It was the first concentration camp established by the German Nazis in 1933, created just a few months after Adolph Hitler gained power. Twelve years and one month later, U.S troops, some of them from Fort Carson, liberated the prisoners at the Dachau Concentration Camp in the Munich suburb.
On Monday, the soldiers currently stationed at Fort Carson paid remembrance to the soldiers from the same Southern Colorado post, 74 years after they liberated the concentration camp.
“It’s a chance for the Fort Carson and [Fourth Infantry Division] to come together and to recognize events that have happened in the past and to discuss them, learn from them and really, never forget,” said Ltc. Anthony Wilson.
Wilson is part of the Fourth Infantry Division today, a division heralded for its success in World War II.
Outside of Dachau and numerous other concentration camps its soldiers freed, the Fourth was part of the D-Day landings on the French beaches of Normandy that began the German retreat.
“It is all tied together,” Wilson said. “Both the history of Fort Carson and the division and the events that occurred throughout World War II. Not just the combat actions, but the liberations of the concentration camps.”
For the remembrance at Fort Carson Monday, soldiers read the stories of different victims of the Holocaust and those people’s families. They then lit 11 candles, one candle representing one million people who were murdered.
Of the 11 million victims, 6 million were Jewish. Two-thirds of the Jews living in Europe at the time were killed during the Holocaust.
Holocaust historian and educator Todd Hennessey gave a presentation, pointing at the threats of genocide and ethnic cleansing that have happened in recent history and are still happening today.
These are places like Rwanda in 1994 or what is currently happening in Myanmar, Sudan, Yemen and several other countries, according to GenocideWatch.com.
“It is vitally important that we never forget our history, both good and bad,” Wilson said. “But, we should absolutely not forget our history. That’s the way we learn and grow as a society.”
On May 18, Fort Carson will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-day landings (which began June 6, 1944) at the Fort Carson Museum off Highway 115.