Critical Thinking/Discussion Questions - James Garner
- James Garner told the interviewer that when Garner’s unit entered Dachau, he had not previously heard about the concentration camps and crematoriums. He described how overwhelmed the American soldiers were by the scenes they witnessed at Dachau. The soldiers had seen death during combat, but the difference between the dead German soldiers and those who died in the concentration camps was overwhelming. Why do you think encountering the dead in the camps was so difficult for the American soldiers?
- Discuss why you think the US Army did not prepare foot soldiers for what they would encounter in the concentration camps.The brutal conditions in the ghettos and camps impacted the health of those living there. How did conditions contribute to what caused the death of those prisoners who were fed when liberated? Cite specific evidence to support your analysis using the testimony from James Garner, below, and the links below, which tell about the conditions in the camps. In the film, James Garner discussed the dilemma of feeding the inmates during liberation, stating: “No, they were just so relieved to get out of there and some of the fellows started feeding them. They hadn't had anything to eat. They were in terrible shape and I wouldn't do it. And when I was back home after that the fellows said it killed them. They hadn't had anything for so long. But I had saved the ones that I wouldn't feed.”
Relief efforts, “Liberation of the Concentration Camps” BBC History
(n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwtwo/liberation_camps_01.shtml
(n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2017, from http://www.theholocaustexplained.org/ks3/the-camps/daily-life/meals/#.WQYyEYnytBx