A first hand account by Cpl. Edward E. Smith, Jr., Headquarters Battery, 431st AAA AW Battalion, Dachau, Germany, 30 April, 1945. His report of entering KZ Dachau Concentration Camp the day following the camp’s liberation on April 29, 1945. Three pages, 10.75 x 8.5 in., in part :’Monday evening, 30 April, 1945, a group of men from Headquarters Battery left Dunding , Germany…to visit the indescribable concentration camp….The camp had been liberated the previous morning by elements of the 42nd and 45th Inf.Div’s….A string of railroad box cars, some fifty strong… parked on the tracks…the first roofless box car…lay some six bodies of Allied prisoners, all dead from starvation…the next fice [sic] cars were comparatively the same…some…in a sitting position…died from torture and starvation…the last two cars had bodies of SS Troopers. These soldiers had been killed by the incoming Inf.Troops…very little sympathy was given them by the onlookers…more dead bodies of SS Troopers…Some of the Ex-Supermen were in their early teens…headed for the ‘Extermination Center’…we saw dog cages, some twenty to forty strong…The first building…was the combined gas chamber and crematorium…this chamber had eight cells…holding in each cell twelve people…the room adjoining this chamber was the crematory…housed the four huge ovens, which were used for cremation…the ashes of the eight bodies were segregated into eight different portions and placed in tin cans, and a name placed on the can. One out of a possible hundred turned out to be the ashes of a cremated person, while the rest were ashes with wrong names…one sight that paralized [sic] us…a pile of dead naked bodies…awaiting cremation…all ages…a child…a woman…The most devastating sight that any human eye could ever see!…we saw the firing stand…a firing squad (SS Guards) shot and killed the doomed one in the back of the head…a barbed wire encirclement, with some ten thousand political prisoners…half starved to death… men, women and children…encirclement where the bodies of some two thousand prisoners lay…a small cemetary [sic], another pile of dead bodies…these also had died from starvation and murdering…we spoke with all nationalities…French, Russians, Belgians, Hollanders…All had a story of horror to relate….one hundred and forty were to die the morning that the Americans entered town…huge piles of clothing…lying on the ground…if all the clothes on the ground once housed a human being, it would go into thousands of notorious killings. All American soldiers who visited DACHAU, regardless of the battles that they participated in…none could be any worse than… the devastating torture that was seen in this camp…On 1 May, 1945, the camp was put "OFF LIMITS" to all soldiers, civilians and an immediate investigation was started by Allied Authorities.’ The pages exhibits some ragged edges, two tears on the left edge that can be easily mended, staple holes at top left.
The horrifying report is accompanied by four original b/w photographs, 3.5 2.5 in., possibly taken by the same soldier, three photographs showing the dead bodies of victims of the Holocaust in box cars; one photograph of an ovens at the Dachau crematorium, the blurry image of an inmate to the right and what looks to be remains of a victim engulfed by flames. Notations on the back read ‘Dachau Germany May 1, 45’ and a description either ‘Box car’s’ or ‘The oven’s’. Very important grouping documenting the Holocaust.