CBS’s Buchenwald Liberation Lies: 1945-1995

Mark Schulte Freelance Writer
Font Size:

The majority of Americans now recognize that the “Liberal Media” are disseminators of “fake news.” Today is the 72th anniversary of Buchenwald’s liberation, and it is an ideal time to expose a half-century of lies from well-known CBS journalists about the freeing of the first large concentration camp (21,000 prisoners) on the Western Front.

On Sunday, April 15, 1945, CBS radio broadcast a report about Buchenwald from Edward R. Murrow, during which he lied five times that he had visited the newly-freed concentration camp on “Thursday,” April 12, 1945.  Buchenwald was overrun on Wednesday, April 11, 1945 by General George Patton’s crack Sixth Armored, the division my late father fought with, but no journalists or photographers witnessed the liberation.

In fact, only four soldiers of the 10,000-soldier Sixth Armored Division briefly entered Buchenwald at 5:00 PM, and another two soldiers at 11:00 PM on liberation day, and they received  totally inadequate information about the concentration camp’s genocidal history.

Murrow began the fraudulent broadcast with “permit me to tell you what you would have seen and heard had you been with me on Thursday.”  But an April 12, 1945 Associated Press dispatch from Weimar, a few miles from Buchenwald, published in The New York Times the next day, refutes Murrow’s blatant lie about touring the  concentration camp on the day after liberation:

[T]he Third Army’s 80th Infantry Division today overran the infamous Buchenwald prison camp.  Divisional officers threw a guard about the prison camp and said the prisoners would be kept there until they were checked and disposition of their cases was decided.

Only on Friday April 13, 1945, when a small group of soldiers of the 80th Infantry Division entered and remained in the camp did the U.S. Army finally acquire a full understanding of the mass murders that occurred in Buchenwald, and the deplorable medical condition of thousands of the former inmates.

Murrow’s despicable fabrication wasn’t the only instance of a CBS radio reporter blatantly lying about a major event of World War II.  On August 22, 1944, CBS’s Charles Collingwood broadcast a fake radio report of the liberation of Paris, which was not actually accomplished until three days later.

Nearly a half-century  after Murrow’s factitious broadcast,  CBS Television News  broadcast two glowing endorsements of the soon-to-be-discredited PBS faux documentary “Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II,” which was  directed by William Miles and Nina Rosenblum,  and which premiered on PBS’s “The American Experience” on Veterans Day, November 11, 1992.

On November 8, 1992, CBS Morning News, anchored by Charles Kuralt, broadcast a report by John Leonard about the phony “Liberators” that began:

When American soldiers arrived at the gates of Dachau and Buchenwald to liberate tens of thousands of Jewish survivors, those soldiers were black.

In reality, the liberators of Buchenwald (Sixth Armored and 80th Infantry) and Dachau (45th and 42 Infantry divisions) were white GIs, and of the 53,000 liberated prisoners in both  concentration camps, 6,100 were Jewish.

Three days later,  CBS’s Paula Zahn interviewed Louis Gossett Jr., one of the narrators of “Liberators” (Denzel Washington is the other), and William McBurney, a veteran of the African-American 761st Tank Battalion, the unit featured in the film. After Zahn asked him about getting to “the gates of the concentration camp at Dachau,” McBurney lied about suppressing German machine-gun fire as he broke through the gates.

But in mid-February 1993, WNET, PBS’ flagship in New York City and the film’s chief financial backer,  yanked “Liberators” from the public airwaves and commissioned an independent investigation of the film’s sensationalistic claims by Morton Silverstein.

CBS News never reported about this remarkable development, or retracted its two ‘fake reports,” even after the Silverstein Report was released to nationwide publicity in September 1993, and,  the report admitted that African-American soldiers played no role in the liberation of either Buchenwald or Dachau.

On March 27, 1994, CBS broadcast additional “fake history” about Buchenwald’s liberation, this time from “60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney about his  touring the concentration camp on the day after liberation. In a “60 Minutes” interview with Steve Kroft, Rooney falsely claimed that on the evening of April 11, 1945 he was “sitting alone in the press camp near Cologne, Germany” when Jack Thompson of the Chicago Tribune and Hal Boyle of the Associated Press arrived and told him about the atrocities they just witnessed in the just-liberated Buchenwald.

But Buchenwald is 225 miles from Cologne, and it would have been impossible for two reporters to have toured Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, and then drive  in a few hours to Cologne. And, to repeat: no journalists visited Buchenwald on liberation day or the day after.  They weren’t allowed into Buchenwald, by the American military, until April 15, 1945.

Andy Rooney disseminated a different lie about Buchenwald’s liberation in his 1995 book “My War” (Times Books).  In an equally fictitious account, Rooney claimed he was in a press center in Weimar on Buchenwald’s liberation day when Thompson and Boyle burst in and told him about Buchenwald. On May 4, 1995, Harry Smith of CBS This Morning interviewed Rooney about his book, and he again lied about visiting Buchenwald after the liberation.

First, the Wehrmacht and SS soldiers in Weimar didn’t surrender to the Third Army’s 80th Infantry Division until April 12, 1945, the day after Buchenwald’s liberation.  Moreover, Rooney was a reporter for the Army newspaper “Stars and Stripes,” and I looked at his articles for April 1945 and discovered that  he was reporting about the combat exploits of General Courtney Hodges’ First Army.

Undoubtedly, CBS News wins the first prize as the liberal news organization with the longest sordid history – 50 years! — of promulgating blatant lies about the liberations of two of the largest concentration camps freed by U.S. troops.