Ray David Little oral history interview

Ray David Little oral history interview

Material Information

Ray David Little oral history interview
Series Title:
Concentration camp liberators oral history project
Uniform Title:
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects
Little, Ray David, 1925-
Hirsh, Michael, 1943-
University of South Florida Libraries -- Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center
University of South Florida -- Library. -- Special & Digital Collections. -- Oral History Program
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 sound file (38 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;


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 )
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
interview ( marcgt )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )


This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Ray David Little. Little was a driver in a weapons company, a member of the 89th Infantry Division, which liberated Ohrdruf on April 4, 1945. He was not present the day the Americans discovered the camp, arriving the day afterwards. At Ohrdruf, his assignment was to patrol the camp and stop any disturbances, but he also had the opportunity to look around and found an underground communications bunker. It was this facility that had led troops to the area, where they happened on the camp. Little also saw several displaced persons, who had been brought to the camp shortly after liberation. He has a set of photographs of the camp, taken by a friend, which show the bodies in the camp.
Interview conducted May 28, 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.
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.
General Note:
This interview was conducted as research for The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust / Michael Hirsch (New York: Bantam Books, 2010).
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Michael Hirsh.

Record Information

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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:
024891023 ( ALEPH )
656362396 ( OCLC )
C65-00079 ( USFLDC DOI )
c65.79 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Little, Ray David,
Ray David Little oral history interview
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Michael Hirsh.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (38 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (17 p.)
Concentration camp liberators oral history project
This interview was conducted as research for The Liberators: America's Witnesses to the Holocaust / Michael Hirsch (New York: Bantam Books, 2010).
Interview conducted May 28, 2008.
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.
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.
This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Ray David Little. Little was a driver in a weapons company, a member of the 89th Infantry Division, which liberated Ohrdruf on April 4, 1945. He was not present the day the Americans discovered the camp, arriving the day afterwards. At Ohrdruf, his assignment was to patrol the camp and stop any disturbances, but he also had the opportunity to look around and found an underground communications bunker. It was this facility that had led troops to the area, where they happened on the camp. Little also saw several displaced persons, who had been brought to the camp shortly after liberation. He has a set of photographs of the camp, taken by a friend, which show the bodies in the camp.
Little, Ray David,
United States.
Infantry Division, 89th.
United States.
Infantry Division, 89th
v Personal narratives.
Ohrdruf (Concentration camp)
Concentration camps
z Germany
x History.
World War, 1939-1945
Concentration camps
World War, 1939-1945
Concentration camps
World War, 1939-1945
World War, 1939-1945
Personal narratives, American.
World War, 1939-1945
United States.
United States
Crimes against humanity.
7 655
Oral history.
Online audio.
Hirsh, Michael,
University of South Florida Libraries.
Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center.
University of South Florida.
Special & Digital Collections.
Oral History Program.
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects.
Concentration camp liberators oral history project.
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?c65.79

xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript segment idx 0 time 00:00:0.0 text Michael Hirsh: Could you give your name and spell it for me, please? 1 00:00:5.2 Ray David Little: My name is Ray, R-a-y, David, D-a-v-i-d, Little, L-i-t-t-l-e. 2 00:00:14.2 MH: And your address, please? 3 00:00:16.0 RL: 4 00:00:16.4 MH: And your phone number is. 5 00:00:17.3 RL: Correct. 6 00:00:18.5 MH: And your date of birth, sir. 7 00:00:19.8 RL: 12-13-25 [December 13, 1925]. 8 00:00:23.7 MH: First, tell me a little bit about what was going on before you went into the Army, before World War II? 9 00:00:34.2 RL: Well, I had dropped out of school to work in a print shop.  I started working there in junior high, a local weekly newspaper, and Id learned a little bit.  The situation, the foreign situation, got so severe that they couldnt find any printers of any kind.  The guy called me and I was in school, and hed heard that I was a good printer and I should come and work for him.  It didnt work out, but I was too embarrassed to go back to school, so I wound up getting a job in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with a paper company in the printing department.  I got married real young, and when I was eighteen, in December I immediately got my draft notice.  Before the first of the year, Id already been at the physical; I guess in January I went to Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill (inaudible).  Took basic training at Camp Norris, Californiain weeks, infantry replacement training and I was assigned when I finished, I was assigned to the 89th Infantry Division. They were in Durham, North Carolina, Camp Butner.   10 00:02:14.0 MH: Which camp? 11 00:02:15.2 RL: Camp Butner. 12 00:02:16.3 MH: Butner, okay. Was this a new unit that was being put together? 13 00:02:20.5 RL: No, actually 89th Division was one of the earlier divisions; it came out of Fort Carson, Colorado.  But they used them for a training, and they trained everywhere in the U.S.  Some of the old guys, when I joined it, said that combat could never be as tough as what theyd been through. They trained in the swamps down in Louisiana and they sent em out to California, Camp [Fort] Hunter Liggett, I think it was called.  And they trained them in the mountains.  They were training them as a light infantry division, they had no vehicles.  They backpacked everything, their weapons, their supplies, everything.  So I guess it was kinda rough, from the way they talked.   14 00:03:5.2 Then, they sent em to Camp Butner, and they needed a lot ofthey decided to make a regular infantry division out of em, which I think it was when they started, but theyd gone through all this experimenting with it.  Thats when I was sent as a replacement comin in.  Training school, but the good part was that we trained together as a unit.  Thereoh I guess from July towell, I guess it would be almost six months, about five months, and we were sure we were going to the South Pacific.  Theyd issued us suntan stuff, khakis, and everything.  We had gone through our vehicles, and I was made a weapons care driver and in a weapons companywith a machine gun company.  We had twenty-one vehicles and twenty-one Jeeps in our company, and wed gone through all of em, the brakes, wheel bearings and everything, and getting em ready to go.  And then, all of a sudden, we were restricted to base, and they took up our clothing and issued us woolen clothing.   15 00:04:34.8 MH: What kind of clothing? 16 00:04:35.6 RL: Woolen. 17 00:04:36.3 MH: Okay. 18 00:04:37.1 RL: So, we knew something was happening, something was changing.  I think it was January 1, we actually boarded a train out of there and went to Boston, Camp Myles Standish, and from there we boarded a ship and went to Le Havre, France. 19 00:04:55.9 MH: And this was 194 20 00:04:57.5 RL: That would have been forty-four [1944], yeah, forty-four [1944].  No, that would have been forty-five [1945], cause in forty-four [1944] I was in Camp Butner.  So, that was in January forty-five [1945].  We went in a huge convoy, and good and bad in that.  Hello? 21 00:05:27.3 MH: Yes, Im here. 22 00:05:28.2 RL: Someone tried to buzz in here, I guess. 23 00:05:31.3 MH: No, I hear you fine. 24 00:05:32.6 RL:  But we had to go slow as the tankers in the convoy did, about fourteen knots, I think; I believe thats what they told us.  It was pretty slow, I know, and anyhow it took us a while to get there, but we were safe. 25 00:05:48.7 MH: No U-boats. 26 00:05:49.7 RL: No.  We got terrible scares, and usually at night, for some reason or other, they would sound alarms and the Navy guys on the boat would all run to their battle stations and we tried to get out of the way.  I mean, they had a whole combat team on that one boat, the USS Uruguay.  It had been a cruise ship, they said, before the war; but they closed in the sun deck and everything, and thats actually where I was. 27 00:06:25.8 MH: Sleeping in a hammock? 28 00:06:26.7 RL: But anyhow, weoh, they would drop depth charges, you know, kept us shut up a little.  Ill always remember one night it was happening, and one guyI think Id been to a Catholic service there, right close to where I was livingand this guy said, Man, Ill be glad when I get to land.  You cant even get in a foxhole in this thing.  But thatthat was about the extent of it.  We landed in Le Havre and they had bombed Le Havre just before we got there, so we had to go all aside and couldnt pull up to the dock.  And they took us in landing craft, you know, to the docks to board trucks.  Went to the cigarette camps, they call them, outside of Le Havre, and we stayed there a couple weeks until we got the rest of our supplies.  And I know I went tothey took us drivers to Cherbourg, and without our weaponsI mean with our vehicles, Im sorryand got a brand new Jeep. 29 00:07:48.4 MH: Not the ones you had prepared. 30 00:07:50.5 RL: No, none of those, because none of those wasof course, we spent days and days cleaning the heads.  They put all of our weapons and machine guns and everything in cosmoline, and spent days cleaning them up.  And then we get some training, marking, mostly, and keeping us fit, I guess.  And when we got our weapons on the vehicles, then we took off for Luxembourg.  And our first night in Luxembourg, we were close enough that we could see the cannon flashes and hear noises, hear the guns. 31 00:08:30.9 MH: This was Bastogne? 