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Germany's Merkel joins survivors, US liberators to mark 70th anniversary of Dachau liberation

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel follows youths carrying flowers on the memorial site for the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, southern Germany, Sunday, May 3, 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel follows youths carrying flowers on the memorial site for the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, southern Germany, Sunday, May 3, 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader  (The Associated Press)

  • US soldiers walk past wreaths laid on the memorial site for the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, southern Germany, Sunday, May 3, 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

    US soldiers walk past wreaths laid on the memorial site for the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, southern Germany, Sunday, May 3, 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)  (The Associated Press)

  • Blacksmith prepare a replica of the Dachau Nazi concentration camp gate, with the writing "Arbeit macht frei" (Work Sets you Free) at the main entrance of the memorial in Dachau, Germany, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. The gate was stolen in November 2014. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

    Blacksmith prepare a replica of the Dachau Nazi concentration camp gate, with the writing "Arbeit macht frei" (Work Sets you Free) at the main entrance of the memorial in Dachau, Germany, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. The gate was stolen in November 2014. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)  (The Associated Press)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp along with survivors and some of the U.S. soldiers who were there at the time.

Alan Lukens, one of the soldiers who liberated Dachau, recalled Sunday that "it was a terrible shock" to see how badly the surviving prisoners had suffered from disease, malnutrition and ill-treatment. He also remembered the excitement of the inmates as they greeted the liberators with a hand-sewn American flag they had hidden.

Dachau, near Munich, was the first concentration camp set up by the Nazis after Adolf Hitler took power in 1933. More than 200,000 people from across Europe were held there and over 40,000 prisoners died there.

Dachau was liberated by U.S. troops on April 29, 1945.