‘We wandered around a bit, and then we saw the ovens. And we realized where that smell was coming from.’

Hilbert Margol, U.S. Army veteran

Robert Lyall, National Geographic Studios

Hilbert and Howard Margol were identical twin brothers from Jacksonville, Florida, who did everything together. They worked at their father’s store together. They played high school football together.

And on April 29, 1945, they walked through the gates of hell together.

“Our convoy was headed for Munich—we knew the war was just about over,” says 96-year-old Hilbert, known to friends and family as Hibby, with a gentle Southern lilt. Spread across the dining room table of his home in Dunwoody, Georgia, were photos and mementoes of his time with the Army’s legendary 42nd Rainbow Division.

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