USF Libraries
USF Digital Collections

Orville Larson oral history interview

CLICK HERE FOR SYNCRONIZED AUDIO & FULL-TEXT TRANSCRIPT VIA THE OHPI PLAYER ( Related URL )
MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Orville Larson oral history interview
Series Title:
Concentration camp liberators oral history project
Uniform Title:
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects
Physical Description:
1 sound file (25 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Language:
English
Creator:
Larson, Orville, 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 -- Austria   ( lcsh )
World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Austria   ( 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 Orville Lawson. Lawson was a member of the 11th Armored Division, which liberated Mauthausen on May 6, 1945. When they arrived at the camp its gates were open, and they were able to drive their tanks directly inside. The battalion headquarters took over the camp, and the soldiers were each assigned jobs; Larson's was guard duty. Prisoners who could travel were sent back to their home countries, while the sick ones were given medical treatment. Larson's division stayed in the camp for several weeks and were then dispatched to the Alps to search for the SS guards.
Venue:
Interview conducted September 5, 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 - 024890892
oclc - 656362676
usfldc doi - C65-00073
usfldc handle - c65.73
System ID:
SFS0022123:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text

PAGE 1

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


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader cim 2200601Ia 4500
controlfield tag 001 024890892
005 20120518133819.0
006 m u
m d
007 sz zunnnnnzned
cr nna||||||||
008 100817s2008 flunnnn od t n eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a C65-00073
0 033
20080905
b 3934
035
(OCoLC)656362676
040
FHM
c FHM
d FHM
043
n-us---
e-au---
090
D805.G3
1 100
Larson, Orville,
1918-
245
Orville Larson oral history interview
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Michael Hirsh.
260
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
2008.
300
1 sound file (25 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (17 p.)
490
Concentration camp liberators oral history project
5 FTS
500
This interview was conducted as research for The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust / Michael Hirsch (New York: Bantam Books, 2010).
FTS
518
Interview conducted September 5, 2008.
FTS
524
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.
546
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 Orville Lawson. Lawson was a member of the 11th Armored Division, which liberated Mauthausen on May 6, 1945. When they arrived at the camp its gates were open, and they were able to drive their tanks directly inside. The battalion headquarters took over the camp, and the soldiers were each assigned jobs; Larson's was guard duty. Prisoners who could travel were sent back to their home countries, while the sick ones were given medical treatment. Larson's division stayed in the camp for several weeks and were then dispatched to the Alps to search for the SS guards.
600
Larson, Orville,
1918-
610
United States.
Army.
Armored Division, 11th.
United States.
Army.
Armored Division, 11th
v Personal narratives.
2
Mauthausen (Concentration camp)
650
Concentration camps
z Austria
x History.
World War, 1939-1945
Concentration camps
Austria.
World War, 1939-1945
Concentration camps
Liberation.
World War, 1939-1945
Atrocities.
World War, 1939-1945
Personal narratives, American.
World War, 1939-1945
Veterans
United States.
Veterans
United States
Interviews.
Genocide.
Crimes against humanity.
7 655
Oral history.
local
Online audio.
local
700
Hirsh, Michael,
1943-
710
University of South Florida Libraries.
Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center.
University of South Florida.
Library.
Special & Digital Collections.
Oral History Program.
730
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects.
830
Concentration camp liberators oral history project.
