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One survivor of the Gardelegen atrocity accuses a fellow-prisoner of collaborating in the massacre.

Photograph | Photograph Number: 51042

One survivor of the Gardelegen atrocity accuses a fellow-prisoner of collaborating in the massacre.

Oriignal caption reads: "Edward Antoniak, 18, a wounded survivor, shows how he was lying in the barn and points an accusing finger at Kasimir Drygalski, 22, another slave worker Antoniak said went through the smoldering piles of victims and shot the still living. A U.S soldier (background) listens to Antoniak, who said that Drygalski spoke to victims and, if they answered, shot them. Antoniak, who feigned death when spoken to, said the Germans asked the slave workers if they were able to use a rifle. If the prisoners said they could-- apparently as a last chance to stay alive-- they were given the assignment of shooting their comrades or being shot themselves by Nazi troops. This may explain how Antoniak [sic] may have shot fellow prisoners.

When troops of the Ninth U.S. Army reached Gardelegen, Germany, they found the still-smoldering bodies of more than 1,000 political prisoners whom the Nazis had forced into a fuel-soaked barn and burned to death. A mass of human flesh was smoking when American troops arrived on the scene and discovered from fugitives of the concentration camp that the atrocity had been committed by German troops and Luftwaffe personnel from a nearby airfield. Residents of the town of Gardelegen, 27 miles northeast of Magdeburg, were immediately compelled by U.S. officers to disinter approximately 700 partially buried dead and to bury all the charred victims.

Date
April 1945
Photo Credit
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Joseph Eaton
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Record last modified: 2011-12-16 00:00:00
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/pa1173585