Holland 1944

Charles B. Dodd

Company L, 413th Infantry Regiment

19-23 Oct. 1944 Vilvoorde, Belgium

Tents pitched in the pines. Lots of fog.

The first buzz bomb that I heard came over real low then there was a very loud explosion, I thought it sounded like an airplane with engine trouble and after the explosion I was sure the plane had crashed. It didn't take long to learn that those were not planes and that they were trying to hit us if they could, all part of the education process.

I went in to some town, at night. All the town folks were out with their little flashlights going on and off as they squeezed to make them operate.

23 Oct. 1944 The war - marched 5 miles moving up. British troops on the other side of the road going to the rear, apparently part of the units we were relieving. It seemed that every fifth or sixth man had a tea pot tied to the side of his pack. Similar tea pots played a big role in what happened to us a few days later.

23 Oct. 1944 Brecht, Belgium

The fox hole that I occupied that first night was under a tree and there was a wall at our back. There must have been at least a squad of Germans up that tree that night or it could have been a cat, I don't know what it was but we heard noises all night long plus, what we learned later was a platoon of fence post and stumps being shot up by those trigger happy front line troops. We all saw fence posts or stumps march by at one time or another. Remember?

About the second or third day a patrol was sent out to make contact with the Germans (in G.I. language - draw fire). I found myself as one half of a team manning a .50 cal machine gun, guarding the road approaching town, I had never before been that close to one of those thing much less fire one but the other man seemed to know what we were supposed to do. He seemed to know what to do until we saw men coming down the road toward us and we couldn't tell whether they were our patrol or a German patrol. Then we both were undecided as to whether we should open fire or wait for the signal the returning patrol was supposed to give. Thank goodness we waited and the patrol did give the pre-arranged signal.

26 Oct. 1944 Moved to combat.

I think we left Brecht about dark and moved up until about 2330 when we were told to dig in for the night. The hole we dug that night was more for comfort that protection, I think it was about 7 feet square and only about 18 inches or a little more deep. I think we found some straw to line the hole with and had just settled in when the word came that we were moving out. I have no idea how far we walked before we stopped, when we did stop we were right in the middle of the war. Shells exploding and tracers everywhere. I can still hear the Medic call out that Sgt. Knorr was dead, shot right through the heart by a stray bullet, our first casualty. We lay there on the side of that little road for quite some time and I somehow managed a short nap with my feet in the side ditch and it half full of water.

Shortly after day break Capt. Marshall B. Garth told T/Sgt Thorval Askeland to take the first platoon to the right, form a skirmish line and sweep through a small grove of pine trees. Sgt. Askeland said Captain that is suicide, the Captain said do it and we did, crawling out single file at right angle to the road until all of the platoon was in the field then wedid a left face, got up and started advancing, using what we had learned in training Run forward a few yards, fall down and provide cover fire for the next group to move up. We did this all the way through the pine grove. When we got to the other side we were faced with open ground, sloping down away from us. The Germans had cut all the trees for about 200 yards, providing them a clear field of fire from their positions in the edge of the next pine woods.

It was here that I had my first brush with death and knew how close that brush was. We had just reached the cleared ground and I was lying behind one of those pine stumps, firing around the right side of the stump. I fired what was the last round in that clip and the clip jumped out, then just as I rolled over on my left side to get a full clip from my ammo belt a bullet came through that stump right where my head had been just seconds before, this was the first of four times that I knew how close I came. In getting to this point we had been trained to fire and advance with no thought given to how much or how little ammo we were carrying when we started.

K-4's cigarettes I'm sure everyone remembers but how many of you remember that we started the day with only 8-8 round clips which we had hand loaded with Enfield ammo, and when those clips popped out we were supposed to retrieve them and load them again later. The end results was that when we got to a shallow terrace about half way to the German positions most men were down to their last clip and in some cases that clip was not full. I think the time was now about 1030 or 1100 hours (really not sure).

By this time we had lost a lot of good men. I didn't know it at the time but Sgt. Askeland had already been hit, Fred Bliss was lying back up the hill with multiple wounds, one of those killed had taken a direct mortar hit on his slit trench, I saw his body in the air. Someone said that he would go get some machine gun belts so we could reload our clips, he left but I never did see him come back. I don't know what happened, he may have been hit. There were four German mortars which pounded us all day long. Late in the afternoon someone said that it looked like the Germans were preparing to counterattack and we were preparingto fix bayonets when we heard the rumble of tanks to our left rear.Here's where those tea pots came into play. I heard later that the Brits didn't get there earlier because they had to finish their tea. True or not, I don't know but I sure was glad to see them when they did get there, the Germans had started coming our way.