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?c65.73
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
FTS
951
10
SFU01:002223442;
FTS


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript segment idx 0 time 00:00:0.0 text Michael Hirsh: Okay. First of all, could you give me your full name and spell it for me, please? 1 00:00:5.6 Orville Larson: Oh, who are you? 2 00:00:6.4 MH: Oh, Im sorry. My name is Michael Hirsh. Im an author, I live in Florida. Im writing a book that will be published by Bantam Dell, a division of Random House, in early 2010. The working title is The Last Liberators: Americas Final Witness to the Holocaust. 3 00:00:22.5 OH: Yeah. 4 00:00:23.4 MH: And I actually got your nameI believe I got it from Beth Eberhardt ,whos the daughter of an 11th Armored man whos deceased. So, what Id like to do is interview you over the phone. 5 00:00:39.0 OH: Yeah. Theres not many of us left anymore. 6 00:00:40.7 MH: I know it. Thats why Im tracking you guys down. So, if its okay, could you give me your name and address? 7 00:00:47.6 OL: Orville Larson. 8 00:00:50.9 MH: And Larson is L-a-r-s-o-n? 9 00:00:54.1 OL: Yeah, right. 10 00:00:54.8 MH: And your phone number is. Whats your date of birth? 11 00:00:58.4 OL: 10-31-18 [October 31, 1918]. 12 00:01:2.0 MH: So, how old are you today? 13 00:01:3.6 OL: Well, Im eighty-nine. 14 00:01:5.2 MH: Eighty-nine. And you were with the 11th Armored Division at Mauthausen and Gusen. 15 00:01:9.4 OL: Yeah. 16 00:01:11.9 MH: Where were you before the Army? 17 00:01:11.8 OL: Well, I was workin in California. 18 00:01:14.4 MH: Whereabouts? 19 00:01:15.2 OL: I worked in San Diego, building bombers. 20 00:01:18.7 MH: Building bombers? 21 00:01:19.6 OH: Yeah. (inaudible) 22 00:01:21.8 MH: At where? 23 00:01:22.7 OL: B-24s. 24 00:01:24.3 MH: And so you got drafted, or you enlisted? 25 00:01:28.3 OL: Welloh, yeah, I got drafted inwell, I was in the first draft they had, but they turned me down physically.  So, then I was put in 4-F and I worked in the lumberyard for a while. And then I had some friends that came to San Diegowages were better, weather was better and all that, so I went to went to school and learned about bombers and airplanes, came out and got a job at Consolidated [Aircraft], and worked in B-24s until June of forty-four [1944] when they drafted me, finally. 26 00:01:58.4 MH: In June of forty-four [1944]. And whered they send you? 27 00:02:2.2 OL: Well, I went to Camp Fannin in Texas. 28 00:02:4.7 MH: And whatwere youafter basic, did you immediately get put in the 11th Armored, or were you sent over 29 00:02:12.0 OL: Yeah. See, when we got out of Camp Fannin, we had to go to Baltimore, or Boston, and shipped out. And when I got into Europe in the replacement center, why, then I got put in the 11th Armored. 30 00:02:28.4 MH: So, whered you join the 11th Armored? 31 00:02:29.9 OL: Thats when the Battle of Bastogne just ended. 32 00:02:34.0 MH: And you were a replacement going in. 33 00:02:36.5 OL: Yeah. 34 00:02:37.3 MH: That had to be a scary time. 35 00:02:40.8 OL: Yeah. In a lot of ways, yeah. 36 00:02:44.4 MH: What was your first combat experience? 37 00:02:48.2 OL: Well, wed taken villages, hills, anywhere where there was a defense. That was in about middle of January, later part of January of forty-five [1945]. 38 00:03:3.6 MH: And what was that experience like for you? 39 00:03:7.9 OL: Well, the first one was, we took the Siegfried Lines near Saint-Vith, just south of Saint-Vith, Germany [sic]. It was on the edge of France or Germany. Saint-Vith is actually located in Belgium.  But anyhow, like about two oclock in the morning, we went dis-armored. And we never did that, you know. 40 00:03:27.9 MH: What does that mean? 41 00:03:28.8 OL: That means you walked. In an armored division, you ride, and youre in armored vehicles. But everybody took rifles and grenades and one ration, one days rationyou know, a K rationand we took off about two oclock in the morning. And it was cold and dark and a lot of snow. 42 00:03:49.9 MH: Whyd they have you do that instead of stay on the tanks? 