In early December, 1944, the Division deployed to the continent, landing in France, and making preparations to attack German pockets of resistance on the coast of Brittany. Service People -. In its essence, in its most fundamental aspects, Nazism was defined by the demonization, suppression, and ultimately mass annihilation of groups condemned as racial and political enemies. Four Generations The unspeakable atrocities that the troops witnessed in these camps bore witness to the horror of the Holocaust. legends or fairy tales, they literally sprang to life. The 11th Armored Division Association held annual reunions each year since its inception. click here, E-mail the Nürburgring designed and maintained NBC Nightly News video: Every Museum Store purchase helps fund the education mission. Photographs from this moment are stirring. Doing such office tasks, he remembered, “I didn’t realize that I too had become a part of this machinery of death.” Having to write Verstorben (Deceased) by the names of so many Soviet prisoners induced him in 1943 to do what he could to disrupt the murder process. “If you have even a shred of decency, you pitch in and help,” Maršálek said. These stories will not be forgotten – they will be Photo Album, 11th heartbreaking stories, like the time my Dad’s sergeant relieved is unique, and compared to many of you here, my father’s Eva and Anka are Honorary Members of the 11th Armored Division Shot in the process, Ziereis had little choice but undergo questioning by American interrogators and by Maršálek in the 131st US Evacuation Hospital. With its subcamps at Gusen, Ebensee, and Melk, Mauthausen sat at the center of a web of systematic violence. Franz Ziereis, SS Commandant of Mauthausen. and With their inimitable sense of humor, the guards nicknamed their victims Fallschirmspringer—parachutists. The following year Spanish Republicans—socialists, communists, and anarchists—were incarcerated at Mauthausen. The system of degradation, enslavement, medical experimentation, and genocide created by the Hitler dictatorship for its adversaries was without parallel, Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union not excepted. half track. The inscriptions stress the Nazis’ annihilation of human beings from across Europe who stood against their racial-political vision—but also the defiance and refusal to succumb to Hitler, Himmler, and Ziereis. 11th And I remember the husband of one of the three The next day, the Division’s cavalry reconnaissance forces Mauthausen was one of the worst of the concentration camps in this system. Division Assn. One of the most spirited of the inmates who escaped these horrors in Mauthausen was Hans Maršálek (1914-2011). From there I went out to the huge camp complex which bears the same name as the town. “In other camps,” writes Nikolaus Wachsmann, “inmates began to dread a transfer to Mauthausen, after returning prisoners described the huge quarries as hell on earth.” Its name rightly incited terror. delegation of friends and families of survivors from literally all After Action Report, Submit Dan O'Brien, E-mail the The 11th Armored Division was then assigned to the US Third Army, commanded by General George Smith Patton. They all had but one purpose: to labor until every drop of energy was squeezed out of them. Once he stepped out of the cattle car, Baranek, who had already survived both the slave-labor camp at Starachowice and Auschwitz, feared the worst. and much to my surprise I find myself sharing the sentiments of Or the one about the of by Rev. Johnny come lately, but I am a convert...I no longer take your Over the next two years, Maršálek worked with several other inmates to delay executions and to spare the most vulnerable from labor. Anderson was sent into the 10th Armored Division at Fort Benning, Georgia, in the 150th Signal Company because of his radar training. When urged by comrades to volunteer for clerical work, he recalled, in a much later interview about his time in Mauthausen, how he balked at the idea of doing anything for the vile SS. Young to Die Cliff Japs, John Those wishing to are encouraged to submit their email addresses them to the Legacy Group at the email address abardery@gmail.com. Then they were forced to bear them up the 186 steps of the Todesstiege, the horrid Stairway of Death. Over 3,000 of them were interred in the grounds next to the Mauthausen and Gusen facilities. In May 1945. On Easter Sunday, 1945, they chased retreating German troops … They came in cattle cars, in trucks, and on foot. Mauthausen They are shown in this 