Did General Patton Cover Up Allied Crimes Committed On German Concentration Camp Guards?

Almost all of the 560 German guards at Dachau were murdered by the end of the day. Most were a hastily assembled group of replacements for guards who had fled Dachau.

The horrific scenes encountered by U.S. and British troops when they entered German concentration camps at the end of World War II have been used to prove a German policy of extermination of the Jews. As gruesome as these scenes were, it was soon discovered that most of the deaths in the German camps were caused by disease and other natural causes. None of the autopsy reports show that anyone died of poison gas. Also, contrary to publicized claims, no researcher has been able to document a German policy of extermination through starvation in the German camps. The virtual collapse of Germany’s food, transport, and public health systems and the extreme overcrowding in the German camps at the end of the war led to the catastrophe the Allied troops encountered when they entered the camps.

Germany’s War p.383

Allied Crimes Committed Upon Liberation of German Concentration Camps

Dachau was liberated on April 29, 1945, by the I Company of the Third Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th (Thunderbird) Division, which was part of the Seventh Army of the United States.[1] Soldiers who liberated Dachau saw a trainload of dead bodies, horrific scenes of sick and dying prisoners, piles of dead bodies strewn around the camp, and smelled a stench in the air from the rotting dead corpses. A soldier writing home about what he had seen at Dachau wrote:

“No matter how terrible, revolting or horrible any newspaper reports are about Dachau; no matter how unreal or fantastic any pictures of it may seem, believe me, they can never half way tell the truth about this place. It is something I will never forget.”[2]

It was in this environment that American troops committed the mass murder of the German guards at Dachau. The German roll call morning report of April 29, 1945, stated that 560 German guards were stationed at Dachau on the day it was liberated by American troops. This figure of 560 was reported by Lt. Heinrich Skodzensky and a Swiss Red Cross official when they attempted to surrender the camp to American forces. Almost all of the 560 German guards at Dachau were murdered by the end of the day.[3]

About 10 SS guards managed to escape by disguising themselves as inmates. However, they were quickly discovered and either shot, beaten to death, or taken prisoner. Approximately another 10 soldiers at Dachau were shot in the guard towers while attempting to man machine guns. Along with perhaps 20 more guards who tried to resist or escape, they are the only guards who can be classified as killed in combat. All of the remaining 520 guards at Dachau were murdered in one way or another.[4]

Escaped or released inmates seeking revenge executed approximately 40 guards. The inmates used weapons obtained from American soldiers or taken from fallen SS troops to kill the German guards.[5] Jack Hallett, one of Dachau’s liberators, stated in regard to these executions:

“Control was gone after the sights we saw, and the men were deliberately wounding guards that were available and then turned them over to the prisoners and allowing them to take their revenge on them. And, in fact, you’ve seen the picture where one of the soldiers gave one of the inmates a bayonet and watched him behead the man. It was a pretty gory mess. A lot of the guards were shot in the legs so they couldn’t move….”[6]

Approximately another 122 German guards were shot on the spot by American forces. This number includes Lt. Skodzensky, the newly arrived Camp Commander who was stationed at Dachau while recovering from wounds sustained at the Russian front. Eventually the situation was brought under control and the 358 surviving guards were rounded up and herded into an enclosed area and placed under guard. However, a machine gunner from M Company nicknamed “Birdeye” lost control and used a .30 caliber machine gun to murder 12 more German soldiers. This left 346 surviving German guards at Dachau.[7]

American Lt. Jack Bushyhead was left in charge to guard the remaining German prisoners. Acting with what he believed to be compelling justification, Bushyhead lined up the remaining German guards along a high brick wall and disposed of them with bursts of machine gun fire. He then allowed three or four liberated inmates the satisfaction of completing the execution.

