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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Lt. Col. William Wallace Greene, MD

Lt. Col. William Wallace Greene, MD, 1945.
I didn't realize, until Friday, that January 27th (the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau) is designated by the United Nations as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  So, this is my belated genealogical contribution to that day of remembrance.

While I don't believe that any of our own families were victims of the Holocaust, my husband's family has a very real, and very touching connection to that tragic event.  His grandfather, Lt. Col. William Wallace "Wally" Greene, MD (1908-2003 ), was an Army surgeon during World War II (part of the 59th Evac, attached to the VII Army Corps), and he was part of the medical corps left behind at the camps, after they were liberated, to treat the camp victims.  Lt. Col. William Wallace Greene treated surviving prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp, in German, in 1945.

I never met my husband's grandfather (Grandfather Greene), he died before we started dating. But, my husband has shared with me how the memories of the horrors seen in Dachau stayed with Grandfather Greene the rest of his life. Jeff tells me stories about how upset his grandfather would become at people who question whether the Holocaust actually happened, or if it was as bad as people make it out to be. Because Lt. Col. William Wallace Greene was an eyewitness to the aftermath of the brutality of the Holocaust.  I think if Grandfather Greene was alive today, and I asked, he would tell me that the Holocaust was even worse than what historians, survivors and the media make it out to be.

These two pictures were taken by a U.S. Army photographer, who was attached to the 59th Evac, and knew my husband's grandfather. The photographer provided my husband's aunt with a bunch of photos chronicling the 59th Evac's movements between 1942 and 1945, which my husband's aunt made into a book for my husband.  I selected a couple of the more tame photos; many of those from Dachau are too graphic for me to feel comfortable posting.

Dachau concentration camp, 1945. U.S. Army photo, family album.
Liberation feast, Dachau concentration camp, 1945. U.S. Army photo, family album.
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1 comment:

  1. What a story he must have had to tell! What a heritage to pass down for your family. Thank you for the post, and (though belated) calling attention to International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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