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Allied air superiority over Germany was a decisive factor in the success of the D-Day (June 6, 1944) landings in France. This footage shows the Allied bombing of suspected German positions during the battle. Allied air attacks both supported Allied ground operations in Normandy and prevented German reinforcements from reaching the area. The Allies would liberate most of France by the end of August 1944.
In Nazi usage, "euthanasia" referred to the killing of those whom the Nazis deemed "unworthy of life." In 1941 the Hadamar psychiatric clinic served as one of the euthanasia killing centers in Germany. Patients selected by German doctors for euthanasia were transferred to Hadamar or one of the other facilities and were killed in gas chambers. Over 10,000 people were gassed at Hadamar before the Euthanasia Program officially ended in August 1941. Although the program had officially ended, killings continued at Hadamar by means of lethal injections. After the war, US personnel filmed the facility and cared for surviving patients.
US forces under the command of General Omar Bradley reached the Ebensee forced-labor camp in Austria in early May 1945. The Germans had built Ebensee at the foot of the Austrian Alps as part of the Mauthausen system of camps. The Nazis employed Ebensee prisoners as forced laborers during the construction of an underground rocket factory. Thousands died from the harsh conditions and back-breaking labor.
The Dachau concentration camp, northwest of Munich, Germany, was the first regular concentration camp the Nazis established in 1933. About twelve years later, on April 29, 1945, US armed forces liberated the camp. There were about 30,000 starving prisoners in the camp at the time. Here, soldiers of the US Seventh Army document conditions in the camp. They also require German civilians to tour the camp and confront Nazi atrocities.
US forces liberated the Dora-Mittelbau (Nordhausen) concentration camp in April 1945. Here, medics and soldiers of the US 3rd Armored Division evacuate sick and dying survivors of the camp.
US forces liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 11, 1945. This footage records examples of Nazi atrocities (shrunken head, pieces of tattooed human skin, preserved skull and organs) discovered by the liberating troops.
As Allied forces approached Germany in late 1944 and early 1945, Bergen-Belsen became a collection camp for tens of thousands of prisoners evacuated from camps near the front. Thousands of these prisoners died due to overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, and lack of adequate food and shelter. On April 15, 1945, British soldiers entered Bergen-Belsen. They found 60,000 prisoners in the camp, most in a critical condition. This footage shows Allied cameramen filming the condition of the prisoners and the filthy conditions found in Bergen-Belsen after liberation.
British troops liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany in April 1945. They filmed statements from members of their own forces. In this British military footage, British army chaplain T.J. Stretch recounts his impressions of the camp.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower and other American officers inspect conditions in the Ohrdruf concentration camp shortly after the liberation of the camp. As American forces had approached, SS camp guards shot the remaining prisoners before abandoning the camp. Confirmation of such atrocities prompted the US military to require Nazis and local German civilians to view the camps.
Upon arrival in the Auschwitz camp, victims were forced to hand over all their belongings. Inmates' belongings were routinely packed and shipped to Germany for distribution to civilians or use by German industry. The Auschwitz camp was liberated in January 1945. This Soviet military footage shows civilians and Soviet soldiers sifting through possessions of people deported to the Auschwitz killing center.
Soviet troops entered the Auschwitz camp in Poland on January 27, 1945. This Soviet military footage shows children who were liberated at Auschwitz by the Soviet army. During the camp's years of operation, many children in Auschwitz were subjected to medical experiments by Nazi physician Josef Mengele.
In July 1944, Soviet forces liberated the Majdanek extermination camp. The Polish-Soviet Nazi Crimes Investigation Commission, established to document Nazi atrocities committed during the German occupation of Poland, ordered exhumations at Majdanek as part of its efforts to investigate Nazi mass killings in the camp. The commission later published its findings in Moscow on September 16, 1944, in Polish, Russian, English, and French.
Massive Allied landings of air- and sea-borne forces on five Normandy beaches (codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword) began on June 6, 1944 (D-Day). The purpose of the invasion was to establish a bridgehead from which Allied forces could break out and liberate France. By the end of the operation's first day, some 150,000 troops were ashore in Normandy. This footage shows Allied forces landing on the Normandy beaches.
The Mauthausen concentration camp was established shortly after the German annexation of Austria (1938). Prisoners in the camp were forced to perform crushing labor in a nearby stone quarry and, later, to construct subterranean tunnels for rocket assembly factories. US forces liberated the camp in May 1945. In this footage, starving survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp eat soup and scramble for potatoes.
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