Original U.S. WWII Sgt. William Randle Concentration Camp Witness Letter Dated April 19th 1945
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Reading this letter will send chills down your spine. Sergeant William A. Randle army serial number 34732146 from Hamilton County Tennessee, wrote a three page witness account letter to his wife Chadie on April, 19th 1945 of his experience seeing a slave labor camp. He typed on sheets of confiscated German business stationary that are marked:
According to historical records this company, now dissolved, was located on Cochem, Germany. In the Second World War the operations staff of the underground subcamp of Zeisig of the Natzweiler prison camp between the villages of Bruttig and Treis was located in Cochem. At its height, 13,000 people were imprisoned. They provided slave labour for Bosch, which made spark plugs, ignition systems and glow plugs, which were important to the German war effort, under brutal conditions.
Now, just because the stationary was from this area does not mean that Sgt. Randle’s Slave labor camp account also originated in this area, we only provide that research as a possible way to pinpoint Randle’s location at some time during the spring of 1945, as the letter is only marked Somewhere in Germany, 19 April 1945.
Excerpts from the letter include:
I wrote to you about the Slave labor camp and said I didn’t care to see anything like that again, but I heard yesterday morning that I missed part of it so I went back yesterday afternoon and got my belly full, went thru what they called a laboratory, which was one of the worst things you could think of, they had a cross section of a man’s head in a jar, and a head that had been shrunk the size of my fist, first they boiled it in boiling watering then filled it with hot sand, the hair is still there its perfect, then they have every part of human body in glass jars. They would get slaves in with Tattoo on their bodies and peel the skin from them and make lamp shades from it. The pile of bodies had grown during the night, in one place they had a large trailer stacked full and down by the hospital or what they called a hospital was a room stocked full.
The ones that could speak a little english were begging us in their broken english to go thru the hospital and see what they had done to them and then tell the world about it, there was one in front of the hospital inviting us in that was nothing but ski and bones, you could count his ribs and everyone in his body, the poor soul. I might as well stop because I can never picture it as bad as it really is.
I just heard over the radio about Ernie Pyle getting killed in the pacific, a great loss to all the G.I!S, we were afraid that would happen to him. He will go down in history as the greatest in his game.
Ernest Taylor Pyle (August 3, 1900 April 18, 1945) was a Pulitzer Prizewinning American journalist and was shot in an attack the day before Randle wrote this letter.
Included with the letter are some SS insignia which are referenced in the letter along with the original enveloped that is postmarked APRIL 1945.
All in all, this is stunning documentation of atrocity as witnessed by a USGI at the end of WW2.
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