Born: 1924 Brooklyn, New York
Liberator : Dachau Concentration Camp
“I saw the look in their eyes as we arrived...those who had survived every hideous torture known to man. Their tears of joy and jubilation had finally been validated.“ Other memories haunt Robert Mamlin still. “Crematoriums...the smell of dead bodies. Half-buried women holding babies, their pitiful rags cast aside. They thought they were going to the showers and someone would launder their clothes...but they were gassed. They were just mothers holding their children in the showers. They had no idea.“
Robert and his unit came into Dachau with other American troops serving under General George Patton in April 1945. Because he could speak Yiddish and some German, he was able to communicate with the inmates. Many told of the desperate final days at Dachau when the guards panicked and lost control as they learned that the Americans were advancing.
He remembers a young boy of fourteen who had lost his entire family. “By his brains and wit, he survived. He said he couldn't visualize that a Jewish soldier could actually enter the camps to help free Jewish inmates.“ The concept was equally overwhelming to Robert, whose military mission was also a personal one. He felt chosen, he says. “It gave me great satisfaction to be there as Jews were liberated.“