(courtesy newrepublic.com)

“We roared through the gates of Dachau figurative ‘minutes’ after its liberation while 40,000+ wrecks-of-humanity milled, tore, looted, screamed, cried as/like depraved beasts which the Nazi SS has made them,” Captain David Wilsey wrote in a recently released letter to his sweetheart published by New Republic. “In those early minutes, I saw captured SS tortured against a wall [by U.S. soldiers] and then shot in what you Americans would call ‘cold blood’—but Emily! God forgive me if I say I saw it done without a single disturbed emotion BECAUSE THEY SO HAD-IT-COMING after what I had just seen and what every minute more I have been seeing of the SS beasts’ actions. . . .

“To think this is only “The Queen Bee” camp—others are worse though much smaller and it is here the ‘policies’ were worked out for the lesser camps. In fact, this Dachau is THE home of SS Bestiality—Himmler’s ‘laboratory and hangout.”

The Nazis murdered my grandfather in Dachau. I know what I said about not wanting the government getting into the business of killing people. But right or wrong, I would have shot the guards. You?

205 Responses to Question of the Day: Would You Have Shot Dachau Camp Guards?

  1. Yes. Nothing more to say than yes. And would sleep well afterward. And I’m a very peaceful man, but some actions are such a transgression against the human tribe that (otherwise) horrible brutality is the just reward.

    • I think that many of us would, given that there were no repercussions for doing so. But then I see that genocide is happening every day in America – killing babies, while we do nothing but vote for our favorite people. We are, unfortunately, a generation of cowards.

      • I still think that we shouldn’t force our beliefs on someone. People forgot why we legalized abortions in the first place. I think the decision for an abortion should be left up to the individual. One of the reason is that we can’t see inside a Mothers head to see if she’s going to flip out and kill her kids. Also you have to consider what is going to happen to a child no one wants. You will say I want him, so are you going to take him or her in and raise them? There are several reasons a Woman seek out abortion clinics. Let them make the choice.

    • Yes, although feeding them into their own ovens, slowly, is also on the table as an attractive option.

      And then you STFU.

    • As a person with no connection to these camps. No relative inside or liberating them my initial thought was “no we are better than them” but then I see the picture you read the quotes. There is no excuse, there is no forgiveness, only bare naked justice. Look those depraved beasts in the eyes and destroy everything they are. Read, Living a Life That Matters: Ben Lesser. He is a survivor who lost his entire family there. He came here to the states and made a new life. It’s unbelievably depressing and uplifting. Unfortunately anti-Semitic attitudes are coming back in style in Europe, similar to before the war. Evil still exists.

  2. My grandfather was in the division that liberated Dachau, and he never spoke of what they did. I asked a few times, but he just couldn’t talk about it. And yes, I would have pulled the trigger.

    • My father-in-law was there too, and other than saying he was there, he refused to speak of it. After arriving in Europe as a fresh young soldier right after the Battle of the Bulge, and then this, I think was a very large part of the reason that he never touched another firearm after the war.

      • My FIL was there as well, after the liberation. Also at Battle of the Bulge. My wife said he would never talk about it. I understand why. May he rest in peace, and all those that did not make it back.

    • My father helped liberate a camp. Only thing I remember him saying about it was that day they “took no prisoners”.

    • I once talked to a male relative who also was present for the liberation of a concentration camp. He admitted that they lined up the SS troops and gunned them down. The US troops were all threatened with court martial for their actions. My relative said “It would have been worth the court martial”. I guess the Army didn’t follow through with that, but never promoted any of them, officers included.

  3. Zero hesitation. Far more of my relatives died there and in similar camps than I care to discuss,

  4. I’d definitely chase down old men who had tangential connections to the Third Reich and try them on their deathbeds. Old Soviet war criminals? No way.

    • So, mass murdering rapists who happen to be communists get a free pass from you. Stalin was worse than Hitler, but then his victims were “special”.

      • Sarcasm boy, do you speak it? I’m lamenting thr fact that genocidal communists like Genrikh Yagoda (who I doubt you were taught about in high school) get to die peacefully in old age.

        • Pretty sure Stalin put Yogoda up against a wall in ’38.

          In any case one can make a very good argument that the in the balance of evil, Stalin/Commies were “worse” than Hilter/Nazis.

    • How were the murdering Communists any better than the Nazis ? Seems both about equal to me. No reason to give the Commies a pass that I can see. Both groups tortured and killed anyone that did not agree with them. Did the same to groups they just wanted to target, like the Jews.

  5. “BECAUSE THEY SO HAD-IT-COMING” Maybe it went over my head but that isn’t really in the quote right? That sounds to 21st century honestly.

    As for shooting guards in cold blood?

    Well lets play hypotheticals, perhaps among all the guards there was one or two who worked to help folks to escape. Perhaps not many folks but suppose there was one who did what he could. Now if you line them all against the wall and torture and kill them you would get this innocent dude who was on the side of angels. Did such a guy exist? Maybe. Logic and justice says that the guards should go on trial.

    Of course emotions at the time probably would have dictated that they be shot, and I probably would have rolled with that, it doesn’t make it correct however.

    • The story has typical TTAG proofreading. There are many quotes without a matching pair, so it’s hard to determine what is quoted from the letter and what is not.

    • Lurker is correct IMO. How did the soldiers know who was really guilty and who was not ? I may have done the same after seeing how they treated their prisoners. Would likely have been an emotional decision in that moment. But, what if later one of the prisoners said “Why did you shoot him when he tried to help me ?” Always a problem when we make a decision about a group of people without considering each person as an individual.

      • First, if you read the link, you will see that the language in question appeared in the original. (Unless you want to start saying that The New Republic made it up.)

        Second, it’s very simple about who was guilty and who was innocent at Dachau. If they were prisoners there, they were innocent. If they were SS, they were guilty. If they were Germans working there but not formally in the SS, they were guilty. They were there keeping Dachau doing what it did. Don’t try and say “but what about the cook who never did anything but serve food” crap. They knew what was going on. They chose to stay and participate. They all should’ve been put up against the wall.

        Although I would hope that I would not have started shooting the Germans there, I probably would have been like the captain who had to be knocked out by the regimental co to stop him from hunting down more of the German guards/staff/SS.

        • Most of the soldiers or civilians working for the Nazis had no choice.If they refused to do what they were told, they were put to death, And the US military did not just shoot every German they seen. They arrested them and were put on trial. Alot of you have some of the biggest miss conceptions about WWII.

    • In any war there are innocent victims. The soldier you shoot may have been forced to stand there with a weapon in his hands against his will. You still shoot him.

      In any criminal justice system, some will be wrongly convicted. You still put people in jail.

      I have little relationship to any of the concentration victims. I would shoot the guards and take the Courts Martial.

      • The death camp guards were hard core NAZI’s. Most German soldiers were not NAZIs they were in the german army. These people committed horrible acts against humanity. You have the luxury of never having been there. One of my HS teacher had a good friend that was in the Japanese prison camp the movie Bridge over the River Kwai. That movie was made in 1957 and already people had forgotten what a hell hole the camp was. The japanese soldiers and the commandant were sadistic bastards that killed both the POWs and locals for fun or when they were bored and yet just 12 years later it was portrayed as a day camp. Sometimes justice has to be met out immediately to ensure it happens.

