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Paul Glaz oral history interview

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Material Information

Title:
Paul Glaz oral history interview
Series Title:
Concentration camp liberators oral history project
Uniform Title:
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects
Physical Description:
1 sound file (36 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Language:
English
Creator:
Glaz, Paul, 1918-
Hirsh, Michael, 1943-
University of South Florida Libraries -- Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center
University of South Florida -- Library. -- Special & Digital Collections. -- Oral History Program
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Concentration camps -- History -- Germany   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Germany   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Liberation   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Atrocities   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Veterans -- United States   ( lcsh )
Veterans -- Interviews -- United States   ( lcsh )
Genocide   ( lcsh )
Crimes against humanity   ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )

Notes

Summary:
This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Paul Glaz. Glaz was a sergeant in the 4th Armored Division, which liberated Ohrdruf on April 11, 1945. He and his unit were able to drive their tanks directly into the camp, the guards having previously fled. Glaz spent at least one day in the camp, walking around to see the buildings and the stacks of corpses. He was also present when the battalion commander, Albin Irzyk, and Generals Eisenhower and Patton came to the camp. Irzyk and Glaz became friends early in the war when Glaz helped the then-lieutenant learn about tanks. In this interview, Glaz also tells some other stories from his military experience.
Venue:
Interview conducted September 28, 2008, and November 1, 2008.
Preferred Citation:
The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust (New York: Bantam Books, 2010) and Concentration Camp Liberators Oral History Project, University of South Florida Libraries, ©2010 Michael Hirsh.
Language:
Transcripts, excerpts, or any component of this interview may be used without the author's express written permission only for educational or research purposes. No portion of the interview audio or text may be broadcast, cablecast, webcast, or distributed without the author's express written permission.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Michael Hirsh.
General Note:
This interview was conducted as research for The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust / Michael Hirsch (New York: Bantam Books, 2010).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 024873157
oclc - 653197942
usfldc doi - C65-00048
usfldc handle - c65.48
System ID:
SFS0022100:00001


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Full Text

PAGE 1

COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 20 1 0 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
segment
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text Michael Hirsh: Okay.  Im talking with Paul Glaz, G-l-a-z.
1
00:00:4.9
Paul Glaz: Thats right.
2
00:00:5.1
MH: And your phone number is.
3
00:00:6.7
PG: Right.
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00:00:7.2
MH: Whats your address?
5
00:00:8.5
PG: This address here is.
6
00:00:10.6
MH: And whats your birthday?
7
00:00:11.7
PG: 1-7-18 [January 7, 1918].
8
00:00:14.4
MH: And you were with the 4th Armored Division.
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00:00:16.9
PG: 4th Armored in the 8th Tank, Company B.  Be there! (laughs)
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00:00:21.8
MH: Company B, Be there.  Which regiment?
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00:00:23.2
PG: 8th Tank.
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00:00:25.7
MH: 8th?
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00:00:27.1
PG: 8th Tank.
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00:00:28.0
MH: 8th Tank.
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PG: But it was battalion; we werent regimental.  We were the first outfit in the armored division they called the battalion.
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00:00:36.9
MH: Okay, so you were the 8th Tank Battalion.  Just tell me, what did you know about concentration camps before you got to Ohrdruf?
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00:00:45.1
PG: Whatd I know about them?
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00:00:46.2
MH: Yeah.
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00:00:46.8
PG: Well, we took a few small ones, you know, and they were rough.  They were nasty.  You know, youd better forget about them than what we saw there.
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00:00:57.7
MH: But can you forget about them?
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00:00:59.3
PG: Well, its hard.  When you see people piled up like logs, you know, they take all the clothes off them and knock their teeth out if they got any gold in their mouth or anything like that.  Ohrdruf was a rough one.  We took that one first.  I remember that because I was supposed to go on leave back home.  I made a good boys furlough, you know.  It was 4-4-1945 [April 4, 1945].
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00:01:33.2
MH: So, how come you didnt go on leave?
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PG: My loader, the kid that was loading my gun for me, his mother was bad.  She had passed away, or just passing away, at the time.  Colonelat that time, he was ColonelColonel Irzykcouldnt get him out.  The only way he could get him out was on my leave.  So, I said, Let him go.  You couldnt say no for something like that.
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MH: Howd you get to Ohrdruf?
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PG: In a tank.
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MH: Yeah, I know in a tank.  But did you know it was coming?
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PG: Oh, we knew.  We knew there was something going on over there.
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MH: Howd you know?
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PG: Well, you know, you get your orders every day.  Orders come in from headquarters, from up above.  We knew more or less what we were coming into.  We didnt know how bad it was or anything else, but you never know.
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MH: Did you hear guys talking on the radios about a lot of bodies?
