By Olivia Racanelli
Cold Spring Harbor High School
New York, USA
"Those who will forget are far more dangerous than those who will deny it," said Victor Brescia, a seventy-five year old World War II veteran who liberated a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.
Camp Liberator Victor Brescia
At the age of twenty-two, Victor Brescia was a member of the Seventeenth Field Artillery Battalion of the United States Army. The battalion's job in the war was to gain observation points and different outposts behind the enemy lines. While in the process of their normal routine, they came across and liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp.
"I can remember seeing the stripped garments," said Victor in describing the Jewish prisoners of the camp, "The 'living dead' looked like zombies. The others were in bins or racks."
Victor described the stench of the camp as overpowering. He remembered that even the high US commanders were completely unaware and unprepared for what they found. Many of the soldiers had to be taken away and brought back in smaller groups in order to handle the horrors of the camp.
Overall, Victor described his experience in World War II as the most devastating of his life. Among the memories, Victor also lives with the guilt of surviving which drives him to reach out to the youth of today. "Everything today is based on youth. We need to seek information before there are no real witnesses left," said Victor, "We must continue studying history, or we are doomed."
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