JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 273
This picture Generals Eisenhower and Patton pretty much says it
all--I'm not a scholar or expert on these two men, but I cannot recall
seeing any photos of them with a look of utter seething repulsion. (Eisenhower would say that it was important for him to bear witness himself to all of the horrors of the camp so that there would be absolutely no question in the interpretation as to what went on there.) This detail is taken from the photo on the front cover of the 28 April 1945 issue of The Illustrated London News. The caption: "The usually genial General Eisenhower shows by his grim aspect his horror of German brutality: the macabre scene of victims murdered by S.S. guards at Ohdfruf camp". There are six more pages of photos inside this issue; describing the horrors of the "torture camps" (nowhere in this issue is the word "Holocaust" employed, though there is one mention of Buchenwald being a "concentration camp". The pictures are from Nordhausen, Belsen, Buchenwald and Langenstein, and for the record are brutal. There is an Amry movie of this scene available at youtube HERE. (It is quite graphic.) Ohrdrup, a "sub-camp" of Buchenwald, was the first camp to be liberated by the Allies in which there were survivors, and the first camp to be liberated by the U.S. Army ( 4th Armored Division and the 89th Infantry Division, U.S. Third Army).
There were 11,600 or so people in Ohrdruf as late as the beginning of April, when the vast majority death-marched to Buchenwald, with those to weak or ill to make the march to death in Buchenwald were killed right there.
Eisenhower related his experience at the camp to George Marshall, as follows: ". . .the most interesting--although horrible--sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha [Ohrdruf]. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to 'propaganda'.
General George S. Patton described it as "one of the most appalling sights that I have ever seen." He recorded in his diary that In a shed . . . was a pile of about 40 completely naked human bodies in the last stages of emaciation. These bodies were lightly sprinkled with lime, not for the purposes of destroying them, but for the purpose of removing the stench. When the shed was full--I presume its capacity to be about 200, the bodies were taken to a pit a mile from the camp where they were buried. The inmates claimed that 3,000 men, who had been either shot in the head or who had died of starvation, had been so buried since the 1st of January. When we began to approach with our troops, the Germans thought it expedient to remove the evidence of their crime. Therefore, they had some of the slaves exhume the bodies and place them on a mammoth griddle composed of 60-centimeter railway tracks laid on brick foundations. They poured pitch on the bodies and then built a fire of pinewood and coal under them. They were not very successful in their operations because there was a pile of human bones, skulls, charred torsos on or under the griddle which must have accounted for many hundreds."
An interesting and very moving account of two of the inmates at the concentration camp being liberated is found HERE.