Scrapbookpages Blog

February 10, 2012

The American liberator who literally blew the lock off the Buchenwald gate

Today, I read the heart-warming story of the meeting of Irving Roth, a Buchenwald survivor, and Frederick (Rick) Goss Carrier, an American liberator who literally blew the lock off the gate into the Buchenwald camp in April 1945.  The two of them participated in the annual March of the Living at Auschwitz this year.

You can read about the liberation of Buchenwald on my website here.

Old photo of Buchenwald gate taken shortly after the camp was liberated by American soldiers

The quote below is from the Jewish Tribune, a newspaper in Canada:

Carrier was an assault reconnaissance combat engineer attached to General Patton’s Third Army during World War II. He was following the advancing American infantry in the German city of Weimar on April 10, 1945, tasked with finding and securing engineering equipment, vehicles such as trucks and cement mixers, and road- and bridge-building supplies left behind by the Nazis. He had to find the materials, map them and get the information to his superiors.

Churches were always a good place to go for information, Carrier had learned, so when he spotted the spire of a cathedral, he “drove over the rubble to find that church,” he told the Tribune. People at the church told him about a stone quarry and lumber mill at the site of a prison camp nearby and offered to take him there.

One of them told Carrier that Russian prisoners had overpowered camp guards following the evacuation, just a few weeks earlier, of thousands of Jewish prisoners who were taken on a forced death march to Auschwitz.

It seems that the “people at the church” in Weimar were misinformed about the Buchenwald camp which was 5 miles from the city.  Why would “thousands of Jewish prisoners” have been taken on a forced death march to Auschwitz in April 1945?  The Auschwitz camp had been abandoned by the Germans on January 18, 1945 and 60,000 prisoners had been taken on “a forced forced death march” to Buchenwald and other camps in Germany.  (more…)