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Concentration Camp Photos: Berga am Elster

(c. April 1945)

Location of Berga Concentration Camp

James Watkins, 20, of Oakland, CA, was found at the prison hospital in Fuchsmuehl, Germany, by the U.S. Third Army after surviving the death march from the Berga concentration camp.

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Berga am Elster barracks

Exterior view of 17 tunnel shafts where POWs worked six to twelve hours, seven days a week in freezing temperatures for nearly two months. The Germans would blast the slate loose with dynamite, and the Americans would break up the rock so it could be shoveled into mining cars. Civilian overseers beat prisoners who worked too slowly.

Pvt. Alvin L. Abrams, 20, of Philadelphia, was one of the Jewish POWs segregated at Stalag IX-B and sent to the Berga concentration camp. He barely survived the death march after the camp was evacuated in April 1945. He was found at the hospital in Fuchsmuehl, Germany.

Berga am Elster

Berga am Elster barracks

Entrance to tunnels

Berga am Elster

Berga am Elster

Corpses exhumed from mass grave in Berga

Pvt. David Goldin of Richmond, Virginia, recuperates at a U.S. Army hospital in Cham, Germany. Goldin was one of the American POWs who survived a death march from the Berga concentration camp. (April 1945)

Photo from the war crimes trial of Ludwig Merz and Erwin Metz showing German civilians exhuming the bodies of American POWs who died in the Berga concentration camp.

Lying on stretchers in Germany are some of the 63 emaciated American POWs liberated from Berga. The survivors (f-b): Pvt. Winfield Rosenberg, Lititz, PA; Pfc. Paul D. Capps, Herrin, IL; Pfc. James Watkins, Oakland, CA; Pfc. Joseph Guigno, Waltham, MA; and Pvt. Alvin L. Abrams, Philadelphia, PA.

Maj. Fulton Vowell and Capt. Herschel Auerbach (right) apprehend an SS guard. When American troops entered the camp, he fled to an old woman's home but was betrayed by German civilians and taken into custody.

Survivors of the Berga concentration camp after liberation.

An American soldier stands over the grave of John Simcox, one of the POWs who died in Berga. A special area was set aside for the 22 Americans who died there, some of whom were buried without coffins./td>

View From Inside Tunnel

Surronding Area
Memorial to Civilians Killed in Berga
Memorial to Civilians Killed in Berga

Berga Cemetery

Berga Cemetery

View of corpses discovered in a mass grave at Berga-Elster

American soldiers stand near a recently exhumed mass grave in Berga-Elster

American investigators study corpses exhumed from a mass grave in Berga-Elster

An American soldier questions a civilian from a nearby town
in the Berga-Elster concentration camp

Unteroffizier Erwin Metz


Photos: NARA Public Domain;
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Public Domain;
Annotated photos courtesy of Mack O'Quinn;
Mitchell G. Bard. Forgotten Victims: The Abandonment of Americans in Hitler's Camps.. CO: Westview Press, 1994.