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Special Feature
Days of Remembrance

Warning, images on this website may contain graphic material that could be disturbing to some people.

Introduction

The Liberation of Major Nazi Camps 1944-1945 - Map is provided courtesy of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).

As Allied military forces drove deep into occupied Europe and Germany in the spring of 1945, U.S. Army soldiers were shocked by the evidence of Nazi depravity they witnessed first-hand. During World War II more than six million Jews and millions of other people were executed, with millions more tortured, imprisoned or forced into slave labor by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. In addition to crimes against humanity committed throughout Europe, those done in the concentration camps were particularly heinous. In what General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower termed "horror camps," names like Buchenwald and Dachau became synonymous with the mass slaughter and unspeakable cruelty that characterized the Holocaust. The scenes they witnessed on liberating many of the camps gave tangible evidence to U.S. Army soldiers that their sacrifices had been for a just cause-a great crusade against evil. All Army soldiers who fought in World War II, whether in combat or support units, or medical personnel of field hospitals who kept victims alive after liberation, deserve credit for ending the horror of the Holocaust. The liberation of the camps demonstrated the character and compassion of the American soldier in the performance of his or her duty. The liberation of people held in the Nazi concentration camp system is an achievement of which the U.S. Army will always be proud. Defeating Nazi Germany and freeing Europe from fascist tyranny in all its forms was consistent with the U.S. Army's mission and its soldiers' role as liberators. We honor the 11 million American Soldiers who defended freedom and defeated fascism and tyranny 75 years ago. We commemorate the events of WWII and the Holocaust to educate the public about the Army's proud history as a way to inspire men and women to serve today and in the future.

Army Museum Enterprise (AME) Artifacts and Exhibits

Historical Photos

Additional Reading

External Links

  • U.S. Propaganda Films
  • WARNING
    The Following Videos May Contain Graphic Content

    Death Mills (Die Todesmühlen)
    (Holocaust Museum) A 1945 War Department information film directed by Billy Wilder. The film was intended for audiences in occupied Germany and Austria to educate them about the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. For the German version, Die Todesmühlen, Hanus Burger is credited as the writer and director, while Wilder supervised the editing. Wilder is credited with directing the English-language version. The film is a much-abbreviated version of German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, a 1945 British government documentary that was not completed until nearly seven decades later. The German-language version of the film was shown in the US sector of West Germany in January 1946.
  • Your Job in Germany
    (NARA YouTube) A short film made for the United States War Department in 1945 just before VE-Day. It was shown to US soldiers about to go on occupation duty in Germany. The film was made by the military film unit commanded by Frank Capra and was written by Theodor Geisel, better known by his pen name Dr. Seuss.
  • Here Is Germany
    (NARA YouTube) A 1945 American propaganda documentary film directed by Frank Capra and written by William L. Shirer, Gottfried Reinhardt, Ernst Lubitsch, Georg Ziomer and Anthony Veiller. Like its companion film, Know Your Enemy: Japan, the film is a full-length exploration of why one of the two major Axis countries started World War II and what had to be done to keep them from "doing it again".
  • Seeds of Destiny
    (NARA YouTube) Produced by the U.S. Army War Department to keep the world's attention focused on the suffering of displaced and orphaned refugee children in transit and displaced persons camps in Europe and to champion the work of UNRRA. It was the winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject in 1946. It was directed by accomplished short film — and later feature film — director David Miller.
  • Two Down, One to Go!
    (NARA YouTube) A short propaganda film produced in 1945; its overall message was that the first two Axis powers, Italy and Germany, had been defeated, but that one, Japan, still had to be dealt with.