Concentration camp liberators gather in Washington





The 120 veterans wore red, white and blue tags emblazoned with the word "Liberator" and crept along on walkers. Others could hardly hear as they toured the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday. But the memories of the atrocities they witnessed in the waning months of World War II -- when soldiers from several armored and infantry divisions liberated concentration camps throughout Germany and Austria -- remained achingly clear.

Some attending what museum officials said is one of the largest gatherings of liberators ever held remembered cremation ovens were still warm, ashes fuzzing the foul air. Stacks of bodies on railroad cars. How their hearts ached when commanding officers forbade them from passing along rations to the starving people, for fear the rich food would sicken them further.

Fletcher Thorne-Thomsen said he would never forget one emaciated man who was so happy to see the American he tried to hug him with fragile arms.

"I can still see a pair of eyes," he said. The man's look was penetrating. It's haunted him for 65 years....

comments powered by Disqus
History News Network