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PG: Well, I saw them.
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MH: But, I mean, before you saw them, did you hear people talking about it?
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PG: No, no, because we were the first ones there.  8th Tank was the first ones that took Ohrdruf.
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00:02:45.3
MH: That was like up a hill, through woods?
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PG: No, no.  It wasnt woody or anything like that.  It was a regular town.
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MH: Yeah.
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PG: It was a regular town, and when we took it, then Patton came in himself and some figureheadsthe generals come around and all that.
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00:03:5.6
MH: Yeah, but before the generals came, tell me what you saw.
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00:03:8.3
PG: Well, we saw these people just laid out there with lime on them and everything.  They were piled up about four or five feet high, one on top of the other.  There must have been aboutI dont know, 500 or so, maybe more.
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00:03:21.0
MH: Is this inside the wire or outside the wire?
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PG: This was on the outside.
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MH: Okay.
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PG: This was on the outside they were piled up.  And they had a big hole dug; they didnt bury one at a time, they buried the whole bunch all at once, you know, in a big hole and they cover them up.  Thats what they did with them.
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MH: Right.
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00:03:39.9
PG: And what they did dothe battalion boss and everything, Irzyk and all them guys come in, and they got the mayor of the town and his wife to show them what was what.  They got so worried and so nervous about it and all they committed suicide the next day.
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00:04:0.2
MH: Right.  Were you there when Irzyk came into the camp?
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00:04:3.5
PG: Oh, yeah.  Oh, yeah.  Irzyk was a very good friend of mine.
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00:04:7.5
MH: Howd that happen?
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00:04:9.2
PG: Well, he come out of Kansas.  He was in the horse cavalry, originally.  He knew a horse from his nose to his tail, but he didnt know nothing about a tank.  We were, I thinkyeah, it was in Pine Camp.  Pine Camp, New York, Watertown.  He sees me coming toI think I was in the motor pool or something like that that day, walking through, and he says, Hey, Sergeant!  Come here, I want to talk to you.  Wheres a good place to sit down?  We sat down, you know, and he told me what he was for, what he came for.  He was only a lieutenant at that time.  He wanted to know things about a tank.  After we got talking for about an hour, we sat there talking about the bogie wheels, this and that, the guns and all that whats on a tank, he said, Hell, I learned more from an hour with you than if I was reading the book for a couple of days!  You know what I mean?
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00:05:3.3
MH: Yeah.  What are the bogie wheels?
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PG: Theyre in a track.  You ever seen the smaller wheels in a track?
52
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MH: Right.
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00:05:10.8
PG: They have about six or eight of them on each side.  Thats to hold the track; theyre in place, you know, so it doesnt
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00:05:22.8
MH: So, you saw Irzyk at Ohrdruf?
55
00:05:24.2
PG: Oh, yeah.  Oh, yeah.  We stayed thereI think we spent the whole day there, or better, even, cause I walked all around there.  Ive seen it all.
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MH: What else did you see in the camp?  Once you get past the stacks of bodies, what else do you see there?
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00:05:40.2
PG: Well, thats about all we saw.  We looked all over at everything else.  They hadI remember there was a water thing there, where they operated some kind of a mill; I forget what it was, a carpet or what, some kind of a mill that they used like electricity.  You know what I mean?  Things like that.  You dont remember everything, you know.  You forget a lot of that stuff.
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MH: Were any of the German SS still there when you got there?
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PG: No, they had run.  We knocked a lot of them off; we got a whole bunch.  See, one thing about the SSthe Germans themselves, they werent bad people.  They were in the service the same way as us.  They were drafted.  They had to serve their country.  But the SS was a bastard.  Either you or him had to go; one or the other had to die.  I mean, you had to kill him.  He either killed you or you killed him.  I was watching that on TV the other daymaybe you seen itabout the guys that didnt want to kill and didnt want to serve in the military and all.  You seen that movie that they had on TV?
60
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MH: No, I didnt.
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PG: Yeah, that was really(laughs) I mean, thats being yellow.
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MH: Were you wounded during the war?
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PG: Did I what?
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MH: Did you get wounded?
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PG: Minor stuff, minor stuff.  I got a couple of Purple Hearts, just minor stuff.  I got hit in both arms, just tore the flesh; then I got hit in the thighs (laughs) two bullets.  That one got my cojones!  (laughs)
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MH: Uh-oh.
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PG: And then I got a little shrapnel in my leg.  I got a little shrapnel in my head, you know, but nothing real bad.  I was one of the lucky ones.
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00:07:34.5
MH: Yeah.  You mentioned earlier that you saw a lot of small camps, slave camps.
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PG: Yeah.  Well, they wasyou know, they didnt amount to nothing.
