A speech by the late Mr. Charles Provan about the little-known Dachau Massacre committed by American forces during WWII. This event is sometimes referred to using the Orwellian term "Dachau liberation reprisals". This massacre resulted i...
A speech by the late Mr. Charles Provan about the little-known Dachau Massacre committed by American forces during WWII. This event is sometimes referred to using the Orwellian term "Dachau liberation reprisals". This massacre resulted in the death of between 35-50 innocent German SS soldiers. Some of these soldiers were physically dragged from beds in the camp hospital into the camp yard to be shot.
Lt. Col. Joseph Whitaker, the American Seventh Army's Assistant Inspector General, was ordered to investigate the Massacre after witnesses came forward testifying about the killings. He issued a report on June 8, 1945, which was called the "Investigation of Alleged Mistreatment of German Guards at Dachau" and is also known as "the I.G. Report". This report was misplaced but a copy was located by Mr. Provan in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. in 1991. The content of this speech is mainly derived from this report.
In late April 1945, a German train that was transporting prisoners from Buchenwald to Dachau was strafed by allied aircraft and somewhere between 1000-2000 prisoners who were inside the train at the time were killed. When the American Army arrived at the camp soon thereafter, they mistakenly believed that the German guards were responsible for the deaths of these prisoners and executed them without trial, despite the fact that they had surrendered and were entitled to claim prisoner of war (POW) status. The execution of POWs without trial is a war crime. Fortunately, an American officer intervened after hearing the initial volley of gunfire and saved the lives of many of the German soldiers stationed at the camp.
The American Army chose to court-martial the soldiers responsible for the massacre but Gen. George Patton dismissed the charges when he was appointed the military governor of Bavaria at the end of the war.