured and murdered the Jews, LGBTQ, Romanis, etc. They were just so caught up in things!"

  63. Um no… I would not have been a guard that tortured and murdered people because of their religion. I think the majority of us should be able to say that.

  64. That is not true. It did begin as a volunteer force with strict requirements. However, as the war went on, the requirements were gradually relaxed and eventually they were forcibly conscripting almost anybody they could find to join.

  65. Every nazi should have ened up this way. Every supporter, sympathizer and solider that helped the third reich. Too many escaped justice just because they were defeated in war.

  66. If all the Nazis had ended up this way, guess we wouldn't have a space program. Or Porsche or VW bugs, modern jet airplanes or even jet engines, programmable computers, or the vast majority of modern military breakthroughs. Like night vision. Or rockets or guided missiles or helicopters.

  67. Unpopular opinion re summary execution of surrendered troops but the allied soldiers were in the right, i hope the nazi scum didn't go easy

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