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MH: Were the people still there?
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PG: Oh, yeah.  Oh, yeah.
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MH: Tell me what that was like.  Tell me what you saw.
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PG: Well, we freed a lot of them.  There wasnt too many dead.  I mean, we just freed a lot of people, you know.  Id say a lot of them, maybe 150, 100, 200 people.
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MH: In each camp?
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PG: In each camp, yeah.
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MH: What did the camps look like?
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PG: Eh, you know, nothing to talk about.  Like barns, you know, and stuff like that.  They had some kind of bunks in them.
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MH: Right.  Were these people starving, too, or were they feeding them?
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PG: Eh, the ones that just came in, they werent too bad, but the oneslike, there was one down below Dachau, was down below Ohrdruf.  That, I understand, was really bad.  One of our divisions went down there; the 7th Armored was down there.  That was really bad.  I mean, there was people in there that weighedoriginally probably weighed 180 pounds or something, 200 pounds; they were down to about 65 pounds.  I mean, practically starved to death.  That was bad.  That was a bad camp.
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MH: That wasnt one that you saw, though.
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PG: No, I didnt see that one.  I just heard a lot about them, because we didnt go down there.  That was south of us, closer to the Austrian border down there.
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00:09:10.9
MH: Yeah.  When you leave a camp like Ohrdruf and youre going on with the war, do the guys still talk about what they had seen, or do you just push it out?
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00:09:21.5
PG: No, because theyve seen so much.  We didmy outfit did 300 days of combat.  Probably you talked to Irzyk; hes got a lot of stuff written down and all.  Hes got a memory (laughs) like an elephant.  He remembers everything.  Hes a hell of a guy, good guy to know.
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00:09:44.0
MH: Yeah, Ive talked to him.  Ive been to his house.
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PG: He had a lot to do with Tom Brokaw and them guys when he wrote that book about the soldierthe Second World War, you know?
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MH: Yeah.
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PG: Yeah, hes a great guy.  And hes been to Europe I dont know how many times.  He went inoh, I guess he had over thirty years in the service.  Every time I go down south, I stay with him.  (laughs) He gets mad at me if I stay in a hotel.  Yeah, he treated meI got along good with him.  In fact, I got along so good the other brassyou know, the other officerswere so damn jealous of me that they were afraid to attack me, because I got along too good with the battalion commander.
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MH: Yeah.  What was your rank over there?
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PG: I was a sergeant.  I was a sergeant.  I was a sergeant, a car commander, and gunner, mostly a gunner.  I was a good gunner.  I was one of the top gunners in my battalion.
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00:10:52.3
MH: Whatd you do with your life when you came home from the war?
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PG: I was a millwright machinist, and I worked for a cracker company, Sunshine Biscuit Company.  Youve probably heard of them.
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MH: Ive heard of them, yes.
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PG: They were doing a lot ofreplacing a lot of machinery, and I was having that heavy stuff, you know, millwright work.  But then they formed a union, and I was a snapper.  You know what a snapper is.  I mean, I had about eight, nine guys working under me.  I used to get nervous when we were raising something up and they would put their arms under the equipment, maybe it weighed ten, fifteen, twenty tons.
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MH: Ooh.
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PG: If one of those blocks ever snapped, I mean, goodbye your arm.  It was dangerous.  The next thing was arbitration, arbitration!  So, I said, The hell with this! and I quit.  I went into building homes, and I became a builder.
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MH: Okay.  You go to the reunions regularly, right?
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PG: Oh, yeah.  I made them all but about three of them.  I had three of themthe first two I missed, then Irzyk called me up.  I didnt even know there was a reunion, because I went homeI was home in early June; in May I went home.  Actually, I was relieved from the military: I was re-discharged.  I think it was 2 June or something like that.  I was the high pointer, you know what I mean?  I was the oldest guy in the division when it was formed.
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MH: Right.  Okay.  Anything else you remember about those camps?
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PG: Well, there isntI mean, what can you say about them, you know?  You see a lot of stuff, the smell and odor, and stuff like that.  You see these poor devils, you know, theyre hungry and whatnot; you give them cigarettes and whatever you had.  You felt sorry for them, but what can you do?  But, you know, if you put in the time that we did and fought as much as usour division was different.  We were together so long that we were like family, and were still the same way.
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MH: Howd you happen to stay together so long?
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PG: Well, what we did, we were formed in 1941 out of Fort Knox, Kentucky.  They formed the 4th Armored Division.  Then they used to cadre out, where you broke in troops, you know, trained them.  What we thought[the ones that] the officers didnt think were good enough for em, they sent out on cadres.  You dont send out the best; you send out the worst and kept the best, you know.  So, we were really buddy-buddy, good friends and everything else.  Were like family.  Weve become like a big family.  Being together so long, we knew people all over the division.  You know what I mean?
