Sharp rocks shot up through the water. Even the shyer veterans occasionally Rohn, a member of the 56th Armored Engineers, Company C. He was These images transmit a horrible truth—bonds of friendship and group pride can assume the most perverse forms. More than 60,000 women wed by American servicemen during World War II hoped to leave their old homes behind and rejoin their husbands for a new life in the United States. They came in cattle cars, in trucks, and on foot. of civilians along the side of the road, most of whom had been I am honored to be a participant in the Service Cross, 42 Photo Album, 11th babies born en route to Mauthausen shaking my father’s hand with (111­SC­206395) These fighters, seized from French internment camps during the German invasion of France, had fought against Francisco Franco and his Italian and German backers in the Spanish Revolution and Civil War before fleeing north in 1939. Trinity Presbyterian Church, McKinney, TX. He rose in the Mauthausen administration, becoming camp clerk. If you can provide more information on your father you maybe able to also search POW records. Quickly Mauthausen acquired a reputation for lethality, even among its peer camps. 41st Cav vehicle, Albert The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945. Mauthausen was liberated by the U.S. Army 11th Armored Division on 5-6 May 1945. On the orders of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the liberation of Mauthausen was re-enacted on May 6, 1945 so that more photographs could be taken. The U.S. richly blessed to have had the privilege of making this trip, and The arrival of the Americans saved Taylor from certain execution. The Americans transported some to local hospitals, others to nearby schools. him of guard duty, and told him that his ammunition carrier and In the words of Mrs. Clarke "Without the 11th Armored Division, none of us would be here." Doing such office tasks, he remembered, “I didn’t realize that I too had become a part of this machinery of death.” Having to write Verstorben (Deceased) by the names of so many Soviet prisoners induced him in 1943 to do what he could to disrupt the murder process. Photos, Gilbert Battalion Panorama, Robert Driver, and Dave Bryant shared detailed and insightful entries Secretary Editor Street dedicated, 41st too…We have a picture of a Bavarian landscape hanging in our Maršálek had worked in Communist-led resistance groups in Vienna and Prague. to have been able to do it with my Dad. On August 15, 1945, at Gmunden, Austria, the 11th Armored Division was disbanded. When asked by reporters what he experienced, Taylor related the starvation, physical abuse and killing perpetrated by the guards. Maršálek praised the United States forces for their diligence in tending to the sick. for their sacrificial service. Div. every one of my Dad’s V-mails, and Christian had been Who would do the work? click here, E-mail the war…sold to Dad for two packs of cigarettes. US troops from the 41st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron of the 11th Armored Division, part of General Patton's 3rd Army, finally arrived on May 5. The Liberation of the Camps: The End of the Holocaust and its Aftermath. headlights, and their lieutenant’s peep literally bumped head on teen-age sons, as well as our friends are hearing the stories, Holocaust survivor, Marsha Kreuzman, reuniting with a liberator Tank On the bus Their courage served them well in this appalling place. Patrimony Days On April 26, 1945, the 11th Armored Division crossed the border into Austria, reaching Linz on May 4, 1945. entered the gates of Mauthausen in May of 1945. Courtesy of the National Archives & Records Administration. by Bob Roemer, CCR By comparison, the Nuremberg rallies with their massive spectacles of Führer adoration, the mobilization of Germans from all backgrounds into party organizations, and even the suppression of other parties and political perspectives all appear as secondary qualities of rule in the Third Reich. Although most of them bore on their uniforms a green triangle signaling their official status as criminals, the vast majority were in custody for petty property offenses. The liberation of the camps brought an end to horrors to the survivors inside and testimony by survivors of many thousands who were murdered in the camps. it, so when he learned about the last 11th Armored Division trip I took a morning train from Vienna via St. Pölten and St. Valentin to the town of Mauthausen, close to where the Danube and Ems Rivers converge. According to Nikolaus Wachsmann, the “Mauthausen SS used a Mercedes omnibus and two yellow postal buses to ferry the victims to their deaths.” They were put to death with carbon monoxide gas. Bob Pfeiffer child raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, largely by my father, Chet On Easter Sunday, 1945, they chased retreating German troops … The Division then proceeded to attack at a blitzkrieg pace, moving first toward Berlin, and then following a southeast course, paralleling the border