the 104th US. Infantry Division was recognized as a liberating unit by the U.S. Army Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1993

Song of the 104th US. Infantry Division

From way up north in Oregon to
Southlands far away,
We've moved across the desert sands
a-fighting all the way.
We'll climb the highest mountains in
any state or land.
We will swing along by combat-team
a-fighting hand to hand.
Oh, this is our night to howl boys,
just follow us with will,
The Timberwolves are on the prowl,
we're closing in to kill.
We're a helluva gang to fight with,
just follow us and see,
The 104th will lead the way from hell
to victory.


In den frühen Morgenstunden beginnt die I. amerikanische Armee vom Westufer der Ruhr aus einen Angriff „Operation Grenade“ auf deutsche Stellungen östlich der Ruhr. Es gelingt ihr, mehrere Brückenköpfe zu bilden. Von Süden dringt die amerikanische 8. Infanterie-Division und von Norden die amerikanische 104. Infanterie-Division in die Ruinen von Düren ein, das am Abend des 25. Februars vollständig in deren Gewalt ist. Auch Birkesdorf, Arnoldsweiler und Niederau werden erobert.


Am Morgen des 11. April 1945 besetzte die über Werther anrückende 104th US. Infantry Division (First US. Army) kampflos Nordhausen und das nordwestlich gelegene Konzentrationslager Dora-Mittelbau. Die wenigen auf dem Flugplatz stationierten deutschen Soldaten zogen bereits in Richtung Harzfestung ab. Militärgouverneur der Stadt wurde Captain William A. McElroy.


Das Military Governement gibt Nordhausen am 12. April acht Tage lang den ehemaligen Häftlingen und ausländischen Zwangsarbeitern zur Plünderung frei. Aktivitäten der Organisation Werwolf wurden Ende April bekannt und einige Waffen und Munitionsvorräte beschlagnahmt.

Edward P. Doyle

Father Edward P. Doyle, OP, Ph.D., a former major in the army and the Catholic chaplain of the 104th Infantry Division.