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MH: Hmm.  Okay.  All right, well, I thank you very much for taking the time.
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PG: We had a lot ofI mean, I really enjoyed my service.  I didnt mind it that much.  You know, we bitched, everybody bitched; thats (laughs) part of being in the Army, you know.
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MH: Right.
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PG: (laughs) Latrine bitching and all that stuff.  Oh, Ill tell you a good one.  I was in charge of quarters one time; you know what charge of quarters is?
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MH: Yes, I do.
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PG: The old man, (inaudible), we went through the barracks; they were checking the barracks out and everything else.  We stopped at the latrine, and there was a young kid out of the Great Lake region, not too bright, you know; he was a cook or some damn thing.  Hes sitting on a pot (laughs) relieving himself.  We walked in there, and he gets up and hes saluting!
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MH: (laughs)
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PG: (laughs) I said, As you were!  As you were!  As you were!  There, kid!  (laughs) The old man laughed like hell, you know?
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MH: (laughs) Whatd you win your Silver Star for?
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PG: What was what?
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MH: You got a Silver Star?
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PG: Yeah.
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MH: Whatd you get it for?
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PG: I saved a couple of guys.  I went onwe lost one thing, it seems.  Banks, then there was Jonesyno, not Jonesy, Sergeant Bailey.  That was our first sergeant; he wanted to become an officer, and he was a fool because he never had to take nothing before, but he went for it.  He got killed.  I think there was about six or seven of them that crossed the river.  I think they lost about three tanks.
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I run across the river, you know, and I picked up one of the lieutenants, Lieutenant Menk.  I picked him up and I carried him back, must have been about 300 yards or better, maybe more.  And the old man says to mehe got all nervousAre there any more? I said, Yeah.  Hell, theres four or five of them there that I seen that are hurt.  So, he ran over with me and we brought these guys back.  They thought it was (laughs) really something big, you know, and they gave me a Silver Star for it.  You know those things: the right people see you at the right time, and they make something out of it.
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MH: Do you have a photo of yourself from World War II?
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PG: Yeah, I have some photos.
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MH: Could you send me one, and then Ill copy it and send it back to you?
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PG: What do you want, military?
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MH: Yeah, military.
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PG: I got a couple of photos in a tank and whatnot.  Ill scrape em up and Ill send you some stuff.
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MH: Okay.  You want me to send you an envelope?
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PG: You send me an envelope.
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MH: Okay.
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PG: I would have got back to you.  I would have got back to you, but I gotI was in New York two weeks ago, and I had company; some relatives of mine from Canada came in, and they couldnt get a flight back to Montreal, so I said, Ill take you up there.  So, I went up there, and I spent a couple of extra days there.
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MH: Oh, okay.
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PG: Thats why I didnt get back to you.
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MH: All righty.
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PG: Okay.
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MH: Thank you very much, sir.
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PG: If theres anything else, give me a call.
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MH: Will do.
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PG: You got my other number?
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00:17:38.3
MH: Yes, I do.
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00:17:39.3
PG: Okay.
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MH: Thank you.
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PG: Okay.  Take care of yourself.  Bye-bye.
139
00:17:41.9
MH: Right.  Bye-bye.
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PG: Thats quite a while ago.
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MH: A few months, yes.
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PG: We just came in from Pittsburgh.  We were in Pittsburgh last week.
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MH: Oh, okay.
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PG: That was terrible.  It was terrible.  We were at the Sheraton hotel over there, and they served us dinner there for $50.  It was supposed to be prime ribs of beef, and it was like chewing on a rag, and then you spit it out.  You couldntit was inedible.
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00:18:8.6
MH: Oh, jeez.  Im sorry.
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PG: Thats how bad it was.
147
00:18:10.9
MH: It makes K rations sound good.
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PG: (laughs) You better believe it!
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MH: Okay, so your name is Paul Glaz.  G-l
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PG: G-l-a-z, right.
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00:18:18.7
MH: And your address is and your phone number is.
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00:18:23.1
PG: Right.
153
00:18:24.0
MH: Whats your date of birth?
154
00:18:25.2
PG: 1-7-18 [January 7, 1918].
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MH: 1-7-18, okay.  And youre with the 4th Armored Division.
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00:18:31.9
PG: I was with the 4th Armored right from the beginning right to the end.
157
00:18:35.1
MH: Tell me what the beginning was.  Where were you when you went in the Army?
158
00:18:39.8
PG: I was in New York, Long Island.  I lived in Long Island, and I was drafted on May 14, forty-one [1941].
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MH: Forty-one [1941].  You were in the Army for a long time.
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PG: Four years.
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00:18:53.1
MH: Four years.
