Freedom Fighters: BIll Crook

After more than a half century of silence, Bill Crook of Big Wood Springs, can only now talk about his war experiences in World War Two. Crook was assigned to a hospital unit that arrived at the German Concentration Camp in Bugenwald just after the Germans, in a last inhumane act, had turned on the gas in the prisoners' housing.

Although the gas had only worked in one of the buildings, twelve hundred women and children died, along with others who were dying of hunger in the other buildings.

Crook and his unit were assigned to bury the dead and locate the living. They were told they couldn't talk about their war experiences for fifty years.

Crook was wounded a few days later when the jeep in which he was riding hit a land mine. He was thrown from the jeep and his back broken. A purple heart is among Crook's many medals.

Years later when Crook was working in a Little Rock store, he noticed a familiar tattoo on a woman's wrist. She was one of the thousands of prisoners from Bugenwald that Crook and his unit had saved.

Joan Hallmark, Reporting