First Lt. Howard A. Buechner later asked Bushyhead why he had allowed the mass murder of the remaining German guards. Bushyhead, who was an American Indian, said that he and his ancestors had always known discrimination, persecution, and injustice without retribution. When in Dachau he saw death and atrocities far beyond human comprehension, he became an instrument of vengeance. Lt. Bushyhead claimed full responsibility for the murder of the German guards at Dachau.[8]

Lt. Bushyhead

Accusations were drawn up against at least four officers and five enlisted men for the murder of the German guards at Dachau. Lt. Bushyhead was accused of violating the rules of the Geneva Convention, which protect prisoners of war regardless of atrocities they may have committed. The following is a report of how Gen. Patton handled the illegal American execution of the Dachau guards:

After a brief interchange, Patton ordered every officer, who had participated in the Dachau investigation to report to his office. He also demanded that they bring every document and photograph which they had collected. He then asked if they had placed every scrap of evidence in his hands. When assured that nothing had been withheld, he dumped all the papers into a metal wastebasket, asked for a cigarette lighter and personally applied the flame to the documents. The charges against Lieutenant Bushyhead had been dismissed. But, of greater importance, with this act, the written records of the executions at Dachau were stricken forever from the annals of military history. The incident would remain alive only in the minds of men, and here it was buried for more than 40 years. Officially, the hour of the Avenger had never occurred.[9]

dachauRosary
One of Lt. Bushyhead’s victims a German Guard who died with his Rosary in his hand. These replacement guards at Dachau were innocent of wrongdoing and should never have been murdered.

The court martial charges were dropped and all records of the mass murder of the German guards at Dachau were destroyed. Gen. Patton had decided that to pursue the matter further would have led to adverse publicity. One of the tragedies of this episode is that most of the German guards who were killed were a hastily assembled group of replacements for guards who had fled Dachau. These replacement guards at Dachau were innocent of wrongdoing and should never have been murdered.[10]

Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen

Similar to Dachau, the American troops who liberated Buchenwald saw horrific scenes of sick and dying prisoners with piles of dead bodies strewn around the camp. Following the takeover of Buchenwald by American troops on April 11, 1945, approximately 80 German guards and camp functionaries were murdered. Most of these deaths occurred when inmates brutally beat the Germans to death with the aid and encouragement of American soldiers.[11] Approximately 20 to 30 American soldiers took turns beating six young German guards to death.[12] Buchenwald inmates were also allowed to use American jeeps to drive to Weimar, where they looted and randomly killed German civilians.[13] None of the murdered German civilians at Weimar had been responsible for any crimes committed at the Buchenwald camp.

The British troops who liberated Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945, also lost no time mistreating the SS camp personnel. Most of the German guards were beaten with rifle butts, kicked, stabbed with bayonets, shot, or worked to death.[14] The British liberators in an act of revenge expelled the residents of the nearby town of Bergen, and then permitted the camp inmates to loot the houses and buildings. Much of the town of Bergen was set on fire.[15] As with the vandalized and murdered civilians at Weimar, none of the residents at Bergen were responsible for any crimes committed at the Bergen-Belsen camp.

British journalist Alan Moorehead described the treatment of some of the camp personnel at Bergen-Belsen shortly after the British takeover of the camp:

As we approached the cells of the SS guards, the [British] sergeant’s language became ferocious….The sergeant unbolted the first door and…strode into the cell, jabbing a metal spike in front of him. “Get up”, he shouted. “Get up. Get up, you dirty bastards.” There were half a dozen men lying or half lying on the floor. One or two were able to pull themselves erect at once. The man nearest me, his shirt and face splattered with blood, made two attempts before he got on to his knees and then gradually on to his feet. He stood with his arms stretched out in front of him, trembling violently.

“Come on. Get up” the sergeant shouted [in the next cell]. The man was lying in his blood on the floor, a massive figure with a heavy head and bedraggled beard…“Why don’t you kill me?” he whispered. “Why don’t you kill me? I can’t stand it anymore.” The same phrases dribbled out of his lips over and over again. “He’s been saying that all morning, the dirty bastard,” the sergeant said.[16]

As at Dachau, none of the Allied soldiers who committed atrocities at Buchenwald or Bergen-Belsen were ever punished for their crimes.

