“They were in frightening condition. […] Although we had administered all kinds of medicines and carried out scores of amputations, most of them died.” That is how the survivor Zbigniew Pęckowski described the transfer of sick and injured inmates from the Boelcke-Kaserne in Nordhausen to the Dora infirmary around 14 April 1945.
U.S. troops had liberated the Boelcke-Kaserne subcamp a few days earlier and found some 1,300 dead there. The majority had died of hunger, illness and organized neglect. Several hundred living inmates lay amongst the corpses. They were in a state of utter exhaustion.
The Americans immediately began providing the survivors with medical care and distributed them among makeshift hospitals in the vicinity. The medical orderly Ragene Farris later gave expression to the shock the liberators experienced: “In a short period of two days I and many others of the Division saw and lived a story we shall never forget.”
Leo A. Hoegh (ed.), Timberwolf Tracks, Washington 2004.
Zbigniew Pęckowski, “Bericht eines Krankenpflegers aus dem Lagerkrankenhaus in Dora”, Przegląd Lekarski, 1 (1972).
Reference: Michael Hirsh, The Liberators: America’s Witnesses to the Holocaust, New York 2010.