I was there
On 11 April 1945, our 104th Division, under the command of General Terry Allen, took the fortified town of Nordhausen is located about 60 miles southwest of Berlin. The capture of this city was the result of hard fighting and he took the place of one could easily see why such strong resistance was achieved. The Division entered into a world to describe, difficult, although many have attempted to do so adequately, but fail. It was a world of horror, tragedy. . . a concentration camp! It was Nordhausen, a satellite camp of the dreaded Buchenwald.It said, we discovered, 6,000 political prisoners, but unfortunately were 5000 bodies. A sight beyond description, mutilated, starved skeletons beaten. 1000 were "living" in various stages of decay, just breathe in is already dead. The call went to the medical staff, was the 329th Medical Battalion of the 104th First on site. After the disaster, the call has been sounded again and all units of the 104th ordered to the camp. Convoys of trucks brought the American troops in support of the overwhelming task to rescue the survivors to bury if possible, and the dead. As it was my habit during the fight, I stationed himself at the regimental aid station forward, be the duties of all my men. The urgent call came after paramedics, I joined them and came back on the incredible and humiliating disaster. The first and the monumental task was to manage the living. Here is the American GI was working perfectly under the direction of the equally heroic doctors, together they are the storable saved and put their best for the cause. I have so many as 125 wounded in a night battle in our area of ​​Belgium and Holland and helped to prepare the wounded for the surgery and the like, but I have never seen seen so much suffering and agony. The gun and the pursuit of the enemy has been dropped and all hands turned to the work here and now. . Help for the helpless. It was a busy scene, soldiers angels of mercy, their wages, if the patient was in a position, a smile of gratitude. Deliverance at last!
Our department has been doing in five to six days and after all, what could be done had to be given to the dead for the survivors of attention. This additional help was urgently needed and the order was given to the conscript able-bodied man of the village. They came, some reluctantly ordered with how to make shift throws, a leaf, a piece of carpet, a ceiling or a door. The burial of the corpses began around 5000 by the City to a prominent hill on the other side, where a huge trench was prepared. The ditch was six feet deep and six feet wide to the many corpses that will get laid at rest.
The men drawn mainly knowledge about what is behind the gates of the camp Nordhausen and what we do and believe shared by these provocative questions of honesty deny. The mass graves on the hill outside the village to stand as an indictment. Certainly I have not forgotten the occasion of our annual meeting of the 104th Division a special memorial service is held in the nameless victims of National Socialism was one. Here are the days when the chaplains offered special prayers and rituals of their faith meets, like the victims of hate in a now sacred ground were laid.
The war went on and after five or six days, the order was given to proceed. We found further evidence of the inhumanity of man and his cruelty, when we ran across only two miles from the camp a massive Buzz Bomb Factory. In this we are told more than 25,000 forced laborers toiled for months in the making of V-1 and V-2 bombs. Again it was the same, unlined workers' til you drop and then were abandoned and died and were burned. Such a scene of horror!
We moved on, the war came to an end and we returned home, but remained on the scene. One wonders over and over again. . Why? The question can be simplified, and still remains difficult. . why must a man do these things, why the inhumanity to fellow man? If I ever needed a reason for leaving the classroom at Providence College, come to the combat troops as chaplain and priest, it was at the scene of horror! It was at Nordhausen and the ensuing scenes of cruelty, the wholesale ignoring of the Judeo-Christian tradition. . namely to love God and love your neighbor, that they had all made sense. I had a dark, brutal, cruel and utter disregard for the dignity of the human experience. To overcome facts and details, such as a memory, the scene evokes time and time again. Sadly, yes, my photographs are evidence of more than a thousand words for the carnage and slow death, not of men but women and children was also restricted. I was there and saw the aftermath. I feel very strongly about the death and in the more war death. It was for this reason that I returned to France, Belgium, Italy, Holland and Germany after the war. I visited the cemeteries where our American dead lie (in 1945, no U.S. soldiers were buried in Germany) I was walking between the crosses and looking for my "buddies" that one in six cross no name, rank and serial number but performed the poignant words, "Unknown but to God."
One is forced to repeat the need for the education of our people on the consensus and collaborate. Certainly the size of man's inhumanity to man can give to the spirit of wisdom, of sound theology and its application in our daily lives. Men may not agree, but not destroyed, charity and love for each other. Again, the call must go ", that free government is not easy to come by, yet it is held, it is easy not to buy as a gift received, nor had the accident, nor can it be compromised obtained with as such. His enemies, nor by the determined efforts of a few ... it must be earned by an entire nation, needs to be by an entire nation and fought for the death of anyone who shares its advantages. "
Religion and patriotism are not rivals but children of the same virtues parents virtue, namely justice. Ally these virtues were the subject with the words of General John J. Pershing, who said:. "As I see it, the defense of their country is a religious and a patriotic duty No man can be faithful to his religious duty and fail in his duty to his nation. the system of defense that we have is the surest guarantor of peace, which could be developed. "
Once we can the barbarian ravages of hatred and a parallel need for the love of people is not our final prayer is a fervent appeal to God Almighty that our actions a dedication and an accepted responsibility of ever finding ways of peace among all peoples, and in such activities, we can be God's willing and effective tools. May God strengthen our resolve to work diligently to remove any risk of further genocide, the tragic consequence of the failure of man. Let us carry our theme of this conference, "Memory" to its ultimate consequences of the words of Elie Wiesel, the president,

