Bennet, Gardner Applaud Senate Passage of Resolution Recognizing Felix Sparks, Dachau Liberation Anniversary

Resolution Honors the 75th Anniversary of the Dachau Concentration Camp Liberation, Led by Lt. Col. Felix Sparks

Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R) applauded the unanimous Senate passage of their bipartisan resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, led by Lieutenant Colonel Felix Sparks and the 45th Infantry “Thunderbird” Division of the Seventh Army of the United States. Following World War II, Felix Sparks spent his adult life in Colorado, serving in the Colorado National Guard and as an Associate Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. 

“The 75th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau serves as a reminder to recommit to fighting anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate in all its forms,” said Bennet. “With this resolution, we remember the lives lost at the Dachau concentration camp and honor the liberators – like Lieutenant Colonel Felix Sparks who led his Colorado Army National Guard unit in the liberation of Dachau.” 

“I am proud that the United States Senate unanimously passed our bipartisan resolution honoring the life and service of a Colorado hero – Felix Sparks,” said Gardner. “We must never forget the Holocaust, the horrors that can never be repeated, and the darkest times of our history. Felix Sparks saw this evil up close on April 29th, 1945 when he and members of the 45th Infantry Division brought liberation to the Dachau concentration camp. With unanimous passage of our resolution, the Senate honors the service of Felix Sparks and the courageous personnel he fought alongside, remembers the people they saved, and mourns the millions who were brutally and savagely murdered by the Nazi regime. May this world never see the same hate or anti-Semitism again.” 

The full text of the resolution is available HERE and below. 

Title: Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp during World War II.

Whereas the Dachau concentration camp, established in March 1933—

(1) was the first concentration camp established by the German National Socialist, or “Nazi”, government; and

(2) operated continuously until the end of World War II in 1945;

Whereas the Dachau concentration camp housed Germans who were deemed political, racial, or social threats by the Nazi regime, including Communists, Social Democrats, Jews, Roma, members of the clergy, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other religious and cultural minorities;

Whereas, in addition to Germans, prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp included Poles, Hungarians, Austrians, Italians, Lithuanians, Czechs, Slovenes, Belgians, and other foreign nationals from countries occupied or invaded by Germany;

Whereas the Nazis imprisoned more than 200,000 civilians in the Dachau concentration camp and the more than 100 subcamps of the Dachau concentration camp;

Whereas the Nazis murdered tens of thousands of innocent civilians at the Dachau concentration camp, one of many camps where the Nazis brutally killed millions of people, including 6,000,000 Jews, during the Holocaust;

Whereas the Nazis tortured and conducted medical experiments on civilian prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp, including by—

(1) subjecting the prisoners to pressure extremes;

(2) submersing the prisoners in freezing water;

(3) forcing the prisoners to drink salt water; and

(4) infecting the prisoners with malaria;

Whereas the Nazis subjected civilian prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp to forced labor—

(1) first for the initial construction and expansion of the camp; and

(2) later primarily for armaments production to supply the German military;

Whereas, following the advance of Allied Forces, the Nazi regime began the systematic transfer of prisoners from evacuated concentration camps to the Dachau concentration camp for continued imprisonment;

Whereas, in December 1943, Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces and led the formal coordination of the Allied Forces, with the mission to liberate Europe;

Whereas, on April 29, 1945, the 45th Infantry “Thunderbird” Division of the Seventh Army of the United States (referred to in this preamble as the “45th Infantry Division”), under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Felix Sparks, member of the Colorado Army National Guard and Commander of the Third Battalion of the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division, along with units of the 42nd Infantry Division and the 20th Armored Division, led the liberation of the main Dachau concentration camp;

Whereas the 45th Infantry Division—

(1) was composed of National Guard units from Colorado, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico; and

(2) deployed in June 1943 in support of the Allied Forces during World War II;

Whereas, in the European theater of operation, the 45th Infantry Division suffered—

(1) 1,831 deaths in battle; and

(2) 7,791 casualties;

Whereas, in 1985, the United States Army Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum honored the 45th Infantry Division with recognition as a “liberating unit”; and

Whereas commemoration of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp will instill in all people of the United States a greater awareness of the unspeakable tragedies of the Holocaust: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) commemorates April 29, 2020, as the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp during World War II;

(2) condemns the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi regime; and

(3) recognizes the valorous efforts of the 45th Infantry Division, the 42nd Infantry Division, and the 20th Armored Division of the Seventh Army of the United States in the liberation of the thousands of individuals imprisoned at the Dachau concentration camp.