Oral History

US nurse Pat Lynch describes condition of surviving camp inmates upon liberation

Pat was one of thousands of US nurses who served in evacuation hospitals during the liberation of concentration camps in Europe. She cared for camp survivors, many of whom were in critical condition upon liberation.


They were so thin. I couldn't pick any of them up. I tried to, but if I were to pick them up I'd tear the skin. So we had to be very, very careful moving them out. The skin was just so terrible. So it would take, oh, about at least three people, one, one person take the head, one person take the legs, and very carefully lift them up and get them outside, go ahead and get them outside of that place. We put up tents outside. We had cots and clean bedding. So we'd take them out there. Or, if there was a hospital nearby, we'd go and take over that hospital and move them in there. But, uh, we couldn't, uh, for typhus, that was the main thing, there was no medication, just supportive treatment, and get fluids down them, well they couldn't drink anything, so we had to feed them with medicine droppers. And we couldn't give them hypos [hypodermic injections] because there was no place to stick them. There was no skin at all...no muscle, just skin and bone. There was no place to give them a hypo.


  • US Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
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