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00:18:53.7
PG: Four years.  And then I made a rotation furlough at the end, and I had a lot of points, so they let me out.  I got out in forty-five [1945].
163
00:19:4.0
MH: Whered they send you after you got drafted?
164
00:19:7.7
PG: We went out ofwe went to Watertown, New York.
165
00:19:15.8
MH: Okay.  How long before you got to the 4th Armored Division?
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PG: That was the 4th Armored right away.  Thats where they started it out.
167
00:19:24.6
MH: Okay.  And what
168
00:19:26.9
PG: They started out of Fort Knox.  They sent a cadre out of Fort Knox, and we went to fill the cadre when they opened that camp.
169
00:19:36.0
MH: What did they train you to do?
170
00:19:40.2
PG: When we first got in there, we had nothing.  We had nothing.  We went in for one year; it was supposed to be one year training and they were supposed to let us out.  And then Pearl Harbor came along, and that was the end.
171
00:19:55.0
MH: Yeah.  Were you a tank driver, were you a loader?  What was your job?
172
00:20:0.6
PG: I was a gunner and a car commander.
173
00:20:2.6
MH: Okay.  When did they send you over to Europe?
174
00:20:7.8
PG: We went into Europe in 1943, right around Christmastime in forty-three [1943].
175
00:20:16.2
MH: And your first battle was what?
176
00:20:19.2
PG: Right at Normandy, the hedgerows in Normandy.
177
00:20:23.4
MH: Okay.  So
178
00:20:25.2
PG: We went overguys will tell you all kinds of stories.  But what they had to do for tanks, they had to make a bridgehead form so they could land, because theyre too damned expensive, you know, just to try to get on the beach.  Youd lose too many tanks.  So, they send the jumpers out, the paratroopers out, the infantry, and the artillery from the ships and all that, you know, to get on the beach.  We got on the beachoh, Id say maybe three weeks after the war started.  Then we went right for Normandy and the hedgerows there, and then we went down south.  From the south, we went right from Paris; we landed and wound up in Souppes [Souppes-sur-Loing].  We went day and night.  I mean, like wild men we went.
179
00:21:21.7
MH: This was early in the war.
180
00:21:24.6
PG: This was the beginning of it, yeah.  That was in forty-four [1944].
181
00:21:30.0
MH: Forty-four [1944] or forty-three [1943]?
182
00:21:32.6
PG: Forty-four [1944].  We didnt really go into combat until June forty-four [1944].  June 6 or something in forty-four [1944] is when the United States went into Normandy.
183
00:21:47.7
MH: Okay, so youre talking about the D-Day invasion.
184
00:21:50.4
PG: Thats right.
185
00:21:51.1
MH: Okay.  What did you know at that point about concentration camps or the Holocaust or anything?
186
00:21:58.0
PG: Well, just what we heard or read about, and thats about all.  But we went through a few of them.  We went to Ohrdruf and then a couple other ones, little ones we went through.
187
00:22:11.0
MH: Which were first, Ohrdruf or the little ones?
188
00:22:13.3
PG: The little ones.
189
00:22:14.4
MH: Can you tell me about those?  Do you remember them?
190
00:22:16.7
PG: Oh, jeez, I dont remember.  If I hear the names, Ill remember them.
191
00:22:20.3
MH: Ive actually talked to a number of guys who dont even know the names of small camps that they went through, and they probably didnt even have names.
192
00:22:29.3
PG: Well, its so long ago, you dont remember this.  Ohrdruf was, I think, one of the first big ones we went through.
193
00:22:38.1
MH: It was absolutely the first big one.
194
00:22:40.2
PG: That was the first big one we went through.
195
00:22:42.1
MH: Tell me about coming to Ohrdruf.  What did you see?
196
00:22:45.7
PG: That waswe seen bodies laid up there.  They laid them up like cords of wood, one on top of the other.  They were naked.  That was on the outside.  They were naked, and theyd laid them up about four foot high, lime in between.  There was pictures in Look magazine and everything else.  It was terrible; it was a terrible-looking thing.
197
00:23:8.8
MH: How old were you then?
198
00:23:11.7
PG: Oh, at that time I was probably about twenty-six.
199
00:23:16.5
MH: What does it do to a twenty-six-year-old guy seeing stuff like that?
200
00:23:22.0
PG: What does it do to him?  It all depends what kind of a man he is.  If hes a man, I mean, hes all right.  But there were so many guys that were scared, you know.  They just didnt have it.  And we had quite a fewwe had, actually, nobody reallythey never even talk about it, but I think when we went overseas and before we went into combat, we mustve had about 100 guys that run out of the division.
201
00:23:49.9
MH: You mean they deserted?
