By Sgt. Allan Ecker

YANK Staff Correspondent

GARDELEGEN, GERMANY—GIs of the 102nd Division who saw the bodies of 1,016 foreign workers burned alive in a barn here will never forget the 13th of April, date on which the atrocity occurred. Neither will 1,016 citizens of the community who were forced by Military Government to bury the bodies.

Shoulder insignia of the 102nd Infantry Division

Shoulder insignia of the 102nd Infantry Division

But a lot of people in the town still refuse to believe that the crime ever happened, and to some the important date is not April 13 at all. In the house of the town’s most prominent doctor, somebody hunting for writing paper found a penmanship lesson book. A childish scrawl had imitated the sentence written above it in a mother’s firm adult hand: “Never forget the 14th day of April 1945, for on that day the burgermeister of Gardelegen falsely betrayed the city to the Americans.

102nd infantry division gardelegen germany

The barn in Gardelegen, Germany where 1,016 slave laborers were burned to death by the Nazis.

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