Victor L. Wegard was a war crimes investigator on the personal staff of Gen. George S. Patton, in North Africa and Sicily. He participated in the liberation of the Flossenberg concentration camp, collected evidence against suspected war criminals and worked on a team assigned to defend alleged war criminals during the Dachau war crimes trials in 1945. His investigation took him to a town near Flossenbürg called Nammering. The locals claimed, “They hadn’t seen or heard anything related to Nazi crimes.” This is his recollection.
We hopped back into our jeeps, continued on N14 about a mile outside of Nammering. Then we got hit with a stench the likes of which I never want to face again. Rotted corpses. We stopped the jeeps. We took a look along the edge, both sides of the highway. Fresh mounds of earth was running for maybe a hundred yards. The Old Man got out, pulled the shovel off
the rear of the lead jeep, and began digging. Colonel. Began digging. (His commanding officer.) Yeah. He’s now uncovering hands, arms, and faces in three feet of soil. The rest of us got out of the jeeps, began digging. Wherever we landed a shovel, there was a body there. And the blood was still oozing from some of them, you could see, it was, these were fresh wounds. Their heads were stove in or the heads were partially blown off machine gun blasts.
At this point, after several hours of this, we could take it no longer. Someone came up with the bright idea, we had radioed back to Third Army, [they] don’t know what we had found, and we were given instructions,
or at least Colonel Bates, our team commander, his recommendation was approved, to round up every man, woman, and child back in that town of Nammering and haul them out and let them see what they didn’t see.
Victor L. Wegard went on to serve in the Korean war after WWII. In 1965, he was decorated with the Soldier’s Medal, the highest award given during peacetime, for saving the life of a window washer in New York City.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Soldier’s Medal to Captain Victor L. Wegard, United States Army, for heroism at the risk of life not involving conflict with an armed enemy as a member of the Comptroller Section, Headquarters Korean Communications Zone, in New York City, New York, on 6 January 1955, while assigned to Overseas Replacement Station, 6021st Service Unit, Personnel Center, Fort Lewis, Washington. While walking down 57th Street in New York City, Captain Wegard observed a window washer dangling by one strap of his safety belt, the other strap had been broken, below a closed window on the fifth floor of an office building. No attempt was being made to help the man who was in grave danger of falling at any minute. Captain Wegard rushed into the building, took an unattended elevator to the fifth floor, hurriedly found the unopened window, and instructed one of the office employees who were unaware of the accident, to hang onto his thighs while he pulled the window washer to safety. Disregarding personal safety, Captain Wegard, supported by the office employee, leaned out of the window, grasped the window washer under the arms, and pulled him to safety. Captain Wegard’s decisive and courageous action prevented the certain death of the victim of the accident and reflects great credit on himself and the military service.”
He was also a member of the NJ chapter of the Jewish War Veterans and was active with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC. He died on January 5 1995.
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