Text of Page 2 of Pamphlet produced by the 102nd Division of US Ninth Army on the Gardelegen Massacre, 13 April 1945


Burgomeisters of Kreis Gardelegen view the mass grave from which over 700 burned bodies were later removed.

Once again SS boys ignited the floor, this time keeping the prisoners away from the fire by throwing hand grenades into the frantic masses. Exploding grenades spread the flames. At one door, where stubborn prisoners beat out the fire several times, a burp gun ripped into the struggling groups and signal flares reignited the floor. Finally, satisfied that the flames were out of control, the big doors were closed and barricaded.

Gaza, huddled in a corner was digging a hole under a door. Others tried to do the same. One managed to get his head through the opening before he died. But Gaza was lucky. He, his comrade, and a Pole, dug for an hour before they had a tunnel big enough. The Pole went out first. It was then about nine oclock and getting dark. If they could reach to the corner they might escape by crawling through the grain fields to the north. Just as the Pole reached the corner, a dog came sniffing by. The Pole tried to control his quaking limbs and feign death. But the dog howled, and a guard came running. A bullet freed the Pole from his troubles.

Behind him lay Gaza grimly awaiting his turn. Again he was lucky. Dog and master returned to the opposite side of the barn.

Gaza and his comrade crawled two miles to a damaged farm house.

Another man, a Frenchman, managed to remain alive in the burning barn. Sheltered by a mass of burned bodies he somehow escaped suffocation. He later told that SS men returned in the morning, calling that they were ready to give medical aid to anyone who had lasted the night. Several survivors indicated that they were alive. They were shot on the spot.

Local slave laborers were rounded up Saturday morning to dig great trenches around the barn, bury the remains, and otherwise clean up the evidence. Over 700 bodies were concealed before this work was interrupted by the surrender of the town.

Under the stern supervision of the 102d Infantry Division, burgomeisters from neighboring towns were conducted to the barn where they viewed the still smoldering victims of their criminal Nazi regime. They were charged with the responsibility of telling their communities the sordid tale. Later the citizens of Gardelegen established a memorial cemetery near the building. All able-bodied men of the community assisted in burying the dead and each family is henceforth responsible for keeping a grave forever green.

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