Robert’s 65th Infantry Division participated in the liberation of many concentration camps in Austria and few members are still surviving. He now shares what he remembers with others. On December 9th, he spoke to a large history class of juniors and seniors at Northern High School in Durham. The topic was Mauthausen Concentration Camp, Austria. 320,000 were incarcerated, only 80,000 survived.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower understood the horror of the holocaust and did not want it to be forgotten. “General Eisenhower understood that many people would be unable to comprehend the full scope of this horror. He also understood that any human deeds that were so utterly evil might eventually be challenged or even denied as being literally unbelievable. For these reasons he ordered that all the civilian news media and military combat camera units be required to visit the camps and record their observations in print, pictures and film. As he explained to General Marshall, “I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’” (1)
Mauthausen was known for its Stairs of Death. Prisoners were forced to carry stones on their backs up the stairs. Those that reached to top were forced to jump into the quarry below and to their death. Post 6 is honored to have Robert represent the American Legion and the local decedents of those who survived or perished in the Holocaust. He was there at Mauthausen.