The 10th Armored Division
As Allied troops moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Nazi Germany, they found tens of thousands of concentration camp prisoners in deplorable conditions.e Malnutrition and disease were rampant, and corpses lay unburied. The soldiers reacted in shock and disbelief to the evidence of Nazi atrocities. In addition to burying the dead, the Allied forces attempted to help and comfort the survivors with food, clothing and medical assistance.
On September 23, 1944, the 10th Armored Division arrived in the French port of Cherbourg. It soon advanced eastward into the province of Lorraine and along the Moselle River valley. When the German army launched its offensive in the Battle of the Bulge, the "Tiger" division was diverted to the north, where it provided support to Allied forces in the town of Bastogne, Belgium. The 10th returned in early 1945 to the Moselle-Saar region to continue its drive into Germany. On March 2, 1945, the unit captured the city of Trier. It crossed the Rhine River later that month. Moving southward into Bavaria, the 10th took the town of Oberammergau and had reached Innsbruck, Austria, when the war ended.
As it drove into the heartland of Bavaria, the "Tiger" division overran one of the many subcamps of Dachau in the Landsberg area on April 27, 1945.
The 10th Armored Division was recognized as a liberating unit by the US Army's Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1985.
Casualty figures for the 10th Armored Division, European theater of operations:
- Total battle casualties: 4,031
- Total deaths in battle: 784
The "Tiger" nickname of the 10th originates from a division-wide contest held while it was training in the United States, symbolizing the division "clawing and mauling" its way through the enemy.
Critical Thinking Questions
- What challenges did Allied forces face when they encountered the camps and sites of other atrocities?
- What challenges faced survivors of the Holocaust upon liberation?