We’ve discussed the liberation of Dachau at length in a recent thread. Allow me to uncover some facts from underneath the mountain of garbage the events in question are buried under:
1) During the liberation of the Dachau KZ, troops of the 45th and 42nd infantry divisions did engage in several unpremeditated, spontaneous shootings of SS troops during the liberation.
2) There are 3 main documented incidents
– the death train (5 SS men killed)
– the coal yard (17 SS men killed)
– Tower B (10-17 SS men killed)
3) In addition, there are several unconfirmed incidents in which single SS men were killed by US troops and KZ inmates BUT the total number of SS men killed during that day that I can determine, cross checking with multiple sources, is probably no more than 100. Note that my estimate is greater than Herbert Marcuse ("Legacies of Dachau" p52, estimates 40-50 SS killed) but is much less that Buechner’s specious 560.
4) The "560 SS troops" at Dachau is first mentioned in Nerin Gun’s 1966 book The Day of the Americans
. Andrew Mollo used this book and this number in his 1980 After the Battle
article about the liberation, which Buechner used in his 1986 book The Hour of the Avenger
5) Gun’s book however, is not 100% accurate. He claims that the camp was surrendered by a LSSAH "Lt. Skodzensky" (a man who doesn’t exist) and that a Sherman tank knocked out the gunfire from Tower B (there was no Sherman tank at the liberation) Gun writes on p.60 that "Skodzensky" claimed there were 560 garrison troops under his command. Virtually all accounts that use the "560" number come from this statement attributed to a non-existent SS officer. Gun’s book isn’t even consistent, for on page 66 he quotes the April 30 SHAEF report about the Dachau liberation which states that "300 SS camp guards were quickly neutralized"
6) The REAL SS officer who surrendered the camp was a guy named Wicker. Wicker (note: some English-language accounts spell the name as "Wickert") has often been described as a "Waffen-SS" officer who arrived from the "Eastern Front" on April 27th. In reality, Lt. Heinrich Wicker was a 24-year-old former member of SS-Totenkopf Standarte 1 (SSTK) who served with the SS-WVHA at KZ's Natzweiler-Struthof, Cochem, Mannheim-Sandhofen camps as well as Dachau. He also briefly attended the Bad Tölz officer's school in late 1944/early 1945. We’ve researched this guy’s bio, and have photos of him with General Linden’s party taken during the surrender.
7) The photos you posted are of the coal yard shooting, which happened immediately PRIOR to the US 157th IR troops reaching the protective custody compound. Lt. Col Felix Sparks physically STOPPED the shooting by kicking Pvt. Curtain (the GI on the ground with the .30 cal) in the back and firing his pistol in the air. According to the 7th Army report - Investigation of Alleged Mistreatment of German Guards at Dachau compiled by US Seventh Army Assistant Inspector General Lt. Col. Joseph Whitaker,in May 1945,, 17 SS out of circa 60 were killed in this incident. The remaining 40 SS troopers were hustled out of the coal yard and the wounded taken to the infirmary. We KNOW the exact number of death from the 7th IG report and we KNOW SS prisoners survived the coal yard shooting – one SS survivor’s (Hans Lindberger ) account of the shooting was printed Erich Kern’s 1968 work "Meineid gegen Deutschland", also printed in a 1988 Belgian W-SS veteran’s article, cited in Marcuse’s book "Legacies of Dachau" and posted on the internet at the Dachau scrapbook site at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/DachauScr ... erger.html
8) It is important to note that the SS troops forced into the coal yard were from the infirmary area outside of the protective custody compound. We have no evidence to indicate that these troops were under Wicker’s command, as Wicker was waiting for US troops at the protective custody compound’s main gate, the jourhaus.
9) We KNOW SS troops survived the liberation on April 29th. How do we know?
-- Because the Dachau International Prisoner’s Committee meeting notes for April 30, 1945 mentioned that SS prisoners will be turned over to "American military authorities as prisoners of war" (see p.450, Concentration Camp Dachau
published in 1978 by the Comité International de Dachau, ISBN 3-87490-528-4)
- Because Herbert Marcuse on p. 57 of his book Legacies of Dachau
writes about how between May 10th – 14th 1945, the 130 surviving SS troops were used on garbage collection duty, and footnotes the reference with FIVE source documents – the IPC meeting notes for May 9th, the May 11th issue of the inmates newspaper Der Antifaschist
, Smith’s book "The Harrowing of Hell", a July 22 Voice of America broadcast and an article in the August 3rd, 1945 edition of the Washington Evening Star
- Because Dr. Marcus J, Smith with the US Displaced Persons Team 115, wrote a book about his experiences rehabilitating the KZ inmates at Dachau called The Harrowing of Hell
(University of New Mexico Press, 1972) He mentions SS troops as prisoners multiple times in his book (see p. 120, 132, 157, 158, 172) and specifically cites that they are being housed in the bunker at the southern end of the protective custody compound.