Two Churchill tanks pulled up side by side and Capt. Garth with a phone, from the tanks on, each ear directed their fire and broke up the counterattack. Mark one on the wall for our side, the first of many. We learned a couple of the tricks that the Germans would use many times. First the mortars; they were fairly close but they left all the powder increments on the shell and fired real high, so that if the round was timed it seemed to be coming from farther away than it really was. Second, the machine guns; one gun with tracers would fire high and the other guns with no tracers fired low. Tricky, tricky.

That first day finally ended and we moved on into the pine forest ahead.

28 Oct. 1944 Zundert

Approaching Zundert we went through a pine forest walking along fire breaks and several times stepping over trip wires that the Germans had attached to a little surprise that they had left for us, all of those surprises were left just as we found them. There are only a couple of things I remember about Zundert. First, the location of my foxhole was close to the hospital, alongside a wall. Second the inhabitants of Zundert invited us into their homes fora hot bath in a tub. I went to the home of what I remember as an elderly couple. In trying to be friendly I ask them something about the Dutch, they became real excited and started saying "No Dutch", at least that was what I thought they were saying but it turned out they were really saying "No Deutsche", they thought I was calling them Germans.

31 Oct. - 1 Nov. 1944 moving by foot.

Moving along one of those tree lined roads so common in Holland. Only this time the trees are down all over the road where the Germans had used explosives to fell all the trees along this road. There were other roads where the explosives were still attached to the trees and the Germans had not had time to set them off.

Other companies got caught on one of the roads with the trees still standing and the German artillery threw in some tree burst, when the men hit the side ditch they found that they were mined and they were caught with no place to go. Fortunately we did not get caught in one of those.

2 Nov. 1944 Mark River crossing.

I don't remember how we got to the staging area for the river crossing. My recollection is that it was dark but enough light that we could make out other people waitingto cross ahead of us. The levee on our side of the river was 18 to 20 feet high, I think, we were down well below the surface of the river and I assume out of sight of the Germans. The way we were bunched up we would have been a prime target. We must have been the reserve company for the Battalion because people with Battalion were crossing ahead of us. When our turn came, to cross the river about 30 to 40 yards wide, very flat land on the other side and a village, Standaarbuiten (I guess) already in flames about 300 to 400 yards from the river. The bridge was a standard foot bridge about 18 inches wide and the engineers had neglected to install a hand rail, the current in the river was not very fast but it did sweep the bridge down stream until the anchor lines were taut then the bridge slowly swept back up-stream this happened several times while each person was on that bridge. Under normal conditions this could not pose much of a problem but I was loaded with gear: bazooka and three rockets, M1 rifle with about 220 rounds of ammo, .45 cal. pistol with 50 rounds of ammo, two hand grenades, steel helmet, entrenching tool(shovel), overcoat, field jacket, rain coat, wool short and pants, long handle underwear, leggins, shoes and I think to top it off we probably had a couple of K rations tucked in somewhere besides cigarettes and other assorted personal items. Without all this extra gear I weighed about 135 pounds and with it I may have been close to 200 pounds. Carrying it was not the problem, stepping off that bridge was, it didn't happen.

On the far bank about 300 to 400 yards from the river was a small village that must have been Standaarbuiten, what ever it's name it was already in flames when we made the crossing and headed for those burning buildings, the rest of that night is completely wiped out. My next memory is the next afternoon, 3 November, I think.We are dug in on the side of a dike which has a road along the top and several houses on the other side. At the foot of the dike is a small canal full of water and beyond the canal is an open field dotted with foxholes from which several Germans were coaxed into surrendering. This is where the picture of John Walsh and Konrad Smith was taken (I think).

The afternoon of the second day we moved up a little further and the bazooka I had been carrying was used by one of the Sgts. to flush out a couple more prisoners. Later that night after we had dug in on the side of another dike we could hear German tanks or SP guns grinding around up ahead. They called for the bazooka again but before anything could be done the artillery made a direct hit and solved that problem for us.

