Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date

July 2008

Creation Date


Publisher Information

Florida Holocaust Museum in conjunction with University of South Florida Tampa Library and Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center


Army, Atrocities, Concentration camps, Crimes against humanity, Genocide, Germany, Infantry Division, 104th, Liberation, Nordhausen, Olson, John R., American, United States, Veterans, World War, 1939-1945


This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator John Olson. Olson was a member of the 104th Infantry Division, which liberated Nordhausen on April 11, 1945. He arrived in Europe in early 1945 as a replacement, meeting the 104th in the Aachen area. No unit he was with ever suffered casualties; indeed, he only fired his weapon once in combat. They entered the city of Nordhausen as part of a convoy and Olson, who was riding on a trailer, saw the concentration camp as they drove by. Though he did not enter the camp, he saw two prisoners standing at the gate: skeletally thin, with prison uniforms, they smiled when they saw the American soldiers. This image had a profound effect on Olson and remains with him.

Physical Information

1 sound file (43 min.) : digital, MP3 file + 1 transcript (18 p.)