Chaplains of the
36th Infantry Division

by

Chaplain (Colonel) Herbert E. MacCombie
Division Chaplain


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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Copyright 2001 by Mary MacCombie Fietsam
Printed by Permission

 
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