Sioux County

Pvt. William Rush



“That is What We Saw, -- Yet They Want Us To Have Mercy”

“That is the kind of people they are and they want us to take mercy on them,” wrote Pvt. William Rush of Hawarden, after viewing Nazi atrocities in a concentration camp in Germany.

Pvt. Rush, son of Mr. and Mrs. Newt Rush of Hawarden, is serving with the headquarters company  of the 89th division in Patton’s famous Third Army. In a letter to his folks, dated April 14, he gives a first hand account of the horrible things he saw, as follows:

“The story I am about to write you isn’t nice, but it shows the kind of people we are fighting. The other day we took a town of pretty good size. In the place were a few airplane factories. At the edge of the town was a concentration camp in which there had been Russians, Poles and Jews.  The Germans pulled out about a day before we got there. They took about two truck loads of prisoners with them, but the others they killed.

“In the streets of the camp were the bodies of about 20 prisoners who had been killed. At the end of the street was a shed in which about 40 bodies were piled up like cord wood. Then, about a mile up the road, there was a ditch into which bodies had been thrown. There was an estimated 2,000 bodies there.

“That, Mom, was what we saw – yet they want us to have mercy on them.

“A woman yesterday had the nerve to tell us we were inhuman because we moved them out of their home so we could sleep in it. We really told her where to head in and also related to her what we had seen in the concentration camp. She wouldn’t believe it.

“We heard yesterday that President Roosevelt died. It surely was a shock to everyone and we are wondering how it will affect the war and us getting home.”

Source: Hawarden Independent, Thursday, May 3, 1945