43 00:03:51.8 OL: Well, it was surprise raid for the concentration camp, or for the pillboxes. There were a lot of pillboxes, and by about daylight, we took about two miles of pillboxes. We went in abreast, spread out. And it was a pretty good deal, cause there were a lot of mineswe lost more people stepping on mines than we did fire power. We caught a lot of em back having breakfast. So we got dug in between pillboxes, about daybreak, and of course we were digging fast, cause that was kinda frozen, rocky soil. And we got againpretty soon they come back, marching back after breakfast. We figured theyd been out for breakfast and come back behind the lines. 44 00:04:37.5 Well, we soon annihilated them because the artilleries just opened up, just enormous; but we stayed there two or three days just holding it. And kinda got surrounded to start with, but we finally got liberated. And didnt have much food, either. Didnt know it for the first day. But thats the way it was in the Army. But anyhow, so after about two or three days, we just held it and some other division came in and relieved us, and then we went back behind the lines and went south about, oh, twenty-eight, thirty miles or so. We traveled at night. And then we were doing guard duty along the Siegfried Line down there, thats right west of Prm, Germany, on the Our River. 45 00:05:27.6 MH: On which river? 46 00:05:29.7 OL: Our, O-u-r. 47 00:05:31.0 MH: O-u-r, okay. 48 00:05:32.2 OL: So we wereit was night, and we were duty along the river to keep any Germans from crossing, and then every other night wed be back in a little village, just doing guard duty in the valleys and stuff like that to keep em from coming across. And so one morning, before daylightit was dark outI was down there in a little valley on a machine gun, and I heard a noise like Id never heard before. I didnt know if the Germans were coming after us, or we were going after them. But soon as it got daylight, it was foggy. And I saw the fog coming in. 49 00:06:5.1 Well, pretty soon I could hear armored division moving forward, happened to be our battalion was in reserve. Boy, that was a good thing. And the other two battalions were making a raid through the Siegfried Line. Soon as it got light out, I could see the tanks and the artillery and everything moving forward, and so they crossed the line. We didnt have to do it that time. So, we were in reserve until the next morning, then we got in our vehicles and we followed. We stopped about six or eight miles west of Prm before the night. And artillery just annihilated the forest, just nothing left but stumps. But we dug in and a lot of snow. Shelby was a good friend of mine, he wasShelby from Kentuckyand we made a hole and put brush over the top of it. 50 00:06:57.9 MH: Are you talking about Shelby Keeton Shelby Keeton was also interviewed for the Concentration Camp Liberators Oral History Project. The DOI for his interview is C65-00066.? 51 00:06:59.5 OL: Yeah. Howd you get in contact with him? 52 00:07:2.1 MH: I talked to him the other day. 53 00:07:2.9 OL: Oh, yeah, hes still alive. Hell be ninety September 6. 54 00:07:8.0 MH: September 8. 55 00:07:10.5 OL: September 8, oh. Anyhow, he wanted me to come for his birthday, but I dont think I can make it. But anyhow, we mademy kitchen came up and give us some food. We had some empty cans, so we tried to make a fireplace, you know a little stove. It was smoky and we couldnt stand the smoke, and it was so cold you couldnt stand it if you didnt have a smoke. So wed light it, and wed put it out. So we spent the night like that. But the next day, we went into Prm. And then we were put in the point. Wed been in reserve. So, then we wentwe led on into Germany and youd have a scrap there where a village would come, or wherever they had a defense. Youd either spread out, oryou didnt know what you were going to do, depends on the situation. But it was every man for himself, but you worked together. 56 00:07:56.0 MH: Could I put you on hold for one second? 57 00:07:58.0 OL: Yeah. 58 00:07:58.9 MH: Im sorry, just hang on. 59 00:07:58.9 Andrea Bivins: Hi, its Andrea Bivins. 60 00:08:2.9 MH: Hi. 61 00:08:4.0 AB: How are you? 62 00:08:4.7 MH: Okay. 63 00:08:5.3 AB: Are you busy? 64 00:08:5.9 MH: Yeah, can I call you back? 65 00:08:6.5 AB: Yup. 66 00:08:6.9 MH: Okay bye. 67 00:08:7.4 AB: Bye. 68 00:08:8.3 MH: (switches phones) Im sorry. 