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Oral history interview with Ralph W. Clausen

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.51.27 | RG Number: RG-50.759.0027

Ralph Clausen discusses his experiences during WWII when, in 1945, he was a 26-year-old Staff Sergeant assigned to the 910th Anti-Aircraft unit; arriving at the Dachau concentration camp approximately four hours after its liberation by the US Infantry; spending no more than 45 minutes at the camp and not entering the barracks; being surprised and shocked at what he saw; how the appearance of the camp was completely unexpected; noticing three or four railway box cars with numerous naked and starved dead bodies strewn about, along with a dead German guard; the crematorium, where there were a number of naked corpses, bundled in stacks of six, awaiting burning; hearing a rumor about a torture chamber but not seeing one; not knowing the nationalities of the dead; his memories of the smell in the camp, which stayed with him even after leaving the area; talking to Germans later on, and how they claimed not to have known what was going on in the camp (Ralph did not believe them); and returning home and talking about his experience with his family, who believed what he had seen.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Ralph W. Clausen
Interviewer
Mary Cook
Nita Howton
Date
interview:  1994 January 08
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette : analog.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Mary Cook and Nita Howton
 
Record last modified: 2020-07-08 14:55:25
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn79938