Mount Pleasant News

Mount Pleasant, IA

07 Jun 1945




Sees Thousand of Well Fed Nazis In European Camp

By Frank Miles

In Germany (IDPA) -- Beyond scores of nazi airplanes, disabled in their revetments by American strafing, the jeep driver and I could see moving within an enclosure thousands of whitish figures, who were too far away to clearly distinguish. We didn't then know exactly where we were. Seeing an unguarded dirt road leading toward the place, we decided to try to move closer.

An American army chaplain was walking toward us as we reached a runway along a barbed fence around the area. He was Capt. Gerald Dougherty, Chicago, of the 180th infantry, 45th division who was born in Dougherty, Iowa.

"This is Bad Aibling camp in where there are 60,000 nazi prisoners of war," he said in reply to my many questions. "There were 70,000 but a division of Hungarians was taken away yesterday."

Prisoners had looked whitish from a distance because most of them were naked or stripped to the waist for sun or water baths. As I looked my anger was aroused because they almost without exception were well fed and in fine fettle. I knew that thousands of Americans were leaving camp far underweight from a liter of soup and hunk of bread or less a day.

Captain Dougherty had like feelings not that either us would want to starve German captives because ours were hungry but we were certain German mistreatment of Americans who fell into their hands, was deliberate cruelty. Conclusive evidence of this was in the well nourished civilians we saw as we rode along and had seen almost everywhere we had been in Germany.

The captain two days earlier had witnessed surrender of 54 jerry planes with their crew to Americans after their pilots staged a great aerial show before landing.

"Then after things were quiet again two more nazi planes appeared above us," he said. "Our gunners didn't shoot for two reasons, we thought more jerries wanted to give up or that Americans might be flying German planes.

"It gave us something of a thrill when the pair after circling several times suddenly shot way out of our range. What their pilots idea was we probably shall never know.

Source: Mount Pleasant News, June 7, 1945

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