Grim day in Nordhausen

Leon Karalokian 104th signal Company

On the ninth November 1944, the 104th "Timberwolf" Infantry Division under the command of General "Terrible" Terry Allen in Aachen ready, just inside the western border of Germany ready to do battle with the Nazi troops still powerful. Behind it were long grueling months of training in California and Arizona deserts and the first blood-letting, a two-week introduction to Holland as part of the first Canadian Army in an operation to combat the port of Antwerp for Allied use open. Before him lay the daunting task of driving east to the on-rushing Soviet army connect it split the country into two, a goal that can be achieved only after a record 195 days of continuous fighting and life 1445th was ahead of even that was what proved to be the toughest of his European winter in fifty years.
The grim spectacle of children and women scrounge shawled the shattered snow-covered buildings for bits of charcoal and firewood seemed colorful medieval past of the city of Aachen, a liar, as it is for this coronation town was that Charlemagne the Holy Roman Empire eleven centuries ruled earlier Under his less guttural French name Aix-la-Chapelle. This was the nineteenth century playground for the aristocracy and the rich world, which was traditionally "the waters" in his famous sulfur springs.
The final offensive to the east was soon under way, include only temporarily in December, with the rush of last-ditch desperation Nazi history as "The Battle of the Bulge" would be nullified. The 104th absorbed the heavy blows, bear near encirclement, took off and went into the drive to the Rhine and the capture of Cologne in conjunction with the Third Armored Division, his companions and other units.
"Give me five years," Hitler once boasted, "and you will not recognize socialist Nazi Germany." In view of the devastation in the third largest city in Germany, which has been best described as a "sea of ​​rocks", you had to agree with him in this regard. While we were stabbed deep into the heartland of country, cities and towns fell in quick succession, resistance weakened, and the devotion of groups of inmates grew every day. However, while stubborn die-hards fought and men died every day, it became clear that the enemy would rather basic military population and give the Western Allies rather than the more vengeful Red Army from the east.
12th April 1945, the 104th Infantry Division along with the 3rd Armored Division, the small town of Nordhausen in the foothills of the Harz region in central Germany. As ailing cities Nordhausen was like the others go with his share of dead cows, horses, and occasionally by a human in the open-burst artillery hit. And yet there be a difference because Nordhausen was a ghastly traumatic experience, never by those who may be remembered through them. The existence of concentration camps and a hint of atrocities have long been a subject of rumors. But here in the city, which was apparently a number of camps, we discovered what could aptly be a death factory.
Placed on the site in neat rows estimated one thousand decomposing bodies were skeletonized from the near to the newly dead. The buildings, on a bed of straw lying side by side in the dirt writable emaciated living, too weak to rise from the dead. Now was not much of Nordhausen concentration camp. He did not have the huge population of Auschewitz prisoner. They still had the gas chambers of Dachau or Buchenwald, a refinement seems to Jewish victims, who were reserved to the bottom of the insane Nazi scale of values. His crematorium, although small, was able to convert a hundred men of yesterday to piles of ash every day.
The three thousand victims here, alive and dead, were predominantly Polish slave laborers making a film with a little French, recalled, in huge underground factories the deadly supersonic V-2 rockets, which were a heavy toll in human lives and property in London. With 20,000 working under these conditions include health problems were common. Those too sick to be treated with dignity, together with the uncooperative, were confined to die a gradual death, the daily ration as a load of black bread for seven men.
The full medical resources of the department, and from other units did everything that was possible for the living. Some would be fed as infants and live to tell their experiences. Others, according to medical officers, had gone too far and in fact many did not survive the next few days. To be the very few walking skeletons able around dazed in the now familiar striped uniforms, body shrunk, white faces blood drained grabbed the hands of their liberators, as they shed their tears. Combat proven I men of the 104th also wept.
Town residents and officials claimed ignorance of what so transpires close. Whether this is true or not will never be known, but skepticism was the prevailing opinion among us. Grade male citizens were not large, but enough had been rounded to the unpleasant work to be done. Mass graves were dug up in the suburbs. The bodies were carried out by hand to the tombs and relaxed side by side with a little dignity. Could consider each individual's body can not escape thinking that everybody was recently a living person, a personal death is dead, that everyone had a family that always somewhere to ask, as if the fate of their loved ones never to be seen .
The emotional impact was hard on all who witnessed these incidents were, however, considerably more so on this writer. As an American of Armenian descent, I have been educated, as well as all first and second generation Americans of similar background, before the eye-witness to horror stories of a more sanguine genocide in Turkey for three decades. Massacre was the word here, knives and bullets for the males desert death marches, starvation and rape the women and children. A million or more Armenian lives were destroyed on the whim of those who ruled the old Turkish Ottoman Empire. They stare waiting for the human debris on the floor on funeral I asked myself: "Is this what we mean by genocide was also the fate of her grandparents, uncles and aunts I never knew?"
Time dulls the impact of events. There are those who think now is Hitler's Holocaust never happened. Would that it were possible, would be the doubters to take the hand back over the years and have the tragedy of this small concentration camp! Disillusioned and drained all of us eventually left the area, in the words of a poet, "a sadder but wiser man."
But on this day, 12 April 1945 was not over yet. Fate had another shock to the men of the 104th, a further shock to the senses. The British Broadcasting Company has for some time made his London facilities for the transmission of news and entertainment from the States in favor of military personnel in England and which had on the continent who have access to radios, and the time to listen. Recorded music of the singers and big bands of that time and the comedy routines were effective morale-booster, a refreshing taste of home to service men thousands of miles away.
But the famous lively melodies of Goodman, Basie, the Andrews Sisters and Sinatra were not to be heard this evening. The somber music was heard, rather than determined by the announcement to repeat again and again to be interrupted for the rest of the night. "Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, died today of cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia."

