A U.S. Soldier’s Testimony
“I, personally, was the first Allied soldier to enter the city square of Witten, a large city on the Ruhr River. I led a patrol through the city, and incidentally, passed a slave camp that occupied the entire city square. Behind the barbed wire of that camp were French, Dutch, Belgian, Polish, Czech and Soviet prisoners; most were prisoners of war; some were people that had been dragooned into slavery. They worked in the local mills and mines. I found, personally, I saw personally, the effects of the German intent to destroy peoples by starvation, exhaustion and disease. The prisoners were segregated by nationality. The French, Dutch, etc. were the best off, the Soviets the worst. The Soviets were reduced to cannibalism, I saw! I smelled it, all of A and B companies, 1st Battalion 289th Infantry Battalion saw it. This was the first such sight as we conquered Germany. It was far from the last. These were not concentration camps with gas chambers and ovens. In these slave camps people were systematically killed by starvation and disease. This camp held 6,000 people. A total of 30,000 had passed through it. The 24,000 had died during the years 1943, 1944 and one-half of 1945. This too was a death camp, one of thousands of such camps in Germany. I personally saw, as a front line soldier, at least 200 such camps large and small.
German is my third language. I spoke with many Germans, every one to whom I spoke acknowledged the existence of these death camps. At least one-third acknowledged the existence of the concentration camps, and the Einsatzgruppen, the murder squad which operated throughout Eastern Europe. No one admitted to being a participant. Hundreds informed on their friends and neighbors as having been participants. I participated in identifying persons for arrest and trial as war criminals. This was Kreis Brillon in Westphalia, Germany.”
Philip R. Bradley, Lt. Colonel JAGC, retired
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