Liberators

“Even before the start of World War II in 1939, reports of terror and murder by the
Nazi regime in Germany had drawn the attention of the world but it was not until the final stages of the war in Europe that the full reality became known. It was then that the American and other Allied armies began to overrun the huge network of concentration camps, labor camps, and death camps that dotted the European landscape. Allied forces happened upon these camps while advancing toward military objectives. The reaction of the soldiers who entered the camps was one of shock, disbelief, and anger. Who were the liberators? To liberate means to free. Liberators of the concentration camps include not only the troops who broke down the gates to the camps, but also support troops who followed immediately afterward to provide medical care, food, clothing, and kindness. They too were rescuers.”

— From GIs Remember, National Museum of American Jewish Military History

Many Jewish War Veterans members were liberators of Nazi concentration camps. As Jews who freed the remainder of the European Jewish population from the Nazis, many connected with Holocaust survivors on a much deeper level. They spoke Yiddish or German to them, they led Jewish services in the centers of the camps, and they offered a sense of comfort and kindness the Jews had not seen for many years.

Thank you to all the members, donors, supporters, and active duty personnel who attended the event and helped make this possible!

Ben Cooper

Liberator Ben Cooper spoke in his original jacket from WWII.

MG Sachnow

Holocaust survivor and keynote speaker Major General Sidney Shachnow.