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Agent of Grace - FINAL MONSTROUS ACTS

FINAL MONSTROUS ACTS (Illustration) Famous Historical Events Famous People History Social Studies World History World War II Civil Rights Ethics Film

This U.S. Army photo depicts Flossenbürg as it appeared immediately after its liberation by the US Army's 99th Infantry Division, during April of 1945.

 

As Bonhoeffer's body hanged on a tree, American troops nearby already threatened the fatal blow to the Third Reich. As bodies burned in the camp 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 days, Flossenburg was liberated. Hitler was dead by his own hand in his heavily fortified bunker in Berlin. (Follow this link to the alleged current whereabouts of his remains.)

Within weeks the war in Europe was over.

American soldiers from the 97th Division of the U.S. 3rd Army (who discovered the Flossenburg camp and took pictures documenting what they had found, such as the wall where prisoners were shot) made the Germans who lived near Flossenburg see firsthand what their government had done.

General Patton issued orders requiring Germans to exhume and bury bodies of victims who had died during the Flossenburg death march. Since the troops also found bodies at the camp itself, remaining prisoners gathered wood for the crematory furnace to be used for the last time.

Records, which the liberators found at the camp, revealed 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-month period preceding the death march (20 April, 1945), approximately 14,000 inmates had 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.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Mar 06, 2017


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"FINAL MONSTROUS ACTS" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 01, 2002. Jul 16, 2019.
       <http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/136969>.
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