GIs Remember

Allen Cohen - Dachau


Allen Cohen, an electrical engineer born in New York City, served as a rifleman in the 45th Infantry Division in Italy, France, and Germany. He was one of the liberators of Dachau in April 1945.

"up to the last minute, the Nazis were killing inmates. I saw 1000 bodies waiting to be cremated. The bodies of the dead were still warm. The survivors were lying on the ground waiting for the Lord to take them. All the American soldiers were really angry after seeing these atrocities.

Most of the survivors were Jews. There were some Poles, including some priests. The priests were allowed to wear their cassocks rather than the striped uniforms worn by other prisoners.

Since I was Jewish, the survivors wanted to talk to me. A girl, eleven or twelve, showed whiplash marks on her back received when she stole a potato for her sick sister.

I was in the Dachau area for three months after the war ended. just about every German civilian I met in town said he or she did not know what was going on. Although they heard some screaming near the railroad tracks, they turned their heads away. They didn't want to become involved."

After the war Allen Cohen lectured at junior and senior high schools about the Holocaust. He was very concerned that people thought the Holocaust never happened.


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