3 Nov. 1944 Across the Mark.

As for short stories about my experience overseas, I'm afraid I don't have any.Although one night Pennington and I almost got buried into our foxhold (sic) by an 88that turned my M-1 into a horseshoe and damaged our BAR. That incident happened in Holland and we were dug in by an open field behind some houses that were situated in a row along side a dirt road. Place unknown.

Then there was the day I fired at some Jerries and my rifle only went "click". The firing pin was broken, what an embarrassment. I didn't know the thing was an extra rifle from a stock Joe Peevy got from guys that were killed or wounded. Naturally I took the rifle back to Peevey and he got me a good one.


Grim Day at Nordhausen

Leon Karalokian

104th Signal Company

On the ninth of November, 1944, the 104th 'Timberwolf" Infantry Division under the command of General "Terrible" Terry Allen was poised in Aachen, barely inside the western border of Germany prepared to do battle with the still powerful Nazi forces. Behind it were long months of grueling training in the California and Arizona deserts and the initial blood-letting, a two week introduction to combat in Holland as part of the first Canadian Army in an operation that opened the port of Antwerp for Allied use. Ahead lay the formidable task of driving eastward to join the on-rushing Soviet Army thereby splitting the country in two, an objective that was to be achieved only after a record 195 days of continuous combat and 1445 lives. Ahead also was what turned out to be the harshest European winter in fifty years.

The dismal sight of children and shawled women scrounging among the shattered snow covered buildings for bits of coal and firewood seemed to belie the colorful medieval past of Aachen, for it was from this coronation city that Charlemagne ruled the Holy Roman Empire eleven centuries earlier under its less guttural French name of Aix-La-Chapelle. This was also the nineteenth century spa playground for the world's nobility and wealthy who traditionally came to "take the waters" in its renowned sulphur springs.

The final offensive eastward was soon underway, stymied only temporarily in December by the last ditch desperation Nazi onslaught which history would record as "The Battle of the Bulge". The 104th absorbed the heavy blows, endured near encirclement, brushed itself off and joined in the drive to the Rhine and the capture of Cologne in conjunction with its companion division the Third Armored and other units.

"Give me five years" Hitler once boasted, "and you will not recognize Nazi Socialist Germany". Looking at the utter devastation in Germany's third largest city, which has best been described as an "ocean of bricks", one had to agree with him in this respect. As we knifed deeper into the country's heartland, towns and cities fell in rapid succession, resistance weakened, and the surrendering groups of prisoners grew larger each day. However, while stubborn die-hards fought on and men died daily, it became evident that the enemy military and populace would sooner give ground to the western allied forces than to the more vengeful Red Army approaching from the east.

April 12, 1945, the 104th Infantry Division along with the 3rd Armored Division entered the small town of Nordhausen at the foothills of the Harz Mountains in central Germany. As battered towns go Nordhausen resembled the others with its share of dead cows, horses, and an occasional human caught in the open by an artillery burst. Yet there was to be a difference, for Nordhausen was to provide a ghastly traumatic experience never to be forgotten by those who passed through it. The existence of concentration camps and hints of atrocities were long a subject of rumor. But here in town, what seemingly was a series of warehouses, we uncovered what aptly could be a death factory.

On the grounds laid out in neat rows were an estimated thousand decaying corpses ranging from the near skeletonized to the newly dead. In the buildings, bedded on straw side by side in describable filth lay the emaciated living, too weak to move away from the dead. Now Nordhausen was not a major concentration camp. It did not have the huge inmate population of Auschewitz. Nor did it have the gas chambers of Dachau or Buchenwald, a refinement apparently reserved for Jewish victims who were on the bottom of the insane Nazi scale of values. Its crematory, though small, was able to convert one hundred of yesterday's men to heaps of ashes each day.

The three thousand victims here, dead and alive, were predominantly Polish slave workers, with some French, conscripted to turn out in enormous underground factories the deadly supersonic V-2 rockets that were taking a heavy toll of lives and property in London. With 20,000 laboring under these conditions, health breakdowns were common. Those too ill to be worthy of medical attention, along with the uncooperative, were confined to die a gradual death, the daily ration being one load of black bread for seven men.

The full medical resources of the division, and from other units, did all that was possible for the living. Some would be fed like infants and live to relate their experiences. Others, according to health officers, were too far gone and indeed many did not survive the next several days. The very few walking skeletons able to stand wandered about dazedly in the now familiar striped uniforms, bodies shrunken, white faces blood drained reaching for the hand of their liberators as they shed their tears. Battle-hardened men of the 104th wept too.

