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Shine a light

“Prisoners cornered kapos and suspected informers, clubbing them with shovels. Howling inmates pursued remaining Waffen-SS troops, some of whom were masquerading in prison garb. ‘They tore the Germans apart by hand,’ a soldier reported. Rabbi Eichhorn, who arrived at Dachau that afternoon, wrote, ‘We stood aside and watched while these guards were beaten to death, beaten so badly that their bodies were ripped open. . . . We watched with less feeling than if a dog were being beaten.’ Inmates desecrated dead and dying Germans with sticks and rocks, crushing skulls and severing fingers. One guard’s ‘body was strewn all over the place,’ a witness reported, ‘arms out of sockets.’ After entering the compound, soldiers from I Company herded several dozen Germans against the eight-foot stucco wall of a coal yard where, without warning, a gunner manning a light machine gun on a tripod opened fire. Others joined in with carbines and a Browning Automatic Rifle. By the time an officer halted the fusillade, seventeen victims lay dead. A battalion surgeon refused to treat the SS wounded.” – Rick Atkinson, The Guns at Last Light

Published inRick AtkinsonThe Second World War

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