Dachau Concentration Camp Papers Acquired by NC

Edwin Farthing in Europe, Undated photo released by www.ncdcr.gov.
Edwin Farthing in Europe, Undated photo released by www.ncdcr.gov.

Released by Matthew Peek, ncdcr.gov

The liberation of the World War II German concentration camp of Dachau, April 29-30, 1945, is being commemorated by the State Archives of North Carolina with the announcement of the recent acquisition of papers from the Farthing family, family of one of the camp liberators, to the State Archives.

E. H. Glenn Farthing, of Watauga and Guilford counties, was a captain with the Transportation Corps of the US Third and Seventh Armies from 1943 to July 1946. In April 1945, the Seventh Army became witness to one of history’s great atrocities at the Nazis’ first concentration camp, Dachau. On their way to the small town, 10 miles northwest of Munich April 29, the unsuspecting troops came up more than 30 railroad cars of decomposing bodies outside of the camp.

Captain Farthing and the Transportation Corps arrived at Dachau April 30. Taken aback by the horrors of the Nazi regime, according to his son Ed, Farthing told his commanding officer that the Army needed to photograph the conditions of the concentration camp so the world might know what happened. Farthing’s request brought about some of the earliest images of the Nazi genocide and the “Final Solution.”

An amateur photographer, Farthing used his personal camera to photograph what he saw. Military restrictions required that the images be turned over to the Army. What is remarkable is that three original negatives, believed to be taken by Farthing April 30, 1945, show part of the Dachau concentration camp, and were found by Military Collection Archivist Matthew Peek after donation of the papers.

Several artifacts from Dachau were also retained by Farthing in his collection. The papers and artifacts are being donated to the State Archives and the North Carolina Museum of History, respectively.

Said Secretary Susan Kluttz of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDCR):

We cannot imagine what that discovery must have been like for those young soldiers. We are grateful that the State Archives and Museum of History will share this painful lesson of history through this significant donation by the Farthing family.”

In honor of his father’s memory, Ed Farthing initially deposited the materials with the Greensboro Jewish Federation. He greatly desired to have the items preserved. The North Carolina Council on the Holocaust/Holocaust Speakers Bureau and Greensboro Jewish Federation staffer Christina Shiffler identified the State Archives and NC Museum of History as appropriate repositories for the artifacts.

The Military Collection of the State Archives of NC had published a request for donations from NC veterans in December. Shiffler reached out to the Military Collection and the North Carolina Museum of History.

The Greensboro Jewish Federation and Ed Farthing have worked with the State Archives and the NC Museum of History for transfer of the papers and artifacts of Captain Edwin Harding. These materials bear witness to one of the darkest pages in world history and will be available for scholars, researchers and the public to view.

The papers will be preserved, organized, described and available to the public by late summer. The artifacts will require more time but eventually will be worked into the displays at the NC Museum of History.

Additional original materials; such as papers, manuals, artifacts, photographs or other materials from Holocaust survivors living in NC are still being sought by the State Archives and NC Museum of History. Materials from military personnel involved in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps are also desired to help share the stark realities of that period with the public.

State Archives and NC Museum of History are part of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. They are committed to collecting materials, such as those from the Dachau concentration camp, to complement the official government records kept during World War II and all other military conflicts.

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About Kay Whatley 2309 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.