Oral History

Darrell Romjue describes how US troops encoutered camps such as Mauthausen

Darrell Romjue is a veteran of the 11th Armored Division. During the invasion of German-held Austria, in May 1945 the 11th Armored (the "Thunderbolt" division) overran two of the largest Nazi concentration camps in the country: Mauthausen and Gusen.

Transcript

I, like everybody else, myself I didn't know what was going on. We pulled into this one area and pulled to a halt, we don't know why or anything, but there's a bunch of dead people laying around. And so somebody asked questions, and they thought they were the prison guards at this camp which we knew nothing about at the time. So we left at that, they were just laying there on the ground dead and supposedly were killed by the people who were in Mauthausen, which was close, but I had no idea what Mauthausen was at the time or even for quite a while later, until I got the information later. So, I was kind of a support group following these platoons that were in the front, assigned to go into these places. Like I say, you know they've stumbled onto the camp, and that's where the story started, but as you know the SS men that were guarding the camp took off because they felt the Russians were very near, they didn't want to suffer the consequences, so they took off and just left the camp.


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