  6. No, I think the guards where doing a pretty good job of keeping the eye on the people who:
    -Ruin our financial system
    -Control our media
    -Influence wars where our soldiers die for Israel
    -TRY TO TAKE OUR FIREARMS (Bloomberg and Feinstein)

    • So, you believe that every Jew is a rich banker, etc responsible for your failure in life. Got news for you, son. Your failure to graduate high school and rented double-wide and sister-wife ain’t the fault of the evil Joos.

      • But look at american gun control history, you’d be an idiot not to see that the vast majority of politicians are non whites. Use your head.

    • You read definitely to many conspiracy theories. Thank god you’re the only one having this opinion here.

      • Actually, there are plenty of readers here who share those views. After what International Jewry did to your country, you’re going to peep out some weak platitudes like that? Have some dignity.

    • You are vermin. Not because of your race, ethnicity or faith, but the (lack of) content of your character.

    • Troll, maybe. I’ll bite.????

      The Watchers you describe are your color and your religion. They live for power. This lie has been told for generations but now sounds like, “the Jewish banker is taking your farm etc.”

      The trick is they get you facing the wrong way. Have you blaming Mexicans for taking your auto assembly jobs. Actually they signed papers and moved the assembly to Mexico. No Mexicans stole north at night, lifted the GM plant and carried it to Mexico. They have you hating the Chinese, while you chant buy American and keep shopping at WalMart. They have you thinking all blacks are gang bangers and want to be on welfare. They have you believing that all Muslims are ISIS. They have you forget that while a greater percentage of Blacks are on welfare, white folks are the greatest percentage of Americans taking the handout. They have you thinking that Jesus would support any of this bigotry. The conspiracy is working only problem it is working on you.

      Read “Deer Hunting With Jesus.” It explains why poor whites vote against their own self interest.

    • Seems we’ve had an influx of 4channers, both good and bad, recently.

      Go and git’ on back to /pol/.

    • Sorry all you anti-abortionists, but mr. Jet Fuel is exactly why a women/couple should have the choice to end an unwanted pregnancy (too bad his baby-mamma didn’t make that choice)

      • I’ll give you that fuel is a proper specimen for late-term out of womb abortion-Who knows, with different choices the innocent baby could have become more than a Nazi knee-dropper in need of a cranial sunroof.

      • And if Jews did (secretly) rule the world, wouldn’t everybody want to be on their good side?

        Freakin trolls… worse than mimes

    • Just because some people the happen to be Jewish are crooks does not mean that all are since by that logic all Latin people are gang members and all black people are gang members and all white people live in trailer parks. Painting with a broad brush risks getting yourself covered in paint. Also your point is flawed because the crooks that happen to be Jewish are violating God’s law and therefore violating Jewish faith and therefore are Jews in name only.

  7. I would kill any agent of the state that threatens the life of me, mine, or those that can’t defend themselves. Without. Remorse.
    Anthems, uniforms, and loyalties mean nothing to me. Only the principle of right or wrong matters.
    You?

  8. I honestly don’t know. I wasn’t there, I’m not there, I’ll never be there. If I was 19 years old and enlisted, possibly. But I’m not going to pretend that I know precisely what my reaction would be in such an unimaginable situation.

    • Well said, sir.

      Although I enthusiastically support the death penalty for mass murderers such as James Holmes and Nidal Hassan. So it’s pretty likely this former Marine 0311 would have dispensed some street-level justice.

    • You and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, Grindstone, but you hit this one perfectly for me.

    • I was preparring to write something very similar. Not sure what I would do. I am confident I wouldn’t have interferred with others doing so. Some people need killing.

    • If I were transported from today directly there, I’m not certain. If I were U.S. military and fought my way there through a ravaged and raped Europe, losing friends along the way, damn right.

    • They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The photo accompanying tells a lot, but the people in that photo were already past caring. I had the honor of reviewing Signal Corps archival photos of the liberation of Dachau. To my knowledge these are unreleased images, but one sticks in my mind: the camp has just been liberated, the former guards are now captives in a line with their hands in the air. An emaciated man in a striped suit is tugging at the sleeve of an American soldier and pointing towards a German soldier in the line. The expressions on faces tell the story, most of the former camp guards seem to be in shock and disbelief, the (probable) SS officer being pointed out glares defiantly. The American GI has a look of anger, digust and hatred mixed. The images of the dead might not move you to act as executioner – but I am fairly certain that the ragged man in the striped suit tugging at your elbow would bring a response. We may turn away in disgust from the dead, the living are far more insistent.

    • I’d think about it but I can’t say if I’d actually do it.

      My grandfather saw the Italian extermination camp–I can never remember the name of it. Found some letters he’d written when we cleaned up his estate after his death. It was harrowing.

  9. I would turn the captured guards, along w/ my weapons over to the “freed people” and let them have the satisfaction of doing it.

      • In point of fact, prisoners at Dachau could not likely have even lifted a M1 Garand to fire it. In this regard, the soldiers merely did what the prisoners themselves would have done — and had every just right to do — had they possessed the strength and means.

        And some evil demands its extirpation on sight – lest it escape and live to do more.

        • I don’t know about Dachau specifically, but there are a few photos from the camps that show former inmates guarding the old guards turned prisoner. From what I’ve heard, there were also some cases where American soldiers did just that – disarm the guards, turn away and let the victims dispense justice.

  10. GIs shooting SS camp guards against a wall doesn’t fit my definition of a government execution. This was simple street justice, and if the SS were somehow innocent of any wrongdoing – say, on a quick in and out TDY for a day or two, well, you sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

  11. Absolutely. These guys were SS and the most loyal and rabid followers of Hitler and Naziism. They were poor nobody’s forced to endure the sites or be shot, these were people that murdered others every day just because the people werent like them. Letting them live would have given them an opportunity to escape punishment for their crimes. This punishment was swift and deserved and God Bless the soldiers that did it.

    Unfortunately today under obama and hillary those soldiers would have been executed for murder and reparations would have been paid to the families of the gaurds.

  12. I’d kill ’em, resuscitate them if I could, then kill them again. The only complaint I have against the American and Russian soldiers who liberated the camps (well, it’s not really a complaint) is that they didn’t kill enough of those bastards.

    It’s also worth noting that the camp prisoners themselves killed as many guards as they could after the camps were liberated. Not having semi-automatic weapons, they beat the guards to death with hands and feet. I’m glad they did. I would have joined in.

  13. Far smarter people than me have debated this question for decades. So I feel no shame when I say that I just don’t know. My personal moral code tells me that it’s wrong to kill unless your under threat. Let alone any law against murdering those that deserve it. Although I honestly never give a damn about any law outside of the practical reasons of not getting arrested. (never mind my soap box moments. medicine is making me loopy).

    But I’d be lying if I said I’d NOT shoot those Nazi bastards if I were dropped in that situation. Extreme situations like that bring out the most extreme responses out of people. And I don’t think I’d be any different.

