Felix A. Cizewski’s copy of the Dachau Liberation Edition 45th Division News, pages 1 & 3.
Click on image for more larger edition.
Public domain images from originals donated to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
Seventy years ago, on April 29, 1945 after a battle with the SS guards “Task Force Sparks” liberated Dachau.
”Task Force Sparks” consisted of elements of “I” and “L” Companies, 3rd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Division supported by elements of the 191st Tank Battalion.
While the combat units were liberating Dachau, my late father, Felix A. Cizewski, was in the 45th Signal Company on the road from Schrobenhausen about 39 miles (63 kilometers) by road north of Dachau to Haimhausen, about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northeast of Dachau.
Every member of the 45th Division at that time including Felix officially share the recognition as liberators by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the U. S. Army Center of Military History.
Felix would want to be very clear that his and the other members of of the 45th Signal Company role in the liberation of Dachau was providing communications support for the front line combat troops.
The combat troops would add that they appreciated the support from troops such as my father. One shared that it was the luck of the draw as to who ended up in the combat units and who was assigned to support units such as my father.
“Immediately after Dachau’s liberation, U.S. Army authorities and other Allied representatives began treating the sick prisoners, implementing health and sanitary measures to curb the typhus epidemic, and bringing in tons of food to feed the starving prisoners. The local townspeople were brought in to give the dead prisoners a proper burial.”
– From United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Holocaust Encyclopedia’s entry The 45th Infantry Division
On April 30, the day after liberation, the 45th Signal Company arrived at Feldmoching, Germany on the northwest edge of Munich, less than 8 miles southeast of Dachau.
The 45th Division was stationed on occupation duty in Munich area near Dachau from May until late July, 1945. The 45th Signal Company and the 45th Division would have been able to assist in the care of the liberated survivors.
As Felix was bi-lingual English-Polish, he may have been called upon to assist in the care for the about 8,900 Polish speaking survivors.
My late father never spoke of his experiences at Dachau.
Dad was a very private and shy man. He said little about his service and nothing about Dachau.
Dad would be both a bit embarrassed while quietly proud of my sharing of his service.
The liberation of Dachau may have been one of the most powerful and traumatic experiences of my father’s life.
Because of that for the rest of his life Felix may have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Felix A. Cizewski’s photo of the entrance to the SS training camp and garrison for Waffen-SS soldiers, located west of the prison compound. It was about five times larger than the concentration camp.
Click on image for more larger edition information
Felix wrote on the back:”Dachau Germany Prison Camp”. This is from his collection but not one of the photos he took.
The original has been donated to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
Watermarks on images
Several years ago an image of the 45th Division News from my family history site was copied and posted on a Nazi sympathizing, Holocaust denying site.
As the 45th Division News is in the public domain, I have no control of its use.
Adding watermarks to images I post may discourage their misuse. Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers may be reluctant to use images with a 45th Division Thunderbird watermark.
Links, sources, and more information:
Felix A. Cizewski and Dachau: Includes links to larger images of the Dachau liberation edition of the 45th Division News.