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Interactive Map Part 8. Dachau Liberation
|Hear the Story in Harold’s Own Words
Liberation Part I: From Dachau (85K)
Liberation Part II: I’d Never Seen a Plane Before (65K)
Liberation Part III: “I Wish I Could Do That” (60K)
Liberation IV: Escape (70K)
Liberation: Conclusion, May 5, 1945 (85 K)
8. Dachau Liberation
About May of 1944 we arrived at Dachau , another exterminationcamp. We suffered there for almost a year unloading cement trains fortheGermans to build bunkers. We were weak, disheartened and wishing for aquick death.
It was near the end of the war, but we did not know it. Orders weregivenby the Nazi High Command to destroy all evidence of Genocide. Allcrematoriums and gas chambers were either destroyed or about to bedestroyed.
On May 1, 1944 a transport of approximately six thousand prisonerswere taken on a death march to the mountains of Tyrol, there to bemachinegunned and buried in the mountains. On the third day of our march Iheard aplane in the sky. I lifted my head and saw two small fighter planesswoopingdown on our column. The SS guards began shouting, “get down, hit theground “. Most of us did including the guards. They hit the ditches. I stood up,neverhaving seen a plane before. I wanted to see one before I died. Theplanes wereat tree top level. I could see the pilot, his leather cap, goggles, andeven thepatch on his right shoulder. Two bombs were dropped one before and theotherbehind our convoy. The SS guards began shouting, “get up, move out” . Beforewe really had a chance to get going the two fighter planes were upon usagain. This time strafing the SS guards in the ditches along both sides of theroad. Again an order was given. “Hit the ground!”.
There was a clearing and a forest off the road. I began running towardthe trees and my Dad followed me. Many others joined us. The planesflewaway and the SS guards began to gather everyone they could and continuethemarch. I kept running no matter what. Dad and I reached the forest andrandeep between the trees. The guards gathered as many as they could andcontinued the march to Tyrol where all were shot. Only a handful of usreached the forest successfully. Three days later, May 5, 1945 we wereliberated by an American Tank Battalion. THREE DAYS LATER, MAY 8,1945 the war ended in Europe.