Table of Contents Notes & Quotes Liberator Units Cover Page Drawings

Testimonies from the Midwest

 

“Liberator Units”

The recognition of U.S. Army Divisions in World War II as "Liberator" units was an outgrowth of cooperation between the U.S. Army, the Center for Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In 1985 the United States Holocaust Memorial Council requested that the U.S. Army present its colors and those of the units that participated in the liberation of concentration camps for permanent display in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. At that time, ten liberating units were recognized based on information regarding only the major camps. Later, the inclusion of sub-camps increased the actual number of camps involved to over 5,000. This increase in recognized camps obviously increased the likelihood of liberation by American troops.

These facts, along with additional requests for inclusion by American veterans' organizations and individual veterans, led the U.S. Army to develop the following guidelines governing the recognition of liberating units:

Evidentiary basis for a liberating unit must come from a primary source found in unit or other contemporary records. Oral history, testimony or secondary accounts cannot serve as the basis for recognition if they do not conform to primary source documents in official records. Recognition will go to the parent division of the respective lower-echelon unit (regiment, battalion, company or platoon). Recognition will not be limited to only the first division to reach a camp, but will include divisions that arrived at the same camp or camp complex within forty-eight hours of the initial division.

 Neither the Museum nor the U.S. Army independently initiates the certification process. Instead, a division's liberation status is researched only after a divisional association asks for such recognition. The association must provide the name of the camp that it liberated, the approximate dates of liberation, the unit's geographical location at the time, and a brief account of the events. Then the information is researched using only official records at the National Archives' Washington National Records Center at Suitland, Maryland. Once a determination is made in favor of the "Liberator" status, a replica of the division flag is ordered from the Institute of Heraldry, and this flag is sent to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for display.

 Source: Edward J. Drea, "Recognizing the Liberators: U.S. Army Divisions Enter the  Concentration Camps," Army History 24 (1992/1993): 1-5.

Those divisions currently recognized as liberating units by the U.S. Army and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are:

1st INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Falkenau an der Eger (Flossenbürg subcamp)
May 7, 1945

2nd INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Leipzig-Schönefeld (Buchenwald subcamp), April 14, 1945
and Spergau (labor education camp), April 17, 1945

3rd ARMORED DIVISION
Liberated Dora-Mittelbau
April 11, 1945

4th ARMORED DIVISION
Liberated Ohrdruf (Buchenwald subcamp)
April 4, 1945

4th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Dachau subcamps
April 28-29, 1945

6th ARMORED DIVISION
Liberated Buchenwald
April 11, 1945

8th ARMORED DIVISION
Liberated Halberstadt-Zwieberge (Buchenwald subcamp)
April 12-17, 1945

8th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Wöbbelin (Neuengamme subcamp)
May 3, 1945

9th ARMORED DIVISION
Liberated Falkenau an der Eger (Flossenbürg subcamp)
May 7, 1945

10th ARMORED DIVISION
Liberated Landsberg (Dachau subcamp)
April 27, 1945

11th ARMORED DIVISION
Liberated Gusen (Mauthausen subcamp), May 5, 1945, and
Mauthausen, May 6, 1945

12th ARMORED DIVISION
Liberated Landsberg (Dachau subcamp)
April 27, 1945

14th ARMORED DIVISION
Liberated Dachau subcamps
May 2-3, 1945

20th ARMORED DIVISION
Liberated Dachau
April 29, 1945

29th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Dinslaken (civilian labor camp)
April 3, 1945

36th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Kaufering camps (Dachau subcamps)
April 30, 1945

42nd INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Dachau
April 29, 1945

45th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Dachau
April 29, 1945

65th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Flossenbürg subcamp
April 20-21, 1945

69th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Leipzig-Thekla (Buchenwald subcamp)
April 19, 1945

71st INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Gunskirchen (Mauthausen subcamp)
May 5-6, 1945

80th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Buchenwald, April 12, 1945 and
Ebensee (Mauthausen subcamp), May 4-5, 1945

82nd AIRBORNE DIVISION
Liberated Wöbbelin (Neuengamme subcamp)
May 3, 1945

83rd INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Langenstein (Buchenwald subcamp)
April 11, 1945

84th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Ahlem (Neuengamme subcamp), April 10, 1945 and
Salzwedel (Neuengamme subcamp), April 14, 1945

86th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Attendorn (civilian labor camp)
April 11, 1945

89th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Ohrdruf (Buchenwald subcamp)
April 4, 1945

90th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Flossenbürg
April 23, 1945

95th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Werl (prison and civilian labor camp)
April 2-8, 1945

99th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Dachau subcamp
May 3-4, 1945

101st AIRBORNE DIVISION
Liberated Landsberg (Dachau subcamp)
April 28, 1945

103rd INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Landsberg (Dachau subcamp)
April 27, 1945

104th INFANTRY DIVISION
Liberated Dora-Mittelbau
April 11, 1945

Source:   http://library.ushmm.org/research.htm