    Also as a final aside on this subject it might be interesting to research what happened after the War in Bosnia back in the 90s. Here in the US we didn’t get much exposure to what all happened there. But it was a really hideous part of modern history that involves these very concepts and we never got a lot of information from the media about it.

  14. You’d have to be there. Imposing contemporary moral values on historical events is always a losing proposition. That said, combat creates its own reality. In WWII, surrendered soldiers on both sides were killed with more frequency than many people might think. An MG42 machine gunner, for instance, who tried to surrender to the same American unit whose members he’d just killed, tended to have a short life expectancy. To answer your question: probably.

  15. It wasn’t just the heat of the moment. The British SAS hunted down and executed SS well into the late 1940’s in revenge for acts committed against SAS operatives. The war didn’t end miraculously one day in May 1945. Speak to the few alive today who served in Europe AFTER the war. Unrepentent German soliders continued to kill Allied troops for years. Krauts who were left in Africa reformed into units on the Arab side (contemorary reports had the numbers in Egypt as high as 40k) . The Soviets took their revenge behind th iron curtain.

    • True. Nazi “Werewolves” operated throughout Germany until the ’50s. For the most part, they were SS, Waffen SS and Hitler Youth, but some of them may have come from the Heer.

      • Did you learn that in history lessons? Because then the US system is pretty screwed. Werewolves are a myth and didn’t excist. The Nazis who still operated in the 50’s in Germany and even gt training where either (in the west) paid by the USA or in the east by the sowjets.

    • Another dirty little secret is that former SS men trailed PLO terrorists in the 50s-60s on how to wage their war against the newly formed Israel. No one likes to mention that, though there have been ex Nazis who admit to it. Arafat himself worked with them.

  16. Difficult to say, even in the time it happened. The Brits and French didn’t shoot the guards of the concentration camps they freed on sight. The Russians rarely found an SS officer alive, because they either fled or shot themselves, so they had rarely the opportunity to choose.
    Hard to say what I would have done. In all honesty I have no idea. You have to be in the situation to make this call. Afterwards everybody can find a wrong in either decision. My own grandpa suffered under the Nazis. He was at first in the wild concentration camps before WW2, was later released because they needed his skills in mechanic stuff (can’t remember what) and then put him into the so called Strafbataillone ( battalions for punishment, mostly deployed to the worst parts of the eastern front with the most dangerous jobs), that was at the end of the war and he and a friend made a run to the American front near the Elbe.

  17. And if any of those 80 and 90 somethings are identified today they should be shot also. This is the way Isis should be dealt with. Break them in the field and then hunt them like the Nazis were hunted. Never give them a moment when they can say”I’m safe, I got away with it.” Not even when they’re 90.

  18. It’s hard to imagine restraint in that situation. These are people responsible for carrying out some of the vilest acts in history. Swift retribution would feel like a compulsion, if not an imperative.

    • I think you got it right when you said it is an imperative.

      The evidence against them is all around them, and their crimes are the most vile and heinous possible. In this case immediate execution is an imperative. To not carry out that imperative would reflect badly on the people who discovered the crimes. This was simply destruction of the most evil of the evil, and it needed to be done immediately.

      The liberating soldiers did the right thing, and the US Army admitted that when they refused to punish any of them for it.

  19. What is the “law” when there is no law. The human becomes judge, jury, executioner; all in a matter of minutes and hours. That’s mob. But there was rules (law) of engagement. Yes, war is hell. And what the Nazi’s did was to create that hell. What they did was the worst evil that I am aware of although the Stalins, Pol Posts, Mao’s of the world are close runners up.

    I am not to armchair quarterback here to this question. I judge no one. But to answer the question, I honestly don’t know what I would have done. I do know what I would have tried to do and that is not be the judge, jury and executioner. Stopping the killing and helping the victims would, I pray, had been my first thought and guide to my actions. The bible teaches that God wants us to leave room for his judgement.

    And perhaps killing these guards was a merciful act (not torture) as they were now faced with a new reality; what they had done and why they had succumbed to that level of evil. Some no doubt were evil. Others I suspect, fell into it which all humans, when faced with life or death, are vulnerable to authority’s demands and coercion. Living with the reality of what they did, I suppose to some, was a far more painful alternative to living and facing the music. Torture? That is totally out of my ken. I would not have participated and likely would have tried to stop it.

    At one end of the spectrum, and if I were to have controlled my emotions, I would not have shot those guards. I think that would have been the easy thing to do at the time. The lesson applies to us today. Lawlessness breeds more lawlessness. We either stick with the law and all its frustrations, or we become, in fact, part of the problem. A free society requires people to voluntarily and through their own will, adhere to the law no matter what the circumstances. No exceptions. With that said, when law becomes so complex and unreliable, it becomes it self a form of tyranny. And in the fog of war at the time, I could see the view that the law would screw up and let these guys slip through the cracks. I get that. If you think about it, that is sadly what we face today in our system of justice (or lack there of).

    So Robert, a very hard question in deed. And I pray that when times get really tough, people, a free people, will try to adhere to the law and that inner compass based on the values that created this great county and not react based on our emotion and feelings at the moment in time.

    Thanks for the question.

  20. Given the actions of the SS wherever they went, retributive killing of all men who were in the SS (including and especially the Muslim SS units) would have been simple justice. Since the SS made it a practice to kill entire families, I’d have thrown the families of the SS up against a wall as well.

    In the end, we were far too kind to both Germany and Japan at the end of WWII. Generosity on our part has done little but breed resentment and loathing.

    • The lack of generosity in the aftermath of WW1 brought WW2. Today, on the other hand, no-one seriously expects Germany to start WW3. You may dislike it on the emotional level, but from a purely pragmatic perspective, it shows that WW2 treatment of the defeated by the victors was spot on.

  21. From my detached perspective, I know with a certainty that is was the wrong thing to do, but in that moment at that time, I don’t know that I could have stopped myself from doing exactly that.

  22. I might have an interesting perspective in this, considering I have family that was apart of the German Army in world War 2.

    My great grandfather was a medic in the German army at the time, and towards the end of the war he was assigned to a liberation camp.. he wouldn’t ever tell me which one, but he did tell me a story that kind of clung to me since and made me realize that history is not always what it seems. The SS guys were bad people, there is no doubt about that.. but they weren’t stupid either. My great grandfather told me about the liberation of his camp.. how all the uninjured SS troopers left and the only “guards” there were normal garrison troopers that had nothing to do with anything there, and just happened to be stuffed there due to injuries or what have you. They were sent there to surrender to the Americans, but according to him they were treated like murderers and criminals when they didn’t even do anything. Many had no idea until they got there, and my great grandfather was horrified when he was placed at his camp. He said when the SS left, he tried to help as many jews as he could but he had no supplies to even help himself with.. and the only reason he survived was because the people in the camp told the Americans he was just a medic and tried to help. A few other people ahead of him who were also trying to help weren’t so lucky.

    At the end of the day, the real question is who exactly is being shot and killed and hung out to dry? How many “guards” were just dumped there and forced to hold the blame because even the SS viewed them as fodder?

    History will never know.

    • Your great grandpa’s experience reflects exactly what happened at Dachau in my comment below. What an interesting story, I’m glad he shared it with you.

