IKE: Bearing Witness to the Unthinkable

Presidential History Blog

General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ike.

By early April, 1945, US soldiers in Europe were horrified by scenes that had hitherto been semi-dismissed as “rumors.”

Death Camps and Corpses

For a few years, there had been undercurrent rumors that the Germans had embarked on wholesale internment and extermination of millions of people: Catholics, gypsies, homosexuals, political dissidents – but mostly the Jews of central and eastern Europe. The mere thought was so horrific that it couldn’t possibly be true.

But it was.

As WWII was nearing its conclusion in Europe, a battered and desperate Germany, barely clinging to its own rubble, began a systematic destruction of the evidence of its barbarity and crimes against humanity. It would soon become known as The Holocaust.

The undeniable evidence of German atrocity was witnessed at the highest level.

Those German officers and soldiers in charge of scores of concentration, work and death camps (as…

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