American troops with the 102nd Infantry Division at a barn outside Gardelegen, where over 1,000 prisoners were burned alive by the SS. Germany, April 14, 1945.
Courtesy of John Irving Malachowski; US Holocaust Memorial Museum
Formed in September 1942, the 102nd Infantry Division landed at the French port of Cherbourg in late September 1944, a few months after the Allied invasion of western Europe on D-Day (June 6). The following month, the “Ozark” division advanced through the Netherlands towards the German border. The unit crossed into Westphalia in November. In early March 1945, the 102nd captured the city of Krefeld and a few days later reached the Rhine River. Driving eastward, the division reached the Elbe River, less than 50 miles from Berlin, in mid-April.
On April 14, 1945, as it advanced through Thuringia toward Saxony, the 102nd Infantry Division uncovered the site of a hideous massacre of concentration camp prisoners outside the town of Gardelegen.
Casualty figures for the 102nd Infantry Division, European theater of operations
Battle Casualties: 4,922
Total Deaths in Battle: 1,088