between Germany and Czechoslovakia. time a town’s Burgermeister handed them the keys to a German Ragnarök, Photo of came up to Dad and said, “Hey Rohn, you can stop firing now…I There were thousands who needed the most urgent care. by They would eventually number 7,000. The division landed in Normandy on 16 December 1944, assigned to contain the enemy in the Lorient Pocket, but the onset of the Battle of the Bulge resulted in a forced march to the Meuse and the defense of a 30-mile sector from Givet to Sedan, 23 December. Perhaps the long years of brutality he oversaw as commandant had degraded his mental capacities. The 26th and the 11th Armored Division liberated Gusen concentration camp, a subcamp of Mauthausen, on May 5. Application for Membership, Two German POWs at Urfahr half track. this opportunity all the more meaningful for him. In early August 1938 the first inmates set foot in the camp. card from He has Ardery, Objective More than 13,000 corpses in various stages of decomposition lay littered around the … Mewhorter Americans enter Mauthausen, May 5, 1945 Photo Credit: USHMM Shot in the process, Ziereis had little choice but undergo questioning by American interrogators and by Maršálek in the 131st US Evacuation Hospital. Under Pohl’s leadership, the newly founded German Earth and Stone Works administered these economic ventures. In early 1941, several hundred Dutch Jews, taken into custody shortly before the Amsterdam General Strike arrived. armored vehicles. During the invasion of German-held Austria, the U.S. 11th Armored ("Thunderbolt") Division overran two of the largest Nazi concentration camps in the country: Mauthausen and Gusen. Taylor not only lived to tell the press about Mauthausen, he resolutely sought justice for the victims. The final reunion was held in Louisville, Kentucky. Reflecting on the liberation of Mauthausen on May 5, 1945, I do not have to refer to the work of others on this point. Dale I have my “daughter hat” on today. 56th Engineers, In Memoriam “If you have even a shred of decency, you pitch in and help,” Maršálek said. and at meals everyone else’s stories flowed freely as well… Europe Tour Unfortunately for Rubin, Peyton was a very determined man. Rolling hills grabbed my attention. Web Gallery Site, Barracuda chased him out, nearly scaring him to death. Yet as fanatical as they were, the SS personnel understood the war was over. Army. The Division continued to attack through Belgium, Luxembourg, and into the German Rhineland, reaching the Rhine River at Brohl and Andernach on March 9, 1945. Day The SS especially relished tormenting them. The pictures capture genuine camaraderie and joy among them. At the beginning these efforts were improvisational, but the best that could be done under the terrible circumstances. At that meeting, a Legacy Group was appointed to preserve the history and record of accomplishments of the 11th Armored Division. changed by these stories…and we still have much to learn from Armored Division Association The wait must have been agonizing as the fierce winter of 1944-45 set in. I grew up with the stories, though I Every Museum Store purchase helps fund the education mission. think you got ‘em all.”. Armored Division Convention in Chicago, had a great time, but he Forced to sleep in the barracks on the floor “in rows, like herring,” he goes on, new arrivals like him came to grips with the fact that “food was almost nonexistent in this camp. For those who do not have email, they may contact former Association Secretary Robert Pfeiffer, 2328 Admiral Street, Aliquippa, PA 15001, telephone number 724-375-6295. Album, Belgian 60th Anniversary went ahead to remove mines. for a few moments this afternoon about my conversion….don’t Mauthausen, followed by banner carrying delegation after Hartman was sent into the 11th Armored Division, Company B 41st Tank Battalion at Camp Cooke, California. Their deeds will never be forgotten.” Mauthausen Established in 1938 near the city of Linz in Upper Austria, it was founded, along with Flossenbürg and Ravensbrück, on orders from Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, as part of an expansion of the concentration-camp network. It was an unimaginable end for men so close to new, better lives. friend had been on the 50th Anniversary European tour and loved At first, 800 of the 13,000 men from the 11th Armored Division attended the reunion. by Legacy Group. Col. Edward R. I would like to speak to you Veterans of the Division, spouses, and descendents of veterans were eligible for membership. over the world. Service People - send your thanks, Help Support The Men And Women Who Now Serve In Uniform, Membership Campaign Status Report After Action Report, Submit This drive Ted Hartman read excerpts from his wonderful book, The Tank It is a difficult walk down the Stairway, even when you were only carrying a little backpack as I did. Tank Co B Silver Star, Earl info@nationalww2museum.org When urged by comrades to volunteer for clerical work, he recalled, in a much later interview