Services are pending for Leon Bass. A former sergeant in the U.S. Army, Bass, 90, died on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at Pennswood Village in Newtown where he had lived for 17 years.
Bass, who would later become principal of Benjamin Franklin High School, spoke about the horror he saw as a soldier in the all-Black 183d Combat Engineers Battalion. His troop arrived at the Nazis’ Buchenwald extermination camp only one day after it had been liberated in April 1945.
As a 20-year-old, he saw living skeletons of those who survived. He recalled the scent of burnt human flesh and what the torture chambers looked like.
Bass, who earned a doctorate from Temple University, spoke out against the Holocaust and received many human rights awards including the Pearlman Award for Humanitarian Advancement from Jewish Women International.
He also authored a book, Good Enough: One Man’s Memoir on the Price of the Dream. The book was featured in a documentary film, Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II.
In addition to his daughter, Bass is survived by: a daughter, Delia Bass-Dandridge; a son, Leon Jr.; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
There will be a private service for the family, and a memorial service which will be announced at a later date.