Great Uncle Henry Olivas, Second World War, Third Army, 5th Armored Division, Stories, Pictures and Postcard
Maternal Grandfather’s brother, who fought in Europe with General Patton’s Third Army, 5th Armored Division, in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). He survived the war and served in the drive from Normandy to Germany and photos from a famous incident in 5th Armored Division, the 1945 Burning of the Barn at Gardelegen Massacre, were found in a box over 40 years after the war and given to E.B. GO Vision Media for safe keeping in the family archives. Gardelegen is not from the Elbe River & Berlin in central Germany.
As the Allied forces approached, 1,016 slave labor concentration camp prisoners, many of them Poles, were marched 12-miles to Gardelegen and, if they survived the march or were not shot, they were herded into into a barn by the SS and Luftwaffe soldiers which was set ablaze with gasoline soaked straw. The whole 5th Armored Division, about 20-thousand men, were cycled through, on orders from General Eisenhower, with disposable cameras so that everyone could see and document the event. Locals were brought to take the bodies out of the barn and bury them. Eisenhower knew that somebody would try to deny this happened and he wanted as many possible to be personal witnesses such acts of wanton barbarity.