Revealed: American doctor’s first-hand account of how he saw Dachau’s SS guards being tortured and shot dead by GIs in ‘cold blood’ because they ‘so had it coming’
- Newly-discovered letters from Army doctor Captain David Wilsey offer dramatic first-hand account of horrors after liberation of Nazi death camp
- Capt Wilsey told his wife that soldiers had shot SS ‘beasts’ against a wall and said: ‘I saw it done without a single emotion’
- He helped GIs who tortured the SS guards before their death and described how combat engineer avenged a brother’s death by shooting three Nazis
- Doctor was credited with saving thousands of lives in combat and never spoke of horrors he saw in wartime experience
- Daughter, of Eugene, Oregon, found letters, published in the New Republic, after his death
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
An American WWII doctor told how he calmly watched US soldiers massacre German SS guards in the Dachau concentration camp because they ‘SO HAD IT COMING’.
Captain David Wilsey wrote to wife Emily that he did not have a ‘single disturbed emotion’ because he saw the Nazis as ‘SS Beasts’ that deserved to be slaughtered.
GIs tortured them by making them stand for hours in Heil Hitler salutes and pouring iced water over their naked backs before they were shot dead.
Captain Wilsey also bragged about looting the camp supplies for eight days in an apparent collapse of the rule of law among the troops.
The items he stole included twin sweaters for him and his wife – it is not clear if they were from victims who died in the camp – and Swastika banners he planned to use to decorate their basement.
The letters were reported by the New Republic and come after Daily Mail Online published the details of a new book which also addressed what happened at Dachau.
They cast new light on the actions of US soldiers who were confronted with the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps and offer some insight into how battle-weary troops reacted as the full extent of the atrocities committed in Dachau – and other similar places – were revealed to them.
Eyewitness: Doctor David Wilsey, an anesthesiologist, was a US Army captain when he took part in the liberation of Dachau – then saw SS guards being killed by GIs as the horrors of the camp unfolded
Capt Wiley, an anesthesiologist in the Seventh Army, had been in action for months as American and British forces advanced from Normandy to Germany.
He was decorated for his work saving GIs’ lives in surgery with a bronze star. He had performed 5,000 procedures.
In terms of the time he spent in it, Dachau was a small part of his war, and his letters contained other examples of everyday heroism, writing about ‘trying to save a good-looking German eight-year-old who had stepped on a mine with resultant nine holes in his intestines, half a foot off, and hundreds of minor fragments in his upper legs, arms and face’.
But his experience of Dachau is likely to be the most significant addition to the historical record.
Historians have described the massacre of dozens of SS guards at the hands of American GIs as arguably the most shameful episode in American involvement in WWII.
The troops were so outraged at the horrific scenes at Dachau, where tens of thousands of innocent prisoners were killed and 30,000 left to die, that they lost their heads – and took revenge.
The charges against those involved were dismissed by General George Paton, but history has not forgotten what happened at the end of April 1945.
The New Republic article is one of the most disturbing accounts that has made public so far and goes further than even the official investigation carried out by the Army.
It gives a fresh account of what happened when ordinary soldiers confronted the worst of Nazi evil – and had to not just deal with it immediately, but live with the psychological consequences for the rest of their lives.
At the time he helped liberate Dachau, Captain Wilsey was a 30-year-old anesthesiologist with the 116th Evacuation Hospital.
On V-E Day, May 8, 1945, he sent a seven page letter to his wife, Emily, which he began with: ‘My Most Precious Being’.
It spoke of how he saw 40,000 ‘wrecks of humanity’ walking around in what he called ‘THE home of SS Bestiality’.
The letter said: ‘I saw captured SS tortured against a wall [by U.S. soldiers] and then shot in what you Americans would call ‘cold blood’—but Emily!
‘God forgive me if I say I saw it done without a single disturbed emotion BECAUSE THEY SO HAD-IT-COMING after what I had just seen and what every minute more I have been seeing of the SS beasts’ actions’.
The letter also talks about how Captain Wilsey spend three ‘intensive’ days and five other days looting from the camp, which he said was so full of supplies that he found more there than all the stores in downtown Chicago.
His only regret was that each soldier did not have an entire freight car each to bring their ‘PHENOMENAL/STUPENDOUS!’ haul back home.
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