10) We don’t have a clear understanding of how many SS troops were present at the Dachau KZ complex (both the KZ and the troop training ground) on April 29th. Gun guestimated 560 troops guarding the KZ; Red Cross Representative Victor Maurer estimated "a company" (See p 14. In Dachau: 29 April 1945
- estimated by Swiss Cross Representative Victor Maurer (with SS Lt. Wickert present) according the official report by Brig. Gen. Henning Linden, Assistant Commander, US 42nd Infantry Division). A company is 100-150 men. The April 30th SHEAF report mentions 300 SS men. Virtually all accounts of the liberation concur that most of the SS troops at Dachau had abandoned their posts the previous evening, many changing into civilian clothing and escaping into the countryside. We will probably never know how many SS men were at Dachau on April 29th, other than circa 100 were killed and circa 130 were captured.
11) We also don’t have a clear understanding as to what units the SS troops at Dachau on 29th April were from. We do know that Wicker wasn’t a "frontline Waffen-SS" man but was a member of the WVHA and the KZ staff. We do know Lindberger was from the Dachau Troop Training Ground walking wounded replacement company. We do have evidence that at least one of the SS men killed on April 29th was a member of the KZ staff and not a Waffen-SS" trooper (see the KZ collartab and photo that I posted on the last 6-page Dachau thread) We do know that Gun claimed "Skodzensky" was from the LSSAH division, and that other accounts claim the SS troops killed that day were
a) western European,
b) Hungarian volksdeutsche
c)5th SS division
d) 11th SS division,
e) 17th SS division
but in over a year of searching I’ve never been able to find any conclusive proof that the SS troops at Dachau guarding the KZ were from a front line W-SS unit. We have claims that certain cuff titles, edelweiss patches, and cammo uniforms "prove" that they troops were W-SS, but as to attributing them to a specific unit, we have nothing to date.
12) I mention all this to prove that Buechner’s book, so dear to Holocaust deniers and Revisionists like Ernst Zundel, contains multiples of errors and caveats over the alleged massacre of 560 SS troops. Here’s some specific examples from Hour of the Avenger
- p23 Buechner railed against the "error" that journalists Marguerite Higgins and Peter Furst, travelling with General Linden’s group from the 42nd Infantry Division, were first to enter the KZ. But Higgins and Furst were MOST DEFINITELY among the first US troops to liberate the KZ – we know this from her dispatch, the official reports from the 42nd, the photographs taken during the liberation (which show her standing next to Wicker) and books like Flint Whitlock’s history of the 45th ID, "The Rock of Anzio" Buechner’s attempted to "prove" that the 45th ID liberated the KZ first, but he got his facts wrong.
- P20: Buechner mentioned the 157th SS regiment as "they never met their American counterparts in battle" – you bet they didn’t – no 157th SS Regiment ever existed.
- Beuchner’s book claims "Chief" Jack Bushyhead killed 346 surrendered SS men – even provides a convenient diagram of the execution scene – which happens to be the coal yard – the site of the aforementioned execution of 17 SS men. So apparently we have another massacre occuring at the same spot of a previous massacre, but somehow the 7th Army IG, which began investigating the illegal killings on May 1st, found the original 17 SS corpses in the coal yard but missed the additional 346
- Buechner goes on to describe the .30 cal on the ground, the BAR man etc. – he’s describing "Exhibit C" of the 7th Army’s war crimes report - the photo you posted, which shows the US servicemen tentatively identified in this photo are from left to right: Hammorski(?), Pvt. "Birdeye" Bryant (carrying .30-cal ammo), Cpt. Sedler (standing, glancing left) Pvt. Curtain, (kneeling), PFC John Lee (with BAR). Sparks was there – he stopped the shooting. Lt. Walsh was there, he got relieved of command. Lt. Bushyhead was there – he was later investigated by the 7th Army AG. Everyone else mentioned in the photo was investigated by the IG But Buechner definitely WASN"T THERE – he wasn’t among the first 157th IR troops to enter Dachau. He didn’t show up till 2 hours after the coal yard incident (see Rock of Anzio
p 389 and footnote 122) which took place at circa 1400 hours.
Buechner in Chapter IX of his book mentioned how he stopped at Spark’s command post prior to witnessing the massacre – but Sparks didn’t set up his command post till 1635 hours ("Rock of Anzio" p. 384)
- Buechner’s book directly CONTRADICTS his testimony taken on 5th May 1945 by the IGD Lt. Col. Joseph Whitaker. Go back to that Boston Globe URL and find the 7th Army IG Report on the mistreatment of SS PWS. Here’s the transcript of his testimony:
Date: 5 May 1945. By: Lt. Col. Joseph M. Whitaker, IGD,
Asst. Inspector General, Seventh Army.
