GIs Remember

Dan Evers - Dachau


Dan Evers, from New Jersey, enlisted in the National Guard in 1940 and was assigned to active duty in 1941. He served in the 286th Combat Engineer Battalion until the end of the war. He went overseas in 1944, participating in campaigns in France and Germany.

"I hadn't heard much about concentration camps. My unit arrived in Dachau in April 1945, quite by accident. I was shocked at what I saw. The place was a mess. Bodies and bones were lying around. The gas chamber door was closed, but the ovens were still open. There was a sign in German overhead which said: 'Wash your hands after work.' I saw more dead than living.

I was there only a few hours, and my strongest recollection is the smell of death. I don't recall meeting any living Jews.

I stayed in the area until the end of 1945 and had numerous occasions to speak to people living near Dachau. They always claimed to be innocent.

The whole thing was a traumatic experience for me. This thing should not have happened. I still don't think people have learned anything.

The photographs that I took at Dachau illustrate the horrors and inhumane treatment of a group of human beings whose only crime was being Jewish. The photographs document the brutality and bestiality that man can inflict on his fellow man, the genocide of a people."

 


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