LIBERATION SATURDAY 28th APRIL 1945

 

Events that led up to the liberation of the internees commenced four to five weeks before the day. At the beginning of April tank traps were erected at the cross road to entrance of Bad Wurzach. Each night the internees could here heavy transports passing through the village. The air raid alarms sounded more often and lasted much longer.

On Monday the 8th of April at about 1 O’clock commenced the longest air raid during a five hour period hundreds of American and English bombers flew over the Schloss towards major cities. From this day onwards more large air raids to place, the planes were bombing Munich, Ulm Aulendorf and Rossberg.

Later in the week a large number of German soldiers arrived in the town, many of them were injured, the internees learned that they were soldiers returning from the Russian front and most of the lost limbs of these soldiers were the effects of frostbite.

During this period the town’s military was reinforced, groups of soldiers taking over and setting up in local buildings.

On Friday 20th April 1945 it was the Fuehrer’s birthday, for the first time since their internment no flags were flown in the town as a birthday celebration, this lead to rumours that he might in fact be dead (It was only later they learned that he in fact had taken his life some 10 days later on the 30th April 1945)

The night time traffic increased after this and continued throughout the days as well, but now they also included women and children.

At about this time the Hitler Youth mostly young boys of about 13-16 whom had been located in a camp behind the Schloss, packed up and left. (It has often been mistaken that these Hitler Youth were in Fact members of the S.S.)

On Wednesday the 25th April 1945 the internees hear rumours that the S.S. was going to defend the town. They also heard that there was a plot to destroy the Schloss by fire; it had been hatched by the Hitler Youth Commandant in the camp behind the Schloss. He was now under arrest.

The next day the rumours intensify with regards the S.S. they were placing gun batteries around the town. An all the vantage points with the town were occupies by the S.S. to act as look outs.

On Saturday the 28th April 1945 the day starts as normal, then at about 12.45 a commotion started and the internees could see some of the German Home Guards running into the street with a white flag. On the horizon in a field they could see for first time The Free French tanks that had come to liberate the town.

About 40 tanks and other vehicles came into the town and stopped outside the Town Hall which if opposite and to the right of the Schloss. Not a shot was fired, at the same time the guards from the schloss left their posts and gave themselves up.

It was noticed by the internees that all the tanks had names of French ports painted on them, the most significant one was one called St. Malo the closest port to their home Island Jersey.

The internees later learned that the Commander of the tanks had no idea that there were internees in the town; he had only heard that it was to be defended by the S.S.  If they had received even the slightest form of resistance they would have opened fire on the town and raised it to the ground as they had done in so many other towns. Ironically he also said the first an main target for the bombardment would have been the Schloss containing the Internees.

It is with thanks to the local Home Guard who despite the instructions of the S.S. did not wish to fight or cause any resistance.

Later in the day crowds of now former internees surged into the town to seek food and drink, which was later brought back.

The Internees were finally free and thoughts turned to returning to Jersey and of those twelve individuals whom would not be returning with them.