Oral History

George Salton describes liberation by American forces

George was liberated by the American forces in May 1945. He had spent three years during the war in ten different concentration camps. In 1945 he was in the Woebbelin camp in Germany. After liberation, he spent over two years in various displaced persons camps. George immigrated to the United States in October 1947.

Transcript

I ran in that direction and as I came onto that place I noticed many prisoners yelling and screaming and jumping and dancing. And there standing amongst them were seven giants, young people. They must have been 18 or 19...American soldiers. There were seven or eight of them standing inside the camp. Apparently they cut the wire and came into the camp. They were bewildered by us. Wild and unkempt and dirty and, I'm sure, smelly people, jumping and dancing and trying to embrace them and kiss them. And I did too. I also joined the crowd and yelled and screamed and somehow knew that the day of liberation has come. It was a strange feeling for me, however, because as I remember it, on the one hand, I was, I was overwhelmed by this unexpected and unhoped for encounter of freedom, but at the same time, what was happening was outside of me. I really...I didn't know what to make of it. I knew I was free, but I didn't count on it. I somehow didn't know what it meant. And I knew it was great, but I, I was overjoyed because all people around me were overjoyed and were singing and dancing and, and...but I, I was 17. I, I was free, but what it meant I wasn't sure.


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