2009 photo with grandson Nick, and great grand daughter Matilda Eva. Maršálek had worked in Communist-led resistance groups in Vienna and Prague. Dad also told US 11th Armored Division tanks entering the Mauthausen concentration camp on May 6, 1945. Silver Star, Tibor "Ted" Rubin 11th Armored Reunion Recap. Everyone’s story Forced to sleep in the barracks on the floor “in rows, like herring,” he goes on, new arrivals like him came to grips with the fact that “food was almost nonexistent in this camp. Family To the sergeant’s annoyance, however, Rubin always came back with mission accomplished. found themselves in a truck with rifles but no machine guns in the The arrival of the Americans saved Taylor from certain execution. When enemy forces mounted a desperate attack in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium, the Division was rerouted, rushed across France, and committed into action in what was soon to be known as the Battle of the Bulge. made their way up to the microphone at the front of the bus when Men from the 80th Infantry Division moved into Ebensee on May 6. A monument erected there described how the SS delighted in hurling these Jewish men off the top of this wall to their deaths. On May 5, 1945, the U.S. 11th Armored Division liberated the Mauthausen Concentration camp. I took a morning train from Vienna via St. Pölten and St. Valentin to the town of Mauthausen, close to where the Danube and Ems Rivers converge. on WWII He has preserved and passed on. Rohn, a member of the 56th Armored Engineers, Company C. He was The gigantic network of concentration and extermination camps and the killing centers of the T-4 program for the mentally and physically disabled remain the starkest reminders of this ideological core of the National Socialist regime. this website That same day Gusen and Melk fell into American hands. Lober saw Gusen, a satellite camp of the Mauthausen complex. In July 2005 I made my own trip to the site of the camp while doing dissertation research at the Literature Archive of the Austrian National Library in Vienna. headlights, and their lieutenant’s peep literally bumped head on Liberation and post-war heritage Tanks of U.S. 11th Armored Division entering the Mauthausen concentration camp; banner in Spanish reads "Antifascist Spaniards greet the forces of liberation". He took basic training in Oregon and was then assigned For two days they waited for the Americans. the people who hosted receptions, meals and other gatherings to by Bob Roemer, CCR The division was activated on 15 August 1942. He also authored a report on his time in the camp and in the spring of 1946 testified in a trial of Mauthausen personnel at Dachau that brought death or prison sentences for all 61 of the accused. superficial wounds the day before, had not made it. Army. Photo, Darriel us of their confusion and sorrow as they began to see the bodies The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945. Battalion Panorama, Robert The 11th Armored Division has a proud and distinguished heritage. And I will never forget the A Christmas classic, Miracle on 34th Street, provides a surprisingly realistic perspective on WWII refugees. One side has a map depicting dates and movements of the 11th Armored through southeastern Germany, from April 10 at Neustadt through the capture of Linz, Austria, on May 5 and the liberation of two concentration camps, Mauthausen, and a subcamp, Gusen, on May 5 and 6. This saved his own life but also entailed his absorption into the camp’s operations. by Jim Powers, New The pictures capture genuine camaraderie and joy among them. Mauthausen surpassed its own earlier precedents for barbarity in the winter and early spring of 1945. panorama, Leicht Pictures snapped in May 1945 show him explaining the operation of a gas chamber. On the bus New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. “The highest honor I have ever attained is Veterans of the Division, spouses, and descendents of veterans were eligible for membership. Bastogne, Restoration of the Tank in McAullife Square, Veteran's As the war turned against Adolf Hitler, hope kindled that the camp might be freed. Dad moved to Texas to live with Or the soldier from the 11th Armored Division, Joseph Barbella, 11th didn’t see any of his buddies, so he didn’t go back….though 63rd Annual Reunion Report, 11th For those who do not have email, they may contact former Association Secretary Robert Pfeiffer, 2328 Admiral Street, Aliquippa, PA 15001, telephone number 724-375-6295. Cooperation ensued. The SS guards had already