News: Never again: 3BCT remembers the Holocaust
Story by 1st Lt. Zachary Kohl
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The Hawaiian 442nd Regimental Combat Team soldiers, approached the train cars in Dachau, Germany, April 29, 1945. They saw months of combat during World War II, but nothing had prepared them for what they found inside the cars; their first look at the human tragedy of the Hitler’s murder of six million Jews.
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, hosted a Holocaust remembrance ceremony April 11, at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii’s Sergeant Smith Theater to ensure the memory of the Holocaust is never forgotten.
“I wanted [soldiers] to remember what happened in WW II with the Holocaust, and [also] I wanted them to realize that guys just like them, soldiers their same age, stepped up and did the right thing and liberated these camps against tremendous odds.” said Lt. Col. George Hammer, Battalion Commander, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery, 3BCT, 25ID, which spearheaded the event.
The remembrance ceremony’s guest speaker was Seymour Kazimirski, the son of a Jewish mother who survived the concentration camps, opened his speech by telling soldiers the chilling story of his how his family was affected by the Holocaust.
“Everybody was killed,” said Kazimirski of his extended family. Only his mother survived.
He spent a good portion of his remarks discussing the importance of U.S. Army personnel rescuing the Jews from Nazi Germany, by specifically highlighting the history of the 442nd Combat Team, the famous “Go for Broke” soldiers from Hawaii who also helped liberate the camps.
The complete cruelty practiced by the Nazis is hard to fathom, but the story is also a testament to why it is so important to be an American soldier.
Maj. Dick Winters, 101st Airborne Division, realized the motivation for why he fought in WWII when his unit liberated a Nazi prison camp, explained Hammer.
“Dick Winters was fighting to stop evil, and that is what we do now,” said Hammer.
Pvt. Trevor Daily, Alpha Battery, 3-7 FA, 3rd BCT, 25th ID said he left the event moved and inspired. “It would make an impression on anyone.”