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Oral history interview with Frank Davis and Chester Spencer

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0444.6 | RG Number: RG-50.467.0006

Frank Davis (who was a 30-year-old Platoon Sergeant in 1945) and Chester Spencer (who was a 19-year-old soldier in 1945), discuss being assigned to the 2nd Platoon, 2nd Battalion of the 242nd Regiment of the Rainbow Division; being together in battle all through Germany and on the way to Munich; seeing Dachau concentration camp, including the numerous dead bodies in box cars, trenches, and the crematorium; their memories of the smell of the camp which could be detected two miles away; the declaration that Munich was an open city; how Frank found a large Nazi flag in one of the buildings and at war's end, had every member of the Platoon sign in the white part of the flag, while others in the company signed on the red portion [note that the flag is displayed without comment in the first few minutes of the interview]; their return to Dachau for a 50-year reunion of their unit and the mayor of the town who celebrated their reunion; talking to a number of young people in Munich, and being told that in the last day before the US occupation, Germans were shooting Germans in the streets of the town; and how the young people knew the town’s history but did not quite know how to handle or rationalize it. [The last six minutes of the video, without commentary, displays pictures of the Dachau concentration camp, of their reunion and provides an annotated sketched map of the route of the Rainbow Division through Germany and into Austria.]


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Chester Spencer
Frank Davis
Interviewer
Peggy Coster
Date
interview:  1995 July 14
Language
English
Extent
1 videocassette (VHS) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Survivors and Surviving Generations of the Holocaust
 
Record last modified: 2019-12-05 21:27:43
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn513240