Robert D. Davis



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WWII, World War 2, letters, Army


World War, 1939-1945; United States--Army


Davis describes his visit to the concentration camp at Dachau. He details how starved the people were and the describes the crematorium. He mentions the surprise of his civilian chauffer upon visiting the camp, asserting that the German citizens 'had never heard of this place'. An inmate informs Davis that 10,000 people were killed per day at the camp, though Davis is skeptical about this number. He lists the dimensions of the gas chamber; ten feet high and about thirty feet by thirty feet. He describes the ovens as containing metal wheeled gurneys, on which the bodies would be carried in. He transcribes and provides translation of the text on a sign by the ovens, which in German reads 'cleanliness is here a duty. Don't forget to wash your hands'. He then describes the room where the dead bodies were stored as having blood smeared walls. He states that five people still die per day in the on-site hospital.


CoE, I7E3, 3rd ECDR

APO 658

c/o Postmaster NY NY

Mrs. R.L. Davis

1619 Boston

Muskogee, Okla.

Air Mail

Die Deutsche Arbeitsfront

Gauwaltung Munchen-Oberbayern

Der Kreisbmann,

11 June 1945

Ingolstadt, den 11. Juni, 1945

Eselbraustr. 2

Fersprecher: 2261 und 2184

Dear Folks:

Had a couple of rainy day yesterday and today.

Yesterday Lt. Kobbe and Ingber and I took one of the civilian cars and journeyed down to Dachau, the horrible concentration camp. We move these the only section of the camp where the inmates still were dwelling; the hospital section. The starvation cases there were absolutely horrible, complete skeletons.

Picking up one of the more of these (Ingber began contacts, rather callously I thought, by inquiring “Where’s the Crematorium?”) we went over to the oven where they burned the bodies. In order to provide a method of communicating the intelligence back to the we took our civilian chauffer with us. His eyes popped out, as the Germans had never heard of this place.

Altho’ the inmate said 10,000 people were killed a day, I was skeptical, due to the size of the bldg. it was abt. 100’ ft long, and contained the gas execution chamber, the ovens, and the room where the bodies were stacked. Some things were indisputable, however. The gas chamber was about 10 ft high, abt 30’ by 30’, and could be hermitically scaled. It had jets up above, with elaborate piping systems that came out from chemical vats. Altho’ the inmate exclaimed with sadistic satisfaction that 300 people were killed on the pretense of taking showers, it was too small.

The ovens had stretcher like metal things the bodies could be wheeled in on. On a sign by the ovens, one could read, in German.

[Cleanliness is here a duty; don’t forget to wash your hands] [Reinlichkeit ist hier pflicht deshalB Hande Waschen night vergessen]

The room where the bodies were stacked, had blood smeared up to the walls. There were 5 bodies laying there, that had died in the hospital the day before. About 5 die a day still in the hospital.

Love, Bob

P.S. We alas saw Munich. Write about it later.

Letter from Dachau, 1945 June 11


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