As we crossed the Rhine River, we went from foxhole to foxhole in the mud. We entered the first concentration camp near Aachen. It once was a prison for criminals. Now it housed the victims where they were held in 9 cells of twelve or more people. My captain heard that the Germans had poison in a drum, and about 20 victims drank from it. He asked me to get him some help and bury the dead. As we came to the room where they were, my stomach couldn’t take the smell of the guts of the victims. I still have nightmares over that one.

I then was assigned a job to get a crew to spray DDT in the hair of the victims. Being Jewish, I understood some German, so I stayed close to the captain and became his interpreter. We came to the next concentration camp in a village where there was a big red barn. The Germans took 1700 victims and put them in the barn, with machine gunners posted on the outside, and then they torched the barn. If any of the victims got out, they would machine gun them down. The smell of the burnt flesh still gives me nightmares. We went to the mayor’s house, and the captain told me to ask why he didn’t stop the German soldiers. He said that he didn’t know what happened. The captain then told me to tell the mayor to get the townspeople together and bury each victim in single graves.

I rejoined the medical company in the next concentration camp. This one had a cyanide building and three ovens in front of it, with a three-foot high pile of gold jewelry and rings on the side. At the next concentration camp we set up a field hospital. A German regiment marched into the area, and the German commander asked my captain if he wanted his men to surrender. My captain was a doctor, and was unarmed. He told them to lay down their arms. When the infantry captain came up, he took over for us. We got to the Elbe River and waited three weeks for the Russians to come. I will never forget the victims of those concentration camps. We had to give them soup before they could eat anything…they were skin and bones. I dug trenches for the latrines, and marked them in four different languages, “male” and “female.” The victims used either one they wanted, without caring who was there. Their moral fiber was such that they didn’t care, except that they were free again.