The International Campaign for Real History
What really went on at the Nazi concentration camp, Dachau, before (and after) April 1945?


gastight shower door at Dachau

Photo: Gastight shower door at Dachau camp [from Irving collection]

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The Nature of the Controversy

On April 16, 1989 ABK circulated this opinion about the "Allied Shootings at Dachau".


Gentlemen: Today during break I found a book at Barnes & Noble which has just been published, entitled, "The Rock of Anzio: The 45th Infantry Division in World War II" by Flint Whitlock.

German civilians and American officers view bodies of twenty typhus dead

Photo: German civilians and American officers view bodies of twenty typhus dead found at a German concentration camp in 1945. [From Irving Collection].

In the final chapter of the book the author describes the liberation of Dachau in great detail, relying mostly on the testimonies of veterans, but from which copious extracts have been taken. There is however an important primary source that is referenced, and I will return to this in a moment.

The text clarifies the American actions in that camp considerably, in my opinion.

Apparently, at one point, a number of Germans were lined up against a wall and told to stand there with their hands up. Over time, they began to lower their hands. A soldier set up a machine gun, in order to guard them, and when the prisoners saw this they began to move, thinking they were about to be shot. At this point the machine gunner opened fire, numerous testimonies mention only a short burst, of this group about 17 were killed. Most of the rest of the group hit the ground, at the urging of an older German prisoner on the scene. Three remained standing, no doubt in shock. An officer or senior non-com saw all of this happening, and immediately went over and kicked the machine gunner in the back, asking him what he was doing. The gunner looked up and was crying. This officer pulled out his pistol and fired several shots into the air, attempting to restore order.

This sequence of events sounds very plausible to me, and puts the well known photograph (reproduced in his book, "Nuremberg: The Last Battle") in a completely different context. However, for all that, there were several other shootings at the camp at the time of the liberation. Mr. Whitlock reveals that there were half a dozen recommendations for courts martial at the time (including Lieutenant Bushyhead), according to the IG report that Whitlock was apparently the first to locate.

This report now lies in Washington, I believe, and is referenced in footnote #123 to Chapter 11 (I might be slightly off on this reference).

Guards with Red cross Flag surrender at DachauPhoto: German Guards with Red Cross flag surrender at Dachau, shortly before being massacred [Irving collection].

Richard Widmann responded:

I STRONGLY recommend that you read "Dachau: The Hour of the Avenger" by Col. Howard A. Buechner Medical Corps A.U.S. Ret. on this topic.

According to that volume, "12 or 15 SS guards ... had been lined up and shot in front of a large machine shop." This account sounds close to the one that you quote above. However, there were numerous additional shootings of Dachau guards. Buechner documents 122 Killed on the spot, 40 Killed by camp inmates, 12 Machine gunned by "Birdeye", 346 Machine-gunned by Lt. Bushyhead. 520 is the total thus executed.

Note that this volume was written as a first hand account. In addition there was a television documentary detailing similar figures presented in this book. I think the suggestion that the German soldiers merely dropped to the ground is both false and naive. There is a later photograph of two inmates preparing to kill a fallen SS guard with a shovel. In the background one can see the rows of machine gunned guards. This is reproduced on p.114 of Buechner's book.

A less clear and differently cropped version of this photo appears on p. 178 of Arthur Butz's "Hoax." Interestingly the events on "liberation" day were captured on film. There is a 30 minute video which Bradley Smith was selling showing the machine gunning. I am not sure if Bradley is still offering this - it was titled, "Dachau: The Secret Footage." I do know that Fritz Berg has a copy of the video.

I suggest that, "The Rock of Anzio: The 45th Infantry Division in World War II" by Flint Whitlock sounds as if it is attempting to cover up this American atrocity.

© Focal Point 1999 FDISmall write to David Irving