This is a very interesting original WWII letter written in Germany on the 22nd of April, 1945, by a United States Army surgeon who was in the process of treating recently liberated concentration camp survivors. This officer, Captain Clarence E. Claugus, was assigned to the 5th Auxiliary Surgical Group of the U.S. Ninth Army.
***In mid-April 1945 a detachment from the 5th Auxiliary Surgical Group was assigned to assist in the treatment of survivors of the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. The Germans had been attempting to transport inmates of the camp by rail from Bergen-Belsen to Theresienstadt. On April 13th one of three trains carrying inmates of the camp was captured by American troops at Farsleben. The captured train was carrying an estimated 2,500 inmates, all of whom were in need of medical treatment. Medical personnel of the 5th Auxiliary Surgical Group, including Captain Claugus, participated in the treatment of the liberated prisoners.
The letter was written by Captain Claugus to his wife on the 22nd of April, 1945. Captain Claugus had established a ward with 107 patients, whom he explains were suffering from starvation and other ailments. He was short staffed, and was employing some of his patients as room orderlies. He states that he wished he had a camera and sound equipment so that he could record the things that were taking place in his ward. He states that it was all very tragic, although some of the minor incidents were not without humor. He adds that: "I will have quite a story when I return."
(*** When he wrote this letter Captain Claugus had been treating patients from the Bergen-Belsen train for several days.)
"Another day is finished and I don't have much to show for my work, but in reality a lot has been accomplished. I have a little concentration camp on my ward, which consists of 107 patients (all with diarrhea in addition to starvation), 1 doctor, 1 nurse, 4 enlisted men, and 2 dumb non English speaking (nor German either). You can see what a job 5 feedings a day would make.
For a ward boss I have a patient who speaks a little English and under him I have a room and bedpan boss and server for each room."
Claugus goes on to state that he wished he had a camera and sound equipment, with which he could record the tragic, and humorous, occurrences in his ward.
An extraordinary original letter, written by a frontline U.S. army surgeon who was in the process of treating survivors of the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen.
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