A German/American Story
I went back in 1944, when I was just 18. I went into the Army and I went right overseas again. I was overseas in 1944, and in '45 I was in Germany. The only time I spent in the United States was between '41 and '44, in other words, two-and-a-half, or three years. I graduated from high school. We lived in a small town. Port Chester, New York, and then I went back to Germany. I was deeply hurt because suddenly I saw the Germans smiling at us; they were coming with white flags. They didn't know what was going on. Nobody knew that Jews were killed. When I lived in Germany they had a newspaper called Der Sturmer. I remember reading these things sometimes and they would have pictures, propaganda sheets. They would show how awful the Jews looked. they looked like sick people. and then they would have pictures of the S.S., the elite of Germany. And they would compare: Look at the German race, look at the Jews. So, all these things flashed back in my mind and I felt deeply hurt. They didn't know, they were all innocent. They told me; I spoke to them.
When we took Ohrdruf. I spoke to some people in the town of Ohrdruf; they did not know a thing. The Mayor of Ohrdruf claimed he didn't know about it. He committed suicide. With all of them it was always somebody else. It was always: "It was not me." And I used to get a great kick out of telling them I am Jewish. "Ich bin ein Jude." When you come as a G. I., you feel protected, you know, its a completely different picture. Eyen in those days I felt myself Americanized. I'm talking about '44, ' 45. To see American soldiers dead had a much bigger impact on me. I would see somebody lying there with boots, our boots. If I saw a German lying there, a bunch of Germans, I didn't care. But to see your own!
I came to Ohrdruf with another soldier. You see, I was in the 353rd Infantry Regiment, and we were not directly at Ohrdruf. We were five, or eight miles from there and I spoke to the captain of my company to make sure. I had to go there because my relations might be there, you know. I told him where I came from: he knew how I felt about the Germans. Somebody said. ''They freed a camp at Ohrdruf and there are a lot of people there, a lot of Jews." I said I have to get there, even in those days when there was a shortage of jeeps and everything else. He said, "go there" " and he had a map. We had the towns of Ohrdruf, but it was not marked as a concentration camp. So, we went and I asked, there was still fighting going on. Two of us went and we found it and we went there.
Page 1 |
Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 |