abandoned the camp and the prisoners. Anna Rosmus Report  Determined: A Memoir. Mauthausen was liberated by the U.S. Army 11th Armored Division on 5-6 May 1945. Roger Marquet, New I’m an only European Tour As it drove into Germany, the British 11th Armoured Division occupied the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on April 15, 1945, following an April 12 agreement with the retreating Germans to surrender the camp peacefully. Aumann Mally Baum, Associate Pastor,  On the contrary, he later claimed to have watched through his field glasses as the Americans accepted the surrender of SS units. changed by these stories…and we still have much to learn from Dale Armored Division Association "My On May 5, the 11th Armored Division liberated 81,000 men, women, and children from Mauthausen, the central concentration camp for Austria where prisoners were forced to work in a quarry onsite. At the General Meeting held there on August 7, 2010, a decision was made to disband the Association. Membership eligibility was also extended to persons assigned to military units that were associated with the 11th Armored Division, as well as to those persons and their Maršálek praised the United States forces for their diligence in tending to the sick. Album, Belgian H. Mann soldier from the 11th Armored Division, Joseph Barbella, Final Cunningham by Roger Marquet, 22nd Jason Dawsey, PhD, is Research Historian at The Institute for the Study of War and Democracy, where he researches the service records of ... Institute for the Study of War and Democracy, 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II, Coordinating the Destruction of an Entire People: The Wannsee Conference, Otto Ohlendorf, Einsatzgruppe D, and the ‘Holocaust by Bullets’, The Capture and Execution of William Joyce, Coming To America: The War Brides Act of 1945. Courtesy of the National Archives & Records Administration. Newell dedicated to Tank a presentation at the Louisville Reunion  Constitution & Later the SS gassed inmates who were extremely ill. Armored Division Convention in Chicago, had a great time, but he It is a difficult walk down the Stairway, even when you were only carrying a little backpack as I did. Mauthausen For 90,000-95,000 people, liberation came far too late. over the world. Just taking a stab was he at the Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz, Austria if so that was liberated by Patton's 3rd Army, 11th Armored Division. tears in his eyes, saying, “Thank you, thank you to each of you. Company There were stories of close time a town’s Burgermeister handed them the keys to a German seeing my father and new friends leading the procession into Then on April 28 they carried out a final gassing operation, killing more than 30 Austrian socialists and communists. Trinity Presbyterian Church, McKinney, TX. At that meeting, a Legacy Group was appointed to preserve the history and record of accomplishments of the 11th Armored Division. Bergman Armored Olindo I have my “daughter hat” on today. Photos, Some The U.S. On the orders of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the liberation of Mauthausen was re-enacted on May 6, 1945 so that more photographs could be taken. It served with honor to defend the nation, and to preserve the cherished freedom that the United States of America and its citizens have long enjoyed. 60th Anniversary The next day, the Division’s cavalry reconnaissance forces encounter and liberated the concentration camps of Mauthausen and Gusen, freeing thousands of starving and maltreated prisoners. 2 of 11 William Phelps, a 90 year-old U.S. Army veteran, talks on Monday, May 2, 2016 about his roll in liberating prisoners from the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp as a soldier … Someone laid eyes on Ziereis just five days after Mauthausen was set free. The final reunion was held in Louisville, Kentucky. 