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Oral history interview with Richard Radock

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.51.101 | RG Number: RG-50.759.0101

Richard Radock discusses his experiences during WWII when, in 1945, he was a 24-year-old Sergeant, assigned to Company C, 305th Medical Battalion, 80th Infantry Division (Blue Ridge Division); working as a Dispatcher which included the dispatch of ambulances; his unit’s involvement in the liberation of two concentration camps; his unit following the 4th Armored Division into camp Ohrdruf one day after its liberation; his unit having some inkling of what to expect; the smell of death in the camp; the hundreds of former prisoners in the labor camp; the shock of the men in his unit at what they saw in the camp; the physical condition of the former prisoners, including sunken eyes and rotting teeth; some former inmates suffering from tuberculosis; the conditions of the barracks, which were plain, damp, and smelled of urine; some people being too weak to leave the barracks; learning that during the war any prisoner who tried to escape was hanged and seeing evidence of torture gadgetry; the mayor of the nearby town and many of its inhabitants being brought to the camp to see what had occurred (they claimed they did not know); the Air Corps bombing the supported factory but not the camp; continuing on and then coming upon Buchenwald concentration camp; seeing a circle of 80 dead prisoners who had all been shot in the head; the conditions of the surviving prisoners; seeing prisoners as young as 13 years old; many prisoners staying in their bunks in the barracks; the smell of the barracks; the crematoriums; seeing dead bodies scattered around the camp; the local Germans claiming that they knew nothing about the camp; the capture of the camp administrator, who claimed he was only following orders and was eventually shot by one of the former inmates; spending four or five hours in the camp before moving on; writing a book about his experience; landing on Utah Beach in Normandy and fighting for 273 days; tending to the wounded, including American and German soldiers; and how speaking about his experienced relieved the tension of the memories.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Richard Radock
Interviewer
Mary Cook
Nita Howton
Date
interview:  1994 May 28
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 12:50:58
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn80923