69 00:08:6.0 OL: Okay. But anyhow, thats the way it went all the way across Europe. Finally we got to the Rhine River. Funny things happened as you were going through. Like when you get toone town we got to, we lost a lot of men in tanks and half-tracks and that sort of thing. It was about one oclock in the morning, and the town had kind of settled. So, we got in and was trying to find a house to get in and had a first lieutenant, our platoon sergeant, and so we got down in that house. We figured thered be a raid on us, but we didnt know. 70 00:08:45.1 So we chased all the people down in the basementnormally wed just chase em out. But it was cold and mostly older people, some younger people. There was four girls in the group. And Id found a chicken, and Shelbyd found some potatoes. If we had those two, we could boil em together and have potato soup. Well, at that time it was about one in the morning, and one of the guys says, Lets get those four girls to make the soup. So, went down in the basement and brought those four girls up. They thought they were going to be nice to the soldiers, but when we told them what we wanted them to do, they said, Oh, ja, ja. They could talk about as much English as we could talk German. And so boy, they made the soup, and we asked them to eat with us and they were the friendliest girls. 71 00:09:27.0 And about the time we got our soup eaten, they had a raid on us, and boy, them girls hit the basement and we defended the area. Well, they didnt raid our houseabout two or three houses up from us, a lot of ammunition. Some guys there got killed and they killed a bunch of Germans. But those were the funny things that happened, going through towns, you know. 72 00:09:46.1 Well, finally we got to Wrms, that waswell, it was in the spring, right on the Rhine River. [General George S.] Patton had two armored divisions trying to take Wrms. They had a big bridge there, and we wanted that bridge. We got within oh, a mile or two of the town and we saw that bridge go up in the air. We had P-47s helping us; we always did that when we had trouble. But we just stopped and went back to a little village. We just went around it, we didnt go through it, but there werent any soldiers in there, just all the people of the town. They went out in the straw pile and stayedit wasnt very big, about ten houses or so. 73 00:10:26.1 So, we stayed there at night, and then the next day, why, we were cleaning out Wrms. Hardly any Germans left anyhow. But our company had to go down and take the airfield. Oh, there was a few people around, not many. So we stayed in that area, oh, a couple of days. And then we crossed the Rhine and went againwhen youre in armored division, you dont get no breaks. They just had us goin. Finally, we got into Czechoslovakia near Plze and we changed south from Plze, and thats when we went down into Austria and on the day the war was over, we found those concentration camps at Mauthausen. 74 00:11:10.3 MH: Tell me how you first knew they were there? 75 00:11:13.9 OL: Well, we didntin our company, we didnt even know they were there. See, in an armored division, you have whats called the cavalry. And its the cavalrys jobits a dangerous job, theyve got to scoot all over to find troubles. And they sent some vehicles out around the town of St. George, and they found the camp of Gusen II. We didnt even know it was out there before. People dont tell you nothing sometimes, you know. And so they found that one, and there they told them about Mauthausen, so then they got permission to go down to Mauthausen. It was not a fighting group; it was just a piercing group. And they got in there, and all the guards had left. So they just found it, on the fifth of May, and then they just told the people, Well, youre going to have to take care of yourself until tomorrow, and they got orders to come back to the company, the battalion area. I think it was on the sixth of May we went in and got that organized, and separated all the relations. The different nationalities fought each other in the camp. 76 00:12:21.4 MH: First of all, did you know anything about these camps before they found Gusen II? 77 00:12:26.7 OL: Wed just heard about it. We didnt know they were there. But I tell you, they was a fighting people. Theyd fight the Hungarians, theyd fight the Romanians and the French, and everybody else. 78 00:12:38.6 MH: In the camps? 