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Robert Schwartz papers

Identifier: Mss 1168

Collection Overview

The papers of Robert Schwartz, medical doctor and captain in the United States Army during World War II. As part of the liberation of Buchenwald, he documented the atrocities there in photographs and text. The collection contains photographs and documents reporting on the atrocities at Buchenwald concentration camp. Additional documents and artifacts reflect his service and movements during the war.

Black and white photographs and a 6-page letter written to his wife document what Schwartz saw at Buchenwald. Other photographs feature his service in Germany and are accompanied by a few taken in England, Belgium, France, and at home in the United States. A photograph album focuses on his time at Camp Livingston in Louisiana, as well as more photographs from Europe.

Other documents include a collection from his training at the Chemical Warfare School; promotion, assignment, and transfer documents; guidelines from the US military about how to interact with German civilians; identification cards; leave documents; travel orders and procedures; financial and health documents; Surgeon General Circulation Letters; various reports and orders; ration cards; ephemera; and a small amount of correspondence.

Artifacts include a money donation tin from the Winterhilfswerk campaign in Germany, Schwartz's dog tags and Bronze Star medal, uniform patches and pins, a Nazi armband, a medical armband, a map, a copy of the book The Last Days of Hitler, and German medals.


  • Creation: 1933-1968
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1942-1945


Language of Material

Materials in English with a few in German and Dutch.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Dr. Robert Schwartz (1916-2008) received his medical degree from Middlesex University at the age of 21 and married Mildred Lerner, one of the first women to graduate from law school in Boston. They had three children.

Volunteering to serve in the Army medical corps, he was given his own medical company and served as Eisenhower's poison gas adviser. He attended the Chemical Warfare School; served in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and Germany; and participated in the liberation of Buchenwald.

After the war, he served as a doctor in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston for almost 60 years. With Gus Kostecki, he developed an acoustic-EKG that coupled heart sounds to the electrocardiogram. As a clinical professor at Tufts and Boston University, he taught physical diagnosis, differential diagnosis, and family medicine until the age of 90. He also played a major role in the founding of the American Academy of Family Practice and was a charter member. He was also a captain in the Coast Guard Auxiliary where he taught boating safety and navigation to other boaters.


2.5 linear feet (3 document boxes, 1 flat box, 1 artifact box, 2 oversize folders)


The papers of Robert Schwartz, medical doctor and captain, in the United States Army during World War II. Papers and artifacts reflect his service and activities during the war and as a participant of the liberation of Buchenwald. Included are photographs and a letter documenting the atrocities at Buchenwald concentration camp.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2023 by the family of Dr. Robert Schwartz.

Separated Material

Published books originally with the collection have been removed and cataloged separately.

Processing Information

Processed by Lauren Bickel, October 2023.

Inventory of the Robert Schwartz Papers, 1933-1968 (bulk 1942-1945)
Processed by: Lauren Bickel; finding aid created by: Lauren Bickel
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)