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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Last Stop In The Alps

As World War II drew to a close, the SS were determined to use every means at their disposal to prevent the defeat of the NS regime. One such means was to take prominent concentration camp inmates hostage for use as pawns during negotiations with the Western Allies. By order from SS Obergruppenf├╝hrer Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner the hostages – many of whom had been at the mercy of the SS for years – were collected from various concentration camps and brought together in the camp at Dachau for transfer to a destination further south. The group that arrived in Niederdorf in Hochpustertal Valley on April 28, 1945 in the company of a heavily armed SS guard detail numbered 139 in total and included citizens of 17 European countries. They were liberated two days later by German Army troops (!) and taken to Hotel “Pragser Wildsee,” where their odyssey halfway through Europe ended. A few surving prisoners of those days still meet once a year at the same Hotel.

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