Re: Another WWII tribute photos & history
OHRDRUF - FIRST LIBERATED CONCENTRATION CAMP
The unit was given two days rest before moving to the town of Ohrdruf about 8 miles east of Freiedrichroda on April 10. There, they spent one day at the labor camp that was 1 of 174 subcamps of Buchenwald concentration camp, located outside of Weimar (about 32 miles ENE of Ohrdruf).
1000 workers were originally assigned to the labor camp; by January 1945 only 200 of the original 1000 remained. Prisoners were worked to death or were shipped back to Buchenwald for extermination when they became too weak to work. Those that died were shipped to Buchewald for cremation. By late March 1945, the camp population was about 10,000; 6,000 were Jews, most of the others were Yugoslav POWs. As the U.S. VIII Corps approached, those able to walk were force marched the 32 miles to Buchenwald; hundreds were too weak and were shot on the way. A few escaped and a few were rescued when Buchenwald was liberated. Those too weak to make the march (less than 100) were shot and left with about 800 bodies of those that recently died before the march and the Nazis had not been able to ship to Buchenwald for cremation due to disruptions in the railroad by advancing U.S. forces. These bodies were stacked in sheds and sprinkled with lime. A few were attempted to be cremated in a makeshift pyre. In one of the barracks a few survivors were found
The camp was discovered and liberated April 4 by elements of the Four Armored and the 355th and 354th (sister units to the 353rd) divisions of the 89th Infantry. When Gen. Eisenhower visited the site, he ordered all units not on the front line to go to Ohrdruf and see “so he will know what he is fighting against.” He had it filmed so it would be recorded for the future so no one can say it was an exaggeration or propaganda.
The next entry contains disturbing photos Grand Daddy took at Ohrdruf.