Chaplains of the
36th Infantry Division
Chaplain (Colonel) Herbert E. MacCombie
The Concentration Camp At Landsberg
On April 26th we moved to
Kunzelau, Germany. On April 28th we moved to Schwabmunchen, Germany. On
April 30th I visited the German Concentration Camp at Landsberg.
It was at this camp that Hitler
had been confined after the failure of his Putsch in 1923. It was here he
wrote Mein Kampf. When he rose to power he turned the prison into a
concentration camp for his enemies.
In World War I we had been told
that the stories of German atrocities were mere propaganda. This time I
saw for myself. It was no propaganda.
As I came into the court yard I
saw a great pile of what appeared to be skeletons. On closer approach I
found that they were not skeletons, but the bodies of men and women who
had been literally starved to death.
In the building we found beds
in tiers, about five deep, one above the other. On many of the beds were
located the charred remains of prisoners. When they knew our troops were
arriving, the keepers of the prison set the building afire with the
prisoners still chained in their bunks.
I personally handled gold
wedding rings that had been stripped from the fingers of their victims. I
also saw the gold fillings that had been forced from their teeth. The
stench was terrible — worse than the cemetery at Vannulo.
It was a horror that will
remain with me forever. Nearby Germans said that they did not know what
had been going on. They must have lied. The stench of the place was
enough to arouse the suspicion of any normal human being.
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by Mary MacCombie Fietsam
Printed by Permission