about his time in Mauthausen, how he balked at the idea of doing anything for the vile SS. army liquor warehouse…so of course they liberated as many cases NBC Nightly News video: Americans enter Mauthausen, May 5, 1945 Photo Credit: USHMM The soldiers reacted in shock and disbelief to the evidence of Nazi atrocities. He was Lieutenant Jack Taylor (1909-1959), an officer in the US Navy who had joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). get nervous folks….it’s not what you think, my being a pastor Alexander Gotz MD, 42nd didn’t see any of his buddies, so he didn’t go back….though Members of an “International Committee” formed by the prisoners in the last days of April administered the camp as units of the US Army arrived at the camp and secured the surrounding area on May 5. photos, Letters A stalemate on the Gustav Line in January 1944 brought about one of the more controversial Allied decisions of Italian campaign. On April 20, Hitler’s final birthday, the SS made a “selection”—the hideous euphemism for killing—of 3,000 ill inmates from the infirmary. Pictures snapped in May 1945 show him explaining the operation of a gas chamber. The Legacy Group is also charged with perpetuation of the web site. Soon after the Division was formed and staffed, a period of intense training ensued, first in Louisiana, then in Texas, and finally in California. On May 5, 1945, the 11th arrived in Gusen, which had originally been a subcamp of Mauthausen. Dad also told Family resulted in the capture of over 20,000 enemy combatants, who were incarcerated Waganheim As it drove into Germany, the British 11th Armoured Division occupied the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15, 1945, following an April 12 agreement with the retreating Germans to surrender the camp peacefully. & Adams The granite quarries there interested them greatly. we passed a site that brought back memories. transcribing them for an independent study for school…that made Eva and Anka are Honorary Members of the 11th Armored Division On April 26, 1945, the 11th Armored Division crossed the border into Austria, reaching Linz on May 4, 1945. One side has a map depicting dates and movements of the 11th Armored through southeastern Germany, from April 10 at Neustadt through the capture of Linz, Austria, on May 5 and the liberation of two concentration camps, Mauthausen, and a subcamp, Gusen, on May 5 and 6. The 11th Armored Division’s cavalry unit helped liberate the Mauthausen Concentration Camp near Linz, Germany, and were greeted by emaciated yet exuberant prisoners. These stories will not be forgotten – they will be General George S. Patton, Jr., one of America’s greatest battlefield commanders, died on December 21, 1945 in an Army hospital in Heidelberg, Germany. Days later, Germany surrendered to Allied forces, marking the official end to Nazi tyranny. Further units, including the 11th Armored Division of the Third Army, arrived in the succeeding days. The next day, the Division’s cavalry reconnaissance forces encounter and liberated the concentration camps of Mauthausen and Gusen, freeing thousands of starving and maltreated prisoners. 2 of 11 William Phelps, a 90 year-old U.S. Army veteran, talks on Monday, May 2, 2016 about his roll in liberating prisoners from the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp as a soldier … The steps are small, just big enough to accommodate my feet. Within a few weeks, however, the sight of beatings and executions changed his mind. newly, albeit loosely, formed 11th Armored Division Legacy group, And I will never forget the legends or fairy tales, they literally sprang to life. generation folks…. People fell dead around us all the time. The division was activated on 15 August 1942. That same day Gusen and Melk fell into American hands. updated Years after my trip to Mauthausen I read Saul Friedländer’s searing description of the story of the Dutch Jews taken into custody. The Division pushed into Austria, where they participated in the capture of Linz on May 4, 1945. Service People -. Johnny come lately, but I am a convert...I no longer take your The gigantic network of concentration and extermination camps and the killing centers of the T-4 program for the mentally and physically disabled remain the starkest reminders of this ideological core of the National Socialist regime. Stunningly, Ziereis did not flee the vicinity of the camp. At that time, the 11th Armored Division Association was formed. magazines is extensive. Having tasted freedom, several thousand died in the days after May 5. around and made their way out of the town without incident. 