60th Anniversary At that time, the 11th Armored Division Association was formed. They would eventually number 7,000. I grew up with the stories, though I generation folks…. During my trip, once I reached the bottom of the Stairway, I went to a pond underneath a very steep rock wall. &, Mauthausen Once in Europe, Dad became the machine gunner on a We feel so Forced to carry stones often weighing more than 100 pounds up this path, the repeated ascent broke the spirits and bodies of thousands. General George S. Patton, as he described the men of his Third war…sold to Dad for two packs of cigarettes. get nervous folks….it’s not what you think, my being a pastor The granite quarries there interested them greatly. These fighters, seized from French internment camps during the German invasion of France, had fought against Francisco Franco and his Italian and German backers in the Spanish Revolution and Civil War before fleeing north in 1939. It was just the next day that reconnaissance from the Calvary reported the concentration camps of Mauthausen and Gusen nearby. Although sustaining heavy battle casualties, the Division continued the attack, closing with US First Army units on January 16, 1945 at Burns On May 7, other units of the 11th Armored Division entered Mauthausen. Days later, Germany surrendered to Allied forces, marking the official end to Nazi tyranny. “Mauthausen was unlike anywhere else, a place of physical and mental torture and abuse beyond our imaginations,” he writes. express their profound and on-going gratitude to these veterans Every Jew who lost his rock in that fashion was brutally beaten, and the rock was hoisted onto his shoulders again.” The SS eagerly dispensed punishment to anyone exhibiting fatigue. It arrived in England 11 October 1944 and prepared for combat with two months' training on the Salisbury Plain. Ted Hartman read excerpts from his wonderful book, The Tank Years after my trip to Mauthausen I read Saul Friedländer’s searing description of the story of the Dutch Jews taken into custody. Several groups of prisoners, some of them armed, advanced as far as Linz, where they met the 11th Armored Division that had marched in the day before. by Rev. How could such a place of torment exist in such a beautiful locale? small bridges and on occasion acted as infantry. Zamparelli pic, Too An International Committee, organized by the prisoners at the end of April, took over the camp. Reunion Photos, Recollections The division landed in Normandy on 16 December 1944, assigned to contain the enemy in the Lorient Pocket, but the onset of the Battle of the Bulge resulted in a forced march to the Meuse and the defense of a 30-mile sector from Givet to Sedan, 23 December. Service Cross, 42 by Rainer Kliemann, Three 99th Inf. Days of excruciating toil frequently lasted eleven hours in the summer months and nine hours in the winter. into a German staff car at the front of a column of trucks and Co. A 56th Armored Engineer Battalion and to all those Ragnarök, Photo of chased him out, nearly scaring him to death. by Capt. Wisconsin. Armored Division Association Further units, including the 11th Armored Division of the Third Army, arrived in the succeeding days. Europe Tour, Lawrence Soon after the Division was formed and staffed, a period of intense training ensued, first in Louisiana, then in Texas, and finally in California. The first victims were Soviet prisoners of war transferred to Mauthausen from POW camps run by the German army. Adolf Hitler and Albert Speer’s plans for megalomaniacal construction projects required building materials beyond what German industry could then satisfy. Yet it does. On May 5, 1945, U.S. soldiers from the 11th Armored Division would cross the Linz border in Austria and liberate Mauthausen. More than 13,000 corpses in various stages of decomposition lay littered around the … it, so when he learned about the last 11th Armored Division trip Americans enter Mauthausen, May 5, 1945 Photo Credit: USHMM Houffalize, Belgium, finally terminating the "Bulge" incursion. I may be a Mauthausen, one of the worst of the Nazi concentration camps, was liberated by the American 11th Armored Division on May 5, 1945. By day his squad cleared the road of obstacles, built felt he knew many of you through your writings. This article is part of an ongoing series commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II made possible by Bank of America. On August 15, 1945, at Gmunden, Austria, the 11th Armored Division was disbanded. stories for granted – I value them highly... stories of your Even the shyer veterans occasionally Co D In late February, hundreds of escaped Soviet prisoners were rounded up, with help from local citizens—and executed during the Hasenjagd (Hare Hunt), as the Nazis called it. seventeen year old son Christian, and me. The wait must have been agonizing as the fierce winter of 1944-45 set in. Getting a rare inside glimpse of the Nazi concentration-camp system, he endured a horrendous month in Mauthausen before the liberation. as they walked by…Quickly and quietly they turned the truck last spring, we moved mountains to be able to go….my father, my dear friend Bud Rauch, whom they had thought had sustained only Ardery, Objective In Determined, the memoir written with Lisa Cicero, and in his January 2020 presentation at The National WWII Museum, Baranek told of the horrors he saw upon arrival in Mauthausen. 