During the final days of World War II, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia were united against a common enemy. Although the three superpowers didn’t trust each other, they knew that Nazi Germany was a foe that needed to get stopped.
David Dushman was a Soviet soldier serving on the front lines of that conflict. He was the last surviving member involved with the liberation of Auschwitz for his country.
Dushman was driving a T-34 tank on January 27, 1945. He drove it into the massive electric fence that surrounded the death camp, flattening it to stop the atrocities once and for all.
Dushman Didn’t Realize the Magnitude of What Happened
When Dushman and his fellow soldiers came upon Auschwitz, they didn’t know the full magnitude of their discovery for some time.
During a 2015 interview with a Munich newspaper, Dushman said that he saw living skeletons coming from everywhere. They stumbled out of their barracks, too exhausted to stand from that exertion, laying among the dead.
The Soviet soldiers didn’t stop. After flattening the fences, they continued “hunting for the fascists.” Dushman says that they handed the prisoners in Auschwitz all the canned food they had to help.
Over one million people, most of them Jews, were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940-1945. The Nazis murdered the vast majority of them.
Dushman’s service is particularly notable because he fought in Stalingrad and Kursk. He was one of only 69 soldiers in his 12,000-man division to survive, and he was wounded seriously three times.