On the 29th day of April 1945, the forward battalions of Rainbow Division, 42nd Infantry, were moving swiftly toward Munich. Confident and optimistic, they had survived four months of costly and bitter combat, and soon, it would all be over.
But then the road led to Dachau and the worst day of the war. In their collected memoirs, the Rainbow soldiers, almost half of whom were only eighteen, nineteen, or twenty years old, tell how they were confronted suddenlyùwithout preparation, without warningùby horrors beyond human imagination.
This book is by and about the American liberators, who have since discovered that no one who was involved in any capacity can ever be truly free of the past that was Dachau. In the most complete eyewitness account ever available, editor Sam Dann, himself a Rainbow soldier, weaves their stories, official reports, other documents, and the reminiscences of several survivors with whom the Division has maintained contact for more than half a century.
I have had the honor of meeting some of the veterans of the Rainbow Divisionà. Like so many of their generation, they simply say, "We had a job to do, and we did it." But in doing it so courageously and so well, they demonstrated that to be human was to be capable of great acts of courage and goodness, even in the face of unspeakable cowardice and evil. ùU.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman