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Oral history interview with Vern Smith

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0444.14 | RG Number: RG-50.467.0014

Vern Smith, a 20-year-old American soldier in Europe in 1945, discusses being drafted in September 1943; becoming a squad leader of a machine-gun platoon that was part of the 222 Regiment of the 42nd Rainbow Division; arriving in France in November 1944; details on some difficult moments during the Battle of the Bulge; going through Germany with his unit towards Munich; participating in the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, which to him, was an unexpected encounter; how the camp was surrounded by fencing but the gate was wide open; seeing railway cars full of dead bodies and people in prison garb in the camp; seeing survivors who were still able to walk around, although they obviously had been without care for a prolonged period; being unable to communicate with them since they did not speak German but rather seemed to be from Eastern Europe; lacking a mission in the camp and being anxious to get away from that scene; being relieved to move on into the town of Dachau and then into Munich; and the positive experiences he had meeting with former comrades in a veterans’ organization that had been formed for the former 42nd Division soldiers.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Vern Smith
Interviewer
Judith Antelman
Date
interview:  1995 July 15
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/irn513248