Oral History

Dallas Peyton describes his recollections of the liberation of Dachau

Dallas Peyton of Tucson, Arizona, was a member of the 70th Armored Infantry. In 1945, with other liberating troops, he entered the Dachau camp and encountered survivors and evidence of atrocities.

Transcript

Most of the things I saw were so horrible that they've been blocked mentally, I guess from self-preservation or something, that I don't remember the details very much. I remember a couple of scenes very vivid. One, when we were approaching, we saw a trainload of prisoners. Turned out they were not prisoners. It was a trainload of bodies that had been sent to Dachau from Buchenwald, I presume to be, to go through the furnaces, ovens, of Dachau. That's a presumption. The other scene was in the camp grounds. I saw two of these living walking skeletons shuffling along toward each other. They got within a few yards of each other, stopped, stared at each other, and then they tried to run, and embraced. They were either related or very close friends, and until that moment neither knew the other was still alive. And yet they'd been in that same prison for who knows how long. Those two scenes I remember very vivid, but a lot of the others I don't.


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