University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Liberation Scenes

Over the years, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies has been given photographs taken by American Army units that liberated or came into concentration camps--usually Buchenwald, Ordruf, Mauthausen, Dachau and others in the Western military zones. Details and attributions are found with text next to each image when enlarged. Click to appropriate image. In some cases, the photos were taken by the US Army Signal Corps and distributed to GIs. Occasionally, photographs were stamped "SECRET" on the back, probably to maintain low distribution and not to stimulate anti-German sentiment in the post-war period, owing to the growing confrontation with the USSR in the "Cold War" period that would follow.

Scenes of the concentration camps taken by American GIs

American GI at Buchenwald

American GIs at Buchenwald

American GIs at Buchenwald, one with a medic

Left. In addition to an American Officer guide, the party was also accompanied by Commandant Rene L' Hopital (former ADC to Marshal Foch; DSM, Officer of the Legion of Honor, MVO, etc., a personal friend of many Americans including Brig General Hanford McNider, the late Theodore Roosevelt Jr, Major General Frank Parker, Franklin D'Olier, Admiral Byrd), who had been a prisoner in the camp during the two months prior to its capture. He wieghed 95 lbs. as against the normal condition than the average of his fellow prisoners (due to his having been in this camp only 2 months).

The pile of boneash from the 200 bodies incinerated the previous day had not yet been removed from the back yard.


Above. For a period of about ten days in March the coal supply for the incinerator ran out. Shortly afterwards, a new supply of coal having been received, the process of incineration was resumed. This process was so abruptly interrupted by the arrival of U.S. Armor in the area that the S.S. had no time to "tidy up", so that the cycle of operation could be plainly examined and understood. The day's quota of upwards of 120 corpses of prisoners who had died in camp were parked in a truck in the front yard.

Above. Inspection of German Concentration Camp For Political Prisoners Located at Buchenwald on the North Edge of Weimar on the morning of 16th April 1945.

The bodies of about 40 inmates who had died since U.S. arrival, in spite of prompt medical and ration attention, were stacked up like cord-wood against the wall of the yard.

American surgeons stated that the adult corpses weighed only 60 to 80 lbs, having in practically all cases lost 50% to 60% of their normal weight, and also having shrunk in height.

Holocaust Survivors, Minnesota

Peter Gersh

Leo and Hinda Kibort and family in Minneapolis

Leo Kibort photographed in his uniform from Dachau

Sabina Zimering sweeping in Regensberg, Germany as Polish worker

Felicia Weingarten after liberation, Landsberg

Fred and Judy Baron and family, Minneapolis

Fred Baron,native of Vienna, undergoing treatment in Sweden after liberation from Bergen-Belsen

Max Goodman, Survivor from Romania, Transnisria

Philip Biel, photo taken after the Red Army liberated Wegrow

Ed Grossman (second from right) and group after war

Ed Grossman (left) with cousin Nathan Moshe Wald

Dora Zaidenweber was a member of Zionist Youth Group in Radom, Poland before war. 8 people in this photo survived the holocaust.

Harry Gross, Survivor from Auschwitz.

Paula and David Rubin, Survivors from Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen (PDF)

Ruth Margo De Wilde

Resistance Fighters, Minnesota

Paulette and her daughter Francelyne Lurie (left) and Nadine Bicher (taken in 1988)

Reidar Dittmann, Norwegian resistance and survivor of Buchenwald

Witness to the Holocaust, Minnesota

Kay Bonner Nee, U.S.O. Witness to Buchenwald 1945.