GIs Remember

David Zahler - Flossenbürg


David Zahler went overseas in 1943 with the 90th Infantry Division, served in Italy, the invasion of Normandy and across Germany. He was a combat medic with a heavy weapons platoon. In 1944 he was captured by the Germans but was a prisoner for only two weeks. As he was about to be captured, he threw away his dogtags with the Hebrew marking on them. He was released because he had his Geneva Convention Red Cross card on him.

"The 90th came upon the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp in late April 1945. Because of my ability to speak Yiddish, I was sent into the camp to try to talk to the survivors.

The Jews there were more dead than alive. They couldn't talk. They seemed to be frightened to death because we were carrying DDT cylinders which they thought were weapons.

I did not stay long at the camp but the experience remains indelible in my memory. To see emaciated people walking around in snow barefoot, changed my life. I learned to take nothing for granted. It's tough to be a Jew."


Source: GIs Remember, (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Jewish Military History, 1994).