GERMANS BURN 4,000 ALIVE IN SCHWABMUNCHEN HORROR CAMP
More than 4,000 slave laborers were burnt alive in their living quarters or were shot as they attempted to escape from the flames in Schwabmunchen, southwest of Munich, another Nazi horror camp uncovered by troops of the Seventh U.S. Army. The camp was discovered as the 12th Armored Division forged its way toward the Austrian border. As spearheads threatened the camp, the German guards found they could not get the prisoners away before the arrival of the advancing Americans. Rather than allow the internees to be liberated, the guards set fire to the crude huts in which the prisoners slept, burning them to death or shooting any who tried to escape. The laborers were all Jews of various nationalities. These photos were taken April 28th, 1945, shortly after the camp was discovered.
Information about Schwabmunchen was hard to come by because it is no longer known by that name. History knows it as Kaufering IV, or Hurlach, a sub camp of Dachau.
Pulitzer prize winner Louis Lochner wrote about the camp’s liberation.
Johann Baptist Eichelsdorfer, the Commandant of Schwabmunchen/Kaufering IV was captured by American troops. Colonel Seiller forced him to stand amid the bodies of his victims for this photo. Eichelsdorfer was tried at Nuremberg for Violation of the Laws and Usages of War.
Nearly 4,000 Jews from various parts of Europe were killed at Concentration Camp No. 4 which is located only a few miles from the jail cell where Adolf Hitler wrote his “Mein Kampf.”
Only yesterday the few that could still walk were dragged only by the fleeing Nazi overlords.
Today I saw scores of charred bodies, hundred of naked virtual skeletons, lying the ground with unforgettable grimaces of extreme pain. I also saw and smelled the filthy hovels where they were herded until the fleeing SS guards set fire to them, burning several hundred Jews alive.
Some 250 Germans, including ministers, priests, farmers, businessmen and common laborers from the surrounding country, were brought to the camp today on the orders of Colonel Edward F. Seiller, of Louisville, KY, head of the 12th Armored Division’s military government section.
DIGGING MASS GRAVES
German civilians were digging mass graves.
Standing amidst the burnt, tortured, wound-gashed corpses, Seiller asked the Germans to remove their hats in tribute to men who “like yourselves could see, feel, hear, smell and taste like other humans but who were coldly and inhumanely murdered.”
Seiller said, “You may say that you weren’t personally responsible for all this, but remember you stood for the government which perpetrated atrocities like these.”
Colonel Seiller seized a heavy set, stocky, bullet-headed man whose shaven head was smeared with iodine and stood him amidst the gruesome corpses and said, “I now produce for you the man who was commandant of this vile camp. Here’s the man who was chiefly responsible for the tortures you see here with your own eyes which were inflicted on the unfortunates lying here.”
The grave diggers angrily cried, “Throw the wretch down here, we’ll finish and bury him.” From among the 250 German visitors came shouts of “swine, beast, criminal.” Some spat.
MOST OF THE HOVELS BURNED DOWN
Colonel Seiller next conducted the Germans over the concentration camp compound. Most of the hovels had been burned down by the retreating Gestapo but enough remained to give a graphic picture of the filthy, stench-reeking conditions under which the inmates lived.
It was evident from an examination of the bodies that those who managed to crawl out of the burning hovels and escape being burned alive had been killed on emerging. Many of the corpses were in a crawling posture with wounds both from guns and blunt weapons.
Beyond the compound along the edge of the forest about a quarter of a mile from the last watch tower, scores of bodies lay like stacked lumber. Beyond them were half-finished trenches, evidently the Nazis themselves had intended to remove these telltale corpses before the Americans arrived. “The German civilians were ordered to carry these bodies to the mass graves.”
Johann Baptist Eichelsdorfer, the court in closed session, at least two thirds of the members present at the time the vote was taken, concurring, sentences you to death by hanging at such time and place as higher authority may direct.
He was hung May 29, 1946.