79 00:12:39.7 OL: Right in Mauthausen main camp. 80 00:12:42.2 MH: So, when did you personally get to Mauthausen main camp? 81 00:12:45.9 OL: It was on the sixth of May. The day after the war was over. 82 00:12:49.4 MH: The day before the war was over. 83 00:12:52.8 OL: No, after. Our cavalry found it the day the war was over. See, the cavalry 84 00:12:58.2 MH: Armistice was signed on the eighth. 85 00:13:0.8 OL: Oh, yeah, but we were takenthe war wasnt over until about fifteenth. There were skirmishes going on. 86 00:13:13.2 MH: So, when you first went inyou went into Mauthausen, right? 87 00:13:18.7 OL: Oh, yeah. 88 00:13:16.2 MH: Tell me about that. Did you ride the tank in or walk in? 89 00:13:22.2 OL: Oh, yeah, we rode in. 90 00:13:23.8 MH: The gates were open. And you ride in, and what do you see? 91 00:13:28.7 OL: Oh, dead people all over, piles of them. There were piles of them. It was a mess. 92 00:13:33.8 MH: So, how do you deal with that? 93 00:13:35.4 OL: Well, we couldnt do nothing cause nothing was ordered, so we all got out. And there were some duplexes about two, three blocks away, two or three streets. Thats where the guards lived, and we walked down and got settled. And then they tried to get organized, and the battalion headquarters, they took overchargeof the camp. And then we were all assigned jobs from then on, and they started finding outthey went down and got the civilians, in the town of Mauthausen, and they had to come up and drag all the people out and bury em. Our engineers blew the trench open and bulldozer pushed a lot of dirt, but they had to finish shoveling it. And they made the civilians do all the burying. 94 00:14:23.1 MH: And what was your job? 95 00:14:24.9 OL: I was just a guard. As long as I was there, just kind of a guard around, thats all. 96 00:14:30.8 MH: So, didwere you able to talk to the people whod been prisoners there? 97 00:14:33.7 OL: Oh, yeah. 98 00:14:34.9 MH: They spoke English, or you spoke 99 00:14:36.2 OL: Some of em did, yeah. 100 00:14:36.7 MH: Tell me about the conversations. 101 00:14:38.9 OL: Well, like, there was one fella, he worked the laundry. I guess he was one of the bosses of the laundry. And when he was younger, he worked in Wyoming. They went back to Germany. So he talked English real well, and he was capturedI dunno, he was in Austria or somewhere. But he got a job and he was treated pretty nice, cause he wasnt skinny and he had enough to eat. But a lot of them, the Polish people, they were perfectly healthy and everything like that, because they hadnt been there for very long. But I dont know why they was all put in there, especially a lot of young people, a lot of young women. And a lot of them were just as friendly as could be. And what we had separated the barracks and everything, as soon as they could they started sending people back to their country, cause we had to get rid of em. Cause, you know, it cost a lot of money to feed them. 102 00:15:29.8 MH: How did they send them back to their country? 103 00:15:31.0 OL: Put em in trucks. 104 00:15:32.3 MH: GI trucks? 105 00:15:34.3 OL: Oh, yeah. 106 00:15:35.1 MH: And you were driving them back? 107 00:15:37.7 OL: Oh yeah, the GIs drove them back. And if the trains were running, they could just put em on trains; like when the Italians went home, they had to put them on trucks to send them through Switzerland, and then across the mountains to Italy. 108 00:15:52.3 MH: How long did it take before you started emptying the camp? 109 00:15:57.4 OL: Oh, a week, I suppose, or two. We had it organized. Well, it took a long time to get a bunch of trucks up there, too, because the transportation had to find the ways to do it. 110 00:16:6.9 MH: What about the people who werent in any shape to travel? 111 00:16:10.5 OL: If they were in shape to travel, wed send em home. 112 00:16:13.5 MH: But the ones who werent? 113 00:16:15.2 OL: Then they send the real bad ones to area hospitals. And then the 90 and 91st Army, I think it was a field hospital came up, they put big tents out there in the field and they put people in there, doctors and nurses. 