Arbeit macht frei

“The vanguard of the 42nd Infantry Division arrived at the main gate to be welcomed by the infamous Arbeit Macht Frei signage and, a brigadier general recounted, ‘a yelling, seething mass of prisoners who broke through the steel wire fence at several places. . . . In this process several were electrocuted.’ Sixteen Germans were rousted from a guard tower near the Würm River canal. Witnesses subsequently disagreed on whether any resisted, but upon being disarmed and assembled in two ranks the men were gunned down by soldiers from both the 42nd and 45th Divisions. Seven bodies lay like bloody bundles on the canal bank, with others heaved into the water ‘amidst a roar unlike anything ever heard from human throats,’ an Associated Press reporter wrote. The rampage spent itself. Medics arrived, and grave diggers. ‘I haven’t the words to tell you how horrible it really is,’ an Army nurse wrote her husband.” – Rick Atkinson, The Guns at Last Light

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