After graduating from Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, in 1943, Charlotte Chaney enlisted as a nurse in the Army. She arrived in France early in 1945, and served in an evacuation hospital with the 3rd Army in Germany.
"I reached Dachau immediately after its liberation. We had no idea about concentration camps before that. You couldn't believe what was going on. We saw the rooms where people were gassed. The survivors were sick and emaciated. Our job was to give them the medical assistance needed to keep them alive. Almost all of the survivors were suffering from TB and malnutrition. We worked around the clock, day and night, trying to get these people out of the Dachau compound. I was there for three months; it was a nightmare, day after day.
We found about eighty women and seven babies. We couldn't give them any food at the beginning. We had to start them on gruel. We put them into clean beds, washed them and tried to delouse them and treat their illnesses.
There were children who looked like they were eighty years old with bloated stomachs from malnutrition. We had hundreds of deaths every day.
All of this had a profound effect on my life later on. As a Jew, as an American, and as a nurse, I have devoted my life to trying to help people. I worked for a number of years at the Mt. Sinai hospital in Miami and later was involved in taking care of children with cystic fibrosis. I am active in Jewish affairs and belong to the Holocaust Center in Miami."GIs RememberNational Museum of American Jewish Military History