Minnesota Soldiers were among the first to liberate the Nazi concentration camps as they pushed the German Army east toward Berlin in the waning days of WWII ending one of the worst evils in the history of the world. Bring this presentation to your school, lest this generation forgets.
The word “Liberator” brings to mind images of cheering crowds, relieved soldiers and celebratory parades through the streets of Rome, Paris or countless villages across war-torn Europe. Such was not the case in the spring of 1945 when American soldiers, including those from Minnesota, were pushing the German Army east in the waning days of World War II.
As these GIs moved east, they came across Buchenwald, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, and scores of other camps. Instead of the joyous scenes of liberation, Allied soldiers liberated the last victims of what would be called the Holocaust.
Our young Americans, who had seen so much death and tragedy fighting their way across Europe, had never seen anything like this. They were confronted with the putrid odor of acres and acres of barracks packed with the dead and dying.
The sick and emaciated inmates who were strong enough, rose to their feet, hands folded, crying with a joyful disbelief that their ordeal at the hands of the Nazis was, at last, over.
Allied soldiers put an end to the Nazi atrocities that had, in fact, been unfolding for twelve years and took the lives of five to six million Jews, over 600,000 Gypsies, and another five million Slavs, and other peoples conscripted for slave labor, political opponents, and others deemed unfit to live.
The origin of this evil began in 1933 when Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power promising to restore unity, prosperity, and national pride to a strife-ridden and suffering Germany in the midst of a severe economic depression.
Following the old adage that “Those who do not learn their history, will find themselves repeating the mistakes of the past,” Historical Experiences will bring this story to life in “Liberators,” a multi-media presentation.
Mr. Kind will relate the tragic story of how the Holocaust was perpetrated by the Nazi Party and how a nation of cultured people with a proud heritage were persuaded to allow and even carry out the worst genocide in the history of the world. He will also share the first-person accounts of American soldiers, including Minnesotans, who came across and liberated these camps.
For many, this experience changed their lives forever.
This presentation has been developed in partnership with the Minnesota Military and Veterans Museum.