      • Yeah, I have a strong suspicion that is where he ended up at. He passed away a few years ago, but it was stories like that I got from him that always kind of bothered me about the whole subject matter.

    • The liberators of the camps did shoot many guards. Not knowing who to shoot — as you properly noted — they asked the inmates, who fingered the bad guys. The inmates also pointed the liberators to guards and kapos who were trying to “pass” as someone or something else. I’m confident that the liberators made few or no mistakes.

      • This is absolutely true, as shown photos of the liberation (my previous comment addresses some of this describing one photo).

    • History does know, however, how completely innocent Jews were exterminated en masse by the whole of the German people, millions on millions of them. If we had executed the entire population it would have been justified, so pardon me if I am not sorry for those who died, I hope it hurt.

      • History seems to have forgotten about the countless innocent German women and children and scholars that were bombed to death for no reason at Dresden by the allies. But of course we left that one out of the history books.

        Now don’t get me wrong, what the Nazi’s did was horrible… But that is not enough to justify some of the horrible shit that happened to people who were otherwise going along for the ride because they didn’t really have a choice.

        • History seems to have forgotten about the countless innocent German women and children and scholars that were bombed to death

          You’re kidding, right? Bombing the cities was controversial at the time, Air Marshal “Bomber” Harris was called “Butcher” Harris, and I have yet to read a book or see a television program about the European war that didn’t dwell upon the air campaign ad nauseum.

          Harris once said: “The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.”

          I agree. Fvck ’em.

          And if those sweet people had you in their clutches, emfourty gasmask, they would have ratted you out, pinned a pink triangle on you and sent you off to an extermination camp in a heartbeat.

        • As many English men, and women, killed by hitler’s bombing of Britain?

        • Um, my recollection is foggy, but here’s a salient point that’s coming back to me. Hang on, advancing years tend to wear on one’s memory… there’s a really important point I’m trying to remember.

          Oh yes, now I remember. The Germans started it.

          The Germans started WWII. They invaded Poland. They invaded Belgium, France, all of easter/southeastern Europe, Ukraine, Russia, etc. They bombed the dickens out of England. The Germans killed millions of civilians, in their marches through populations. I’m not talking of Jews and Roma people they sent to the death factories – I’m talking of just the civilians who got in the way of their war machine rumbling through various countries they were invading.

          If the German civilian population didn’t want to be killed by the 100’s of thousands…. perhaps they should have pulled their craniums out of their rectums and done something about the Nazi government.

        • It’s the same old debate on collective responsibility. If you truly believe in natural individual rights, there’s no such thing. “The Germans” didn’t start the war, some specific Germans did. Even if Nazis had 90% popular support (they didn’t), this still means that 1 out of 10 people in the Reich wasn’t guilty of anything other than that they happened to live in the same country. You can say that they should have fought, but realistically we know that they couldn’t have won, simply because they were a minority – and they knew it back then, too. Would you declare a man guilty for refusing to help someone, if said help is guaranteed to never actually achieve the desired goal, but would also almost certainly result in the death of the one trying to help?

          In terms of assigning guilt, there’s no doubt that many people who died under allied bombs in Dresden (and elsewhere) were innocent.

          OTOH, this is not the same question as whether those deaths were justified. Total war can only be fought back in kind, and either you accept the deaths of innocents that inevitably result, and try to win ASAP so that it never happens again – or you lose, and then there will be more deaths of innocents now and for many decades to come.

  23. “I know what I said about not wanting the government getting into the business of killing people. ”

    The Dachau story isn’t “the government” killing people. It was men. Men who had been thru hell. Not an order from “the government” to kill the SS guys.

    • This is true, according to official histories and witness statements–even the ones that conflict. The Germans had surrendered, and were unarmed. They were guarded by a few troops. They were lined up against a wall and machine gunned. An officer who heard the shooting ran up and put a stop to it.

  24. Transport me back in time with the benefit of historical hindsight, and no, I wouldn’t have shot the ones who surrendered. Here’s why. At Dachau, the SS commandant and camp personnel coerced one of their own officers and a bunch of Germans from a penal battalion to stay behind, “guard” the area, and immediately surrender to the Americans when they arrived days later. It was a time buyer for the original cadre of war criminals to escape justice. These new Germans were the ones executed, and while I have zero problems with the dispersal of street justice by the U.S. Army boys, they wasted an excellent intelligence gathering opportunity. Had the surrendering Germans been arrested, interrogated, and sent off to their own trials, I’m sure less of the original camp guards would have been popping up all over South America decades after the war.

    Transport me back in time with no historical hindsight, and I have no idea what I’d have done.

    • Your a liberal an your thinking get more soldiers killed than the enemy…..liberals start wars but are clueless as to how to win them…..my father was captured and was in a Stalag for 16 months……we only talked about it once. I was home from Nam and he and I had a few pops in the back yard and he talked about it. Why must everything be done by committee. Shoot the bastard and then the next and the next. It is called Karma. I hope your family never has to depend on you for life or death protection.

      • Excuse me? I said they should have been interrogated solely in the interest of tracking down the other war criminals to prevent their escape, and that I have ZERO PROBLEMS with their being executed whatsoever. Learn to use proper punctuation, grammar, and some reading comprehension before condemning me as some kind of “liberal.”

  25. The Government doing the killing would entail orders from above passed down through levels to the agent pulling the trigger. I don’t believe this is the case here. This was people, who happened to be employed by the government, doing what happened in a moment, or many moments, of passion. I was not present, nor even alive, and therefore will not say what they did should or shouldn’t be prosecuted, as Chris Rock once said in a stand up performance, “I’m not saying it’s right, but I understand.” Those men had to live with the actions they took and now it’s between them and God.

  26. While I’d prefer to fool all of you and my self by saying I’d have shown restraint, obeyed the ROEs, and let the system deal out justice not a vigilante, I have to be honest about what I believe I would have done had I been in shoes of one of our soldiers, having endured the depravity of the war, the loss of brothers in arms, and seeing the horror of the gulags. Yes. I believe I would have shot them. Not justice, but punishment.

    “The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.”

    -Jeff Cooper

  27. Always interesting to me to see how our Soldiers operated over there in WW2. It wasn’t just Dachau SS we shot down. We didn’t take any SS prisoners after Malmedy. And of all SS that deserved to be shot, it was these scum at Dachau. So while I would like to say yes, the reality is, I wasn’t there. These guys were literally living through hell. They did what they thought best/justified (or necessary). As one Kuwaiti said after Saddam’s soldiers were roasted to crisps on the ‘road of death’ fleeing Kuwait: “I do not like to see that they got what they have now, but they got what they deserved’

    • A former neighbor of mine who served in Europe said that the SS were not typically taken alive. Not only were they hard core soldiers, they machine gunned their own troops who sought to retreat. Everyone hated them.

  28. Its hard to say what anyone would do when confronted with that scale of horror and injustice.
    Some form of swift retribution would be expected.

  29. if you are not out on the streets popping caps at bad guys like Charles Bronson in Death Wish: Bullberries

    the fact you are not doing it now indicates that you would not have done it then.

