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During a compulsory tour of the Woebbelin concentration camp, German civilians view the bodies of former prisoners in one of the barracks.

Photograph | Photograph Number: 18047

During a compulsory tour of the Woebbelin concentration camp, German civilians view the bodies of former prisoners in one of the barracks.

The original Signal Corps caption reads, "NEW NAZI HORROR CAMP DISCOVERED. One of the worst Nazi concentration camps uncovered by Allied troops was liberated at Wobbelin, Germany, a small town five miles north of Ludwigslust and 90 miles northwest of Berlin. Soldiers of three Allied units -- the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division, the Eighth Infantry Division of the Ninth U.S. Army and airborne troops of the Second British Army -- entered the camp and found sick, starving inmates barely surviving under indescribable conditions of filth and squalor. They found hundreds of dead prisoners in one of the buildings while outside, in a yard, hundreds more were found hastily buried in huge pits. One mass grave contained 300 emaciated, disfigured corpses. The dead included Poles, Russians, Frenchmen, Belgians, Dutchmen and Germans, all of whom had been working as slave laborers for the Nazis.

It is estimated that at least 150 of the original 4,000 prisoners succumbed daily, mostly from starvation and savage treatment at the hands of Nazi SS troops who operated the camp. Some of the bodies found were burned almost beyond recognition and systematic torture of the inmates was revealed by the physical condition of most of the survivors. Military Government officers immediately ordered leading citizens of nearby Ludwigslust and other towns to march through the camp and witness the atrocities committed by representatives of the German Government. Most of the civilians disclaimed any knowledge of the camp's existence despite the fact that many of the prisoners worked in the area.

The local residents later were made to exhume the bodies from the mass graves at the camp and provide decent, respectable interment of all dead prisoners. Two hundred were buried in the public square of Ludwigslust May 7, 1945, and an equal number were buried in the garden of the highest Nazi official of Hagenow. Eighty more were laid to rest in the town of Schwerin.

BIPPA EA 66635

THIS PHOTO SHOWS: Citizens of Ludwigslust inspect the Wobbelin camp under order of the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division. A dead victim, still dressed in the Nazi convict garb, lies on the dirt floor of a building. U.S. Signal Corps Photo ETO-HQ-45526.

Jack Clemmer
1945 May 06
Woebbelin, [Mecklenburg] Germany
Photo Credit
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park
Record last modified: 2012-11-08 00:00:00
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