*Photo changed as it was pointed out to me that the original photo was from Mauthhausen and not Dachau.
Well, the answer could be an understandable yes. The shooting and beatings of members of the SS at camps like Dachau and Buchenwald can never be condoned, but they can be understood when put in some sort of historical context. The Allied soldiers had fought a bitter battle with German soldiers for just under a year. US soldiers especially had been shocked and angered by the murder of captured US men near the village of Malmedy just a few months before by SS soldiers. Not only that, but rumors of German atrocities appeared to be confirmed as the battle weary men arrived at the concentration camps.
Control was gone after the sights we saw…
states Mr Wear’s source.
Indeed. That is why the likes of “a machine gunner from M Company nicknamed “Birdeye” ” totally lost control and fired his machine gun into the prisoners before he was physically grappled to the ground by his own men. It is also the reason why many US soldiers looked on and did nothing as the former prisoners were allowed take their revenge on their former guards.
At Bergen-Belsen, British troops on arrival at Belsen reacted in a similar fashion to their US counterparts. The sights at Bergen-Belsen were horrific.
Edit: although no German SS prisoner was shot by British soldiers, in those first days in which the camp was liberated, the SS prisoners were given starvation rations and were forced to handle the bodies of the mass of dead without gloves. The general expectation was that the men would be worked to death. As it was, of the 50 SS men captured, 20 did die of typhus.
See “After Daybreak”, Ben Shephard, p 54, Kindle edition.
Not only that, but the German troops who were allowed to leave as part of the cease fire agreement before the British entered the camp made the point of destroying the camp water system before they left. Anyone left behind could not expect a hand shake, the offer of a cigarette and a hearty “For you Fritz, the war is over…”
Mr Wear, of course tries to fool the reader with his…”the Nazis couldn’t help the conditions in the camps” denier myth. Let us see what he writes:
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
Well, no historian has claimed that conditions at the end of the war in concentration camps withing Germany were part of the Final Solution of the Jewish question. Most Jews who were murdered as part of the Final Solution had been murdered and their bodies disposed of in Poland and the USSR well before the US and British troops had entered Germany. It is important to remember that those Jews gassed, shot, worked to death, starved, hanged etc, were murdered well away from the German borders.
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.
Other natural causes? forcing prisoners to travel in the middle of winter from outside Germany into already over crowded concentration camps where they were allowed to starve and rot was NOT a natural cause. Neither was disease if caused by starvation and a complete lack of care. As it was, between 1933 and 1945, the numbers of prisoners who died as part of the concentration camp system was 600,000.
Most of these did not die of “natural causes”.
None of the autopsy reports show that anyone died of poison gas.
Perhaps Mr Wear might like to tell us why there should be? No mass gassings of Jews in Germany Mr Wear; they all took place in Poland and the occupied areas of the USSR. Any gassings in Germany took place either as small experimental gassings or as gassings as part of T4 which took place before and during the early months of the war.
Also, contrary to publicized claims, no researcher has been able to document a German policy of extermination through starvation in the German camps.
Well I can’t think of any historian who has claimed there was a document that deliberately asked for the extermination of prisoners in the concentration camps in 1945. There are however documents written in 1941 that deliberately state that millions of people in the USSR should starve to death in order to feed German soldiers and the German people.
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
Ah…so the mass deaths in concentration camps at the end of the war is the fault of the Allies?!
Of course not Mr Wear. The only places where food was an issue was in the concentration camps. There was lots of food in the nearby villages, towns and cities. If transportation was such a problem, how did the Nazis manage to transport the thousands of prisoners from camps in the east to camps in Germany? Disease was only a problem in the camps. In March 1945 the ICRC had no problems getting its supplies around Germany. Norwegian prisoners transferred to the preferential enclosure at Neuengamme concentration camp benefited from “decent food, adequate conditions and medical care”. Others at the camp were taken away to other camps where many died or were left to die in another part of the camp.
See “KL” by Nikolaus Wachsmann. p 574
Prisoners died in the concentration camps in 1945 because the Nazis allowed them to do so or the Nazis created the conditions that allowed them to die.