  30. My Grandfather served on Okinawa and even he refused to speak at all about the war, other than that he served and served alongside great men there was no more to be said. While I respect the hell out of that I can’t lie he passed away with a lot of questions left unanswered, maybe for the best. I know my most prized possession is his old ID bracelet from the war, Grandma gave it to me when I graduated high school and I’ve worn it since, got him through the war figure it can get me through life

    • In the last year or two of his life, my father-in-law let slip that he was “a BAR man” and that he was in the battle of the bulge. Other than that, he pretty much kept his silence for 65 years on his experiences. Those who shared are pretty rare. OTOH, my father was pretty open, but he was a Naval officer, life was tough but the enemy was not right in front of him, needing to be shot.

  31. One of my lasting frustrations with Bosnia is how ineffective NATO (and by extension all of us, including my unit) was at hunting down those responsible for the ethnic cleansing. We should have tracked them all down and stood them up against a wall – but we didn’t. The stuff they were doing in the Balkans was every bit as bad as the Nazis.

  32. Government is just a shield and weapon used by evil so-called humans. You’re surrounded by the same kind of evil people every day, they just haven’t become organized/brainwashed enough to get away with this degree. They’re seething for it… This is the truth of your fellow man when he votes for Statism. This is what he already is, he just can’t let it out yet. This is the horrible consequence of being stupid. This is why I hate stupid people.

    If you’re smart enough to see what lurks just below the surface… If you are intelligent enough to realize that 99+% of the human race would happily be those guards… You wonder if there are too many to ever win such a fight. But when the day comes, you’ll understand what this soldier has to say. There won’t be too many; there won’t be enough… No amount of blood will satisfy. All fates are too good for them.

  33. Supporting the wholesale slaughter of people that torture other people puts some US citizens in a precarious situation.

    I get that some people just need killing. But I’m not sure I’m the one to do that.

  34. I was not there to see the horrors the American soldiers faced. It’s not possible for me to say how I would have reacted. I do understand how they could have been overwhelmed mentally and reacted in shock by shooting the guards.

  35. I visited Dachau at about the same age as those young men that liberated the camp. The affect on me was one of the stongest of my life. Had to be 1/10th of 1% of what the liberators experienced.
    We see soldiers “murder” the enemy, in certain circumstances justified by the loss of their comrades but then to come upon what this same enemy was doing to humanity, due process is just some words.
    To the claim of possible innocence of some of the guards, then throw their bodies on top of the pile of the innocent and assign blame where it belongs.
    BTW I dont think anyone was “drafted” into the SS.
    To the actual question would I shoot?
    If I just came off the battlefield killing the enemy, I’m sure it would be very much easier to line these men against a wall and feel worse about the sad conscript I had to kill in the field.

    • Actually there are cases where this happened. The most prominent example is Günter Grass, whom later won the Nobel prize for literature. He was drafted as a seventeen year old into the Waffen SS.

    • There was conscription into the SS after about 1943, as long as the candidates met the racial requirements. This was an issue for Germans being drafted into the SS.

      For the units outside Germans that were formed and attached to the SS (eg, the Muslim SS units), the “purity” requirements were relaxed, and as long as the men were not of Jewish heritage, and they were willing to swear fealty to Hitler himself, then they were in.

    • Just remember that the SS had the Grau Hemden and Schwarz Hemden. The Grau Hemden were the combat soldiers and the Schwarz Hemden were involved in the concentration camps.

      • That is actually a falsehood perpetuated by the Hollywood crew. Allgemeine SS, Sicherheitsdienst, and very early Waffen-SS contingents like the pre-war Leibstandarte (when it was actually Hitler’s body guard corps) wore black uniforms. Concentration camp personnel wore feldgrau like everyone else.

  36. In no uncertain terms… I would open the gates of Hell to every one of those evil Bastards I could get my hands on. <<< That is all…

    Time for lunch…

  37. No, torture and murder was the Nazi’s game, it should not have been ours. Sinking to their level should not have been what we were about, as tempting as it might have been. Also, the guards were the lowest rung on the totem pole. They did not order the genocide. They probably didn’t all carry out that genocide. How do you know that the guy you would have killed didn’t just…guard the camp perimeter? Likely the guilty ones were long gone by the time the Allies got there and left a few poor privates to face the rath. Your job as a soldier is to be a soldier, not a vigilante.

    At 18 years of age, my Father was a camp guard at a Japanese internment camp in Hawaii during WWII. He did not choose that assignment and he didn’t enjoy it. If the Japanese had attacked a second time later in the war and taken the island, would the Japanese have been justified in killing him?

    • If the Japanese had attacked a second time later in the war and taken the island, would the Japanese have been justified in killing him?

      Was he complicit in the extermination of thousands upon thousands of Japanese civilians? No? Then you have your answer.

      • My point is that you can’t determine complicity just marching into a camp. There may be guards there that only got assigned a week ago and have no idea what’s going on. You don’t make a decision to torture and kill an enemy soldier just because he was guarding a camp, no matter what was going on in that camp. You let a military court decide that. A soldier is not a vigilante. If he becomes one, he is no better than the people he is killing.

        • Not being there and having 70 years of time since the event makes it incredibly easy to blame the good guys instead of the monsters.

  38. I’ve always found it interesting that those who have never taken a life are eager to do so. Those that have actually done it are more reserved.

    • Those that have actually done it are more reserved.

      And yet the people who have “actually done it” are exactly the people who killed the Nazi guards.

      • Doing it in the heat of the moment is one thing. But we here are debating this question in the calm and peace of our homes, with plenty of time to deliberate. If you asked those same people who shot the guards whether they would do so again, knowing everything that they do know today, and having time to think about the answer, I’m not so sure that every single one of them would have answered “yes”.

  39. Jesus was crucified for suggesting mercy and forgiveness of your enemies against the strong will of the peoples’ vengeance. (Vengeance is MINE sayeth the LORD, I will repay)
    Judging by some of the comments here, if He came back today in a similar fashion, we would do it all over again, only the speed and manner of execution would change depending on geography.
    Not that I would be any better in that respect. The urge for “payback” is strong and taught to us from youth.
    “Hold me back” we cry, lying through our teeth. God forgive them. God forgive us.

    • IMHO that’s one big leap in logic.. Jesus is no murder of women and children. To put my Lord in the same category is offensive (you’re forgiven though)… I would like to direct you to Ecclesiastes 3:2…

      God Bless…

  40. From the opposite side of this equation, being a knuckle dragging guard by profession, you have a duty and moral obligation to righteousness. There is no “”Just Following Orders.”

    That said.

    I would have ended them. No question.

  41. I would like to believe that I wouldn’t. Kill those who were attempting to kill my boys or myself, yes, just as I would do here and now, but to torture and then kill someone in cold blood? I would never want my character to be determined by the actions of others. There are and were systems put in place to handle war crimes and my hope is that I would have enough self control to let those systems do their jobs. Then again, those boys were on the front lines and saw more hell then I could possibly imagine, loosing friends and loved one to the Axis so i can’t really judge. I just hope I wouldn’t do the same.

  42. Shooting the guards would be a breach of the law of land warfare and under international law technically a war crime.

