joachim neander wrote:I know this photograph very well. I discussed the matter in much detail in my PhD dissertation. It is, of course, written in German, but available even thru amazon.com. As it is also in the stock of many public libraries, an interested reader can get it via interlibrary loan from his/her next public library.
To make it short (and omitting many details): The photograph shows part of the Boelcke-Kaserne at Nordhausen, Germany....In some of the former hangars and garages a sub-camp of CC Mittelbau was established at the end of January 1945, when the evacuation transports from Auschwitz and Gross Rosen arrived with many, many sick prisoners, unfit for work in the "Mittelbau Project," the excavation of big underground caves west of Nordhausen, intended for the deployment of an aircraft factory and an oil refinery. The sick prisoners were left there with a minimum of food, no health care, no beds (only straw on the concrete floor), no heating. All severely sick prisoners from the main camp "Dora" and the other sub-camps of Mittelbau were also sent to sub-camp Boelcke-Kaserne. The appalling living conditions made that the death rate in this camp was extremely high.
....The prisoners were prevented at gunpoint from entering the air raid shelters on the premises. A few hours after the last air raid, the SS abandoned the Boelcke Kaserne sub-camp (the evacuation of the Mittelbau camps was beginning) and left the dead and dying inmates to their fate.
It is not correct to assign ALL the dead to the RAF bombing. If the prisoners had been allowed to hide in air raid shelters during the air raid, if the camp authorities had cared for the ca. 600 who had survived the bombing, and if these men had not been seriously ill due to neglect and maltreatment, the overall death toll would have been significantly less.
I happen to know people from that area of Germany. And they recall quite weary prisoners marching through their village at the end of the war. They also went to that museum after the end of the "DDR" and I should add that it seems they've paddled back their on many of the allegations you made. The statement that "The prisoners were prevented at gunpoint from entering the air raid shelters" sounds a bit absurd. Not that it's physically impossible and the rest sounds rather like exaggeration of certainly deteriorating conditions at the end of the war. You did check those allegations concerning maltreatment of prisoners on the possibility, whether this is just communist propaganda, didn't you?
Finally it should be noted that the German wiki entry on Nordhausen already revised the claims concerning this picture:
Etwa 1200 bis 1300 Tote forderte die Bombardierung unter den Häftligen des Außenlagers Boelcke-Kaserne. Die Bomben detonierten auf den Lagerstraßen und in den Unterkunftsblocks. Die Aufnahme zeigt das Kasernengelände mit den geborgenen Leichen.
I assume you understand the German text.
The text clearly states that the picture shows recovered corpses after the bombing. Hence your statement "It is not correct to assign ALL the dead to the RAF bombing" is wrong as we are discussing the picture here.