114 00:16:32.8 MH: Did any of the inmates talk to you about what the Germans had done to them? 115 00:16:37.8 OL: Not too much. Oh, you know, theyd been beaten up and starved, and they had to work. See, there was rock quarries all over that area. And they had to work in rock quarries, and thatthey worked them to death, is what they did. 116 00:16:50.2 MH: You saw the quarries? 117 00:16:52.1 OL: Oh, yeah. 118 00:16:52.9 MH: Whatd they look like? 119 00:16:54.5 OL: Like a pit, likeoh, well like an open copper mine, you know, except they took rocks out of there. They cut em up into pieces, like building rocks. 120 00:17:7.9 MH: That was one of the quarries where they had the big number of steps that they made people climb up and down? 121 00:17:16.0 OL: Yeah. They didnt have any mechanical equipment, they carried them. And boy, those rocks were heavy. They were blocks, you know. 122 00:17:21.2 MH: So the people told you about that? 123 00:17:23.9 OL: Oh, yeah. 124 00:17:24.8 MH: How do you deal with what youre seeing? I mean, you come into a place and theres stacks and stacks of bodies, of people 125 00:17:34.2 OL: Youd seen a lot of bad things by the time you get there, and thats just another one. It didnt affect me. Oh, some guys, they really got shook up about it. But you have to accept it. 126 00:17:42.3 MH: How did it make you feel about the Germans? 127 00:17:46.4 OL: Well, it didnt make you feel that better about it. Of course, the average German over there didnt like the war any better than we did. But the hierarchy, or the kingpin for the job, forced them to do that. And a lot of those civilians were so glad to be liberated, that they knew that rule was over for them. And a lot of the civilians were friendly, because they were so glad to have us come over and liberate them. Course, others would spit in your eyes if they could, cause they were regular Gestapo members, you know. 128 00:18:18.1 MH: Did you run into any SS? 129 00:18:21.1 OL: Oh yeah, we captured them all the time. 130 00:18:22.7 MH: Did you capture them or shoot em? 131 00:18:24.5 OL: Well, we used to capture them. If you were fighting, you shot em. 132 00:18:28.2 MH: A lot of the guys I talked to said that when they started talking to civilians in the area, the civilians routinely said, We didnt know anything about the camp. We didnt know what 133 00:18:40.7 OL: Oh, yeah, they told us right there at the concentration camp in Mauthausen. Well, we didnt know thats up there. Well, they were lying through their teeth, we knew that, but what can you say? 134 00:18:49.6 MH: How far away could you smell the camp? 135 00:18:52.2 OL: Well, within a half-mile of it. 136 00:18:55.1 MH: So how long did you actually stay at Mauthausen? 137 00:18:59.8 OL: Oh, probably a month and a half or two. I dont think we were there two months. All cleaned up and people set off, and it was nothing. And somebody came in and took over for us; I dont know who that was.  And we left and went up in the Alps looking for the guards. 138 00:19:20.3 MH: Did you find them? 139 00:19:22.2 OL: Well, Im not sure we found any of em, but story was around there was that they all fled up into the Alps Mountains. So, then we went into through the Alps in a town up there, kinda split into two small towns, but I dontone day, I know one of the horse patrols go out. Civilians told em there was a camp way out somewhere, so about eight or ten guys volunteered to ride horses and they got a bunch of ammunition and stuff and went out. They found a cabin where they had been at one time, a truckload of ammunition, but nobody had been there for a while. They probably fledsee anybody fled in there would want to go to Spain. If they got to Spain, theyre free. So, like prisoners. American prisoners, or any of em, if they could cross the mountains and get to Spain without getting caught, they were free. And I suppose the guards did the same thing. They found some of them, of course; they found them and put in prison, and most of them were killed. 140 00:20:20.2 MH: Were you one of the horseback guys? 141 00:20:22.3 OL: No, I didnt want to go out. Id rode horses, but like guys from Wyoming, Texas and stuff like that that was used to riding horses. They took that problem. 