42nd Rainbow Division map

Combat route of the 42nd Infantry Division which liberated the Dachau concentration camp

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The combat route the 42nd Infantry Division took was designed to look like a rainbow on this map, in honor of the division's nickname. The division landed in France in December 1944, crossed the German border in March 1945, and liberated Dachau concentration camp on April 29, 1945.

The 42nd Infantry Division was nicknamed the "Rainbow" division by Major Douglas MacArthur during WWI because its men, pulled from National Guard units across the United States, represented the diversity of America. On April 29, 1945, Texans serving among the 42nd Infantry Division entered the Dachau concentration camp, the earliest and longest-functioning SS-controlled camp in Nazi Germany. Walking through the camp, they discovered more than 30,000 prisoners in overcrowded, horrific conditions. The memory of those initial days stayed with the troops through the remainder of their lives.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

42nd Rainbow Division map Artifact from Austin
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