The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/e/eisenhower.dwight/eisenhower.001

Archive/File: people/e/eisenhower/eisenhower.001
Last-Modified: 2007/12/17
(Letter to General Marshall, April 15, 1945)

But the most interesting - although horrible - sight that I encountered
during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things
I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men
who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I
interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal
testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to
leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty
naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said he
would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliverately, in order to be in
position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future,
there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to "propaganda."

This is what Eisenhower said on pages 408-9 of "Crusade in Europe"

    "The same day [April 12, 1945] I saw my first horror camp.  It was
  near the town of Gotha.  I have never felt able to describe my
  emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable
  evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of
  decency.  Up to that time I had known about it only generally or
  through secondary sources.  I am certain, however that I have never
  at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.

    "I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my
  duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about
  these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or
  assumption that `the stories of Nazi brutality were just
  propaganda.'  Some members of the visiting party were unable to
  through the ordeal.  I not only did so but as soon as I returned to
  Patton's headquarters that evening I sent communications to both
  Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly
  to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative
  groups from the national legislatures.  I felt that the evidence
  should be immediately placed before the American and British publics
  in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt."

And on page 439

    "Of all these [Displaced Persons] the Jews were in the most
  deplorable condition.  For years they had been beaten, starved, and

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.