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Timeline of Events

Liberation of Dachau

James A. Rose, of Toledo, Ohio, was with the 42nd (Rainbow) Division. In this clip, Rose describes his impressions of Dachau.

April 29, 1945

The 42nd and 45th Infantry Divisions and the 20th Armored Division of the US Army liberate approximately 32,000 prisoners at Dachau.

On April 26, 1945, as American forces approached, there were 67,665 registered prisoners in Dachau and its subcamps; more than half of this number were in the main camp. Of these, 43,350 were categorized as political prisoners, while 22,100 were Jews, with the remainder falling into various other categories. Starting that day, the Germans forced more than 7,000 prisoners, mostly Jews, on a death march from Dachau to Tegernsee far to the south. During the death march, the Germans shot anyone who could no longer continue; many also died of hunger, cold, or exhaustion. On April 29, 1945, American forces liberated Dachau. As they neared the camp, they found more than 30 railroad cars filled with bodies brought to Dachau, all in an advanced state of decomposition. In early May 1945, American forces liberated the prisoners who had been sent on the death march.

Emaciated survivors sit outside a barracks in the newly liberated Dachau concentration camp.

Emaciated survivors sit outside a barracks in the newly liberated Dachau concentration camp. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Frank Manucci, David J. Levy, Kathleen Quinn, Theodore A. Kane Jr.

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