The witness was sworn.
363 Q Please state your name, rank, serial number and organization.
A Howard E. Buchner, 1st Lieutenant, MC, 0-435481, 3rd Bn., 157th Infantry.
(The witness was advised of his rights under the 24th Article of War.)
364 Q Do you remember the taking of the Dachau Concentration Camp?
A Yes, sir.
365 Q Were you the surgeon of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry, at that time?
A Yes, sir.
366 Q Did you see or visit a yard by the power plant where some German soldiers had been shot?
A I did, sir.
367 Q Can you fix the hour at which you saw this?
A Not with certainty, but I would judge about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon.
368 Q Of what day?
A I can't give the exact date.
369 Q Describe to me what you saw when you visited this yard.
A We learned that one of our companies had gone through the camp and that it was something to see out there. So, we got on one of the peeps to visit there and we were detained for some time by the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry, because he didn't know whether the place had been cleared. When we got there we saw a quadrangular enclosure, there was a cement wall about ten feet high and inside this enclosure I saw 15 or 16 dead and wounded German soldiers lying along the wall.
370 Q Did you determine which were dead and which were wounded?
A I did not examine any of them, sir, but I saw several of them moving very slightly.
371 Q Did you make any examination to determine whether or not those who were not dead could be saved?
A I did not.
372 Q Was there any guard there?
A There was a soldier standing at the entrance of this yard whom I assumed to be a guard.
373 Q Do you know the soldier or what company he was from?
A No, sir.
374 Q Do you know whether or not any medical attention was called for these wounded German soldiers?
A I do not.
That’s why Buechner was investigated and recommended for courts martial – he saw the original 17 bodies, some apparently not quite dead, and refused to treat them.
Even Buechners’s account of the "346 massacre" in Chapter IX of his book contains disclaimers. He claims that two .30 cal machine guns killed the 346 SS men, but then states
Even though the use of two machine guns have been referred to by several others, I have never been able to confirm the presence of the machine gun on the roof
Note that Lt. Bushyhead was the man supposedly manning this machine gun which may or may not have existed.
Buechner goes on to describe how Lt. Robert Kimsey peeked over the coal yard wall (the wall between Kimsey and the SS troops getting massacred – a rather outrageous thing for a combat veteran to peek his head into the line of fire of 2 machine guns, but whatever) and they says on p. 88
Although his memory of the length of the wall and the number of slain SS guards differ from mine…
—Aw Jeez, Howie, is that so!?!
- Buechner’s diagram of the wall is suspicious longer than the photos taken by T-4 Mussert indicate. If you want I can draw a diagram to illustrate.
- Buechner’s slain SS tally is an attempt to match Nerin Gun’s number of 560. He takes an estimate of 12 SS guards killed at the coal yard (which he claims were killed by "Birdeye") adds 122 "shot on the spot" (a number taken from Michael Seltzer’s book "Deliverance Day" – a book which is heavily fictionalized and overestimates the number killed at the original coal yard shooting) and then invents the "346" massacre and rounds up with 80 more KIA, by inmates, etc. to get the magic number 560.Buechner makes a point to say that all the SS guards were killed, but this is clearly incorrect, as my points above illustrate. And we can see how the number of SS dead increased through the years through sloppy research.
Tangential to the Dachau story, but perhaps an indication of the historical accuracy of Buechner’s research, is Buechner’s other book "SECRETS OF THE HOLY LANCE"
"One of the most incredible books on lost treasure, secret societies, ancient relics and WWII ever written. Taking up where The Spear of Destiny by Trevor Ravenscroft leaves off, this book relates that the Holy Lance was secretly taken to a base in Antarctica, while a replica was returned to the Vienna Museum. A book packed with strange information on Nazi bases in Antarctica, Himmler and
the SS, U-boats carrying important Nazis to South America and Hitler's secret treasure."
I am still uncertain as to why Buechner wrote his book – a book which so slanders his comrade Bushyhead "The Avenger" and his division, which frankly, despite the regrettable illegal killings, did a pretty wonderful thing for humanity by liberating Dachau. 100 SS guards were killed and 32,000 people were released from Nazi slavery. It’s too bad that some people want the former to overshadow the significance of the latter.
When a Palestinian finds his family slaughtered by the jewish 'defense' force, and when he loses it it is terrorist. But when an American officer in chare, named Buchyhead (indian decent and a left-winger anti-German) kills together with his murdering comrades 560 unarmed SS men, well that’s just wonderful: Don’t mind! They just 'could not handled the stress'.
This has nothing to do with WWII history but speaks volumes about your passions and worldview about current events.
It's depressing to see.