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Oral history interview with William Meyer

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.51.87 | RG Number: RG-50.759.0087

William Myer discusses his experiences during WWII when, in 1945, he was an 18-year-old US Army Private, when his unit, the 371st Field Artillery, stumbled across a subcamp of Dachau, near the end of the war; his unit moving rapidly and not stopping long in the camp; the sunny weather conditions on that day; seeing hundreds of emaciated men and some women appear in their grey uniforms, moving slowly like walking skeletons; his unit having to restrain the inmates from killing their German guards who looked like decrepit soldiers; the nearby farmers claiming that they did not know what was going on inside the camp, but the word was that they had entered to collect the ashes; seeing piles of shoes, eye glasses, and hair in the camp; not being able to communicate with the prisoners; using a form of sign language to communicate; the emotional condition of the prisoners; being shocked by the situation in the camp even though he was cognizant of the atrocities the Germans had committed on US soldiers at Malmedy; returning home and not talking about his experience; being cautioned not to talk in order to preserve actions in progress to prosecute Germans for war crimes; realizing in hindsight that he too had suffered psychological impact from the war; discussing his war-time experiences 25 years or more after the war at reunions with 45th Division soldiers (they had flanked each other during the war); learning more about the cruelties after the war; and his outlook to not hold grudges.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
William Meyer
Interviewer
Mary Cook
Nita Howton
Date
interview:  1995 February 18
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/irn80873