[Twelfth Armored Division, Scrapbook 6] Page: 183 of 220
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state of ImSM s-f a
COUNTY OF jinil Si I
Before me, the undersigned authority in and for said state and county, personally
appeared J. Paul Heineman, who is known to and who being duly sworn, deposes
I am J. Paul Heineman, and during World War II was a member of Battery C,
493 Armored Field Artillery Battalion of the 12th Armored Division which was
part of the United States Am\y. The story of my experiences in a concentration
camp taken by the American troops near Landsberg, Germany is as follows:
On approach to the Camp, about three miles distant, we observed a huge
column of smoke (probably the barracks that the guards had set on fire) and
a 88 mm. gun and crew. We quickly dispatched this gun and crew with several
direct hits from our 105 mm. M-7s. We then proceeded to the area that was still
smoking, and found burned, blackened bodies all over the ground. Some bodies
were still warm, and it became my duty (since I spoke German) to check many
of the bodies to ascertain if any were yet alive. One of the prisoners told
me that the Camp guards had made the prisoners get into holes in the ground
(approximately 10' x 10' x 6' deep) then, the guards poured gasoline into these
pits and, as the prisoners jumped out and ran, they were shot with machine
guns, pistols, rifles, etc. During the search for live bodies, my face and hands
were somewhat blackened from handling the bodies. A Scout Command Car (4th
Infantry) drove by and someone yelled out my name. The car kept on going on
and I thought no more about it at the time. I was wearing a captured leather
jacket when the car returned about 15 minutes later, it turned out that the
driver was a friend from the old neighborhood in Minneapolis. He told me that
when he drove by the first time, because of the blackened face and hands,
leather jacket etc., he thoutht I was one of the prisoners! Imagine! Meeting
a pal from your old neighborhood, whom you had not seen for 6 years, under
this set of circumstancesV x
You may keep the small snapshot. I have a copy. The men in it are all
"C" Battery members, 493rd. AFA. If you enlarge it, you will see bodies iillI
over the ground. Note the trees in the background. One of the prisoners told
us that the guards (some were S.S. guards) had run towards these woods. We
dispatched an M 7 over to the woods and fired about 20 bursts from a machine
gun, with about every 10th round being a tracer. Pretty soon about 14 or 15
men came out of the woods, hands up but in civilian clothes}!' We made them get
in front of the M 7 (33 tons of tank) and run double time back to the Camp.
Our mental disposition at the time was such that had any of these guards fallen
under the tank, we would not have given a damn!*
I believe the local citizens were made to march back to the Camp and to
view the carnage. When asked why they didn't do something to stop the killings,
their reply was "oh, we didn't know what was going on out here!" We have an
agricultural fertilizer expression which adequately covers that kind of answer.
I also have the factual, statistical book on "Dachau". Landsberg was a
subcamp of Dachau.
Most of the pictures in the "C" Battery chapter of the 12th Armored Book
are mine, having been Pictorial Editor, especially those on pages 72 and 73.
Most of the above account was printed in a previous edition of The Hellcat
News, although I don't recall which one.
J. Paul Heineman
Sworn to and subscribed before me on this the -S~~ day of Jfca 10 .
My commission expires
R. L GANDRUD |
Iv&M NOTARY PUBLIC MINNESOTA |
ANOKA COUNTY |
| My Commission Expires Feb. 16,1991 |
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United States. Army. 12th Armored Division. [Twelfth Armored Division, Scrapbook 6], book, Date Unknown; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth639084/m1/183/: accessed August 8, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum.