International Holocaust Remembrance Day - January 27, 2021

Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by John Ulferts, Jan 22, 2021.


Was Zylka wrong to have reacted the way that he did to the emaciated concentration camp inmate?

  1. Yes

    0 vote(s)
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
  1. John Ulferts

    John Ulferts Member

    International Holocaust Remembrance Day this year is January 27th, 2021. An estimated 11 million people died in the Holocaust - 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews including Russians, Poles, Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, LGBT, and developmentally disabled. After watching white supremacist neo-Nazi hate groups accomplish what Hitler never did in storming our nation's capitol on January 6th, it is clearer than ever that we forget the lessons of the Holocaust at our nation's peril.
    What better way to confront Holocaust deniers than with the words of our own WW 2 veterans who liberated the concentration camps? In my book, I interviewed a number of veterans who liberated Dachau, Buchenwald, Ohrdruf, and other concentration camps.
    Barney Zylka of Duluth, Minnesota had experienced combat in North Africa, Sicily, at Remagen Bridge, and in the Battle of the Bulge, but nothing he had experienced before prepared him for the senseless horror he found at Dachau.
    When me and a sergeant broke into Dachau, the ovens were still burning and heads and feet were still sticking out of them. I cried like a little kid and threw up there. Even dead soldiers didn’t bother me but those concentration camps I’ll never forget.
    As with Buchenwald which had been liberated only days before, the Americans forced local Germans to see for themselves the atrocities that had occurred there. Zylka wrote, “Yes, we made the German people come and see all the dead corpses lying around. They didn’t even know that was going on.” Still, Zylka questioned how the German civilians could plead ignorance to the atrocities. He had smelled the burning bodies at Dachau from 20 miles away before arriving at the camp.
    His lieutenant told Zylka to check out one of the bunkhouses and to be on guard for any German snipers hiding amongst the prisoners. Zylka entered a bunkhouse alone and found hundreds of bodies all lined up, all stacked in the bunks, not quite dead, but not quite alive either. The emaciated prisoners had not yet realized they were being liberated.
    “A 60-pound guy came walking towards me shaking, trying to say something. We were told not to touch them,” Zylka recalled. It was feared that the prisoners carried disease. Still the prisoner came towards Zylka.
    I thought how am I going to get away from this guy? I pretended one of my buddies was over there [calling out to me]. I said, “Ok, I’ll be right over there.” I started crying. I had to leave that guy. He just stood there looking at me.
    As with so many of the GIs that liberated the concentration camps, Zylka wanted to make sure Americans never forgot the atrocities the Nazis committed there. Zylka implored me,
    Don’t let your family or anyone forget all these atrocities. Teach them, tell them what I told you here. I hate when people say this never happened. Believe me, it did. It was real.”

    barney zylka.jpg
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    We can not comment on the reactions of that person at the time or judge him right or wrong
    The human mind reacts in different ways in various circumstances.

    Major Dick Williams was one of the first British soldiers to enter Bergen-Belsen. In April 1945, he was a staff captain in the Supplies and Transport branch of VIII Corps Headquarters and was part of a small force sent forward to assess conditions in the camp. Here he describes his first impressions of the camp and its atmosphere of death.
    Audios here
    The Liberation Of Bergen-Belsen

    Many threads on here
    concentration camps | WW2Talk
    John Ulferts and JimHerriot like this.
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Let me put it this way
    If a relative of this chap saw people commenting he was wrong to react the way he did they might be a tad miffed on people commenting when they did not know him

    JimHerriot likes this.
  4. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    I would not dare to judge this man's behavior from the comfort of my study.
    No one who has not experienced such a horrible situation firsthand can.
    And even then it would be, well, "difficult."
    Such an experience is simply too far beyond any normal experience of life.
    Instead I would keep it with Eisenhower:
    "Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses - because somewhere
    down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened."

    von Poop, 4jonboy, Owen and 1 other person like this.
  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    How can you remember anything from 75 years ago when you can't seem to recall leftist behavior from 4 years ago or last summer for that matter?

    To paraphrase, sow the wind and you'll reap a whirlwind.

    I invite you continue making posts to help recall the atrocities of authoritarian regimes of the period and leave the damned biased, misinformed, current political editorials out of it.
    CL1 likes this.
  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Did Eisenhower actually say that.
    ltdan likes this.
  7. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Congrats, CL
    I like such critical questions and have done some research. The quote I gave above apparently did not exist in this form.
    Instead, this one from Ike is documented:
    "I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to “propaganda.”
    Slipdigit and CL1 like this.

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