Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date

August 2008

Creation Date


Publisher Information

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


Battle of the Ardennes, Battle of the Bulge, 1944-1945, Army, Atrocities, Campaigns, Concentration camps, Crimes against humanity, Engineer Combat Battalion, 238th, Engineering and construction, France, Genocide, Germany, Infantry Division, 104th, James, Ernest C., Liberation, Nordhausen, Normandy, American, United States, Veterans, World War, 1939-1945


This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Ernest C. James. James was an engineer with the 238th Engineer Combat Battalion, attached to the 104th Infantry Division, which liberated Nordhausen on April 11, 1945. He went overseas in 1943, participating in the D-Day invasion, Operation Cobra, and the Battle of the Bulge. As a member of an engineering battalion, he was sent to support whatever division needed help; his job included building bridges, breaking barriers, laying minefields, etc. After the Bulge, the Battalion was attached to the 104th and followed them through Germany. The day after Nordhausen was liberated, James and his men were called in to use bulldozers for digging graves; James, looking for supplies, went through the camp and saw the crematorium and a train filled with bodies. In this interview, he describes several events from his military career, including his reactions to Nordhausen. He has been frequently interviewed and has spoken to thousands of students about the Holocaust.

Physical Information

1 sound file (127 min.) : digital, MP3 file + 1 transcript (28 p.)