Town residents and officials claimed ignorance of what was transpiring so close at hand. Whether this was true or not never will be known but skepticism was the prevailing opinion among us. Able bodied male citizens were not plentiful, but enough were rounded up for the distasteful work that had to be done. Mass graves were dug on the city outskirts. Bodies were carried by hand to the burial sites and laid side by side with little dignity. Viewing each individual corpse one could not escape thinking that each recently was a living human that died a personal death, that each had a family somewhere that forever would wonder as to the fate of their loved one never to be seen again.

The emotional impact was heavy on all who were witness to these incidents but considerably more so on this writer. As an American of Armenian ancestry I have been brought up, as have all first and second generation Americans of similar background, on the eye witnessed horror stories of an even more sanguine genocide in Turkey three decades earlier. Massacre was the word here, knives and bullets for the males, desert death marches, hunger and rape for the women and children. A million or more Armenian lives were destroyed at the whim of those who ruled the old Turkish Ottoman Empire. Staring at the human debris on the ground awaiting burial I asked myself, "Is this what is meant by genocide? Was this also the fate of the grandparents, uncles and aunts I had never known?"

Time dulls the impact of events. There are those that now maintain Hitler's holocaust never occurred. Would that it were possible to take the doubters by the hand back through the years and point out the tragedy of this minor concentration camp! Sobered and drained each of us eventually left the area, in the words of a poet, "a sadder but wiser man."

But this day, April 12, 1945 was not over. Fate had yet another shock for the men of the 104th, one more jolt to senses. The British Broadcasting Company had for some time made its London facilities available for transmission of news and entertainment from the states for the benefit of military personnel in England and those on the continent who had access to radios and the time to listen. Recorded music of the vocalists and big bands of that era and the comedy routines were effective morale boosters, a refreshing taste of home to service men thousands of miles away.

But the familiar lively tunes of Goodman, Basie, the Andrews Sisters and Sinatra were not to be heard this evening. The somber music heard instead was interrupted by the announcement destined to be repeated over and over again for the rest of the night. "Franklin Delano Roosevelt, thirty-second president of The United States, died today of cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia."


Nordhausen, Germany

Ragene Farris

329th Medical Battalion

With the 104th Infantry Timberwolf Division, somewhere in Germany, April 12, 1945.

The combat-wise Timberwolf Medics of the 329th Medical Battalion were called upon to spearhead a new type of medical task recently in Nordhausen, Germany. Falling before air, armor and infantry onslaught, this Nazi stronghold proved to be a nest of atrocity stories. The medics of the 3rd Armored Division notified the Timberwolves on April 11, 1945, that they had over-run a Nazi concentration camp. Lying yet among the dead were reported a few living "beings", and with quick medical attention some could be saved. The following two days will never be forgotten by the 329th Medical Battalion men as they performed a job which was fantastic and unbelievable to an American soldier; a job distasteful and sobering; a job created by the fanatical, inhuman Nazi machine.

Every man available from the combat functions of the Medical collecting and clearing stations, Company's A, B, C and D, plus some Headquarters personnel, were called into service. Going immediately to the scene, the Timberwolf Medics found a square of bomb-scarred buildings, reminiscent of a large college campus, which until six weeks previously had housed the motor shops of German SS troopers. Upon entry, litters in hand, the men say rows of bodies stretched out the length of the large concrete floored room. Grotesquely still; evident that they had hung tenaciously to a last breath of life, drawn from a starved, flesh-less body, these prison-marked men lay in an indescribable symbol of death. The initial shock of beastiality, the inhumane cruelty of this deed, did not register with the men. Their job was to evacuate the living; to hospitalize and nourish; to bring men, women, and children back to the realm of human decency.

EVACUATION

In hastily formed litter teams, the Medics found the first patient the hardest. In many cases the living had been too weak to move the dead from their sides. One hunched-drawn French boy was huddled up against a dead comrade, as if to keep warm, having no mental concept that the friend had died, and unable to move his limbs. He and the others were starving in a terrible inconceivable way lying on concrete floors too weak to get up. There was in every room indescribable human filth: a nauseating odor. In their prison garments of stripped coats, huddled in rags or old dirty blankets, it was like reaching into another world apart, to bring these shadow-men from their environment onto a litter and into a clean American ambulance.

