History of the Liberation of Dachau: Present Day. Part 3

Arbeit Macht Frei HISTORY OF THE LIBERATION OF DACHAU: Present Day. Part 3

In Part 1, I discussed the Nazi Concentration Camps and Dachau. In Part 2, I talk about my father’s involvement in the liberation as part of the 42nd “Rainbow” Division and his subsequent capture of the Nazi general in charge of Munich’s anti-aircraft artillery.


Almost 60 years after WWII was over, I visited the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial in 2003. When I mentioned to the tour guides there that my father had liberated the camp, they all asked me a question. It was the same question:

“Do you have photographs?”

I sent them to the tribute website I’d created for my father, with the pictures he’d left me. I spoke to one young tour guide at Dachau, who was studying history at the local university. When I told him I had studied history at the University of California when I was his age, I asked him, “What do German people think of what happened at Dachau?” He told me:

“People my grandparents’ age who were adults back then are ashamed. They knew. Sometimes the townspeople who worked the day shift in the Dachau factories would leave a sandwich in their desk to be found. They knew the camp prisoners were working the night shift.”

“Those who are my parents’ age put it from their mind. They do not think about it. They do not discuss it.”

“But those my age, the grandchildren of those who lived during WWII want to bring it out in the open. We want to know the history.”

Rainbow Division


Continued in Liberation of Dachau: a personal view

Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian

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About billpetro

Bill Petro writes articles on history, technology, pop culture, and travel. He has been a technology sales enablement executive with extensive experience in Cloud Computing, Automation, Data Center, Information Storage, Big Data/Analytics, Mobile, and Social technologies.

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