Adolf Hitler had figs a few days ago, deep under Berlin earth committed suicide, the third Reich was beaten on the ground, the war in Europe was practically to the end. But everywhere fanatisierte SS were still fighting men, or misguided soldiers of the Wehrmacht in a completely meaningless fight against the Superior forces of the allies. Give up? But we’re not! So your Motto. Finally, the leader had promised the victory! So, the SS thought people who had hidden in the beginning of may 1945 in the woods near the small Austrian town of Wörgl, and it were, forces the Americans to attack. When they heard of what had happened on Itter castle, a picturesque medieval Fortress in the vicinity, it was clear to them that they had to intervene.

There were, recorded at Schloss Itter, and in April of 1943, prominent prisoners of the SS: the former Prime Ministers Edouard Daladier and Paul Reynaud, the former commander-in-chief Maxime Weygand and Maurice Gamalin, the well-known tennis star Jean Borotra and Marie-Agnès Cailliau, whose only crime was the sister of Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the Free France.

Comfortable life of the prisoners in the castle

Although the castle was a branch of the Dachau concentration camp, had to do detention conditions with those in the camp. The prisoners were allowed to move freely, got a bag of money to provide themselves at a Kiosk, and they got two liters of wine per week, granted – after all, it was French. And served you have been invited by Eastern European forced laborers. Since they had nothing else to do, had a lot of time for contention and strife, and, finally, politicians of different Stripes, and a General, the anlastete the defeat against Germany from 1940 were here gathered together. Was guarded by the castle of the SS-team.

The was looking for shortly after Hitler’s death on 30. April but their salvation in the escape. Actually, the prisoners were free, but they were afraid that if they would make independently, on the way home from marauding SS-people picked up and summarily shot. A fear that was certainly not unfounded. So they collected their discarded weapons in the castle and awaited the things that were to come. You decided to get help. Here is the Newsletter “” subscribe to the Know

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US-GIs and Wehrmacht soldiers allied themselves

A Czech cooking it, to slip away unnoticed out of the castle. He rode a Bicycle in the five km away and Wörgl, the vacated the day before by the Wehrmacht, but the SS was occupied. Here he came across the man who was to become the tragic Hero of this story: the Major of the Wehrmacht, Sepp Gangl. Bayer had survived the hell of Stalingrad as well as the D-Day, the allied landing at Normandy. Whether he had previously been a convinced Nazi, we don’t know – but now, in the face of defeat, he had joined with 13 soldiers of the Wehrmacht, the Austrian resistance in Wörgl. At his side is a deserted from the SS-officer. Gangl and his subordinates decided to help the prisoners at Schloss Itter, as it was clear to them that these were in the highest danger to life. In fact, a squad of SS had to get people in the meantime, the Order to storm the castle and murder the prisoners. The castle was besieged and attacked.

Gangl has finally decided to be a curious step: He contacted the American officer, Captain John “Jack” Lee, and this tough former football star, it was not a question of what to do: to save the French at the castle of Itter. But Lee had only nine men available, and he and Gangl decided to go together to the Rescue. Fourteen soldiers of the German army, an SS-officer as well as ten American GIs went to rescue the prominent French. It was the only battle of the Second world war, the German soldiers of the Wehrmacht together with American GIs under the command of a US officer against German SS-men fought.

death by a shot to the head

What on the following day, the 5. May was going on, cries out for a screen adaptation of à la Hollywood. The liberators took refuge in the castle, the prisoners armed themselves and came to the “final battle”, as the historian Stephen Harding called his book about the curious events of this day. The “tame Krauts”, as Lee called the Germans, who fought at his side, had to wrap a bandage around the Arm, so it wouldn’t would come to a tragic confusion, in consequence of which they shot. Also, the prisoners attacked now, to the weapons, and the 70-year-old politician Reynaud was a young GI the use of a weapon to explain. However, the defenders of the castle got more and more into distress by the besiegers, which consisted of dispersed SS-men. Gangl was killed by a shot to the head, as if he wanted to save the unwary Reynaud. He remained the only casualty of this struggle. “The last battle” by Stephen Harding – buy Now at Amazon!

But finally came to the rescue. Fortunately, the phone worked area of the castle, and when his supervisor inquired of him according to the state, reported this to the increasingly desperate situation. Lee had to fear that the attackers of the SS would storm the castle soon. The fact that you would shoot both the prominent prisoners as well as their defender, he could have no doubt. His supervisor sent help quickly, and in the face of American Sherman tanks, the SS men took to flight. Castle Itter was liberated, the prisoners returned a few days later to Paris. Three days after the short battle, Germany surrendered.

The two heroes, but this curious history of Sepp Gangl, German Wehrmacht officer, and Captain John “Jack Lee”, the US officer. According to Gangl was named in Wörgl, a-road, as a result, the small community holds the memory of him. Lee was decorated for his act. Happiness in the other life, he had failed, however, His marriages, and he succumbed to the alcohol. In 1973, he died of the consequences of his alcoholism. He was only 54 years old.

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