Shortly after the evacuation had begun, several hundred German civilians were brought in from the streets to assist. These were the people who had lived in unconcern as thousands of people had been driven as slaves, then left to die. Each Medic learned several German words: "schnell" (hurry) and "tempo" (the same - hurry) and with a mixture of emotion soon had a fast-moving litter line going from building, shell and bomb craters, cellars, etc., wherever the patients were found to be yet alive. For seven hours with truck and ambulance, drivers carried away load after load of these shadow-men, taking them to hospital facilities, set up by other Timberwolf Medics (section hospitalization). Litters carrying men of every disease and condition, continued to flow into a central evacuation point. Every soldier was finding different aspects of atrocity and horror to report. There was a stair-case behind which was piled about 75 cadavers, piled like cord-wood. There was a pile of smelly moldy potatoes, with a pitch-fork. From it, it was evident that a prison guard had thrown this rotten "food" into a caldron for soup for the prisoners. To have eaten it would have been impossible, seemingly! A near-by bank was literally covered with the bodies of those who had tried to escape, machine-gunned by the guards. Living were crowded into bomb craters unable to remove themselves from the dead. Bodies were strewn in the yards, gangrened, torn from the American bombs; yet the bombers had not given them any fear, because starvation had called first. One French soldier, overjoyed by the sight of his rescuers, froze into a military salute, too weak to talk, yet able to pay his tribute to the Americans. The salute was returned!

One French political prisoner, robust in health compared to the others, (he had been there only a few days) indicated that seven men received one loaf of hard bread each week. The men who could not walk to work in the mornings were beaten, left to starve. Stark reality proved this. Lash marks yet visible on the dried-up bodies. A "walking patient" weak but cheerful said, "You don't know how funny it is to us to see you Americans - so healthy - so full of life." His body had been eaten away. He had been a Parisian businessman before the war, connected with the Citrion motor-car industry. He had worked for three years as a slave in Germany. I was fluent in French from my language at Fordham University in the A.S.T.P. prior to joining the 104th Infantry Division. A French captain of France's famous St. Cyr (a military academy of world fame) lay in a doorway where his last steps had taken him. He looks to be an old man of 75; he was actually 45. In true spirit he wanted to kiss his benefactors on both cheeks. To him, the Nazi's had shown special forms of brutality, yet through his pain he showed a remarkable spirit of self-discipline and control.

Various Timberwolf Medics could speak Polish, German and French. With linguistic barriers down, the Medics learned first-hand the horrible truth of a Nazi starvation-slaughter pen. They learned that over the blood of millions of slaves, the Germans had built their war machine. As they drove their political prisoners in a double purpose, they worked them until useless and then used them as gun-fodder in the battle of population according to the ruthless race policies of annihilation. This camp was of our experience only, and was but a remnant of a larger camp. It was only a temporary death-house, where laborer-prisoners were left to die. An unverified story told of the Nazi ruse to attract American bombers by purposive carelessness in black-outs, in order to blot out a nasty scene by bombing.

The final score of evacuated patients was well over 700. Fifteen patients died enroute to the hospital area. Three hundred patients were so eaten away by malnutrition that their bodies will never respond to treatment or regain health again. Lying in the camp area were 2,800 bodies. These told in stark reality things which even the camera could not capture. The minds of "men of civilized experiences" could not encompass or grasp the complete significance. The Medics had done their job with the living. Chaplin Mussell, Division Chaplain, had said a special mass, a memorial service. Chaplain Steinbeck, our 329th Medical Battalion chaplain, who speaks German, had been busy all day in a dozen tasks, all toward the assistance of these men and women, and even children who had paid the price in Hitler's plan to dominate, subjugate, and eliminate. It was only left to prepare graves and to bury the dead.

Using the same German labor the following day, 2,800 men, women and children were afforded a decent grave. This concentration camp was no more; but its emotional imprint will never leave the men who helped to erase it.


Nordhausen Remembrance

Hayden Bower

Company K, 413th Infantry Regiment

On April 11, 1945 the 413th. Infantry of the 104th Timberwolf Division was following the 3rd. Armored Division in a drive to Nordhausen, Southeast of the Hartz Mountains. We had to form roadblocks to seal off the roads on the South side of the Hartz. The 9th Army was advancing along the northern part of the Hartz Mts. as the 415th was clearing up the Nordhausen area where they found a large German Labor Concentration camp for political prisoners who were used as laborers in the factories in the interior of the Hartz Mts.

