The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

"At least there's Dachau"


"On one cold winter's day, I took Patty [Hackworth's wife] to Dachau. The horror of Hitler's vision was alive and well in this grim death camp: the barracks, the ovens, the electrified barbed-wire fences, remained intact. A mound here held the bones of ten thousand Jews: the one over there, twelve thousand more. The place was a monument to the darkest side of man, and yet - despite the smoke and ash that rained down on their homes from camp incinerators, despite the sickly smell of burning flesh and hair, which surely carried with the slightest breeze as far, probably, as Munich - the villagers claimed they hadn't known.

I couldn't square it, anymore than I could square the fact that not one of the laughing, backslapping, congenial comrades I met (in their beer-belly filled lederhosen and their jolly Bavarian green caps) had fought the Americans in the West. All assured me they'd been on the Eastern Front, fighting "the real enemy," the Russians. It was a story I heard in the cities, too. In fifteen years the Germans had come a long way in their rewrite of history. But at least there's Dachau, I thought to myself, to remind them of the truth." (Hackworth, 343,344)

Work Cited

Hackworth, Colonel (U.S. Army, Ret.) David H., and Julie Sherman. About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989. ISBN 0-671-52692-8


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