From the Philadelphia Inquirer
March 30, 2015
Leon Bass, Holocaust liberator and educator, dies at age 90
As a 20-year-old U.S. Army soldier in the all-black 183d Combat Engineers Battalion, Leon Bass arrived at the Nazis’ Buchenwald extermination camp just one day after it had been liberated in April 1945.
Bass saw the living skeletons of those who survived. The camp reeked of burned human flesh. The torture chambers were still covered in blood.
After the war, Bass left the Army as a sergeant, returned to Philadelphia, and eventually became principal of Benjamin Franklin High School. He earned a doctorate in education from Temple University.
He somehow put the horrors of Buchenwald behind him for 23 years.
But in 1968, a woman who survived the Holocaust spoke to his Benjamin Franklin students, who were less than attentive. Suddenly, Bass ordered the students to listen, telling them he also had seen the horrors the woman was describing.
Afterward, the woman thanked him, and later he received a request to speak publicly about what he had seen as a liberator.
Mr. Bass, 90, who died Saturday at Pennswood Village in Newtown, Pa., where he had lived for 17 years, continued to speak out decade after decade, regularly appearing at Holocaust remembrance events honoring survivors and liberators.
“The last time he spoke was in October in Washington,” said his daughter, Delia Bass-Dandridge. “He was pretty remarkable.”