Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date

July 2008

Creation Date

2008-07-18

Publisher Information

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

Keywords

Army, Atrocities, Buchenwald, Concentration camps, Crimes against humanity, Evacuation Hospital, 120th, Genocide, Germany, Hospitals, Liberation, Medical care, American, Priest, Warren E., United States, Veterans, World War, 1939-1945

Abstract

This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Warren Emerson Priest. Priest was a surgical technician with the 120th Evacuation Hospital, which was one of the units sent to Buchenwald after it was liberated on April 12, 1945. They bivouacked at Ettersburg, the town nearest the camp, and started to smell burning flesh and decaying corpses. Priest decided to walk to the camp that night and went inside to the central plaza, where he saw a body, possibly that of a guard, that had been beaten to death. The 120th Evac spent two weeks at Buchenwald where one of Priest's jobs was to determine if people were still alive by listening for heartbeats. On one occasion, a little girl died in his arms while he was taking her to the aid station. On April 29, they were dispatched to Dachau, but Priest did not work at that camp, having caught typhus at Buchenwald. Priest runs a website, "Buchenwald and Beyond," about the 120th Evac and their work at the camp.

Physical Information

1 sound file (74 min.) : digital, MP3 file + 1 transcript (25 p.)