One American’s View of Ohrdruf

Thomas HollingsworthI’ve been contacted by a veteran who was part of the discovery of these camps. His name is Thomas Hollingsworth. That’s him at the left. Here is a series of comments that he has e-mailed me about what he saw.

I was there. 282 FABN . I was told that the prisoners were marched out of camp to work and back. The people in town had to know. These pictures are still vivid in my mind even though I had 9 months of combat and seen much, it sickened me also. I can even still smell the stench. I was told that the Germans tried desperately to hide the identities of many of the prisoners. That is why they were burned on the tracks and thrown into the swamp to rot.

I under stand that there is a museum at Ohrdruf. We were there for about 3 months in Suhl before the Russian’s took over. From there we went to Le Havre as SP’S and help process troop’s home plus guarding the docks.

The 282 was probably the best trained unit in the army. Our cadre was New York national guard and I think we broke every record held in our field tests by a wide margin. The whole time in Camp Rucker was like Advanced Basic. We cross trained in all the different jobs until we were proficient in all. Our greatest gripe was they took all the best food home and left us scraps. Like chicken backs and necks and etc.

German prisoners murdered at Ohrdruf

BIPPA EA 61491 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. U.S. Signal Corps Photo ETO-HQ-45-30885 SERVICED BY LONDON OWI TO LIST B CERTIFIED AS PASSED BY SHAEF CENSOR The number “11097′ has been stamped in blue ink on the back of the photo. Beside the number is a set of initials in red pencil. Lcr, or Fcr, perhaps.

The 35 at the main gate had their pants down to the ankles and had one bullet through the side of the neck. Someone covered them up for the picture. The 32 that were at the side of the ovens were beaten to death. The speculation at the time was the estimated 2000 that were in the swamp and the ones on the tracks being burned were probably allies. The idea was to destroy their identity.

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