World War II

of the Greater Quad City Area

HOME

BARTON,  William

BUCKMEYER, Arnold

CLEVE, Carl R.

CORBIN, Ricard S.

HALPERN, Paul

HARTZ, Henry

HUGGINS, Harold H.

JENS, Wayne

JOHNSON, Pershing

LEWIS, Wilbur C.

McCORMICK, Harold E. (Pete)

PHLEGER, John V.

RUDDY, Douglas

WEINDRUCH, Archie

WELTY, Roger

WOLFE, Warren

 

ARNOLD BUCKMEYER

Moline, Illinois

INTERVIEW

Q:  How were you involved in the War?  What were you doing in Europe?
A:  I was born and raised in Davenport.  I now live in Moline.  I joined the national guard as a young man.  I went into the Army
on February 10, 1941.  I made $21.00 a month.  I was sent to Fort Bragg, and then to Ft. Dix, and then to Africa for two months.
I was in Naples, Italy, from December, 1942, to May, 1943.   There I encountered Germans in a monastery.  Then I was sent to
France for the invasion, and then to Germany and Luxembourg.

Q:  How did you come to experience the Holocaust first-hand?
A:  I was just outside Salzburg, Austria.  I was attached to a one-star general, driving around the countryside.  I got to
Nuremberg the day the infantry was bulldozing a track through town so we could get through.  I looked like a bomb had hit. 
I heard about Dachau, a small village off the main road.  As we came in I saw 17 cattle cars full of bodies, 10 feet high.  The
bodies had on black and white uniforms.  As we were going in I saw tags on toes with  numbers on them.  I saw some of the
large grates were bodies were stacked to be burnt.  Ashes were in big flower pots.  I guess some could buy ashes back.  There
were large piles of clothes.  There was a large room full of flower pots.
    I got behind a LIFE photographer as he took pictures of the barracks, etc.  The barracks were still crammed with prisoners;
the prisoners were in shock.  A Polish Jewish boy was hurt.  He was taking care of the barracks, doing the dirty work for the
Germans.  He saw the infantry coming in, so he took a shovel and hit a German and killed him.  He was happy since his friends
had been cremated.
    Some prisoners were tied to posts.  The infantry took the Germans and lined them up in three lines and machine-gunned them
down.  I saw it.  The captain said he couldn't stop them.  He couldn't control them.  The U.S. troops did it.
    I was there 2-3 hours after they were liberated.  They really treated them bad!  I can't find any pictures.  I used to have a bunch
of them.  It was really gruesome.  Anyone who says it didn't happen is a bunch of goofies.  I saw 17 boxcars...they were starved
to death!  People in the town said they didn't know what was going on.  There was so much stench from the burning.  When the
tank went through the wall, the first ones in, the stench was horrible!  Before it got cleaned out, some civilians were taken
through.                                                                                                           

Q:  Think about people like me, who were born long after the war was over.  What message do you as GIs who did
what you did want to leave with me and people younger than me?
A:  Every student should spend two years in the military.  Learn to take care of himself.  For example, in Switzerland, when you
get out of school, you spend nine months in the military.  Then, once every year, you go for two weeks to brush up.