Captured men of the 33. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS Charlemagne.
Tired, injured, and unable to fight - 12 French Waffen SS men are seen here surrendering without a fight. With other prisoners, they are held in the former Gebirgsjäger barracks at Bad Reichenhall.
On May 6 1945, the 2nd French Armored Division of Leclerc occupies the city. The French SS men try to escape for fear of reprisals and being punished as traitors. They finally are captured in a small forest on the outskirts of town, and are encircled by two Free French companies. Furious; Free French General Leclerc asks the men “Are you not ashamed to wear a German uniform!” to which they reply “Are you not to wear an American uniform!”
Judging their attitude insolent, seeing the men as traitors.. the general decides to have them executed.
Refusing to be shot in the back, they face their fellow countrymen and fall by groups of four, one after the other, shouting “Vive la France!”