Oral History Interview with Frederick A. Walters

Frederick A. Walters was a Jewish soldier who served in the 474th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army. He knew about the existence of concentration camps from the Stars and Stripes and Armed Forces Radio Network but did not think he would ever witness them. He entered Buchenwald in April 1945 and describes his shock seeing the corpses and the appalling conditions of approximately 150 surviving prisoners. The regiment was not responsible for the care of the survivors but gave them army rations until food and medical care arrived. He recalls a man giving prisoners money who he believes may have been Edward R. Morrow. He describes the shock of his regiment in witnessing the realities of the camp and states that they had refused to believe published and broadcasted reports.

No official or unofficial meetings were held to discuss reactions and no regimental history documents the experience. Weimar townspeople denied knowledge of camp activities. Later shipped to Norway to deal with surrender of German army units, Mr. Walters found that German soldiers denied knowledge of the camps and did not believe his eyewitness testimony. He found the same disbelief in the U.S. upon his return and states appreciation for this opportunity to bear witness for the first time since the war.

Date: 02/01/1988
Interviewer: Philip G. Solomon
Interviewee: Frederick A. Walters
Language: English
Subject: Concentration camp inmates.
Jewish soldiers--United States.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Western Front.
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--Liberation.
World War, 1939-1945--Participation, Jewish.
World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American.
World War, 1939-1945--Psychological aspects.
World War, 1939-1945--Veterans--United States.
Men--Personal narratives.
Location: Buchenwald concentration camp
Permalink: https://hoha.digitalcollections.gratzcollege.edu/item/oral-history-interview-with-frederick-a-walters/
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