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 January 2–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 min–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.
What was the context of the Holocaust and World War II at the time of the events described here?
What other source materials might be helpful to provide more historical context for this eyewitness testimony? What aspects of the history might these other source materials help reveal?
How can personal testimonies and oral histories provide insights into the challenges Allied forces faced when encountering and documenting the evidence of atrocities?
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