"...tell thousands so that millions will know what Dachau is..."
In 2016, Clarice Wilsey donated the remarkable letters of her father, Captain David B. Wilsey, M.D., an army anesthesiologist present at the liberation of Dachau concentration camp, to the Holocaust Center for Humanity.
The Wilsey collection features 280+ letters, photographs, and more from Dr. Wilsey’s time in the U.S. Army, including the liberation of Dachau and experiences thereafter healing survivors. Researchers, historians, and students alike have found the letters extraordinary. Dr. Wilsey and his family were longtime residents of Spokane, Washington, and keeping this historically significant collection in the Northwest, at the Holocaust Center in Seattle, was a priority of the Wilsey family.
The Holocaust Center was thrilled to announce on July 11, 2019, what would have been Dr. Wilsey's 105th birthday, a new online repository for the Wilsey Collection. This browse-able collection allows the public to experience these letters for the first time and includes resources for educators. The collection can be accessed at: https://hchwilsey.omeka.net/.
Although Dr. Wilsey rarely discussed his experiences at Dachau after the war, he wrote to his wife Emily in several letters in 1945 “to tell thousands so that millions will know what Dachau is and never forget the name of Dachau.” To pay homage to this, Clarice Wilsey continues to share her father's story as a member of the Center's Speakers Bureau, and in early 2020 Clarice and co-author Bob Welch published a memoir, Letters from Dachau: A Father's Witness of War, a Daughter's Dream of Peace. Find and order the book from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.
With gratitude to University of Washington Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) graduates Leslie Denning, Conor Doyle, and Rachel Ramey for their tireless work to create this site. The MLIS team devoted their second-year capstone project to make the Wilsey Collection website a reality.
Special thanks also goes to the Peck Stacpoole Foundation and 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax Fund for their generous support of this project.