    But as a former Army officer, if those were my guys I think I would have been temporarily distracted filling out an administrative report or something. They look like self-inflicted gun wounds to me . . .

  43. My father was at Dachau. He served in the 42nd Division (Rainbow Division) that captured the camp, along with elements from the 45th Division that entered the camp complex from the NorthEast side. (And elements of the 20th Armored.) He absolutely refused to talk about his experiences there when they entered Dachau, except to tell me to look up the Nuremberg Trial archives sometime if I really had to know. It wasn’t until he passed away and I read the book “DACHAU – 29 April 1945” that I truly had a understanding of what he might have gone through.

    When I visited the Holocaust Memorial in Washington D.C. I noted with interest that the Rainbow Division flag is posted there, along with that of the 45th Division, and the other U.S. Divisions that liberated other camps. I strongly urge anyone visiting D.C. to go to the Holocaust Museum. On the second floor is a railway car of the type used to haul victims to Treblinka and other camps, and I swear you can still smell the fear, and the evil.

    It saddens me to think that because of the moral cowardice of our leadership, there may be another wing of the Museum eventually that commemorates the victims slaughtered by ISIS and their ilk.

    • Don’t forget the moral cowardice of our previous leadership, that decided to invade that part of the world in the first place. Destabilizing the Middle East is what made ISIS a reality, and hence everything they have done.

      And before anyone starts up with ‘we did it to protect our freedoms’ BS, or ‘This guy is just doing it all wrong’, I got news; there was never a right way to fight undeclared & often unprovoked wars. And our freedoms were never at risk from the likes of Saddam, Osama, the various Ayatollas, etc … We waged these wars to keep our dollar exclusive to the sale of oil, so that oil and profits to Wall St. would flow equally and undiminished, as well as to satisfy the imperial impulses of the tin horn Napoleon wannabes found on both side of the aisle in DC.

      All the proof I need of that is our leaders – who got us into this mess – seem to be doing a fantastic job of pissing our freedoms away at home, year after year, without any help from the terrorists at all, yet always in the name of these immoral wars we can’t ever seem to win, and that we started under the pretense of defeating a ‘terror’ that only seems to grow.

      It’s all kabuki theater, covering the moral cowardice that you rightly think might result in another wing in the Holocaust Museum, coming equally from Repubs & Dems & Liberals & Conservatives alike. Whoever ‘our guy’ is in the Big White House is doing God’s work, whereas the ‘other guy’ is the epitome of evil and/or incompetence.

      Meanwhile, the rocks continue to be thrown by them all, while We The People argue over the length of prom dresses, Bruce Jenner’s life choices, how hard the footballs are, etc … and the never-ending ripples spread across the surface.

      I’ve long since stopped believing we’ll ever come together as a country again. But how about we just agree to get our leadership to stop throwing rocks at everybody else. You know, like Jesus said. That way we can at least stop deluding ourselves as to why our country is falling apart. Here’s a hint: Our worst enemies don’t come from outside the border – quoting Pogo, ‘I have seen our enemy and he is us’.

      • Use another excuse. Isis became a reality by our current prez pulling troops out and then running guns from libya to arm ISIS .

  44. Shooting was too good for them. I think I would have let those that were imprisoned (assuming they were able) tear them limb from limb.

    • That happened too. Prisoners who were physically able killed many guards and kapos with their hands and feet and anything they could grab and use as a weapon.

  45. Yes and I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. If any of them are still out there and caught, they too should be shot.

  46. I think American soldiers should be held to a higher standard than executing enemy troops after they surrender. Just because the Nazis did horrible things doesn’t mean we should abandon our principles. Principles like due process, and not shooting surrendered combatants.

  47. I came home turned on the TV and a poignant on topic episode of Band of Brothers was on. I had watched all of the series up to this point. I’m watching and I’m half way through when I see one of my family drive down the driveway. I then realized that I never had gone to sit down but was standing in front of the TV for 30 min.

    Check it out.

  48. I’m very skeptical of any German soldier who says “We didn’t know.” On the Russian front the Wehrmacht was just as guilty as the SS in eliminating whole villages of people. In France people were rounded up and executed because of the French resistance. As a history buff, there was a time when I admired the German war machine. But the more I read, the more I despise what they (and the Russians) did. Someone mentioned Dresden up above, and I agree that it wasn’t necessary. But it wasn’t 1% of the death the Germans caused by starting the whole d@mned thing!

  49. Yes, without hesitation. 80% of my family on my father’s side were murdered by the nazi’s; many in this very camp. They all deserve to die. However, instant execution may have been too swift for them. A few month of starvation and then hanging would be more appropriate.

  50. Nope I would not have pulled the trigger.

    I would have had my men fix bayonets and get to work.

  51. No, they just worked there. I’m pretty sure that’s the type of Job you can’t really turn down when your 19 years old. The administrators, yes. Workers, no. That’s like punishing the cable installer when the corporation is the evil doer

  52. We have the very recent trial testimony of SS Officer Oskar Groening, The Accountant of Auschwitz. He decided who lived, who died and collected whatever was of value for those who would soon be walking in to eternity. At age 93, his testimony was as cold and methodical as was his efficiency on the reception railroad platform. If someone pointed him out to me in 1945 ,I would like too think I would have made sure he didn’t see 1946.

  53. If using a gun was the only thing to use, I would have kneecapped all of the guards and then shoot off their privates. Something to consider with anyone from ISIS that is captured.

  54. Probably yes, for purely emotional reasons; but that would have been a wrong thing to do.

    No matter what kind of scum you’re dealing with, once they’re in your hands and there are no ongoing hostilities that force you to rush things (i.e. if we were talking about SS POWs captured in a battle today, and who may well be liberated by their comrades in a battle tomorrow, things would be different), there’s no excuse not to stick to due process. Once you have proper evidence that they are indeed SS members, and they have taken part in atrocities or enabled the same (which is almost a given once membership is determined).

    Then, once you have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they’re indeed people-hating scum (shouldn’t be hard to do for those guys), then you line them up against the wall and shoot them with all the right and proper ceremonies. Like so:

  55. Given that many people here are quite willing to basically deem any SS members worthy of execution on sight, I’m curious: what do you guys think of the non-German SS units? In particular, those formed from volunteers from countries or regions that were subjugated by someone else, and were basically fighting for the promise of national liberation? e.g. Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Belorussian and Russian SS units.

    Of particular note is that the Western allies, US among them, have specifically excluded the first three when they declared SS to be a criminal organization as a whole. So members of the Baltic SS divisions were not automatically considered to be war criminals by US (but were by the Soviets).

  56. Just remember, we had personnel flying around in bombers dropping incendiaries and burning tens of thousands of people in vast firestorms. Germans, British, Japanese, and Americans participated in these sporting events.

    • Tom,
      Where did you learn your history?

      We did drop some incendiaries on Japan because the Japanese had done an excellent job of dispersing military production into civilian area’s to limit the ability of any enemy to destroy much manufacturing capabilities in a conventional bombing. The Doolittle raiders dropped incendiaries on that first bombing of Japan both because the bombs were light and to spread maximum destruction but most bombs were HE.

