CLEVE, Carl R.
CORBIN, Ricard S.
HUGGINS, Harold H.
LEWIS, Wilbur C.
Harold E. (Pete)
PHLEGER, John V.
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.
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
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
Q: Think about people like
me, who were born long after the war was over. What message do you as GIs who
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