142 00:20:32.6 MH: Youve seen probably one of the worst things that you can imagine in the civilized world in a camp like that. 143 00:20:44.9 OL: Well, yeah. 144 00:20:46.1 MH: How does it affect your life? 145 00:20:47.2 OL: Well, it makes you think theres a lot of things that can be done, and Ive always felt that were sort of a diplomatic, democratic nation, and we haveeverywhere weve had, weve tried to liberate some kind ofand make em a country like ours. Thats whateverywhere wed done, weve done that. But we sacrificed a lot of material lives and money. Thats what theyre doing over there in Iraq right now. 146 00:21:19.8 MH: Did seeing Mauthausen change your life at all? 147 00:21:26.2 OL: No, I dont think so. I wasnt going to let it. 148 00:21:29.7 MH: You also probably had an advantage in that you were older than most of the troops. 149 00:21:34.6 OL: Yeah, right. Some of them were a lot younger, thats a little different.                       150 00:21:36.9 MH: I mean, Ive talked to a lot of guys who were, like, eighteen and nineteen. And you were what, twenty-seven. 151 00:21:42.0 OL: Yeah, I was older. 152 00:21:43.1 MH: Anydo you know anybody else that I should be talking to? 153 00:21:54.7 OL: Well, theres a fellow from Wisconsin; hes a historian. Hes a retired schoolteacher and hes a historian. Id have to look up in the magazine and find his name now. But Shelby would know him; hes been to Shelbys house several times. You got Shelbys telephone number? 154 00:22:16.7 MH: Yeah, I know Shelbys phone number. 155 00:22:18.1 OL: Shelby, hes a pretty goodthe memory on him (inaudible) 156 00:22:22.8 MH: All right. Well, I thank you very, very much. I sure appreciate it. 157 00:22:27.1 OL: Well, I suppose stories like that can make your book a little bit more entertaining. 158 00:22:31.5 MH: Well, at least it makes the book factual. 159 00:22:34.8 OL: Yeah. 160 00:22:35.7 MH: Do you have a photo of yourself from World War II? 161 00:22:38.8 OL: Yeah, I think I do. 162 00:22:41.4 MH: Um, is it possiblewhat Id like is a photo of yourself then and a photo of yourself now, and if you can send them to me, Ill scan them and send them back to you. 163 00:22:50.1 OL: Okay, just a minute. Ill get a paper to write on. 164 00:22:53.2 MH: You dont use email, do you? 165 00:22:54.7 OL: Oh, no, I dont have that. Yeah, you can send melets see, Id have to 166 00:23:0.1 MH: Why dont I just send youIll send you an envelope. 167 00:23:2.6 OL: Oh, okay. 168 00:23:3.6 MH: And then, you can send them to me. 169 00:23:6.1 OL: Yeah, I have them (inaudible). 170 00:23:7.1 MH: Okay, if you can send me the originals so theyre good copies and theyIll scan them and Ill send them back to you. Okay, and your address is. Okay, I will do that. Thank you very much for your time. 171 00:23:21.1 OL: Boy, the telephone, sounds like youre next door. 172 00:23:22.7 MH: Well, not quite. (laughs) Okay, thank you very much, sir. 173 00:23:28.7 OL: How long since you talked to Shelby? 174 00:23:30.1 MH: I talked to Shelby a week ago. 175 00:23:33.8 OL: I got to call him one of these days. 176 00:23:36.2 MH: Yeah I talked to him on the twentieth. Okay, thank you very much, sir. 177 00:23:41.7 OL: You know, Shelby, he was injured. Did he tell you about the half-track (inaudible)? 178 00:23:47.6 MH: No. 179 00:23:48.2 OL: Well, hes going through a fence. We were taking a town there, and the half-track hit the fence. We were out beside it. I got through the fence, but he was going through the fence and the half-track just hit the fence, and he got caught in the fence and drug him a ways. Boy, it injured his leg and his arm, his shoulder. Well, what could we do with him? I whittled a crutch out of a branch; he used that for a while trying to get around. 180 00:24:14.4 MH: And they didnt send him back? 181 00:24:16.6 OL: No. He wasnt bad enough for that. 182 00:24:19.1 MH: So, meanwhile, hes hopping around on a homemade crutch. 183 00:24:23.4 OL: Hes drawing compensation now from the injuries from that, but with his age it got bad. 184 00:24:30.1 MH: He didnt tell me that story. Thank you. 185 00:24:34.2 OL: You ask him if he still got the crutch that he used that I made for him. 186 00:24:37.6 MH: Will do. Thank you very much, sir. 187 00:24:40.8 OL: Yeah, okay. 188 00:24:41.5 MH: Okay, bye-bye.