The American Soldiers Who Lived In Hitler’s Concentration Camp Known As Berga

Conditions in Stalag IX-B were the worst of any POW camp, but they were recalled fondly by the Americans transferred to Berga, who discovered the main purpose for their imprisonment was to serve as slave laborers. Each day, the men trudged approximately two miles through the snow to a mountainside in which 17 mine shafts were dug 100 feet apart. There, under the direction of brutal civilian overseers, the Americans were required to help the Nazis build an underground armament factory.
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Holocaust deniers please take note, you are looking at imprisoned American soldiers alongside Jewish prisoners.

In 1944, more than 4,000 American GIs were imprisoned at Stalag IX-B at Bad Orb, approximately 30 miles northwest of Frankfurt-on-Main.

When we think of WWII and all those millions of people in Hitler’s concentration camps, we think of the American soldier as the liberators of these tortured people, and they certainly were. But in one camp known as Berga, over 4,000 American soldiers lived and died alongside European Jews as prisoners. Did you know that?

One day the commandant had prisoners assembled in a field. All Jews were ordered to take one step forward. Word ran through the ranks not to move. The non-Jews told their Jewish comrades they would stand with them. The commandant said the Jews would have until six the next morning to identify themselves. The prisoners were told, moreover, that any Jews in the barracks after 24 hours would be shot, as would anyone trying to hide or protect them.

American Jewish soldiers had to decide what to do. All had gone into battle with dog tags bearing an “H” for Hebrew. Some had disposed of their IDs when they were captured, others decided to do so after the commandant’s threat.

Approximately 130 Jews ultimately came forward. They were segregated and placed in a special barracks. Some 50 noncommissioned officers from the group were taken out of the camp, along with the non-Jewish NCOs.

The Germans had a quota of 350 for a special detail. All the remaining Jews were taken, along with prisoners considered troublemakers, those they thought were Jewish and others chosen at random. This group left Bad Orb on February 8. They were placed in trains under conditions similar to those faced by European Jews deported to concentration camps. Five days later, the POWs arrived in Berga, a quaint German town of 7,000 people on the Elster River, whose concentration camps appear on few World War II maps.

Conditions in Stalag IX-B were the worst of any POW camp, but they were recalled fondly by the Americans transferred to Berga, who discovered the main purpose for their imprisonment was to serve as slave laborers. Each day, the men trudged approximately two miles through the snow to a mountainside in which 17 mine shafts were dug 100 feet apart. There, under the direction of brutal civilian overseers, the Americans were required to help the Nazis build an underground armament factory.

The men worked in shafts as deep as 150 feet that were so dusty it was impossible to see more than a few feet in front of you. The Germans would blast the slate loose with dynamite and then, before the dust settled, the prisoners would go down to break up the rock so that it could be shoveled into mining cars.

The men did what they could to sustain each other. “You kept each other warm at night by huddling together,” said Daniel Steckler. “We maintained each other’s welfare by sharing body heat, by sharing the paper-thin blankets that were given to us, by sharing the soup, by sharing the bread, by sharing everything.”

“Surviving was all you thought about,” Winfield Rosenberg agreed. “You were so worn down you didn’t even think of all the death that was around you.” He said his faith sustained him. “I knew I’d go to heaven if I died, because I was already in hell.”

On April 4, 1945, the commandant received an order to evacuate Berga. This was but the end of a chapter of the Americans’ ordeal. The human skeletons who had survived found no cause to rejoice in this flight from hell. They were leaving friends behind and returning to the unknown.

Fewer than 300 men survived the 50 days they had spent in Berga. Over the next two-and-a-half weeks, before the survivors were liberated, at least 36 more GIs died on a march to avoid the approaching Allied armies. The fatality rate in Berga, including the march, was the highest of any camp where American POWs were held—nearly 20 percent—and the 70-73 men who were killed represented approximately six percent of all Americans who perished as POWs during World War II.

This was not the only case where American Jewish soldiers were segregated or otherwise mistreated, but it was the most dramatic. The U.S. Government never publicly acknowledged they were mistreated. In fact, one survivor was told he should go to a psychiatrist. Officials at the VA told him he had made up the whole story.

Two of the Nazis responsible for the murder and mistreatment of American soldiers were tried. They were found guilty and sentenced to hang, despite the fact that none of the survivors testified at the trial . Later, the case was reviewed and the verdicts upheld. Nevertheless, five years after being tried, the Chief of the War Crimes Branch unilaterally decided the evidence was insufficient to sustain the charges and commuted the sentences to time served — about six years. source

NTEB is run by end times author and editor-in-chief Geoffrey Grider. Geoffrey runs a successful web design company, and is a full-time minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to running NOW THE END BEGINS, he has a dynamic street preaching outreach and tract ministry team in Saint Augustine, FL.
  • Ben

    And now, Germany wants to commit suicide for their comeuppance.

    • GENSIS 12:3 HOLY-GOD SAID, ” I WILL BLESS THOSE WHO BLESS YOU–( ISREAL ) AND I WILL CURSE THOSE THOSE WHO CURSE YOU.”
      SAM

  • Chris

    This should unite our Jewish sisters and bothers that we as an American people should forever hold dear our bond to each other.

    So sad the German Officer Metz was allowed to be set free after only five years of imprisonment.
    Sounds familiar, enemies abroad are killing and maiming our troops and are allowed to be set free from places
    like GITMO.

    So many similarities happening today

  • Dianne

    This story is very sad and heartbreaking. Thank God that the Truth about this has been told. It may appear that they got away with little justice on this side of GLORY, but I believe with all of my heart that they did not in ETERNITY unless they repented before death.

    Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

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  • MRH

    What are camps?

    Hitler was appointed Chancellor on 30 January 1933. Immediately, the SA stepped up their campaign of violence and terror against the communists. They did this in order to increase their power and to reduce opposition.

    Hermann Goering, a leading Nazi, was appointed head of the police in Bavaria. He recruited 50,000 SA and SS members into the police in order to step up the campaign against the Nazis’ enemies.

    Across Germany the local police and SA and SS rounded up many thousands of communists, socialists, church leaders and anyone else who might criticise the Nazis. These prisoners were held in local prisons and police stations. There were so many prisoners that makeshift buildings were converted to house them.

    This system did not work – it was inefficient and not centrally run. The Nazis needed a new solution. They realised that they would have to establish large, purpose-built camps in order to hold these prisoners.

    As prisoners were physically concentrated in one place, the Nazis called these first camps ‘concentration camps’. Over the next 12 years, as they invaded and occupied lands all over Europe, the Nazis would build over 20,000 camps of various kinds. These included concentration camps, transit camps, forced labour or work camps and death camps.

    Types of camps

    On coming to power during 1933 the Nazis began to establish a network of camps. These were initially concentration camps due to the fact that they were used to concentrate enemies and certain groups of people in one place.

    Local SS and police forces set up these first camps. However, very soon the Nazi leadership began to develop a systematic and centrally controlled system of camps.

    Later, as the Nazi regime imposed their influence over countries they occupied, they developed a range of different types of camps. These were concentration camps, transit camps, forced-labour or work camps and extermination camps.

    http://www.theholocaustexplained.org/ks3/the-camps/#.VpB8f_krI2w

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