Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
- Advanced Placement European
The 42nd Division at the Jourhaus
In his testimony to the assistant inspector general, Linden said: "I moved in with my guards into [the military part of the camp], and I found the inmates - having seen the American uniform of my guards there, and those of the 45th Division - approaching the main stockade [i.e. the Jourhaus and the western side of the prisoner enclosure] from the east, had stormed to the fence in riotous joy. This seething mass increased in intensity until the surge against the steel barbed wire fence was such that it broke in several places, and inmates poured out into the roadway between the fence and the moat. In this process, several were electrocuted on the charged fence.
The shooting began some minutes after Tech. 3rd Grade Henry J. Wells, the interpreter accompanying the 42nd's party, proceeded to the tower and fired a burst at the door with his .45 caliber M-3 "grease gun."
When the firing stopped, seven SS guards lay dead on the bank of the Wurm River canal. If the count of 16 Germans rousted from the tower is correct, the bodies of nine other guards fell into the canal and were washed downstream, for only seven bodies were accounted for in the inspector general's report. Linden's men then apparently withdrew from the Tower B and the Jourhaus and returned to the main gate.
On his was to the jourhaus, Sparks saw prisoners streaming from their barracks by the thousands and reaching toward the wire that enclosed them. "Walking along the canal almost to the Jourhaus, I saw a large number of naked bodies stretched out along the ends of the barracks," Sparks recalled. "I estimated there were about 200 bodies there. I also spotted quite a few of my men at the Jourhaus. About this time, the camp erupted. The prisoners came out of the barracks shouting and screaming."
Thousands of inmates dashed to the wire enclosure, emitting an unearthly howl - a howl of rage at what had befallen them, and a howl of joy at their redemption.
Sparks said: "I told Karl Mann, my interpreter, to yell at them and tell them that we couldn't let them out, but that food and medicine would be arriving soon. Then I saw bodies flying through the air, with the prisoners tearing at them with their hands. I had Karl ask what was going on. The prisoners told him that they were killing the informers among them. They actually tore them to pieces with their bare hands. This went on for about five minutes until they wore themselves out. I had Karl tell them to send their leaders to the fence, where I told them to keep calm, that medicine and food would be coming soon. This seemed to settle them down."
Sparks replied that his orders prohibited anyone but his men from entering the camp.
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| Colorado History | American Government | Advanced Placement Modern European History | Rise of Nation State England | World History |
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