Ragene Farris 329th Medical Battalion

The combat medics of the 329th Timberwolf way Medical Battalion were called upon, called spearhead of a new type of medical problem recently in Nordhausen, Germany. Falling from air, armor and infantry attack proved the Nazi stronghold to be a nest of horror stories. The medics of the 3rd Armored Division notified the Timberwolves on 11 April 1945, she had over-run a Nazi concentration camp. Are now among the dead were a couple living "beings" reports, and with some quick medical attention could be saved. The next two days are ever the 329th Medical Battalion men are forgotten because they have a job, the fantastic and incredible, an American soldier was carried out, a job created unpleasant and sobering, a job from the fanatical inhuman Nazi machine.
Any man can be obtained from the fighting capabilities of the medical collection and clearing stations, the company A, B, C and D, as well as some headquarters personnel were called into service. Going immediately to the scene, medics found the Timberwolf is a square building scarred by bombs, reminiscent of a large college campus, which housed up to 6 weeks before the engine shops of German SS soldiers. Upon entry, throws in his hand to say, the men stretched rows of bodies, the length of the large concrete-floored room. Grotesque yet, obviously, that they tenaciously to one last breath of life, by a ravenous, flesh-less body was drawn, these men were in prison marked an ineffable symbol of death. The initial shock of bestiality is not to register the inhuman cruelty of this act, with the men. Their task was to evacuate the survivors, to hospitalize and nourish, to men, women and children to get back into the realm of human decency.