202
00:23:51.4
PG: They deserted, right.  Theyre yellow.  They were yellow, you know what I mean?
203
00:23:56.2
MH: Nobody wants to die.
204
00:23:57.5
PG: Hell. Well, hey, that was our thing we had to do.
205
00:24:1.6
MH: Right.  Did you go into the camp at Ohrdruf?
206
00:24:5.8
PG: Oh, yeah, I was right in there.  The 8th Tank was the first one that went into it.
207
00:24:11.7
MH: Which was?
208
00:24:13.1
PG: 8th Tank, out of the 4th Armored.
209
00:24:17.6
MH: What unit in the 4th Armored were you in at that point?
210
00:24:21.0
PG: I was in the 8th Tank.
211
00:24:22.3
MH: A Tank?
212
00:24:23.3
PG: 8th Tank.  8th Tank Battalion.
213
00:24:25.8
MH: 8th Tank Battalion, okay.  So, did you drive the tank into the camp, or were the tanks outside the camp?
214
00:24:33.7
PG: No, we drove right into there.  We drove right into it.  We drove right into it.  We lost a couple of tanks getting into there, but we got in there.
215
00:24:41.3
MH: You saw the surviving inmates?
216
00:24:45.7
PG: We saw a few of them were still alive, you know, but most of them were dead.  And then what they didI mean, we got in there and [George S.]  Patton came in, [Dwight D.]  Eisenhower came over, whatnot, and they showedtried to show the people in town what was going on.  Everybody who saw it said they didnt know nothing about it.
217
00:25:7.2
MH: Yeah.  They didnt see it, they didnt smell it, they didnt hear it.
218
00:25:10.0
PG: Yeah.  But it was inI think it was in May.
219
00:25:15.2
MH: It was April 3 or 4.
220
00:25:18.1
PG: Something like that: very early in the spring, anyway.  I remember it smelled like hell.  Dead bodies, you know, just like an animal or anything else will stink.  God only knows how long they laid there.
221
00:25:29.4
MH: Were there any SS still around, or were they gone?
222
00:25:32.1
PG: Oh, they run.  When they heard the 4th Armored was coming, they took off.  We had a thing between the SS and the 4th Armored: one or the other had to go.
223
00:25:43.3
MH: Tell me about that.
224
00:25:45.4
PG: Well, when you fought them, you didnt take them; you killed them.  If they got us, they did the same thing with us.
225
00:25:52.7
MH: Was that because of Malmdy?
226
00:25:55.2
PG: Well, it justthey thought they were better than us, you know, tougher than we.
227
00:26:0.0
MH: Yeah.  Ive also heard from a lot of guys that, after they saw the camps, they didnt take any prisoners.
228
00:26:8.9
PG: Oh, the war didnt last that long.  The war was practically over at that time.
229
00:26:15.2
MH: Right.
230
00:26:15.9
PG: It was practically over.  It finished inlets see, around
231
00:26:19.0
MH: May 8.
232
00:26:20.6
PG: May 8.  Yeah, because I was supposed to leave in March or something on a rotation furlough.  What happened [was] my loader, the kid that used to load the gun for me, his mother was passing away or something like that, and he had to go home.  The only way General [Albin] Irzyk could get him out was on my rotation, on my furlough.  I said, Let him go.  You couldnt say no to something like that.
233
00:26:48.6
MH: Yeah.  Tell me about Irzyk.
234
00:26:51.1
PG: Irzyk?  Oh, he was a terrific guy.  Irzyk was a terrific man.
235
00:26:56.9
MH: Why?  What wasI interviewed him.  I went to his house.
236
00:27:0.4
PG: Oh, he was a real gentleman.  I mean, you talked to him, you probably found him to be a nice guy, right?
237
00:27:4.9
MH: Yes, absolutely.
238
00:27:6.3
PG: His wife is very nice.  I know Irzyk very well.  I go toI have been over there many a time, slept upstairs in his house and everything else.  Were really close.  Real close.
239
00:27:18.5
MH: What made him such a good leader?
240
00:27:21.4
PG: He was a gentleman, and he knewwhat a memory that guys got!  He knew practically every man in the battalion: 750-some-odd guys in the battalion, and he practically knew everybody by their name.  He was a realI mean, I dont think you could find anybody could say a bad word about him.
241
00:27:42.5
MH: Okay.  What was your rank at the time?
242
00:27:45.8
PG: Sergeant.
243
00:27:46.9
MH: Sergeant.
244
00:27:48.0
PG: I didnt want to beI couldve been a staff sergeant, but I didnt want to be, because you were like a babysitter.  Weekends come along or somethingI mean, I used to like to enjoy myself, go out.  I used to hang around with a Jewish fellow named Miller, Bill Miller.  He died here aboutlast year?  Close to two years, I guess.  Me and him, boy, we had to see everything.  We were in the military to enjoy ourselves.
