GIs Remember

Ronald Rabinovitz - Woebbelin


Ronald Rabinovitz, of Des Moines, Iowa, saw combat as a rifleman with the 121st Regiment of the 8th Infantry Division. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and in Germany. His unit helped overrun the Woebbelin Concentration Camp.

"It was just getting dark when we got there. Maybe there were about 120, maybe 200 people still alive at the camp; there were several thousand dead bodies. The building we went into had roughly 2000 bodies just stacked up.

This camp was not an extermination camp. It was a slave labor camp and it didn't have crematoria or any way of disposing of the bodies except to bury them. The people were worked to death.

I saw two men walking around-there were others that I spoke to in Yiddish who told me they had been brought there recently. It was a mixed group, mostly Jews from Lodz, Poland, but also Russians and a few French.

The next day I did not believe what I had seen. In other words I don't think that the American mind or culture is able to accept that people do this to each other.

On the following day our Commanding General, Bryant E. Moore, gathered all the local German civilians to witness the sight. The mayor of the city went back home and committed suicide. I was just there for the day ... then it was all over. Next we met the Russians and the war ended.

Over the years I have remained an observant Jew.... I think it made me more Jewish. We as Jews need to defend ourselves and to keep our moral standards strong.... I think I became more religious afterwards rather than less."


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