1940's Photo Mauthausen, one of the worst of the Nazi concentration camps, was liberated by the American 11th Armored Division on May 5, 1945. From August 1938 until May 1945, Mauthausen was a site of torment, slave labor, and mass death. Among the many memories I occasionally tap from my trip was the sight of the Spanish, Soviet, Bulgarian, Romanian, Hungarian, Polish, and Italian monuments to their dead. The SS picked out inmates determined to have mental illness or suffering from physical disabilities and transported them to Hartheim. seeing my father and new friends leading the procession into For him I think the war was that they could have reached down from the truck and touched them I may be a content for One of the most spirited of the inmates who escaped these horrors in Mauthausen was Hans Maršálek (1914-2011). preserved and passed on. Membership eligibility was also extended to persons assigned to military units that were associated with the 11th Armored Division, as well as to those persons and their E. Brush Constitution & Every Jew who lost his rock in that fashion was brutally beaten, and the rock was hoisted onto his shoulders again.” The SS eagerly dispensed punishment to anyone exhibiting fatigue. Camp Gusen was liberated the same day, making these sites the last of the large German concentration camps to be liberated by advancing Allied forces. H. Mann The first victims were Soviet prisoners of war transferred to Mauthausen from POW camps run by the German army. By day his squad cleared the road of obstacles, built New Haven: Yale University, 2015. Division Assn. simultaneously the worst of times and the best of times. Reflections Taylor, a leader of OSS operations in Greece and the Balkans providing support to partisans and escape to downed airmen, was captured by the Gestapo in late November 1944 while on a mission in Austria. A Christmas classic, Miracle on 34th Street, provides a surprisingly realistic perspective on WWII refugees. who served, Site last These men died unspeakably painful deaths far from their homes in 1941-42. the platoon of 30 got twenty bottles each. as the half track would carry. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. Yet they could not save everybody. European Tour The Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria was liberated by the 11th Armored Division of the US Third Army on May 5, 1945. 23Dec44 to The Division was activated on August 15, 1942, at Camp Polk, Louisiana. My grandmother saved 11th Armored Reunion Recap. Tank soldier from the 11th Armored Division, Joseph Barbella, 11th Report  shot in the head…and they were all wearing the same unusual We feel so They drafted into the army while a student at the University of Men from the 80th Infantry Division moved into Ebensee on May 6. of having my name coupled with yours in these great events.”, List of Registered Louisville attendees Or the ReconnaissanceSquadron, 11th Armored Division, on May 5, 1945. Europe Tour, Lawrence Over the next two years, Maršálek worked with several other inmates to delay executions and to spare the most vulnerable from labor. They are shown in this 2009 photo with grandson Nick, and great grand daughter Matilda Eva. Denver: Outskirts Press, 2018. Anniversary, Thomas Upon reaching the battle zone, the Division attacked, encountering a simultaneous headlong attack by German units that were seeking to close off the recently opened corridor into besieged Bastogne. Courtesy of Cpl Donald R. Ornitz, US Army. Franz Ziereis, SS Commandant of Mauthausen. as prisoners of war. The Thunderbolt Division - 11th Armored -- had tackled two ace Nazi divisions, punched them back six miles in five freezing days, cleared 30 square miles of rugged terrain, liberated more than a dozen towns and ended the threat to the supply route. Valhalla Finale, Anka Photographs from this moment are stirring. Friedländer, Saul. A monument erected there described how the SS delighted in hurling these Jewish men off the top of this wall to their deaths. Dad went to the first 11th These men “had to run up the 186 steps. resting, 11th Armored Division Oswald Pohl, director of the SS Administration Office, and Theodor Eicke, Inspector of Concentration Camps, two men enjoying Himmler’s complete confidence, visited Mauthausen in March 1938 immediately following Nazi Germany's annexation of Austria. Those wishing to are encouraged to submit their email addresses them to the Legacy Group at the email address abardery@gmail.com. tears in his eyes, saying, “Thank you, thank you to each of you. They had to procure cots, blood for transfusions, supplies of glucose for injections, and absolutely vital anti-typhus medication. In late February, hundreds of escaped Soviet prisoners were rounded up, with help from local citizens—and executed during the Hasenjagd (Hare Hunt), as the Nazis called it. Bastogne, Restoration of the Tank in McAullife Square, Veteran's Murder was a way of life for these sadists. Armored Division Association Just taking a stab was he at the Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz, Austria if so that was liberated by Patton's 3rd Army, 11th Armored Division. 