245
00:28:18.2
MH: Yeah.  When
246
00:28:20.1
PG: Take care of the girls.  (laughs)
247
00:28:21.3
MH: I hope so.  When did you get out of the service?
248
00:28:25.7
PG: I got out very early: at the end of May, I was out.  See, they hold you a few days.  I was told right away in May that I had so many pointsyou know, I was a high-pointerthat Im due to get out, so they let me out.  Theyre gonna let me out, okay, Ill go.
249
00:28:48.1
MH: And you went back home?
250
00:28:49.4
PG: I went home, yeah.
251
00:28:50.2
MH: What did you do for the rest of your life?
252
00:28:53.1
PG: I was a snapper in Sunshine Biscuit Company.  I was a millwright machinist.  They formed a union over there, you know, and the snappers were not in the union; only the workers were in the union.
253
00:29:10.4
MH: Whats a snapper?
254
00:29:11.2
PG: The boss, the foreman.
255
00:29:13.5
MH: A foreman?  Oh, okay.
256
00:29:14.3
PG: He used to runhe had a gang, you know, and took care of the job.
257
00:29:19.9
MH: Okay.
258
00:29:22.1
PG: So, I told my boss, GeorgeI cant think of his name right nowThis aint for me, and I got out and become a builder.  And thats what I did the rest of my life.  I was a builder.  Build homes, bought land, sold land, and stuff like that.
259
00:29:39.8
MH: Did you get married?
260
00:29:41.0
PG: Oh, yeah.
261
00:29:41.4
MH: Kids?
262
00:29:42.2
PG: One son.  I got one son, one daughter-in-law, and one granddaughter.  I lost my wife ten years ago.
263
00:29:49.1
MH: Im sorry.
264
00:29:50.2
PG: Its one of those things.  Poor thing died.  She had a rough death; she had cancer.  Rough.
265
00:29:57.1
MH: Yeah.  Do you have a picture of yourself from World War II?
266
00:30:1.0
PG: Yeah, I have someyeah, Ive got some pictures around.
267
00:30:5.2
MH: If I put an envelope in the mail to you, could you send me a picture of yourself?
268
00:30:11.3
PG: Yeah, I can send a picture of myself, maybe with a couple other guys in it.
269
00:30:14.8
MH: Okay.  Ill copy it and Ill send it back to you.
270
00:30:17.7
PG: No, thats all right.  If I send it to you, dont worry about it.
271
00:30:19.9
MH: Okay.
272
00:30:21.1
PG: I got plenty of them around.  But the thing is, see, I live in two different homes.  I got a home in and then I got home over here in.
273
00:30:29.0
MH: Okay.  So, what address should I send it to?
274
00:30:31.9
PG:
275
00:30:33.2
MH: Okay.  Ill send you an envelope and a release form to sign.  And I already have a picture of you that I took at the reunion, so Ive got a current picture of you.
276
00:30:46.2
PG: Real ugly guy, eh?
277
00:30:47.5
MH: Well, you were wearing a hat.
278
00:30:48.9
PG: (laughs) I had a guywe used to come from Pittsburgh, and he sent mehe was in a maintenance part of the company, and he brought a bunch of pictures of me and different guys, and even my tank.  Even my tank, Big Mikeyou know, the tank I had.  He had pictures of that he gave to me.
279
00:31:14.4
MH: Okay.  Well, if you have a good picture that really shows you real well, thatd be great.
280
00:31:19.0
PG: Okay.
281
00:31:19.8
MH: Okay?  Thank you very
282
00:31:20.9
PG: What do you want, a military picture, or do you want
283
00:31:23.8
MH: No, a military picture.
284
00:31:25.5
PG: All right.  Ill send youIll Photostat a picture and Ill send it.
285
00:31:32.0
MH: Well, if youthe thing is, I need to get, like, almost the original, so I can make a good copy on the computer, and then Ill send it back to you.  If you just Photostat it, it wont come out good in the book.  So, if you can send me the original, Ill copy it and send it back.
286
00:31:46.4
PG: Ive only got when they made them on thethey put them asthey came out pretty good.
287
00:31:55.3
MH: Okay.
288
00:31:56.6
PG: They came out pretty good.  Ill send you one thats 8x10.
289
00:32:1.6
MH: Okay.  Ill send you an
290
00:32:2.8
PG: Im on top of a tank rightjust after the Battle of Bastogne.
291
00:32:7.7
MH: Okay.  Ill send you an envelope.  Okay.  Thank you very much, Paul.  I appreciate it.
292
00:32:12.4
PG: You want a tank?  I can send you a tank, too.
293
00:32:15.6
MH: Okay.
