Robert Parker Woodruff

T/SGT. R. P. WOODRUFF
Technical Sergeant Robert Parker Woodruff, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Woodruff, 446 Lake Street, arrived in France on December 12, according to word received by his parents.

He enlisted in the Army on August 3, 1942 and received his training at Fort Sheridan, IL; three months basic with the Military Police at Fort Riley, KS; and was then transferred to the Infantry at Camp Gruber, OK.

He is with the Supply Department.

Technical Sergeant Woodruff graduated from Eau Claire Senior High in 1939 and attended teachers college here three years.


Horrors of Dachau Torture Chamber Seen by City Man; Described in Letter Home
This is an eye witness account of Dachau Concentration Camp, the torture chamber and crematory, where the slave labor of Europe was tortured, starved, gassed and burned to death by the Nazis. 

It is a letter written by an Eau Claire soldier to his parents. He went through the camp on May 2 and reveals what he saw. 

Sergeant R. P. Woodruff, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Woodruff, 446 Lake Street, is with the Rainbow Division, Patch's Seventh Army, now in Germany. He went overseas last November. He has been in the Army for three years. 

Sergeant Woodruff, aghast at his experience, writes home: 

"Mother and Dad, 

"Yesterday, May 1, is a day I will never forget, for I went through the Dachau Concentration Camp.  

Cars Loaded with Dead 
"It was a small city, about the size of Baldwin. Leading into it was a branch railroad, off the main line, and box cars leading into the camp, which had a huge wire enclosure around it. The cars were loaded, and I mean loaded, with dead slave labor, which had been starved to death. Most of them, I could have put my whole hand around their thighs; their legs and arms were quite a bit smaller. Their shoulder blades were protruding five or six inches out of their backs, because they had no flesh on them, and on all of them the pelvic bones were protruding more so than the shoulder blades. They were all nationalities: French, Polish, Russian, Jewish and Americans.

"Before the Infantry had liberated the place, the Germans were in the process of taking these dead off the cars and burning them in a huge crematory. The Germans had cleaned out 20 of the cars, and the rest were waiting to be burned. I remember one car had a layer of bodies up to my knees. Apparently, the Germans were making a frantic effort to get them all burned before the Infantry came.

Take Revenge on Germans
"The camp must have been a German SS (storm trooper) garrison, because their flag and the Nazi flag were also strewn all over the place, along with the dead German SS troopers. When the Infantry came in, the slave laborers broke loose and started beating and cutting up the SS troopers, and that was a sight. There would be a leg here, an arm there, a hand and a few fingers someplace else. I remember one storm trooper I saw, his head completely smashed; he had no face at all.

"The Germans had numerous barracks, offices, warehouses, and administrative buildings, which were beautifully furnished.

"However, that was all very mild, compared to what I saw next, the crematory. It was a large brick building and, as you entered from the rear, there were a dozen or so small lockers where they fumigated the clothing.

"The next was a gas chamber, where, if they weren't quite dead, they would be finished off.

Bodies Stacked to Ceiling
"Next was one of the two storage rooms, the other storage room being on the other side of the furnaces, of which there were a dozen or so. When I opened the door of the first room, my eyes almost popped, for there, in a room about the combined size of our dining and living room, were stark naked bodies.