Skip to main content

Gallery

Documents from Liberators: Gunskirchen

In April and May 1945, Allied forces liberated thousands of prisoners from Nazi concentration camps. Soldiers who had read and heard reports of Nazi crimes now confronted the evidence first hand. Shocked, angered, and horrified by what they saw, they recorded their observations in reports to their superiors and letters home to loved ones so as to ensure that others would know the truth about what they had seen.

On May 4, 1945, the 71st Infantry Division liberated Gunskirchen. These 71st Infantry Division documents relating to the liberation of Gunskirchen include an unsigned report dated May 6, 1945, concerning the conditions in Gunskirchen at the time of liberation, and an undated report by Major Cameron Coffman describing the conditions in the camp and the activities of the 71st Infantry Division in the liberation of the camp.

US Holocaust Memorial Museum

  • 71st Infantry Division Report: Page 1 71st Infantry Division Report: Page 1

    71st Infantry Division document relating to the liberation of Gunskirchen: "Each soldier soon found many thing to do, many walking around with stern faces and tears in their eyes."

  • 71st Infantry Division Report: Page 2 71st Infantry Division Report: Page 2

    71st Infantry Division document relating to the liberation of Gunskirchen: "During the march at one point the people were used as targets for some SS troops who seemd to think this great fun."

  • Cameron A. Coffman: Page 1 Cameron A. Coffman: Page 1

    Page 1 of a report from Major Cameron A. Coffman: "Nazism at its worst was unfolded in stark reality before Doughboys of the 71st Infantry Division today"

  • Cameron A. Coffman: Page 2 Cameron A. Coffman: Page 2

    Page 2 of a report from Cameron A. Coffman: "Row upon row of living skeltons, jammed so closely together that it was impossible for some to turn over, even if they could have generated enough strength to do so."

  • Cameron A. Coffman: Page 3 Cameron A. Coffman: Page 3

    Page 3 of a report from Cameron A. Coffman: "The man died in his arms."

  • Cameron A. Coffman: Page 4 Cameron A. Coffman: Page 4

    Page 4 of a report from Cameron A. Coffman: "A scene on the return trip to Lambach was a fitting climax to the horror we had left."