Authors

Object ID

2021.1.33a-c

Object Name

Letter

Date

4-30-1945

Files

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Description

Three typed pages; a: "Written by" at top left ; b: "The first building" at top left ; c: "We left the" at top left. p>Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:

Corporal Edward E. Smith, Jr. describes rows of railroad boxcars – a “death convoy…parked on the tracks” with Allied dead, other cars containing piles of bodies atop one another – in varying positions, both naked and clothed – “from torture and starvation”. The last two cars of the fifty-car convoy contained the remains of “SS troopers” about whom Cpl. Smith adds: “little sympathy was given them by the onlookers.” He proceeds to describe buildings: reception headquarters, a supply depot, and warehouses alongside of which were the dead bodies of the “Ex-Supermen” SS guards, some of whom were teenagers. He heads for the “Extermination Center” and notes first the dog cages, the denizens of which were used to subdue prisoners. Continuing, Cpl. Smith confronts the gas chamber and crematoria. He describes “the one sight that paralyzed us”, and adjoining room piled with approximately two hundred “dead naked bodies…awaiting cremation…victims of torture and starvation – men, women and children…The most devastating sight that any human eye could ever see!” And then another room “that will always be remembered by all who saw it.” He describes more piles of bodies awaiting cremation. “Brutal treatment had been given them before death.” Exiting the crematorium Cpl. Smith describes the firing platform for shooting prisoners by firing squad. A “barbed wire encirclement” holds 10,000 political prisoners just barely alive. The bodies of several thousand prisoners lay in a moat where they were thrown after being shot. Then a cemetery with more dead awaiting burial. He meets a Dutch physician in the camp hospital, who shows him around to the many patients – different nationalities – all awaiting death. He reports that on May 1, 1945, Dachau was placed “Off Limits” pending an investigation by Allied authorities.

Dimensions

11 x 8 1/2"

Keywords

Dachau, Edward Smith, Jr.

Subcollection

Concentration

American Soldier’s Account of Entering Dachau Concentration Camp Post-Liberation

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