      Dresden was an English war crime perpetrated as revenge for the Germans bombing English cities. The US had very little involvement in it. You are just part of the Hate America first crowd. You hide behind the military begging to be saved and then when you think its safe you come out of your hole and call the military a bunch of war criminals.

  57. The Germans actually killed a lot more Slavs than Jews. The Soviet Union states that they lost 25 million in WWII, but what those numbers included gets questionable. Most German soldiers stated that the Nazi propaganda was much more heavily slanted against Slavs than Jews.

    • 26 million is the total number, of which 10 million are military losses (this figure is believed to be lower than it actually was), and 16 million are civilian losses. Of the latter, about 10 million are from direct action (both collateral damage, and those deliberately killed – the latter also includes 1 million of Soviet Jews), and 6 million are from famines and disease either caused by the war, or deliberately induced by the occupiers in some cases. Because there is no exact roster, this is a very imprecise figure that is based on comparing pre-war and post-war population of the USSR, and some guesstimates based on recorded individual military losses. Because the pre-war Soviet census was not particularly reliable (the population count is largely believed to have been overstated to showcase the “prosperity” under the Soviet government), the number is likely off by at least a few million, and is actually larger.

      It’s not quite true that German propaganda against Slavs was worse. Slavs were categorized one step above the Jews, as an inferior race that should have its lands taken over for the German Lebensraum and have its numbers reduced to the levels not greater than those necessary to serve their new German masters as agricultural slaves on their former own lands; but they were not slated for complete extermination the way Jews were, and in general, there was no policy of deliberately mass murdering Slavs in concentration camps like Jews. Most “reduction in number” efforts against the civilian population on occupied territories were indirect (for example, in case of siege of Leningrad, Hitler specifically forbade to accept the surrender of the city even if such were to be given, knowing full well that this meant the population of the city starving to death).

  58. What surprised me about this article was the apparent break down of military discipline at the highest levels. Enlisted, especially junior enlisted, are going to do this kind of stuff in almost any fighting force. But here you had officers (heck medical officers) spontaneously taking part in the whatever you want to call it. And that is what probably saved everyone’s rear end. There were too many soldiers and too many that were too high up to court martial everyone. In a group that size someone is seriously connected. And the stakes were too high. Shooting prisoners can get you killed. Does anyone seriously believe Uncle Sam was going to put hundreds of victorious U.S. soldiers on trial where death could be a possible punishment?

    How any person could maintain even the appearance of sanity after being in/around a concentration camp is beyond me. I would imagine that even today that place is a vortex of dark spiritual energy.

    • FWIW, Soviets did court martial their troops in similar cases (I’m not sure if there were any involving camp guards, but there were some involving POWs). Around 4,000 guilty verdicts in 1945 all in all, and several dozen executions.

      • The Soviets didn’t have to worry about popular opinion amongst the masses.

        Can you imagine the uproar in middle America if American soldiers were tried and excecuted en masse for killing SS death camp gaurds?

    • Troll much or just an idiot?
      The Japanese internment cams are an inexcusable and appalling piece of American history, but lets have a little context:

      1,862 deaths across the ten Japanese internment camps, with cancer, heart disease, tuberculosis, and vascular disease accounting for the majority. 7 were killed by guards. In comparison across 6 Nazi camps 3 MILLION were killed! Feel free to break out your toes to do the arithmetic. I have a calculator I can help you ….It’s a difference of 2,998,131 souls. The same huh? NONE of these poor bastards had it coming and they were all wronged; but the Japanese internment camps were NOT even remotely close to the camps operated by the evil Nazis.

      • I’m betting on Dave just being an idiot. He heard something from another liberal idiot who had also never read a real history book. But saying america is bad makes him feel good. To hell with the truth.

    • The Japanese were a whole different ball game. Look up Cowra Breakout in Australia, of the resulting casualties many committed ritual suicide rather than be recaptured!

    • Dave so we butchered 3,000,000+ Japanese Americans. Shot them, Starved them to Death and shot them. Your a liberal idiot who obviously never read any real history. You just FEEL we did it so that made it a fact.

  59. When I was in Poland, I went to Auschwitz, stood in the remaining gas chamber, ran my hands along the rough wood of the boxcars. It still haunts my dreams and will until I die.

    Of the things I have done in my life, I am proudest of the SHOOTING GALLERY episode that I chose top close from beneath the guard towers at that hellish place.

    Michael B

  60. I’d like to think I’d kill all the SS scum. But in reality I don’t have an answer. I sure don’t have any sympathy for civilians bombed in Germany(who overwhelmingly supported the Nazi state). Or Japan.

  61. My wife is from Austria, and her maternal grandmother was arrested because their family didn’t support Hitler or the take-over of Austria. Her mother and brother died in German custody, and as a 19 year old girl, she had been loaded into boxcars for the trip to the ovens when she heard the engines of the American tanks that saved her from that fate. She has the tattooed number on her arm to prove the reality of her story. Had she been executed, my wife would have never been born and i would probably not be here today.

    Yeah, those guys were no longer soldiers . . . they were nothing but murderers, just like ISIS, Boko Harem, Al Shabab and the Taliban are today. Would any of you hesitate to kill any of the Islamist scum if you had the chance?

    Those Nazis were no different. They were not the soldiers of the German army fighting because they were soldiers, they were criminals.

  62. There wren’t enough bullets at the time for the 600 Quadrillion jews they killed back then. But now there is! Don’t let the Holocaust™ happen again!

    • Wow “shlomo”, you made me believe in God for such idiocy as you displayed could not be the end result of millions of years of Darwinian evolution.

  63. I personally wouldn’t have and would probably have tried to stop the worst of it that might have happened in front of me, but not with a lot of conviction…since I wouldn’t have a lot of sympathy for them. I’d be more worried about my guys actually doing it and when that didn’t work ‘d probably remove myself from that kind of scene.

  64. No, I would not have shot the guards. Shooting the guards was giving them the easy way out. Plus I am not one to be judge, jury and executioner. Spending the rest of their life in a prison would be much worse than putting them down. The guards would get a fair trial and a fair sentence.

  65. If you shoot an animal in the head it’s considered humane. Why would you shoot a concentration camp guard in the head? It makes no sense, but then people don’t think properly when they are filled with rage.

    What is worse, a lifetime in a 6×4 cell or getting shot in the head?

  66. I wish I could say I would, but really, I don’t know. It’s less a matter of whether I ‘would’ than whether I ‘could’. I do wonder if all those answering to the positive would have really pulled the trigger, if they were there. However I am but young, and I don’t know if I have lived life enough or had the experience to answer that question.
    My grandfather was one of the first through the doors of Bergen Belsen. I never got to hear him talk about his experiences, which I deeply regret. If I could go back, I’d love to ask him, get the perspective of someone who was there, and saw the horrors.