ENDNOTES

[1] Buechner, Howard A., Dachau: The Hour of the Avenger, Metairie, LA: Thunderbird Press, Inc., 1986, p. 29.

[2] Ibid., p. 5.

[3] Ibid., p. 96.

[4] Ibid., p. 97.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Abzug, Robert, Inside the Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985, p. 94.

[7] Buechner, Howard A., Dachau: The Hour of the Avenger, Metairie, LA: Thunderbird Press, Inc., 1986, pp. 98-99.

[8] Ibid., pp. 91-92, 106.

[9] Ibid., p. 119.

[10] Ibid., pp. 107, 120.

[11] Abzug, Robert, Inside the Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985, pp. 49, 52.

[12] Higgins, Marguerite, News Is a Singular Thing, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1955, p. 78f.

[13] Hilberg, Raul, The Destruction of European Jews, 3 vols., New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985, p. 987.

[14] Belgion, Montgomery, Victors Justice, Hinsdale, IL: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1949, pp. 80-81.

[15] “Bergen-Belsen,” Der Spiegel, Hamburg, Nov. 30, 1985, p. 71f.

[16] Moorehead, Alan, “Belsen”, in Cyril Connolly (ed.), The Golden Horizon, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1953, p. 105f.

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11 Responses

  1. larryzb says:

    Very sad.

    Perhaps the Allies were not so noble after all. We never hear of these atrocities on the phony cable TV networks that continually bombard viewers with programs (really propaganda) like Hitler and the Nazis, and Hitler – Evolution of Evil, etc.

    Another point here is that a so-called just war cannot be prosecuted by immoral means. Waging a just war does not give license to commit crimes. The Allied terror bombing campaign was a war crime per the definition of such at Nuremburg in the indictments against the defeated Germans. But, perhaps that is a question more for the moral philosopher than the historian.

    A final thought: this was the generation that has been called the “greatest generation” (of Americans) – they mindlessly followed FDR into war and committed terrible crimes.

  2. Myr says:

    That will give me nightmares… You don’t want to believe it, yet it happened. Makes me sick.

    • wearswar says:

      Dear Myr, please don’t have nightmares. You have already helped them by restoring their dignity in your new knowledge.

      • Myr says:

        It’s just easy to imagine how it felt to be one of those soldiers … to endure the conditions brought on by “allied” bombing and campaigns, thrown last minute into a horrible post, and then to be betrayed, tortured,and murdered by the “good guys”.

  3. WakeyWakey says:

    Considering how, since 1945 on, the German people have had their heroes obliterated as per the Cultural Marxist curriculum in its World Revolution, it would be an idea to have a short article once in a while on WEAR’S WAR publicising and honouring German heroes. One such honoured individual should be Von Lettow Vorbeck (unconquered hero of German East Africa in WWI). How many Germans have even heard of him. and those who have would they have the actual facts of his amazing feats?

    Another would be Otto Skorzeny (Order of the Knight’s Cross). I have his book but haven’t read it .

    The Red Baron? A third?

    Just an idea.

  4. Bob Bowen says:

    I tried to leave a comment, but I received a reject note that it couldn’t be posted, was it too long, or did I say something that the system did not like ?

    • wearswar says:

      Hi Bob, I cannot find the message you left in the spam, approval or other in-boxes. I did not reject you comment. I am not sure what happened, please re-comment or send via the contact form if you prefer.

      • Bob Bowen says:

        In my first attempt to comment, I did insert another website address link, I have noticed that some websites that I visit do not allow links to other websites, could that be why I was rejected ? When I tried to respond, the system did not recognize me, and that could be that I am chiripero2014 on Word Press and chiripero everywhere else.

        • wearswar says:

          Not sure. 2 links in a comment require approval as per my settings, but you are approved for comments and a link. I’m still learning the ropes so bear with us!

  5. WakeyWakey says:

    Fascinating audio interview with new info about the murder of General Patton, who and why and how – its all there (starts a few minutes in) http://eurofolkradio.com/2017/12/28/andrew-carrington-hitchcock-show-520-dr-peter-hammond-general-george-s-patton-assassinated/

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