A German/American Story
They killed a lot of people just before the troops came, the Germans. There were still half-dead bodies. There were still bodies lying there, that must have been dead maybe seven, eight hours, and they tried to bury them just before. I recall that they were all shot. They were trying to bury them just before. And then after this I left, and they had the high brass come, the Division Commanders came and they looked at it and took pictures. I had a couple of packs of cigarettes, and I gave the survivors a couple of packs of cigarettes. Now, one American guy was telling me that they came rushing to them with such joy, and I remember when I came in, I spoke German. I remember driving up and the Germans had the white flags out, a long street, it was almost a straight street and the camp gates were open. In the town of Ohrdruf we asked where the concentration camp was. Of course, nobody knew, but very ironically the flags were lined up in two rows there. They took Ohrdruf in the morning and I was there in the afternoon, I would say maybe only four hours later. The actual troops from the 89th were still there. The 4th Armored troops moved a little faster. But the same day or the day after they had all the big "mavens" coming in. because this was a big thing. I staved there three, four hours; it wasn't too long. I remember seeing these live bodies. Not alive; I mean, you see a picture and you see its a little different. They were the living dead, the people who were liberated, there was nothing to them. Its exactly or worse than the pictures because when you touch them its like you touch bones.
I also had a bitter disappointment in those days. I would look for my family. I won't talk about third or fourth cousins. I'm talking about uncles, grandfathers and first cousins and second cousins. And every place I went I would find they were killed in Buchenwald, they were killed in Marienbad, or whatever the name was. And remember these things, I would write home to my mother. "I understand this one got killed there." I can't think back to those days; they were horrible days. In my letters borne there was this hatred. Until today when I pulled out these letters I had always thought of the army as a great place. but looking at these letters, realizing this hate I had, I said to myself. "Gee, this is not me."
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