Born on a farm in Harlan County, Kentucky, Fred enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942. He was trained as a medical corpsman in England and participated in the Normandy invasion in June 1944. He was with Patton’s Third Army as it moved across France and Belgium into Germany in 1944-45. Allied troops were not told of the existence of the concentration camps (although their superiors knew), and it was often a traumatic experience when young soldiers stumbled into them. As Fred said, even the horrors of the battlefield were not enough to prepare him for his first sight of a death camp. His regiment was the first to enter Dachau, and the episode affected him for the rest of his life. He died in 1999 in Dayton, leaving behind a large family. During his 93 days at Dachau, assisting the survivors, he drew a remarkable map of the camp. This map is now part of our exhibit.
Dachau, located in a suburb of Munich, was the first concentration camp established by Hitler in 1933. It became one of the largest and most notorious, though it was never technically considered a death camp. During its twelve years of operation it housed at least 206,000 prisoners, 35,000 of whom died.