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United States. Army. Signal Corps.
SS murder camp uncovered.
"BIPPA. EA 61491. U.S. Signal Corps Photo ETO-HQ-45-30885. SERVICED BY LONDON OWI TO LIST B. CERTIFIED [portion of photo damaged] CENSOR."
Caption on back of photograph reads: "SS MURDER CAMP UNCOVERED. The swift advance of the Third U.S. Army's famous Forth Armored Division uncovered the horror of a Nazi SS murder camp at Ohdruf, entered April 4, 1945, after the fall of Gotha, eight miles to the north. American soldiers who seized the camp found the courtyard littered with the bodies of Czechoslovakian, Russian, Belgian and French slave laborers, slain because they were too weak to be evacuated. In a shed, they found a stack of 44 naked and lime-covered bodies. According to survivors, 3,000 to 4,000 prisoners had been killed by SS troops, 79 being slain just before the Americans reached the camp. The 80 survivors had escaped death or removal by hiding the in the weeds. They reported that an average of 150 died daily, mainly from shooting or clubbing. The Nazi system was to feed prisoners a crust of bread a day, work them on tunnelling [sic] until they were too weak to continue, then exterminate them and replace them with another 150 prisoners daily. Led by Colonel Hayden Sears of the Fourth Armored Division, prominent German citizens of the town of Ohrdruf saw with their own eyes the horrors of SS brutality during a conducted tour of the Ohrdruf charnel house April 8, 1945. As they stood over the slain prisoners, Colonel Sears said: 'This is why Americans cannot be your friends...' The enforced tour of the Germans ended with a visit to a wood where 10 bodies lay on a grill, made of railway lines, ready for cremation. Colonel Sears asked a uniformed German medical officer: 'Does this meet with your conception of the German master race?' The officer faltered and at last answered: 'I cannot believe that Germans did this.' THIS PHOTO SHOWS: These prisoners were too ill from lack of food and unsanitary conditions to move when the Fourth Armored Division approached the Ohrdruf camp, so the Germans shot them and left them."
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World War, 1939-1945
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
t Photographs of the Nazi war crimes trials, 1945-1946