Testimonies from the Midwest

 

Pfc. David M. Moore, 6th Armored Division

  Pfc. David M. Moore, 6th Armored Division        Division Patch          Photo of David Moore 

David M. Moore was born on May 26, 1925, at Vivian, South Dakota. Raised as a Lutheran, David was engaged in farming before entering the service on August 26, 1944. The following is his story, told in his own words.

Service Record: I took basic training at Camp Hood, Texas, and then was shipped overseas from Boston, Massachusetts, on January 7, 1945. We landed at Greenoch, Scotland, on January 17, 1945. After a few days at Southhampton, England, we crossed the English Channel and landed at LeHarve in France. We then crossed France riding in train boxcars and near Metz we were loaded on trucks and hauled to Luxembourg just east of Bastogne in Belgium. My first combat duty was crossing the Our (?) River into Germany. We later crossed the Rhine River in late March of 1945. On VE Day, May 7, 1945, we were camped at Rochlitz in Germany. I returned to the United States on August 14, 1945,  to be a part of the task force being formed to invade Japan. We unloaded in New York harbor the morning the Japanese surrendered.

Camp Encounter: My first sight of Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany, came about a week after the end of the war in Europe. Troops of the Sixth Armored were taken there for a first-hand look at conditions in the camp. Our guide was a German man who had been held prisoner since 1933. We visited the building where the crematorium was located. Three furnaces each capable of destroying a human body were housed there.

 Our tour took us through the camp hospital, the barracks where prisoners were held, often times three to a small wooden bed. We visited the area where prisoners were sometimes forced to stand in formation for a day or two at a time.

At the time of our visit there were still some people in the camp awaiting transportation back to their home land. I had two trips to visit this camp as I was a half-track driver and helped haul troops to tour the camp.

Awards: I was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Bronze Star, and was promoted to Private First Class during my tour in Europe. I received no wounds.

 

After the War: Pfc. David Moore was discharged on January 15, 1946. He had this to say of his experiences.

After being discharged, I helped my folks at home on the farm until my younger brother returned from the Army. Then I started to work in town as service station and bulk truck driver. I also drove trucks to haul cattle, hogs, sheep, lumber, and machinery. In 1950 I started to work at the local hometown bank and worked there until my retirement in 1986. I have worked as an insurance agent since retiring from the bank.

My family consists of my wife, four children, and to date we have ten grandchildren, and one great granddaughter.

In 1996 I made a return visit to Buchenwald during a tour of Europe. I had taken some pictures of the camp in 1945 and fifty years later some of it was still the same. The main gate was still there as it was in 1945; the crematorium with the three furnaces is still there, and there is also a museum containing several items and equipment used in the camp. It is hard to believe how cruel people can be to people of other races, color, or creed.

Advice from a WW II Veteran to Today's Youth:

Remember that the flag of the United States of American represents the greatest country in the world and that the freedoms we have in America have been defended by military men and women at a heavy cost of life to them.

Crematoria ovens in Buchenwald concentration camp; photo courtesy USHMM

Crematoria ovens in Buchenwald concentration camp; photo courtesy USHMM

Survivors in the infirmary; photo courtesy USHMM

Survivors in the infirmary; photo courtesy USHMM

Dutch Jews wearing prison uniforms marked with a yellow star and the letter "N", for Netherlands, stand at attention during a roll call at the Buchenwald concentration camp; photo courtesy USHMM

Dutch Jews wearing prison uniforms marked with a yellow star and the letter "N", for Netherlands, stand at attention during a roll call at the Buchenwald concentration camp; photo courtesy USHMM

American soldiers view a pile of human remains outside the crematorium in Buchenwald; photo courtesy USHMM 

American soldiers view a pile of human remains outside the crematorium in Buchenwald; photo courtesy USHMM 

Former prisoners of the "little camp" in Buchenwald stare out from the wooden bunks in which they slept three to a "bed."Elie Wiesel is pictured in the second row of bunks, seventh from the left, next to the vertical beam; photo courtesy USHMM

Former prisoners of the "little camp" in Buchenwald stare out from the wooden bunks in which they slept three to a "bed."

Elie Wiesel is pictured in the second row of bunks, seventh from the left, next to the vertical beam; photo courtesy USHMM

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