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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission

The Texas Liberator Project

The Texas Liberator Project with Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University, with the generous support of the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, created the Texas Liberator Project as a means of introducing the wider public to the experiences of U.S. soldiers who were witnesses to and actors in the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camps and serve as a portal to furthering Holocaust and genocide awareness and education.

The multi-pronged project includes an educational app; a website that features interactive maps, an Honor Roll of veteran liberators, bibliographies, filmographies, and teacher resources; a traveling exhibit; and a book that has been provided free of charge to every public and private high school in the state of Texas. To access the app and the website, please visit the Texas Liberator Project website.

The Texas Liberator: Witness to the Holocaust

The Texas Liberator Virtual Exhibit

The Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission invites you to view the Texas Liberator: Witness to the Holocaust virtual exhibit. With thanks to Holocaust Museum Houston for generating this online platform, now anyone in the world can view this project.

The Texas Liberator: Witness to the Holocaust is sponsored by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission. Original exhibition design produced by the Museum of Texas Tech University.

The Texas Liberator Witness to the Holocaust

The Witte Museum Virtual Conference on Texas

On August 27-28, 2020, San Antonio's Witte Museum held their virtual conference "Conference on Texas: On Resilience Past, Present, and Future". The conference was presented by Elizabeth Huth Coats Charitable Foundation and invited former THGC commissioner Edward B. Westermann, PhD to moderate a panel entitled "Texas Liberators of the German War Camps 1945". Panelists included: Aliza Wong, PhD, Texas Tech University; Ella Gunn, Alamo Heights High School; and Steven Rosenblatt, MD, San Antonio. This program was sponsored by Wells Fargo -- Veltri and Velasquez.

Watch the "Texas Liberators of the German War Camps 1945" program.

Oral Histories with Baylor University

Among the duties of the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission are to compile a list of liberators of concentration camps who have agreed to share their verifiable knowledge and experiences regarding the Holocaust and to gather resources that could be included in or used to support Holocaust and genocide courses of study and awareness programs. With these goals in mind, the former Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission contracted with Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History to create the Texas Liberators Oral History project, chronicling the oral histories of 21 Texans who were involved in the liberation of camps at the end of World War II.

Now complete, the video interviews with 19 liberators are now available through the Commission's YouTube channel. (A twentieth interview is also included, however it was conducted by Holocaust Museum Houston and not with Baylor University's Institute for Oral History.) The THGC also partnered with the Library of Congress to make transcripts of the interviews available through the institution’s Veterans History Project. Excerpts of oral testimonies from five liberator interviews are given below.

It was the fervent hope of the THGC that the oral histories will be viewed by the public and these men remembered for their service and their efforts to free survivors of concentration camps and used by educators to meet TEKS requirements while bringing a human story to the horrific atrocities of the Holocaust. To accompany the testimonies, the THGC developed lesson plans for classroom use. Aligning closely with the TEKS, these lessons provide teachers a way of incorporating media involving Texans into their World War II/Holocaust units for World Geography Studies, World History Studies, and U.S. History Studies Since 1877 classes.

Texas Liberator Commemoration

The Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission (THGC) played the leading role in recognizing and teaching about soldiers from Texas who participated in the liberation of camp inmates late in the Holocaust. The THGC funded and provided content in support of relevant initiatives at major universities in the state. On November 9, 2017, the THGC formally recognized these liberators and their families at the Senate Chambers in the Texas State Capitol. View footage of the ceremony.

The November 2017 Texas Liberator Commemoration Ceremony at the Texas State Capitol | Photo courtesy of Mark Umstot

Liberator Testimony Excerpts

Below are excerpts from four of the nineteen Texas liberators interviewed by Baylor University's Institute for Oral History, as well as one of the two Texas liberators interviewed by Holocaust Museum Houston. Please visit the THGAAC YouTube channel as well as the THGAAC Texas Liberator Project: Oral Testimony playlist to view the extended interviews of the twenty veterans who took part in this project.

Texas Liberator Information Submission Form

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medic, platoon sergeant, etc.
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