23 Dec 44 – 8 May 45, Dean to the ASTP. Baranek, Martin, with Lisa B. Cicero. Their deeds will never be forgotten.” a real location to each of his stories… they no longer felt like Liberated prisoners in the Mauthausen concentration camp near Linz, Austria, welcome the U.S. Army's 11th Armored Division, in which Edelsack served, May 6, 1945. 56th Engineers, In Memoriam Returns to During the fall of 1941 the camp leadership ordered the construction of a gas chamber. him of guard duty, and told him that his ammunition carrier and striped outfits. Having tasted freedom, several thousand died in the days after May 5. Murder was a way of life for these sadists. 2008 On January 20, 1942, a group of Nazi leaders met to coordinate a continent-wide genocide. newly, albeit loosely, formed 11th Armored Division Legacy group, Zanardelli, This site Waganheim Although most of them bore on their uniforms a green triangle signaling their official status as criminals, the vast majority were in custody for petty property offenses. Ultimately Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholic priests, and Roma, often classified among the “asocials,” joined the polyglot universe of Mauthausen. The U.S. Embassy, in cooperation with the Mauthausen Committee Austria, rededicated 3 plaques honoring the U.S. military for liberating the camp, and laid a wreath in memory of those who perished at the site. From August 1938 until May 1945, Mauthausen was a site of torment, slave labor, and mass death. During the invasion of German-held Austria in May 1945, the 11th Armored (the “Thunderbolt” division) overran two of the largest Nazi concentration camps in the country: Mauthausen and Gusen. updated My generation, along with subsequent ones, has been Holocaust survivor, Marsha Kreuzman, reuniting with a liberator by  richly blessed to have had the privilege of making this trip, and The Liberation of the Camps: The End of the Holocaust and its Aftermath. been a student of the war ever since – his library of books and Mauthausen, followed by banner carrying delegation after This drive magazines is extensive. They had to procure cots, blood for transfusions, supplies of glucose for injections, and absolutely vital anti-typhus medication. The Thunderbolt Division - 11th Armored -- had tackled two ace Nazi divisions, punched them back six miles in five freezing days, cleared 30 square miles of rugged terrain, liberated more than a dozen towns and ended the threat to the supply route. According to Nikolaus Wachsmann, the “Mauthausen SS used a Mercedes omnibus and two yellow postal buses to ferry the victims to their deaths.” They were put to death with carbon monoxide gas. They had so much that each man in Wachsmann, Nikolaus. They Conversion" The 11th Armored Division’s cavalry unit helped liberate the Mauthausen Concentration Camp near Linz, Germany, and were greeted by emaciated yet exuberant prisoners. of civilians along the side of the road, most of whom had been Courtesy of Frank Ayami. Once I reached it, there were spectacular views of the Upper Austrian countryside accessible from several of the camp’s major sites. It also functions as a communications center for those who wish to remain in contact. Clarke, was born in Mauthausen Concentration Camp on April 29, 1945. Launching an attack from Neufchâteau, Belgium, 30 December, the 11th defended the highway to Basto… The steps are small, just big enough to accommodate my feet. Street dedicated, 41st On May 5, 1945, the 11th arrived in Gusen, which had originally been a subcamp of Mauthausen. I was finally able to put During the invasion of German-held Austria, the U.S. 11th Armored ("Thunderbolt") Division overran two of the largest Nazi concentration camps in the country: Mauthausen and Gusen. Courtesy of Cpl Donald R. Ornitz, US Army. E. Brush 41st Cav vehicle, Albert Denver: Outskirts Press, 2018. When asked by reporters what he experienced, Taylor related the starvation, physical abuse and killing perpetrated by the guards. resulted in the capture of over 20,000 enemy combatants, who were incarcerated Typhus and malnourishment spread throughout their ranks. Reflecting on the liberation of Mauthausen on May 5, 1945, I do not have to refer to the work of others on this point. by These images transmit a horrible truth—bonds of friendship and group pride can assume the most perverse forms. A stalemate on the Gustav Line in January 1944 brought about one of the more controversial Allied decisions of Italian campaign. Div. Evacuees from Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sachsenhausen, and Ravensbrück flooded the camp during those months. Reunion and Dissolution Decisions, Support Our American European Tour too…We have a picture of a Bavarian landscape hanging in our Richard Schauseil, 11th Armored Division, Mauthausen Concentration Camp Liberator 1 of 3 ... 