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Oral history interview with Thomas V. Lee

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.51.76 | RG Number: RG-50.759.0076

Thomas Lee discusses his experiences during WWII when, in 1945, he was a 27-year-old Sergeant assigned to the 123rd Cavalry Squadron, 106th Cavalry Group; his unit entering the Dachau concentration camp; their approach to the camp’s gate, where there were still some German guards, and some were shot while others were turned over to inmates who were walking about in the yard; the prisoners who were all emaciated men, weighing less than 100 pounds, dressed in concentration camp uniforms; entering a barrack and finding middle-aged men, barely alive, many too weak to get out of their bunks, which were stacked four on top of each other; the crematorium, where the fires were still burning with bodies inside; the nearby box cars with doors wide open and dead bodies inside; being shocked and enraged by what they saw and not being able to imagine anything worse; communicating a little with a French prisoner, who told him that food was a soup kettle in the middle of the yard which tasted like dishwater and was given out twice a day, and that when someone was told that he was going to a shower, everyone knew he was going to be gassed; hearing that the Germans used hungry dogs to attack prisoners who were uncooperative; being unable to do much for the former prisoners, except to report what was found; his regret that he did not have a camera to take pictures, but on the other hand he wondered if he would have kept them, since in all the months of combat, this sight was the worst and he wanted to forget about this experience; and how normally he really did not want to talk about this topic, but did not mind going on record and answering the interviewer’s questions.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Thomas V. Lee
Interviewer
Mary Cook
Nita Howton
Date
interview:  1994 January 11
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: 2020-05-27 12:50:57
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn80134