294
00:32:17.0
PG: All right, Ill throw a tank in there.  What else is new?
295
00:32:19.9
MH: Nothing.  Ive talked to about 110 guys so far, who liberatedIve probably talked to guys who were at maybe thirty different camps.  And its moving along.  So, I will talk to you, then.
296
00:32:37.0
PG: See, a lot of guys, they bullshit a lot: they tell you stories, you know.
297
00:32:42.0
MH: Ive found some of that, too.
298
00:32:43.5
PG: The thing is, you do what you gotta do.  You know what I mean?
299
00:32:46.0
MH: Yep.
300
00:32:47.7
PG: Yeah, thats about all I could say.  Some guys, you know, they did nothing.  They were in the rear echelon and they hear stories what happened from our guys in the front lines, and theyre talking, Oh, I did this.  When you hear that, forget about it.
301
00:33:5.1
MH: Okay.
302
00:33:7.2
PG: You know, I won the second-highest award my country has to give me.  I got a Silver Star for gallantry in action.
303
00:33:15.3
MH: What was the Silver Star for?
304
00:33:18.5
PG: One of our officersnot only one of our officers.  We lost about six tanks crossing a river, and they got shot up real bad; real bad they got shot up.  There was Sergeant Bailey there, Lieutenant Menk; they got up shot up very bad.  I run over like a nut over there, and I brought a couple of them back on my back, you know.  Brought them back there and administrate first aid, give them shots and all that stuff, you know, got the medics for them.  You do what you gotta do.  They wouldve done the same thing for me.
305
00:33:53.3
MH: I understand that.
306
00:33:54.4
PG: Thats being a soldier.
307
00:33:58.0
MH: Yes, sir, I understand that.  You guys in World War II mostly did a hell of a job.
308
00:34:3.7
PG: A lot of these kids todayI was mad at my son the other day; hes complaining about Bush and this and that.  I said, Bush?  What the hell are you talking about?  You never served, you never had nothing to do in the military, and youre knocking the man.
309
00:34:19.0
MH: Yeah, but [George W.]  Bush is a phony, man.  You know, I was a skinny little Jewish kid from the North Side of Chicago, and I went to Vietnam.  I was with the 25th Infantry Division.  George Bush pulled all the strings he could get to fly in a National Guard unit in Texas, and he didnt even show up half the time there.
310
00:34:40.3
PG: That was the other Bush, the old man [George H.W.  Bush], right?
311
00:34:42.5
MH: No, that was the current Bush.
312
00:34:44.2
PG: Oh, this current Bush?
313
00:34:45.3
MH: Yeah, the current Bush.  The old man did his job.  The old man was shot down in World War II.
314
00:34:50.4
PG: I know.  He was shot down in the ocean.
315
00:34:53.2
MH: Yeah.  Different story.
316
00:34:55.8
PG: He jumpedwhen was it, about five years ago?  The old man jumped out of an airplane with a parachute here.  You heard about that one?
317
00:35:5.0
MH: Yeah.
318
00:35:5.9
PG: Eh, he was all right.
319
00:35:7.1
MH: All right.  Well, Ill send that envelope to you.  Thank you very much, Paul.
320
00:35:10.9
PG: Okay.  Nice talking to you.
321
00:35:12.0
MH: Nice talking with you.  You take care.
322
00:35:12.9
PG: Bye-bye.
323
00:35:13.6
MH: Bye-bye.


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Glaz, Paul,
1918-
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Paul Glaz oral history interview
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interviewed by Michael Hirsh.
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Tampa, Fla. :
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2008.
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1 sound file (36 min.) :
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Concentration camp liberators oral history project
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This interview was conducted as research for The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust / Michael Hirsch (New York: Bantam Books, 2010).
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Interview conducted September 28, 2008, and November 1, 2008.
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The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust (New York: Bantam Books, 2010) and Concentration Camp Liberators Oral History Project, University of South Florida Libraries, 2010 Michael Hirsh.
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Transcripts, excerpts, or any component of this interview may be used without the author's express written permission only for educational or research purposes. No portion of the interview audio or text may be broadcast, cablecast, webcast, or distributed without the author's express written permission.
520
This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Paul Glaz. Glaz was a sergeant in the 4th Armored Division, which liberated Ohrdruf on April 11, 1945. He and his unit were able to drive their tanks directly into the camp, the guards having previously fled. Glaz spent at least one day in the camp, walking around to see the buildings and the stacks of corpses. He was also present when the battalion commander, Albin Irzyk, and Generals Eisenhower and Patton came to the camp. Irzyk and Glaz became friends early in the war when Glaz helped the then-lieutenant learn about tanks. In this interview, Glaz also tells some other stories from his military experience.
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1918-
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