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Oral history interview with Philip Solomon

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.21 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0021

Philip Solomon describes serving in the United States Army as part of the 101st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized), which liberated the Landsberg concentration camp on April 28, 1945; his unit’s arrival in Germany in February/March 1945 and their military mission; their lack of knowledge of concentration camps or the scale of mass murder; how their first indication of Nazi horrors occurred after crossing the Rhine, heading east, when his unit captured small towns, liberating displaced persons from forced labor camps (mostly Eastern Europeans); his second indication came when liberating several prisoner of war camps; the ominous experience of finding sealed railroad cars on a siding filled with dead concentration camp victims; his unit stopping on April 28, 1945 near the city Landsberg, Germany waiting for a bridge to be repaired and unaware of the camp 1000 yards away; how a shift in the wind eventually alerted them to the smell and sight of smoke from the camp, where retreating S.S. had just massacred the inmates; his unit finding about 20 starving and ill survivors; the conditions of the camp and his feelings upon seeing the massive piles of bodies, hangings, and other atrocities; how his unit had no food or medical and could only radio for help; being commanded to leave Landsberg after 20 minutes in order to seize and hold a causeway near Munich, Germany; the reactions of the prisoners to liberation and the response of the young soldiers to the experience of witnessing atrocities in the midst of war; his own complex and gradually evolving psychological reaction to the experience; his concern about genocides since World War II; and his faith and pride in his Jewish heritage.

Interviewee
Philip Solomon
Date
1987 May 28  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, gift of the Holocaust Oral History Archive of Gratz College
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:45:50
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508642