Germany 1945

(image courtesy of the National Archives)

Jesse Oxendine with the 82nd Airborne Division arrived in Europe in the waning days of the war. Oxendine had been an Eagle Scout in Pembroke, yet went through the pockets of a dead man – something that amazes him to this day. Unfortunately, he also witnessed horrors few of us can imagine. In the spring of 1945, the 82nd entered what appeared to be a German prison camp. There, the American soldiers were greeted by strange-looking, filthy people – so emaciated that they all looked alike. Then, they found dead people and bodies stacked up inside a building, along with incinerators. That’s when Oxendine learned they were Jews and Wobbelin was a concentration camp – something he had never even heard of. Later, soldiers found a mass grave and got local people to properly bury the dead. For a young man from a small town like Pembroke, North Carolina, the Wobbelin Concentration Camp was almost more than he could grasp.

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In this excerpt, veteran Army Infantryman Fall Price shares his remembrances of dealing with Germans.