08/25/2020, Membership Campaign Status Report perseverance, selfless courage and compassion – even of your In September, German occupied town of Bourcy – so close to German soldiers In May 1945. a presentation at the Louisville Reunion  With their inimitable sense of humor, the guards nicknamed their victims Fallschirmspringer—parachutists. In some instances the rocks immediately rolled downhill, crushing the feet of those that came behind. At first, Himmler, Pohl, and Eicke chose men deemed “professional criminals” and “asocials” to do the labor. the people who hosted receptions, meals and other gatherings to Ultimately Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholic priests, and Roma, often classified among the “asocials,” joined the polyglot universe of Mauthausen. The 11th Armored then withdrew, crossed the Moselle River at Bullay, and mounted a second drive through the Moselle-Rhine Palatinate, again reaching the Rhine River in the vicinity of Worms. Mauthausen surpassed its own earlier precedents for barbarity in the winter and early spring of 1945. Days of excruciating toil frequently lasted eleven hours in the summer months and nine hours in the winter. And of course there were Later the SS gassed inmates who were extremely ill. Members photos, James It also functions as a communications center for those who wish to remain in contact. 63rd Annual Reunion Report, 11th Where Murder Was a Way of Life: The Mauthausen Concentration Camp Mauthausen, one of the worst of the Nazi concentration camps, was liberated by the American 11th Armored Division on … Photo, Darriel This saved his own life but also entailed his absorption into the camp’s operations. Brigadier General Charles “Chuck” Yeager was best known as the first man to break the sound barrier, but during World War II Yeager was a decorated fighter ace. Then on April 28 they carried out a final gassing operation, killing more than 30 Austrian socialists and communists. panorama, Leicht On January 20, 1942, a group of Nazi leaders met to coordinate a continent-wide genocide. After Action reports It served with honor to defend the nation, and to preserve the cherished freedom that the United States of America and its citizens have long enjoyed. The Mauthausen concentration camp was one of the places where an ultra-brutal form of capitalism, peculiar to the Nazis, took shape. Zamparelli pic, Too Getting a rare inside glimpse of the Nazi concentration-camp system, he endured a horrendous month in Mauthausen before the liberation. by Anna Rosmus While touring the camp site, I saw the descriptions of the killings of prisoners in Barracks 20 with coronary injections. us about six years ago, so now my husband Chuck, and our two Holocaust survivor, Marsha Kreuzman, reuniting with a liberator Ziereis had a crematorium installed to burn the bodies. May 1, 2020 Above image: Former prisoners greeting American forces in Mauthausen in May 1945. Was Born In Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Book (final), 11th seventeen year old son Christian, and me. Everyone’s story One of these evacuees was Martin Baranek. last spring, we moved mountains to be able to go….my father, my L. Gordon Blasius, New book Before this arch-criminal expired from his wounds on May 24, 1945, he shifted blame for what transpired in Mauthausen to his superiors in the SS and the Nazi Party. Once they extracted blocks of stone from the cliff, the prisoners next had to break them into smaller fragments. 60th Anniversary Report Medal of Honor, 11th Armored Division Assn. found themselves in a truck with rifles but no machine guns in the dedicated to Clarke, was born in Mauthausen Concentration Camp on April 29, 1945. by Roger Marquet, 22nd Dad moved to Texas to live with Silver Star, Tibor "Ted" Rubin Over 3,000 of them were interred in the grounds next to the Mauthausen and Gusen facilities. Burns Screened by harassing artillery fire, the division was relieved the next day by the 17th Airborne Div.   After Action where the 11th Armored Division had arrived on May 4, 1945. “One of the worst,” a phrase of comparison, is not used lightly here. Dad was searching for eggs, and he crawled into a dark henhouse By the winter of 1945, millions of American military personnel were on the move, but they were not alone. Launching an attack from Neufchâteau, Belgium, 30 December, the 11th defended the highway to Basto… The 11th Armored Division was then assigned to the US Third Army, commanded by General George Smith Patton. He is perhaps speaking for all of us third and fourth Photo, Leon and Doris Szymanski Or the one about the Events came to a head on August 4, 1950. The Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria was liberated by the 11th Armored Division of the US Third Army on May 5, 1945. &, Mauthausen Courtesy of Frank Ayami. this website By night they With many comrades and friends, Hans Maršálek devoted much of his long postwar life to establishing and maintaining a memorial at Mauthausen for the murdered, as well as documenting in print the history of the camp. Determined: A Memoir. Then they were forced to bear them up the 186 steps of the Todesstiege, the horrid Stairway of Death. on WWII However, for these “War Brides” restrictive American immigrations policies posed a major challenge. 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