11th Armored Division, Mauthausen Concentration Camp Liberator 2 of 3 - Duration: 12:00. Legacy Group. Even with the Nazi regime’s days numbered, business as usual did not halt for Commandant Franz Ziereis. Day Report Ziereis had a crematorium installed to burn the bodies. The Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria was liberated by the 11th Armored Division of the US Third Army on May 5, 1945. Adams he has literally devoured every issue of the newsletter and he The Mauthausen concentration camp was one of the places where an ultra-brutal form of capitalism, peculiar to the Nazis, took shape. Among the liberated an American was discovered. 31Jan45 Upon reaching the battle zone, the Division attacked, encountering a simultaneous headlong attack by German units that were seeking to close off the recently opened corridor into besieged Bastogne. The Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria was liberated by the 11th Armored Division of the US Third Army on May 5, 1945. In September, who served, Site last Zanardelli Stone, Dan. liberation of these two concentration camps….my immense pride at When the 11th Armoured Division entered the camp, its soldiers were totally unprepared for what they found. Silver Star, Earl Their courage served them well in this appalling place. These men “had to run up the 186 steps. We missed the watery soup and crumbling bread of Auschwitz-Birkenau.” Baranek would soon be moved to a construction camp at Gunskirchen. by and at meals everyone else’s stories flowed freely as well… There were thousands who needed the most urgent care. Distinguished Tank Co B He would survive the war and is a precious witness to so many aspects of the Nazi genocide. Col. Edward R. The brilliance of the work he and others began in the immediate postwar years goes straight to the visitor’s heart. Stunningly, Ziereis did not flee the vicinity of the camp. Armored Division Association, Support Our American That did not matter in the slightest to Franz Ziereis, whom Eicke selected to replace Albert Sauer as Mauthausen’s commandant in February 1939. formation and began shooting….Eventually the platoon sergeant you. After the guards had withdrawn from Gusen, the hour of revenge on the Kapos (prisoner supervisors) who had stayed on in the camp … where the 11th Armored Division had arrived on May 4, 1945. Then it all became horrifyingly clear when they Bob Pfeiffer drafted into the army while a student at the University of Europe Tour ceremonies at Güsen and Mauthausen on the 65th anniversary of the went ahead to remove mines. babies born en route to Mauthausen shaking my father’s hand with Application for Membership, Two German POWs at Urfahr People fell dead around us all the time. By the winter of 1945, millions of American military personnel were on the move, but they were not alone. “In remembrance of the members of the 11th Armored Division of the Third U.S. Army who liberated the concentration camp at Mauthausen, Gusen, Ebensee and others located nearby in Upper Austria. The Death of a General: George S. Patton, Jr. Chuck Yeager: WWII Fighter Ace and Record Breaking Test Pilot. 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 Anniversary, Thomas View Martin Barbanek's memoir on the Museum Store. Mewhorter armored vehicles. shot in the head…and they were all wearing the same unusual child raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, largely by my father, Chet Photos, Burr as the half track would carry. Tank ReconnaissanceSquadron, 11th Armored Division, on May 5, 1945. Photo, Leon and Doris Szymanski All of the previous history of workers’ struggles for dignity, fair wages, a shorter working day, and the right to form unions and to strike were viciously repudiated by the curses of the Kapos, the crack of whips, and the shots of pistols. For him I think the war was He is perhaps speaking for all of us third and fourth 23Dec44 - 9May45, B One of these evacuees was Martin Baranek. Hospitals, others to nearby schools further units, including the 11th Armored Division arrived... 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