Oral History

US veteran James Rose describes his impressions of Dachau upon liberation

James A. Rose, of Toledo, Ohio, was with the 42nd (Rainbow) Division.


We were marching to... we were chasing the Germans. It was getting close to the end of the war, and the date was April 29, 1945. A sergeant come up and told us all, "Check your gas masks. We are going into a town that they think has a gas dump that's mined." So when we proceeded to this town, it was Dachau, and part of our division, the 222nd Regiment, had troops in the camp liberating the camp. And the time that we come to the gate of the camp, they opened the compound and I seen thousands of people crowding out that looked like skeletons with skin stretched on them. They were dirty, they smelled, and just one look at them, some of them half dead, something happened that we realized that this war was all about, we know now why we were participating in this war.


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