William J. Caufield, Jr.

    HOPEDALE, May 25 [1945] - The following letter written by Pvt. William J. Caufield, Jr., to Principal Winburn A.
    Dennett of the high school describes his reaction while on a visit to a concentration camp in Germany:

     I imagine you'll be a little surprised to receive another letter from me so soon. After what I saw yesterday,
    however, I felt that I really should write and tell you about it.

     Yesterday, I visited a concentration camp in a nearby town from my own section of operations. We went in a
    convoy with any who wanted to see for themselves the kind of things that have been going on in this country.

     The camp I visited is by no means the largest or the worst. They couldn't be any worse, just larger. I passed
    through the places where these people had been forced to live. A gas mask could not have kept the stench
    out. Buildings that though solidly constructed had fallen into such a state of filth that we wouldn't have stored
    our ashes in them.

     Here human beings were forced to live, crowded together like beasts, only treated worse. They were thrown
    potato peels and beet peelings now and then. These were merely dumped in a pile and these starving
    people would fight to the [not visible, but evidently .... death over them.]

     Some didn't get any because there was never enough for them all. Some didn't get any because they were
    too weak to crawl to these piles of swill to try to find some. Human beings so weak that when their bowels
    would need relieving they would just relieve themselves wherever they were lying, being too exhausted to
    move. Humans who had been reduced to skin and bones. Grown men who perhaps would weigh 70 pounds
    or less.

     We passed through the hospital which was little better than the filthy barracks. Here we saw some of the
    survivors who have not yet died. Even as we watched them they died. Died sitting up against a wall, died lying
    down in their filthy beds of straw, died as they tried to whisper to us for health. Those that are left will all die
    because there is nothing we can do for them now, even though we have released them from the Germans.

     The army has removed around 3000 that have a chance to live but the helpless ones just have to be left.
    Some die as we try to remove them; some died after we fed them and some are dying as I type this letter.

     I left the hospital and walked over into the woods. Here a detail of German civilians were being forced to dig
    bodies out of the holes where they were stacked. Stacked one on top of the other with a few shovelsful of
    sand thrown over each layer. Hundreds of bodies in each hole. There was no way of telling how many had
    been beaten, starved and tortured to death, and then just thrown into a hole with the rest of the day's dead.

     This camp has been operating for years and it is estimated that an average of 50 died each day. On my way
    out of camp I passed through one building where a huge stack of bodies just lay one on top of the other.
    Bodies in all stages of death.

     I have just returned a few minutes ago from the center of this town, where they are burying a few hundred in
    the town square. I tell you this, not as propaganda, but as what I have seen with my own eyes - a small town
    boy's eyes.

     I hope there will be a way for you to use this letter to show the people at home that though we'd like to come
    back now, we mustn't until a thing like this will never be allowed to ever, ever happen again. A good German
    is a dead one. Milford Daily News

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