A Hero Until He Came Home
I remember hearing from a liberator who was Black. He described seeing the worse humanity could do, how it felt to be the one who got to help, to comprehend what had happened and help move people to freedom and life. He described standing and crying in the midst of the horror, overwhelmed by what he was witnessing.
And then how it felt to come back to the US after serving. To be chased away from bathrooms and water fountains and opportunities over the color of his skin. To have served as an equal and come back as a second-class citizen.
This man had such grace and power and was able to gently tell a powerful story of his life, weaving this history together in a way that deeply impacted me. I don't know how many people are aware of it, but there were Black soldiers who were personal angels for thousands of survivors.
African Americans were among the liberators of the Buchenwald concentration camp. William Scott, seen here during training, was a military photographer and helped document Nazi crimes in the camp. Alabama, United States, March 1943.