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Baraboo students deserve an apology -- Frank Piraino

December 22, 2018 GMT

I was in the area where allied units freed the Buchenwald concentration camp. I was with the 3rd Army in the 599th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion from February of 1945 until the end of the war in May.

On the nights of March 22-23, our outfit protected the Oppenheim bridgeheads across the Rhine River from air attacks, where Patton’s armored division crossed the next morning into central Germany. We didn’t have a chance to liberate any concentration camps, but we liberated plenty of Nazi territories.

News traveled fast, and in a few days all American combat units heard about what went on behind those barbed wire fences and the smoke pouring out of the many red chimneys. Many books have been written about the horrors of Nazi concentration camps and the Nazis who ran them.

But to compare these Nazi atrocities to farewell waves of graduating high school students in Baraboo is disgraceful and ridiculous. To the veteran who wrote the Dec. 15 letter to the editor ” Nazi atrocities were sickening,” I am sorry you feel this way, and on behalf of World War II veterans who were there at the time, I apologize to the Baraboo High School graduates and the Baraboo School Board.

Frank Piraino, Waunakee