MISERABLE QUIET BARN IN GARDELEGEN

JANUSZ WOJCIECHOWSKI

Why will neither German Gross nor German Pasikowski show barns in Gardelegen to the world?

1. A note from the portal ‘Historycy.org’:

On 15 April 1945 soldiers of the 102. Infantry Division of IX Army of USA moving towards the East, came across a burnt brick barn in the village Gardelegen. It turned out that there were burnt and charred corpses of 1016 soldiers of war and prisoners of concentration camps in it. What happened there? On 13 April 1945, the SS unit, escaping from the Soviets and leading them in the ‘march of death’ from the East, came across American leaders and decided to remove unnecessary ‘ballast’. Over 1000 prisoners were forced into a barn with hay, were drenched with petrol and set on fire. Opposite the gate of the barn SS – soldiers stood with machine weapon, grenades and were killing those who had managed to get out from the burning building. Apart from the SS-soldiers, soldiers of Luftwaffe, Fallschirmmjager, Hitlerjugend, Volkssturm took part in the action. Another contribution to the legend about the ‘knight’ German soldier.

Only in 4 cases, the Americans managed to determine the identity of victims. For 301 hardly their camp numbers were determined. 711 prisoners were not identified at all. They were able to recognize the nationality of 186 dead soldiers: 60 Poles, 52 Russians, 27 French, 17 Hungarians, 8 Belgians, 5 Germans, 5 Italians, 4 Czechs, 4 Yugoslavians, 2 Dutch, 1 Mexican (?) and 1 Spanish. The Americans forced inhabitants of local villages to dig graves and bury corpses. American soldiers said that it was visible that the Germans only pretended remorse – in fact they were glad with this kind of things. They felt relief that they had not got into the hands of freed prisoners. SS-soldiers ‘solved’ this urgent ‘problem’ by removing potential avengers.

A man probably directly responsible for the massacre is Gerhard Thiele – a high-ranking Nazis civil official on the area of Gardelegen district (not mistake it with a German astronaut of the same surname). He was never arrested – he must have died in a small town in the South America as a respectable old man. Another ‘important’ – SS- Untersturmfuhrer Erhard Brauny was arrested and imprisoned, who died in 1950. Beside that, ‘gossips’ were stopped which, because of the allied agreement in the number of 21 people, were passed under the Soviet jurisdiction. They were serving sentence in special camps on the area of Eastern Germany.

2. I thank the commander Detoxic for the clue to the barn in Gardelegen. It is a shame to admit but I have not heard about it. No Gross has written a book about it, no Pasikowski made a film about it. On the website of the town I read that there is probably a monument in Gardelegen but I have not heard that presidents, prime ministers, official state delegations had paid a tribute there, like they do in Jedwabno. And it is worth adding that the barn in Gardelegen was drenched with German petrol and set on fire with German matches by the country with German hands of German functionaries. And, probably, German jurisdiction of the German authority was functioning there like in Jedwabno.

3. Today the whole world knows about Jedwabno, but no dog knows about Gardelegen today. How many people in Poland know about this barn, although mainly Poles were burnt there…

4. However, do not expect a film about Gardelegen. Today there is a different trend. ‘A Pianist’, “ A list of Schindler’…., today we must show fair Germans, the fairest among the nations of the world. Although it will be difficult with new masterpieces because the bench of fair Germans was, unfortunately, too short. Whereas one can multiply works about bad and unfair Poles, even if it has not been completely proved and certain that they were unfair.

5. Anticipating comments – I do not have any pretences about Gardelegen to the contemporary Germans. Somebody sat there a few years ago, was given a monument, there were some memories about him – I do not require any more from them. How long can one punish oneself for a grandfather with using matches.

I have pretences to ourselves, to my compatriots and to myself that with our own hands, our own pens, our own money, from our own Polish budget, we support building a false, picture of the last war, step by step. This picture in which the ghostly Jedwabno will exist and prickle into eyes, whereas there will not be any place for a miserable, quiet barn in Gardelegen…

Anyway, that the Germans believe in this picture. But the fact that we, Poles, are starting to believe – is a real problem. It is a poisoned spirit of the nation…

(AA)

"Niedziela" 2/2013

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Ireneusz Skubis • Translation: Aneta Amrozik • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl