Nazi Hostages at Pragser Wildsee

Europelies in ruins, the end of World War II is near.

On April 24th 1945 an SS special commando executes an order from the highest ranks: the transport of inmates from the concentration camp at Dachau near Munich to the south. A special assignment for special inmates, for they are all personal and political enemies of the Hitler regime. Relatives of Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg; Dr. Hjalmar Schacht, former Minster of Economics and co-conspirator in the Operation Valkyrie; as well as 130 other “relatives and special inmates” from the highest levels of politics, military and the church.

In buses and trucks, they are transported via Innsbruck to the High Puster Valley, to the Hotel Pragser Wildsee near Niederdorf. Ernst Kaltenbrunner, head of the Main Security Office, wants the inmates there to use them as hostages for negotiations with the Allied forces – or to kill them.

Captain Wichard von Alvensleben is in charge of the brigade of the “Supreme Command Southwest”. When he hears about the arrival of the hostages, he sends out a raiding patrol to monitor the SS commando and prevent any unauthorized acts. Pastor Martin Niemöller, one of the leading church men during the Third Reich and also a hostage to the SS commando, remembers later that von Alvensleben called for another back-up brigade and forced the original surveillance commando to get into their trucks and leave, thus saving all the hostages’ lives.

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