This is an amazing story. The soldier’s name is Tony Acevedo, and he is the son of illegal immigrants.
He volunteered to serve during WWII, was captured during the Battle of the Bulge and was held prisoner in a slave labor camp. While in the camp, he continued his duties as an army medic and documented what he saw.
He documented deaths, documented how they were treated, documented what they were forced to do. He is the first person of Mexican American heritage to register as a survivor at the Holocaust Museum.
This man is a hero and should be treated as such.
“You did your best as a medic,” he told Acevedo. “You did your very best as a witness to history by writing this diary for us and future generations.”
The room erupted with applause. Acevedo smiled and nodded his head in thanks.
It took six decades for the U.S. Army to publicly recognize the Berga soldiers — largely the result of Acevedo’s diary and his telling his story to CNN two years ago.
On this visit, he became the first Mexican-American to register with the museum’s Holocaust survivor list — out of 225,000 others. His diary is one of 150 donated to the museum and the first written by an American captive.
It almost never made it out of the slave labor camp. Twice, it fell in front of an older Austrian guard, the only one at the camp with any compassion.
“He would ask me what I write. I would say, ‘I’m writing about the nice vacation I’m taking here in your compounds.’ “
The guard would laugh. “I’ll never forget him,” Acevedo said, his voice trailing off into the past.
“This diary exemplifies the fact that the Holocaust is a story that belongs to many types of people from various ethnic, religious, national groups,” said Scott Miller, the museum’s director of curatorial affairs.