The Dayton area became home to a number of Holocaust survivors after World War II. Some came here to work for the Air Force, some because they had relatives here, others came because of business opportunities and some entirely by chance. Many of the survivors featured in “Prejudice and Memory” still live in the area. Others have moved elsewhere after retirement, and some have died.
The asterisk* indicates that this person was interviewed for the “Faces of the Holocaust” video series.
This term is often used for soldiers who were present at the liberation of death camps and concentration camps, mostly during April of 1945. Some actively assisted in the rescue of inmates and others just observed, but their testimony is always valuable. Most of the liberators were very young men, 18 to 20 years of age. They never got over the inhumanity they witnessed at the camps. Some also rescued survivors of the “death marches” at the end of the war.
While most Europeans under the Nazi occupation supported or turned a blind eye to the persecution of Jews, a few listened to their own conscience and tried to help — even at the risk of their own lives and the lives of their families. Many of these selfless people have been identified over the years by the Israeli government and honored with the title “Righteous among the Nations” or “Righteous Gentile.” Many others who sacrificed to help their neighbors will never be known. Dayton has been home to several of these righteous people.
The exhibit at the National Museum of the US Air Force includes several Army Air Force airmen who were not Jewish, but were held in concentration camps as prisoners of war, and survived.