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James Romberger papers

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2010.456.1

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    The James Romberger papers consists of correspondence, photographs, maps, and ephemera related to the James Romberger's experiences as a member of the United States Third Army and as a liberator of the Buchenwald concentration camp. The papers includes a wartime photograph of James Romberger, a map of Paris issued to the occupied forces, a booklet of notable buildings in Brussels, a menu for a July 4, 1944 commemoration, a Christmas 1944 menu, a Christmas 1944 prayer card issued to the Third Army by General George Patton, the original and a transcript of a letter James Romberger wrote describing his impressions of the Buchenwald concentration camp, and a letter written to his wife after the end of the war, and photographic negatives which Romberger sent home in October 1944.
    inclusive:  1944-1945
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of James Romberger
    Collection Creator
    James A. Romberger
    James A. Romberger was born on February 7, 1922, in Eldred Township, Pennsylvania, to Walter and Maud Romberger. He had two sisters and four brothers. He attended Penn State University and studied agriculture. On September 18, 1942, James enlisted in the United States Army Reserves as a private in the Philippine Scouts. James saw action on D-Day, June 6, 1944, in France and served as a military policeman and criminal investigator with the US Third Army under General George S. Patton. The unit fought its way through France and into Germany.
    James participated in the liberation of Buchenwald concentration camp on April 11, 1945. He was present from the time the German guards fled the camp until the US Army arrived and began to feed the prisoners. When the camp was first liberated, James and the other soldiers were forbidden to write home about what they saw. After General Eisenhower saw the camp, they were encouraged to document what they saw so that it could never be denied. A Dutch former prisoner of war gave him a tour of the camp. James described the experience in an April 29 letter to his family: “The odor was so bad that I had to smoke and inhale the smoke to keep from getting sick . . . The people I saw there were walking skeletons, many of them too weak to get up from their ‘beds.’” The floors were covered with vomit and the toilets were holes in the floor at the end of each barracks. He viewed the crematorium where there were partially burned bodies and bodies stacked four feet high. In the basement, he saw the room where prisoners were interrogated and killed; the walls had several coats of white wash yet that failed to cover up the blood.
    After James was released from the Army, he returned to Pennsylvania and completed his college degree. He married Margaret Paul in August 1947 and had three children. He pursued a career in education, teaching for fifteen years at Cressona High School. He then earned as master's degree at Bucknell and became principal of Blue Mountain High School in Hershey for nearly twenty-five years. James never spoke about his wartime experiences for many years after the war. In later years, he did speak with school and community groups in order to preserve the history of what he saw so that it would never happen again. He was honored for years of dedicated charity work in 2008. James, age 91, died on October 16, 2013.

    Physical Details

    English German
    3 folders
    1 oversize box
    System of Arrangement
    The James Romberger papers is arranged in a single series.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    James A. Romberger donated the James Romberger papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in November 2010.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this collection has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 21:57:26
    This page:

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