In hastily formed union team, the doctors found the first patient of the worst. In many cases, the living has been too weak to move the dead from their pages. A French boy was hunched drawn urged against a dead comrade, as if to keep warm, without the intellectual concept that the friend had died, and unable to move his limbs. He and the others were in a terrible manner unthinkable lying on concrete floors too weak to get up hungry. There were in every room indescribable human filth: a nauseating odor. In her prison garments stripped coats, stuffed with rags or old dirty blankets, it was like another world to reach deal to bring these shadowy men on a litter from their environment and in a clean American ambulance.
Had begun shortly after the evacuation of several hundred German civilians were brought in from the street to help. These were the people who were careless, as thousands of people were forced into slavery, then left, had lived to die. Each paramedic learned several German words "quick" (ropes) and "speed" (the same - parts) and a mixture of emotion soon had a fast-moving-throw line, etc. of the building shell and bomb craters, basements, where the patients were found to be still alive. Seven hours with truck and ambulance driver on the load carried away this shadow-men invite her to the hospital facilities, the set of other medics Timberwolf (Section hospitalization). Men bear litters of each disease and condition, flow continues to be a central point of evacuation. Each soldier was to report various aspects of cruelty and terror. There was a staircase, behind which some 75 bodies, such as cable-wood was piled up piled up. There were a bunch of smelly moldy potatoes, with a pitch fork. From him it was obvious that a jailer had this rotten "food" in a cauldron for soup thrown in for the prisoners. To eat, it would have been impossible, seem to have! A nearby bank was literally with the corpses of those who tried to flee, was shot by guards with machine guns, covered. Living in bomb craters were not even to remove them from the dead crowded. The bodies were strewn in the yards, mortifying torn by American bombs, if not the bombers they had no fear, for hunger had first called. A French soldier, overjoyed by the sight of his rescuers froze into a military salute, too weak to talk, yet in a position to pay his homage to the Americans. The greeting was returned!
A political prisoner, French, robust health in comparison to the other, specified (he had only been a few days), that seven men a loaf of bread was hard every week. The men, who could not walk, to have to work in the morning, beaten, left to starve. Stark proved that reality. Lash marks are not visible on the dried body. A "walking patients" weak, but happily said: "You do not know how fun it is to see us, you Americans - so healthy - So full of life." His body was eaten away. He was a Parisian businessman before the war, combined with the citrion automotive industry. He had spent three years as a slave in Germany. I was fluent in French, in my speech at Fordham University in the ASTP before joining the 104th Infantry Division. A French captain of the famous St. Cyr in France (a military academy of world fame) stood in a doorway, where his last steps had taken him. He looks to be, he was actually an old man, 45th of 75 In the true spirit he wanted to kiss his benefactor on both cheeks. For him, the Nazis had shown special forms of brutality, but through his pain, he displayed a remarkable spirit of self-discipline and control.
Various Timberwolf Medics could speak Polish, German and French. With language barriers down, the doctors learned firsthand the terrible truth of a Nazi slaughter pen-hungry. They learned that through the blood of millions of slaves, the Germans had built their war machine. As they drove their political prisoners in a double purpose, they are useless until they worked and then used them as a weapon in the battle of food-population according to race ruthless policy of extermination. This camp was only from our experience, and it was a remnant of a larger warehouse. It was only a temporary death-house, were left in the workers' prisoners of the death. An unchecked told story of the Nazi ruse to win American bombers targeted by carelessness in black-outs, to blot out a nasty scene with bombs.
The end result of the evacuated patients was far over 700 Fifteen patients died on the way to the hospital area. Three hundred patients have been eaten away by malnutrition, her body will not respond to treatment and get well again. Located near the camp were 2800 points. This told in stark reality, which could not catch the camera. The heads of the "men of the civilized experience" could not comprehend or encompass the entire meaning. The doctors had done their work with the living. Chaplin Mussell, division chaplain, had said a special mass, a funeral service. Kaplan Steinbeck, our 329th Medical Battalion chaplain, who speaks German, was busy all day in a dozen tasks, all in the direction of the support these men and women and even children who had paid the price in Hitler's plan to dominate, to subjugate eliminate, and. It was only left to prepare graves and bury the dead.
The same German labor market the following day, 2,800 men, women and children were given a decent grave. The camp was gone, but his emotional character is you never leave the men who helped them to delete.

