This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #ukraine #yizkorbooks

Bruce Drake

In early April, the prisoners of Buchenwald could hear the distant sound of artillery from General George Patton's advancing Third U.S. Army, At about 2 p.m. on April 11, American tanks appeared in the beech forest after which the camp had been named. There was gunfire. Most of Buchenwald’s 5,000 SS guards had already fled. By then, thousands of the prisoners had been forced to evacuate by the SS by foot and train to prevent their rescue. Patton was so disgusted by what he found that he ordered the mayor of Weimar to bring 1,000 citizens to Buchenwald to ensure that the German people would take responsibility for Nazi crimes, instead of dismissing them as propaganda.
“Remembrances of a Survivor,” from the Yizkor book of Belki, Ukraine recounts in first person the days leading up to the liberation, the flight of the Nazis, the reactions of American soldiers to what they saw when they entered the barracks, and how the inmates, spared from death, responded to their liberation: “They gathered to pray, to cry and to say Kaddish for their dear ones. In spite of all, they somehow found the strength to overcome their grief and anger, and rose above everything.”

Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

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