Happy VE Day! On this Day 75 years ago, World War 2 ended in Europe.
EXIT OF THE DAY: EXIT 46 I-95n To Fayetteville & Fort Bragg, NORTH Carolina
As you whiz through the verdant pine barrens of North Carolina, consider getting right to honor and visit a memorial inside an upcoming museum. Off the next EXIT is the Airborne and Special Operations Museum which is located at Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg is the home of the Army’s fabled 82nd Airborne. The 82nd’s specialty is to parachute behind enemy lines and forcibly attain their objectives. Inside the museum is a Special Monument dedicated to the unit’s liberation of Concentration Camps during World War 2.
Thanks to the likes of the 82nd Airborne, the war ended fast in the spring of 1945. In the first week of May, the Allies overran the Nazis revealing for the first time the existence of death camps.
Then the Nazis surrendered unconditionally on May 8 which today is known as VE Day. Thereafter, allies would come upon camp after camp exposing the crimes of the Nazi Regime. Six million Jews were brutally slaughtered during World War II. Also murdered were millions of other undesirable groups including slavs, gypsies, gays, and even the mentally and physically disabled.
Back on May 2, 1945, the 82nd Airborne Division liberated its first death camp, Wöbbelin Concentration Camp. Days earlier, Wöbbelin had held some 5,000 inmates. When the 8th Infantry and the 82nd Airborne arrived they found deplorable conditions. Most of the only 1000 survivors were starving and diseased. They also found about 1,000 dead in the camp.
Outraged by the denials of local people, General Dwight Eisenhower ordered the townspeople in Ludwigslust to visit the camp and bury the dead.
On May 7, 1945, the 82nd Airborne Division conducted funeral services for 200 inmates in the town.
The U.S. Army insisted "all atrocity victims to be buried in a public place." Crosses were placed at the graves of Christians and Stars of David at the graves of Jews. They also installed a prominent stone monument to memorialize the heinous crimes against humanity.
Forced to attend the ceremony were citizens and captured Nazi soldiers. Hundreds of the 82nd Airborne division humbly paid their respects.
In 1991, The 82nd Airborne Division was recognized as a liberating unit by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. Another display was installed here at the Museum. It is both an exhibit and a memorial. It shows the liberators and the victims and it is not to be missed.
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