Richard “Keith” Wilson was born in 1923 in Montrose, Kansas. When he was about six years old, he moved with his family to Spokane, WA and then eventually to Desmet, ID. After graduating high school Keith was drafted into the United States Army.
Keith served in the 71st Infantry Division and saw combat in Germany and Austria. It was in Austria that the division liberated Gunskirchen Lager, a concentration camp constructed near the end of 1944. Most prisoners in this death camp were Jews from Hungary. About 1,500 people had died before the division came, and Keith was present during it.
After being honorable discharged from the military, Keith took over the family farm. He died on June 19, 2017 in Spokane, Washington. In 2023, Carol Kauppila, Wilson’s niece, started an endowment fund in his name at the University of Idaho and donated some of his materials to the archives. These materials included photographs, service pins, and medals - two of which are Bronze Stars.
To see more of Keith’s collection or others related to World War II, search Special Collections and Archives.
Richard K. Wilson collection, MG 5809. University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives.