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Members of the 97th Infantry Division, investigating war crimes, examin an exhumed body of a concentration camp prisoners who were killed by the SS while on a death march from Flossenbuerg.

Photograph | Photograph Number: 64161

Members of the 97th Infantry Division, investigating war crimes, examin an exhumed body of a concentration camp prisoners who were killed by the SS while on a death march from Flossenbuerg.

The original caption reads "This is the body of one of the slave laborers killed during Death March from Flossenburg Concentration Camp near Weiden, Germany. Many prisoners moved from Flossenburg to another camp as Allies advanced. Those unable to march were shot and beaten, although suffering from malnutrition, by brutal SS guards. Some bodies were exhumed during the investigation by Military Government of 97th Division, U.S. third Army."

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
1945 May 01
Photo Credit
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Ilona Shechter
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Record last modified: 2010-03-24 00:00:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1151934