Hawaii’s own 522nd Artillery Bn. helped to liberate Dachau

| April 2, 2015 | 4 Comments
Dachau today

Dachau today

HONOLULU — Seventy years ago, the 522nd Artillery Battalion, part of Hawaii’s famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, liberated Dachau concentration camp, Nazi Germany’s first death camp that opened in 1933.

The camp served as a model for all later concentration camps and as a school of violence for the SS men under whose command it stood.

It is estimated that a total of 11 million people, including 6 million Jews, were killed during the Holocaust, a systematic, organized persecution of Jewish and other targeted people.

On Sunday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m., two surviving Soldiers from the 522nd, Masayuki Higa and Joe Obayashi, along with Phyllis Hironaka (whose father served with the battalion), will be guest speakers at the Holocaust Remembrance Service at Temple Emanu-El, 2550 Pali Hwy., at Jack Lane.

Their recollection of liberating the camp in 1945 reminds us that one of the darkest periods of terror in human history happened just a short time ago.

The remembrance is free and open to the public. Representatives from Jewish congregations and organizations across Oahu, as well as clergy of other faiths and political representatives, including Gov. David Ige and Mayor Kirk Caldwell, will light memorial candles at the event.

The City and County of Honolulu has proclaimed April as Holocaust Remembrance Month and the State of Hawaii has proclaimed April 12th, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Observation of both events is to remember the darkest of times and to emphasize the positive lessons to be gained from this horrific period and apply these lessons to create communities of respect rather than division.

The ceremony at Temple Emanu-El honors the memories of the six million Jews and millions of non-Jews murdered during the Holocaust.

‘In Judaism, when someone’s parent, spouse, sibling or child dies, it is traditional for that person to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish in order to add merit to his/her loved one in the eyes of God,” said Spiritual Leader Ken Aronowitz. “Because entire families were murdered during the Holocaust, there were no surviving family members to say Kaddish, which is why the entire community will do so at our Holocaust Remembrance Service. Every man, woman and child murdered by the Nazis deserves this and should never be forgotten.”


More Information

Get more details by calling 595-7521 or visiting www.shaloha.com.



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Category: News, Observances

Comments (4)

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  1. Hugh Foster says:

    Hi, folks. The story about the 522nd helping to liberate the concentration camp at Dachau, Germany, surfaces from time to time. It is not at all true. The camp was liberated by small elements of the 42nd and 45th Infantry Divisions, as has been very well documented.

    I Company, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division entered the complex at its southwest corner. At about the same time, a smaller element of the 42nd Infantry Division, namely the Assistant Division Commander, Brigadier General Henning Linden, arrived at the front gate and accepted the formal surrender of the camp.

    At the time of the liberation, the 522nd was many miles to the south, in a different corps zone, attached to the 4th Infantry Division (I believe).

    I am prepared and happy to provide additional information, including copies of the official records.


    Hugh F. Foster III
    Lt. Col., Infantry, US Army (Retired)

    • Dear M. Foster,

      Everybody knows that the 157th of the 45th Division were fighting at the SS Camp when the 42nd Division passing on the side entered the Concentration Camp, all those events took place on April 29th, 1945.

      The day before on April 28th 1945, two jeeps of the 522nd Field Artillery composed of Japanese American reached one of the Dachau gate of the SS camp and arrived on the Jourhaus but never penetrated the compound and were ordered to leave at once. There were at the limit of their scouting range and on the 28th there was NO american unit nearby.
      If you want more proves of the facts (See my book; American Samurais- WWII Camp by pierre Moulin and my website http://www.pierremoulin.com.

      As the Japanese American did enters the concentration camp they could not be considered as the first liberators but they were the first in Dachau.

    • Govan Yee says:

      Lt. Col. Foster is correct, it was a sub-camp of Dachau that the 522nd helped to liberate and this can be found on various websites correcting the mis-information.

  2. Isami Yoshihara says:

    LtCol Foster, the concentration camp that the 522nd FAB liberated was a sub-camp of Dachau, and this article should have so indicated.

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