Robert “Bob” Hilliard was born on June 25th, 1925 in New York City. He was drafted in 1944 and served in the Infantry. In late April, 1945, Robert became the editor of his unit’s newspaper. They were stationed near Landsberg, Germany, incidentally where Hitler wrote Mein Kampf.
In May 1945, Bob’s army peers told him of a concert at Saint Ottilien Monastery because they thought he could get a story. The concert was held by musicians who were Jews recently liberated from the concentration camps. Bob and his friends continued to return to Saint Ottilien after that day.
Bob made friends with two Jewish doctors who were taking care of the remaining survivors. At Saint Ottilien, Bob witnessed the extreme mistreatment of the displaced persons there. These people had traveled from Dachau and were very sick and still wore concentration camp stripes. No one knew what to do with them, but Bob and his army buddies found creative ways to take care of them by stealing food for them, informing their friends of the situation and asking them to spread the news. The displaced persons were finally rescued in September of 1945 by US officials.
Bob has shared his story in both a documentary and a memoir. His message for the world is that the efforts of one individual, however lowly in rank, can make a life-or-death difference to another human being.