Nordhausen memory

Hayden Bower Company K, 413 Infantry Regiment

On 11 April 1945, the 413th. The 104th Infantry Timberwolf Division was set up following the third. Armored Division in a drive to Nordhausen, south of the Hartz Mountains. We had to seal off road blocks, the streets on the south side of the Hartz. The 9th Army was pushed along the northern part of the Hartz Mts. than the 415th was the clearing of Nordhausen, where they found a large German Labor Front concentration camp for political prisoners who were used as laborers in factories in the interior of the Hartz Mts used.
Here we found 5000 corpses on the 6,000 inmates in various stages of decay. Corpses were everywhere on the premises and buildings, all half-starved to appear, skeletons scattered be wrapped in skin. Most of the bodies lay where they fell, while others were placed in stacks like cords of wood. We found some living among the dead or dying. There were piles of arms and legs here and there.
All medical personnel from across the department were in the camp, rushed to give medical help, and they said that they had indeed dealt with war, killed and wounded, they have never seen anything like it. The German SS guards had fled, and told the local Germans, they did not know of the camp's existence, because they know it was not too healthy, or try to figure out what was said about that camp and the Gestapo to see how they shot or brought into camp with the prisoners. The Division ordered the mayor of Nordhausen for American men provide for the implementation and buried the dead. All male citizens were ordered to the camp and found they worked for several days, collecting the corpses buried in mass graves they dug on a hill near the camp were. The men had the bodies through the city to the tombs, so that the civilians would be seen.
When you first enter the warehouse, my personal reaction was of shock to see these skeletons with their huge eyes and outstretched claw-like hands as they begged for food in French and German. I did not know either language well, but I knew she wanted to eat. I have some of my "K" rations, consisting of a tin of pork sausage with cheese and crackers. We did not know that this is the worst thing we could have done as their stomachs could not handle, such as the food was. The paramedics took over and made it watered down soup, soup called Shadow, which was about to feed what the Germans when we arrived, until they force enough to be able to handle regular food increased. We were told we had some innocent by killing them our rations. We were not prepared for such a terrible situation. My first reaction was emotional and physical, the smell of dirt of the prisoners and their camp. The dead and putrefying stench was overwhelming and I had to walk out of the gate and throw-up, then I have returned.
Lying about a reason for so many corpses was reported that this was intended to be only a labor camp, and they could only bury 100 bodies a day. They just could not keep up with the numbers who have died.
The camp was in a barbed wire fence and was placed as a college campus with a two-storey building. It was previously an Air Force fleet of stores. These poor men who were thrown into the camp, were rejected by the Vl and V-2 plant in the Hartz Mts. Factory run by Dr. Messerschmidt. If they work fast enough, even though they are starving from lack of rations, to a 1,000 calories per day, they were given failed (our American soldiers were fed to 3000-4000 calories perday), they were thrown into trucks and sent back to bearing to prevent the death. However, if they caused trouble or trying to escape, they were there and then shot by the guards at the factory Shed Season.
Help our medics, plus Army Corps and medical units, including hospital staff, came around and they worked by day trying to save the living skeletons in their striped garb prisoners. Our Senior Division chaplain, Col. Steinbeck spoke German and so we could help make us more civilians, the medics. A prisoner, French, spoke to an aid man said there were a number of people still live in the building # 3009th On arriving there they found a 17 year old girl on the floor, naked and with gangrenous legs. Some others said they had been in Paris just six months ago and had been arrested right on the street And Transported to this camp, without a trial or a chance to reach their families. One had been a captain from France's famous St. Cyr military academy when he was arrested by the Gestapo, SS in the streets and shipped out to the forced labor camp. The Majority were not Jews, but political prisoners in this camp. The German effort needed laborers they just rounded up the Sun number of people they were told to send in the conquered nations, Dutch, Belgians, French, and South East Europeans.
The American ambulances formed a steady stream, taking the living out the hospitals in the rear. They say one example stuck with them. A prisoner who was too weak to walk, but who slowly saluted them with tears running down his cheeks to return the first gesture of an act of kindness he had in ages. Some others had only been in the camp for three months but still, after having been beaten and starved until they could no longer work, were left to die.
The factory, located two miles North West, was completely underground. Trains and trucks could drive right into the place that was two miles long and connected with 48 side tunnel where the work was done. Slave laborers toiled 25.000 here for months on end, building the Vl and V-2 bombs. The SS ran the factory with German criminals as straw bosses. The slightest suspicion of sabotage Resulted in being shot. When we seized the factory it was quiet and interoperable, even though it had been damaged by bombing. They were also producing the new German jet engines that were in various stages of completion. Later the Higher Command and the news media arrived to cover the story and see for the whole world to see and hear about this example of man's inhumanity to their fellow man. On seeing this scene many a hardened combat soldier could not help but shed a tear. I left there to get back to my unit and we left the area, but I never could erase this horror from my memory.