    • my grandfather wouldn’t share the horrors of war. But I had an old friend nearing the end of his life that took to sharing stories with me. I think he needed to lighten his load. My point being that these soldiers gave us a lot and gave up a lot. I followed the link in this story and read the complete article. It illustrates how soldiers give up their innocence. Forever they feel what they blocked out on the bloody battlefields. I believe many of these young men went into war feeling the noble call and respected the rule of law and due process. What they saw in those camps changed them. Many of them just said, “no”. No this evil can’t exist, it can’t continue to exist. The righteous nature inside of them just said “No”. I believe none posting comments here today can truly grasp the evil they destroyed. They did the world a favor. The ss there knew their souls and understood also. No one there was innocent. Not the support staff and not the men who sadistically murdered innocent Jews. To all those posting comments saying they would follow due process in that situation, I do certainly hope men like them are liberating if such a travesty befalls humankind again.

  67. So if it involves the mistreatment of white European jews it is ok to murder prisoners of war???
    Most people have no idea what total war means. If they did the world war two memorials would be torn down because of today’s modern morality.

    I see nothing wrong with American marines urinating on dead enemy soldiers. But the same people who want to shoot prisoners of war in WW2 will put my “brothers” in prison because of where they urinated.

    I totally support killing the enemies of america. That is a death penalty.

  68. I don’t know who said this but I like it.
    “MAY THE RATS FEAST ON THE DEAD BODIES OF OUR ENEMIES”.

  69. Dunno about this idea of ‘cold blood’, just seeing photos of the situation gets my heart running hot, clammy hands, typical fight or flight sort of thing. Yeah they didn’t need to die, but I’d be that angry I’d be hulking out on that trigger.

    Taliban/IS/etc are the same, though they never keep the victims waiting so long, they just get straight into setting kids on fire, hanging them up on streetlights, etc. No I haven’t been there, and it’s bloody good too because despite never looking for trouble in my life I think I’d find it there.

    • I have edited what I posted earlier but I think it is worth repeating here as I believe the point you make so eloquently summarizes the following:

      IIs there a moment to pause and reflect when humans becomes judge, jury, executioner; all in a matter of minutes and hours. That’s mob. But there were rules (law) of engagement within the military. Yes, war is hell. And what the Nazi’s did was to create that hell. What they did was the worst evil that I am aware of although the Stalins, Pol Pots, Mao’s of the world are close runners up.

      I am not to armchair quarterback here to this question. I judge no one. But to answer the question fairly and honestly, I don’t know what I would have done. I do know what I would have tried to do and that is not be the judge, jury and executioner. Stopping the killing and helping the victims would, I pray, have been my first thought and guide to my actions. The bible teaches that God wants us to leave room for his judgment.

      And perhaps killing (not torture) these guards was a merciful act. They were now facing a new reality; what they had done and why they had succumbed to such a horendous level of evil. Some of the guards, no doubt, were evil. Others, I suspect, fell into it which all humans are vulnerable to authority’s demands and coercion when faced with life or death; suffering or not suffering. Living with the reality of what they did, I suppose to some, was a far more painful alternative to living and facing the music. But torture? That is totally out of my ken. I can’t even imagine that I would have participated. Rather I likely would have tried to stop it.

      At one end of the spectrum, and if I were to have controlled my emotions, I would not have shot those guards. I think that would have been the easy thing to do at the time. The lesson applies to us today. Lawlessness breeds more lawlessness. We either stick with the law (rules) and all its frustrations, or we become, in fact, part of the problem. A free society requires people to voluntarily and through their own will adhere to the law no matter what the circumstances. No exceptions.

      With that said, I also realize that when law becomes so complex and unreliable, it becomes itself a form of tyranny. And in the fog of war at the time, I could see the view that the law would screw up and let these guys slip through the cracks. I get that. And if we reflect on that, that is sadly what we face today in our system of justice (or lack there of). It can be very frustrating. But thank God for the jury system; not perfect but much better than alternatives.

      I pray that when times get really tough, people, a free people, will try to adhere to the law and that inner compass based on the values that created this great county and not react based on emotion and feelings at a moment in time. That’s mob. And, that’s not good.

  70. Yeah I don’t think I would.

    They should be apprehended and tried for their crimes. Before one shoots them, they should at least hear their side of it – and the side of the witnesses/victims. So no – it doesn’t fit in within my moral system.

    The Nazis murdered my grandfather in Dachau.

    My grandfather, who was German, mysteriously died in an “accident” two years after the end of WW2, in the United States. He was never involved in WW2 and had been in the US for decades. My mother was just two years old at the time.

    I have a good friend who’s father (and uncles) were drafted by the Nazi’s. They didn’t want to fight or kill anyone and didn’t support the Nazi party. The extent of their choices were to be a Nazi’s soldier or get arrested and go to a camp similar to Dachau. Expectedly, they decided to be Nazi Soldiers. They managed not to get killed and after the war – most of them fled Germany from what they felt would be serious retribution/persecution from allied forces. Immediately all guns were banned after the war. My friend’s father didn’t like that idea – and took two lugers and a K98, greased them up, wrapped them up, stored them in a metal box, and buried it in the back yard. Luckily, he didn’t need them. 20 some odd years later he went to that tree, dug up the box and recovered the pristine condition firearms and smuggled them into the US. After he passed, they were passed down to my friend.

    War is hell, life is a b!tch, and then you die. So we should all do our best focusing on what is morally the correct action, rather than satisfying our immediate “feelings.”

  71. Depends. If I encountered the guards shortly after entering, I may very well have at least assaulted one and beat him brutally.

    If after a bit of separation from the shock, no. While international law does recognize a few limited justifications for summary executions (spies, pirates and franc-tireurs), it is morally wrong apart of necessity. No one would be saved, and justice must be handed down not by private individuals, but the community at large, both morally and for practical purposes.

    Nuremburg was one thing. Sadly we let many horribly depraved monsters walk at Tokyo. I wish they are hanged. But better, at times, to have justice executed imperfectly than vengeance perfectly.

    That said, those soldiers who upon encountering such scenes killed the SS guards… I would not see one of them punished. I would consider it excusable (not justifiable) homicide because of great emotional disturbance.

  72. American soldiers would have done the same thing, don’t kid yourselves. You don’t kill for the country, for freedom, for peace. You kill not to let your buddies down, because they’re you’re true family.
    Extermination camp guards were second line troops: they were bespectacled asthmatic students, mustachioed overweight Great War veterans, old soldiers, young kids. They were clerks and accountants, plumbers and tellers. They were you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler%27s_Willing_Executioners

    • The US military would not have ran those camps. Being ordered to or being asked to doesn’t make one neglect all personal morals and brutally destroy a human being. The only men left at Dachau were BAD guys. They were sick individuals. “normal” men don’t starve guard dogs then unleash them on other humans bound to poles, watching them eat the poor bastards alive. That happened there, and peer pressure didn’t cause all of that. Peer pressure doesn’t turn “normal” men into monsters like that. Those men were full of hate and depravity. They were evil incarnate, same as ISIS. They may be YOU, but they are not me they are not any normal man.

      • They are not me either and its disturbing to see so many people whine about mass murderers getting theirs.

    • I guess your history books are the ones rewritten to hid the truth. The guards at these prisons were not the broken down vets and kids who just had bad luck to be in the wrong line when they were drafted. These people were the most rabidly fanatical NAZIs that could be found. They wer not nice people.

      I am a former Army Infantry Officer and I can tell you we would not run a camp like this. You might but not me or anyone I knew.

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