Did they really liberate a concentration camp?

In Band Of Brothers, Easy Company liberates a concentration camp abandoned by the German army, but the real story unfolds a little differently.

In Band of brothers, Easy Company discovers a concentration camp abandoned by the German army and frees the poor souls inside. Episode 9 is one of the best in the series due to its impact. In a program known for its grim and gritty portrayal of World War II, the liberation of the concentration camp stands out as one of the most heartbreaking moments. Band of brothers is based on the actual exploits of the soldiers it portrays, as told in Stephen Ambrose’s historical book of the same name, but some of it is fictionalized to better tell its story. For example, some battles fought by Easy Company are left out for pacing reasons. However, the liberation from the concentration camp actually happened, but not quite as shown in the series.

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In band of brothers episode 9, “Why We Fight”, Easy Company is sent to Landsberg, Germany to oversee the surrender of 300,000 German troops. While patrolling the nearby woods, soldiers come across a concentration camp. Soon, Winters and Nixon arrive to see the horrific conditions the prisoners were subjected to. One of them, via Liebgott’s translation, tells the soldiers that the prisoners are all Jews and considered “undesirable” by the German army. It’s easy to see why some American soldiers hated their enemy, like Speirs, who was rumored to have killed Nazi prisoners. The men and women in the camp are all severely starved and dehydrated, but the battalion doctor advises the company that they must be watched closely during their recovery and cannot just eat or drink as much as they want. . As such, the company is obligated to order survivors to remain inside the camp so that they do not leave without proper medical care. Many corpses are strewn in the area, and it is later decided that the local Germans will be obliged to exhume and dispose of the bodies. It is also mentioned that the Russian military liberated a larger camp, most likely Auschwitz, a few weeks earlier.


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The members of Easy Company are surprised that such a concentration camp exists. This is based on reality, as information was often scarce and it was easy to get confused (episode 6, “Bastogne”, sees a plane firing on its own men). There were no specific missions to liberate the camps, with the possible exception of the Swedish Red Cross white bus rescue action in April 1945, and so any liberation was the result of chance. Those doing the liberation probably had no prior knowledge that the camps even existed in the first place. The 101st Airborne Division of the US Army did find a concentration camp, discovering about 500 dead prisoners there. The U.S. military also ordered the local German population to bury the dead in the following days.



In reality, however, it was the “Screaming Eagle” unit that found the camp, along with the 12th Armored Division, which arrived there first. It’s just one of the things Band of brothers out of its history. The units arrived at Kaufering IV, one of 11 camps in the Kaufering complex at Landsberg, on April 27–28, 1945. It once held more than 3,600 prisoners in inhumane conditions. When the SS heard of the approach of the US Army, they took most of their prisoners on a death march to Dachau. They also burned down the barracks to prevent the release.

It’s easy to see why Band of brothers depicts Easy Company discovering the camp, as they are its primary focus. The liberation of the concentration camp is an interesting inclusion – even if the series slightly twists the truth to incorporate it – because it showcases the very real horror of such places. The Holocaust must never be forgotten because it must never happen again. The show intentionally fictionalizes aspects of its story and even makes mistakes, such as when it changes Blithe’s death and incorrectly says he died in 1948. However, it stays true to the experience of war and is generally accurate, at least in the book adaptation. it’s based on.


Next: Band Of Brothers: Why Easy Company Has Spikes On Their Helmets

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