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Members of the 97th Infantry Division, investigating war crimes, force a German civilian to exhume the body of a concentration camp prisoner who was shot by the SS and buried on the side of the road while on a death march from Flossenbuerg concentration camp.

Photograph | Photograph Number: 77026

Members of the 97th Infantry Division, investigating war crimes, force a German civilian to exhume the body of a concentration camp prisoner who was shot by the SS and buried on the side of the road while on a death march from Flossenbuerg concentration camp.

By the beginning of April 1945, Allied forces were closing in on the Flossenbuerg concentration camp, which was situated 20 kilometers NE of Weiden, approximately five kilometers from the Czech border. Several other concentration camps had already evacuated many of their prisoners to Flossenbuerg earlier in the year, including Buchenwald and Auschwitz, so that by the beginning of May the camp and its satellites were overflowing with almost 52,000 prisoners. Now, because the area was also about to be liberated, a series of evacuation transports was sent southwest by train in the direction of Dachau. Allied planes already active in the area had successfully destroyed a number of rail lines and locomotives, effectively delaying many of the transports, or forcing them to take alternate routes. A number of the trains laden with prisoners were even fired on while in transit, accidentally killing prisoners. Eventually, most of the prisoners were forced to continue their journey on foot because of the destruction to the German rail system. During these “death marches,” numerous prisoners were killed by the SS for lagging behind or stumbling. When ammunition ran short after several days of marching, the slower and weaker prisoners were beaten to death rather than shot. Some of the bodies were buried by prisoners who were kept at the back of the group for exactly this purpose. Others were just left on the side of the road.

Date
May 1945
Photo Credit
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Arnold Bauer Barach
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Record last modified: 2000-01-06 00:00:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa11091