Segment 6

Annotation

Zager drove into the compound [Annotator's Note: Gunskirchen Lager Concentration Camp in Austria]. There were thousands of people. They automatically assumed that Zager was part of the English army because of the words on the side of the Jeep. The people in the camp had no idea that the Americans were in the war. Zager was immediately surrounded by the people in the camp and showered with hugs and kisses. A couple of the people spoke English. The camp was about the size of two football fields. He immediately feared the worst for the people at the camp because he smelled death as soon as he walked into the camp. He found hundreds of dead bodies. One sticks out in his mind because of the sheer sadness of the situation. Zager witnessed a baby suckling on his/her dead mother.The Nazi guards had already taken off before Zager got there. They pretty much knew that the American army was closing in fast. He realized quickly that the men in the camp needed food and medical attention. Zager drove one of the English speaking prisoners back to his company commander. Upon hearing the situation the company commander organized some people with supplies and they headed back out to the camp. This was all on May 1st, 1945, seven days before the war would be officially over.Zager and his men were in the dark about V-E day, they were still chasing after a German division of about twenty to thirty thousand men. Eventually they caught up to the division and the Wehrmacht [Annotator's Note: German Army] men began to surrender. They threw down their weapons. The SS men did not surrender right away. Zager and another jeep driver decided that they were going to get some souvenirs, particularly the pistols such as the Lugers, Walters, and P-38's. They acquired roughly one hundred German pistols.On their way back to base, Zager and the pistol looting crew ran into an American airmen who was limping back to American lines. He was captured by the Germans and was being marched around with the surrendered German division. The airmen brought it to Zager's company commander's attention that there were three more airmen walking around with the Germans and that they needed to go back to save them.

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