Letter From Harold Porter to his Parents Describing Dachau Concentration Camp

Letter From Harold Porter to his Parents Describing Dachau Concentration Camp


7 May 1945 letter written by Private First Class Harold Porter to his parents from the Dachau concentration camp. Porter describes in detail the horrors he saw entering the camp. Porter, a medic with the 116th Evacuation Hospital, wrote on stationery he found in the office of the camp commandant.

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  • Dachau, Germany

Dear Mother and Father,

You have, by this time, received a letter mentioning that I am quartered in the concentration camp at Dachau. It is still undecided whether we will be permitted to describe the conditions here, but I'm writing this now to tell you a little, and will mail it later when we are told we can.

It is difficult to know how to begin. By this time I have recovered from my first emotional shock and am able to write without seeming like a hysterical gibbering idiot. Yet, I know you will hesitate to believe me no matter how objective and factual I try to be. I even find myself trying to deny what I am looking at with my own eyes. Certainly, what I have seen in the past few days will affect my personality for the rest of my life.

We knew a day or two before we moved that we were going to operate in Dachau, and that it was the location of one of the most notorious concentration camps, but while we expected things to be grizzly, I'm sure none of us knew what was coming. It is easy to read about atrocities, but they must be seen before they can be believed. To think that I once scoffed at Valtin's "Out of the Night" as being preposterous! I've seen worse

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