Survivors of Dachau Concentration Camp greet American liberators

Although it was at the end of April when the camp was liberated, the weather was very cold and there was a dusting of snow. Note the prisoner on the left wearing an overcoat. In the background to the left is what appears to be a soldier, probably one of the liberators. There was one American Prisoner of War, Major Rene J. Guiraud from Cicero, IL, in the Dachau camp when it was liberated and 5 other Americans who were civilians living in Germany when the war started, according to Marcus J. Smith in his book "The Harrowing of Hell." According to survivor Nerin E. Gun, there were 11 Americans imprisoned at Dachau. The majority of the prisoners in the Dachau camp on liberation day were civilians from German occupied Poland, numbering 9,082, including 96 women, who were brought to the camp as slave laborers, according to official American Army documents. In his book "The Day of the Americans," Nerin E. Gun wrote that some of the survivors had been in the Dachau camp for 11 years. Many who were incarcerated in the first year of the camp were released after serving time, according to the Museum Guidebook. One survivor was Ernst Kroll, a Communist, who was sent to the camp a few months after it opened in 1933 and was still there on liberation day. According to Michael Selzer in his book about the liberation, Kroll said that the camp had "deteriorated terribly" in the last few months before it was liberated. Kroll said the camp "was beginning to look like Calcutta," referring to the temporary structures that had been created with poles and blankets on the sides of the barracks.

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