Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date

November 2008

Creation Date


Publisher Information

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


Armored Division, 4th, Army, Atrocities, Concentration camps, Crimes against humanity, Genocide, Germany, Liberation, Ohrdruf, American, United States, Vanacore, Joe, Veterans, World War, 1939-1945


Oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Joe Vanacore. Vanacore was a tank driver in the 4th Armored Division, which liberated Ohrdruf on April 4, 1945. His tank had a bulldozer blade, the only one in the battalion, so he was always the second tank in line when they were moving in case something had to be pushed off the road. When his unit arrived at Ohrdruf, Vanacore's tank pushed the gates open; the first thing he saw was a stack of bodies several feet high. They saw the crematorium and walked around the camp but left after three or four hours. Even so, Vanacore could not eat for a week, having been made sick by the smell. In this interview, Vanacore also discusses some of his other military experiences and mentions several of the men with whom he served.

Physical Information

1 sound file (38 min.) : digital, MP3 file + 1 transcript (28 p.)