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George Marshall Letter to Eisenhower Describing Visit to Ohrdruf

(April 15, 1945)

This letter from General George Marshall to General Dwight Eisenhower written on April 15, 1945, has a number of interesting elements unrelated to the Holocaust, such as his decision not to attack Berlin at that time, his concern about the Russian army, his criticism of General George Patton’s behavior and his discovery of salt mines full of German treasure.

In the letter he also mentions his visit to a German internment camp, which was apparently Ohrdruf. Here is his description:

But the most interesting – although horrible – sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as ·to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to  propaganda.

Marshall adds, “If you could see your way clear to do it, I think you should make a visit here at the earliest possible moment.”

Click here to read the entire letter.


Source: Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Pre-Presidential Papers, Principal File, Box 80, Marshall George C. (6); NAID #12005711, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Papers