As Bonhoeffer hanged from the gallows, American troops nearby already threatened the fatal blow to the Third Reich. As bodies burned in the camp's oven, Bonhoeffer's killers saw the coming end of their unchecked brutality. They had one last monstrous act to supervise: They ordered Flossenburg prisoners to march south to Dachau. Sick, emaciated and barely able to move, many people dropped dead on the journey.
Within weeks the war in Europe was over. American soldiers made the Germans who lived near Flossenburg see firsthand what their government had done. General Patton issued orders that required Germans to exhume and bury bodies of victims who had died during the Flossenburg death march.
Records which the liberators found at the camp indicated the following facts:
Eight hundred German SS troops supervised Flossenburg which was opened in 1939.
Since that time 54,890 men and over 10,000 women were held prisoner.
In the fourteen months period preceding the death march (20 April, 1945) approximately 14,000 inmates died from exhaustion, malnourishment, mistreatment and various diseases.
The prisoners worked in stone quarries and a nearby Messerschmidt Airplane Factory.
On 20 April 1945, 15,000 inmates (including children and elderly people) were marched away.
Those who could not keep up with the march were killed by the wayside.
About 2,000 were left when U.S. troops arrived at the camp.
Among those reported to have been in the camp were Kurt Von Schuschnig (former Chancellor of Austria), Leopold (King of the Belgians), Prince Albrecht of Austria and Hjalmar Schacht (Reich Minister of Finances).
Bonhoeffer's family (this link takes you to their home in Berlin) did not know he was dead. Not until they heard radio reports about a memorial service in London did they learn what had happened to him three months earlier.