Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dachau Inmates Recall Crimes Their Vow: `Never Again Fascism'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dachau Inmates Recall Crimes Their Vow: `Never Again Fascism'

Article excerpt

Where the Nazi SS murdered inmates for 12 years, survivors and their GI rescuers solemnly marked the 50th anniversary Sunday of the liberation of Nazi Germany's first concentration camp.

During the commemoration - in a steady rain - speakers said that fascism's crimes must never be repeated and its victims never forgotten.

"Never again fascism, never again war, never again Dachau," said Max Mannheimer, 75, a Czech-born Jew who survived the camp.

More than 30,000 people died at Dachau - murdered, worked to death, or simply allowed to succumb to disease. When U.S. Army units of the 42nd Infantry, the Rainbow Division, liberated the camp, they found railcars full of corpses and bodies stacked like cordwood outside the crematorium because the SS had run out of coal to burn them.

On Sunday, 2,000 people from at least 16 countries - survivors and their families - returned for the half-century anniversary along with 95 U.S. veterans and their families. Their hosts were the Bavarian state government and activists who believe in keeping alive the memory of wartime atrocities.

A column of survivors walked past watchtowers, the former site of the medical experiment building and now-vacant plots where filthy barracks once stood. The procession moved past sites where guard dogs ripped prisoners apart and past the moat surrounding the camp where others were shot dead.

The survivors then went to the crematorium, where SS guards hanged prisoners from hooks and then threw them into the ovens.

The head of Germany's Jews, Ignatz Bubis, thanked the American liberators of Dachau. Among the camp's survivors was the woman who would become his wife.

John McGovern of Toledo, Ohio, president of the 42nd Rainbow Division Veterans Association, responded: "We bitterly resent those whose arrogance imposed their evil on humanity. . . . It is only by being aware of past excesses and usurpation of individual rights, vividly demonstrated by 12 years of barbarism at Dachau, that the ever-present threats to your own liberty can be thwarted."

Bavarian state Gov. Edmund Stoiber told the survivors and several thousand Germans, "I feel ashamed that the crimes against those people were perpetrated by and in the name of Germans. …

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