Here we discovered 5,000 corpses among the 6,000 inmates in various stages of decay. Corpses were scattered throughout the grounds and buildings, all appearing to be half starved, mere skeletons wrapped in skin. Most of the bodies lay where they had fallen, while others were placed in stack, like cords of wood. We found some living among the dead or dying. There were stacks of arms and legs here and there.

All medical personnel from all over the Division were rushed to the camp to give medical aid, and they said that though they had dealt with combat killed and wounded they had never seen anything like this. The Germans S.S. guards had fled and the local Germans said they didn't know of the camp's existence because they said it wasn't healthy to know or try to find out anything about that camp or the Gestapo would see them shot or put in camp with the prisoners. The Division ordered the Burgomeister of Nordhausen to furnish German men to carry out and bury the dead. All the male citizens were ordered to the camp and they worked for several days, collecting corpses which were put into mass graves they dug on a hill near the camp. The men had to carry the corpses through the town to the graves so the civilians would see them.

On first entering the camp, me personal reaction was of shock to see these skeletons with their huge eyes and outstretched claw-like hands as they begged for food in French and German. I did not understand either language well, but I knew they wanted food. I gave some my "K" ration, consisting of a tin can of pork sausage and crackers with cheese. We didn't know that this was the worst thing we could have done, as their stomachs couldn't handle such food. The medics took over and cooked them watered down soup, called Shadow Soup, which was about what the Germans were feeding them when we arrived, until they increased in strength enough to be able to handle regular food. We learned we had innocently killed some by giving them our rations. We were unprepared for such a horrible situation. My first physical and emotional reaction was to the smell of filth of the prisoners and their camp. The dead and decaying stench was overpowering and I had to run out of the gate and throw-up, then I returned.

One reason given for so many corpses lying around was that this was intended to be only a work camp and they could only bury 100 bodies a day. They just couldn't keep up with the numbers who died.

The camp was inside a barbed wire fence and was laid out like a college campus with two story buildings. It had previously been a Luftwaffe motor pool with shops. These poor men who were thrown into the camp were rejects from the V-l and V-2 plant in the Hartz Mts. factory, run by Dr. Messerschmidt. If they failed to work fast enough, even though they were starving from lack of rations, around a 1,000 calories per day that they were given, (our American Soldiers were fed 3,000 to 4,000 calories perday) they were thrown into trucks and were sent back to camp to stave to death. If however, they caused trouble or tried to escape, they were shot then and there by the Shutz Staffel Guards at the factory.

Our medics, plus Army and Corps Medical units, including hospital personnel, came up to help and they worked for days trying to save the living skeletons in their striped prisoner garb. Our Senior Division Chaplain, Col. Steinbeck, spoke German and so we could force more civilians to help the medics. A prisoner who spoke French to an aid man said that there were a number of people still alive in building #3009. On arriving there they found a 17 year old girl on the floor, naked and with gangrenous legs. Some others said they had been in Paris just six months ago and had been arrested right on the street and transported to this camp, without a trial or a chance to reach their families. One had been a Captain from France's famous St. Cyr Military academy when he was arrested by the S.S. Gestapo in the streets and shipped out to the forced labor camp. The majority were not Jews, but political prisoners in this camp. The German effort needed laborers so they just rounded up the number of people they were told to send in the conquered nations; Dutch, Belgians, French, and Southeast Europeans.

The American ambulances formed a steady stream, taking the living out the hospitals in the rear. They say one example stuck with them. A prisoner who was too weak to walk, but who slowly saluted them with tears running down his cheeks to return the first gesture of an act of kindness he had in ages. Some others had only been in the camp for three months, but still, after having been beaten and starved until they could no longer work, were left to die.

The factory, located two miles Northwest, was completely underground. Trains and trucks could drive right into the place that was two miles long and connected with 48 side tunnels where the work was done. 25,000 Slave laborers toiled here for months on end, building the V-l and V-2 bombs. The S.S. ran the factory with German criminals as straw bosses. The slightest suspicion of sabotage resulted in being shot. When we seized the factory it was still operable, even though it had been damaged by bombing. They were also producing the new German Jet engines that were in various stages of completion. Later the Higher Command and the news media arrived to see and cover the story for the whole world to see and hear about this example of man's inhumanity to their fellow man. On seeing this scene many a hardened combat soldier could not help but shed a tear. I left there to get back to my unit and we left the area, but I never could erase this horror from my memory.


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