32 00:08:33.6 RL: No, this was in Luxembourg.  Yeah, this was after Bastogne happened. 33 00:08:39.7 MH: It was after Bastogne, okay. 34 00:08:40.7 RL: Yeah, Ive always assumedI guess my own interpretation, but I always assumed that was what caused the change was Bastogne, when they had to break throughwhen the Germans got down to that town, they hit a fence right there.  And it resulted in Bastogne.  Thats why they took up our clothing and sent us to Europe instead of South Pacific.  I dont know, thats what Ithat was my interpretation of it. 35 00:09:12.6 MH: Youre lucky they changed clothing on you; Ive heard of some guys that were sent over there with summer uniforms. 36 00:09:19.5 RL: Well, we had woolens, but we didnt have overshoes and stuff like that.  And there was mud up to your knees, and that campafter we landed there, when we went there first, there was snow on the ground.  The tents were set up, but they werent tied in corners and all that.  They were in about three inch or four inches of snow.  Well, after we were there a few days, that began to melt and here would come (inaudible)it was a mess.  But our first combat was at the Moselle River.  And we jumped off from Luxembourg and to there, and we didnt have a longwe were lucky, we didntwhen we got there, the worst was over, of course.  They were mostly on the run.  I dont know if you have any history from our division or not, if youve seen any of it.  But there is a website 89th Infantryactually was set up and maintained by some guys as part of the 89th Infantry Society. 37 00:10:40.7 MH: Ive looked at it; I havent read everything thats on it. 38 00:10:45.0 RL: Well, its stufftheres some stuff about Ohrdruf, the camp that weAnd I didnt know about that until I made the last, the last reallyin Washington, D.C., in aught-four [2004], and that was the only one I made because I didnt learn about it until about a year and a half before that.  I didnt meet anyone from my company, but I met some guys from my battalion and we enjoyed the time.  Of course we got some recognition at the Holocaust Museum there in Washington, D.C., of our involvement in that Ohrdruf. 39 00:11:34.5 MH: What led up to your finding Ohrdruf or your getting to Ohrdruf? 40 00:11:37.6 RL: Well, like I told you in the e-mail, I was not actually involved in that liberation part of it. 41 00:11:43.7 MH: Right, but you were there the next day, you said? 42 00:11:45.2 RL: I was there the next day. 43 00:11:46.3 MH: Thats close enough for government work. 44 00:11:49.3 RL: We were assignedI read my (inaudible) a little bit yesterday after I talked to you, and we were, we were destined to go there, but the day before, they changed it and sent us to another town; Arnstadt, I believe it is.  But its near there.  But my company, of course we were always broken up, being a weapons company, in a battalion, three bit battalion, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Battalion in a regiment.  Usually one companyd be in reserve and two of em would be on the line.  My company would be divided, a weapons company with two platoons of machine guns, both squads in each platoon and one platoon of 80mm mortars, and there was six squads.  So, we were divided, usually a couple of squads who would the rifle company. 45 00:12:55.0 MH: Were your machine guns .30 caliber or .50s? 46 00:12:59.1 RL: They were .30s. They were two .30s.  The rack man carried an air of cooled .30s, but ours were water cooled and had heavy tripods; and we set em up and had supporting fire.  You could fire over the heads of our people when you see stuff like that, you know.  But I didnt really know about Ohrdruf until the next day: for some reason, they sent me and another PFC [private first class] in there and told us just to patrol that camp, and to keep down any disturbances. 47 00:13:39.6 MH: Did they tell you what kind of camp it was? 48 00:13:42.0 RL: No.  Well, I guess I knew something about it, because we did some investigatin while we were there and found the corpses.  Most of them also had been cleaned away by the time we got there the next day, but we found skeletons out in some leaves and trees at the end of the camp.  We did a little, you know, investigating, I guess, the next day when we had spent the night driving mostly, then got a little sleep; the next morning we kinda looked around that camp.  Underneath the room we werethe building we were inthere was an underground, and it was full of electronics.  Ive never known for sure what that was all about, but it looked like it could be a telephone exchange or something. 49 00:14:39.1 MH: Its really interesting that you say that, because I interviewed a man yesterday who was actually a retired one-star general, who was the battalion commander of the 4th Armored Division that found Ohrdruf, I guess the day before. And the reason they were in the area, they were heading east toward Czechoslovakia, and they were turned south to go toward Ohrdruf because they were told that there was information that there was an underground communications facility in the area that was built by the Germans in case they had to leave Berlin, they would have another communications place. 50 00:15:20.9 RL: Well, that makes sense, because Ive always felt thats what that was, but I never had any verification of that. 51 00:15:27.9 MH: What did it look like? 52 00:15:28.8 RL: It was just a large room, just banks of electronics.  Like I say, like the closest thing I could liken it to would be a telephone exchange. 53 00:15:43.5 MH: How big would you say the room was? 54 00:15:45.5 RL: Oh, there were several rooms.   55 00:15:47.2 MH: Okay, how big are they? 56 00:15:50.0 RL: I would say oh, ten [feet] by twelve [feet] or something like that size. 57 00:15:57.8 MH: And how many rooms? 58 00:15:58.7 RL: I dunno exactly how many, but I know there was more than one. 59 00:16:2.8 MH: And these were completely underground? 60 00:16:4.6 RL: Yes, right down a stairway.  We were just lookin around, you know.  You know how guys, how kids will do. 61 00:16:11.3 MH: Right. 62 00:16:12.0 RL: Thats what we really were, and we just went down into there and found that. 63 00:16:19.0 MH: And this was in the camp itself? 64 00:16:20.6 RL: Inside the camp, yeah.  The building that we actuallythey put us inthat was our billet there, that building.  After everything quieted down around midnight or so, we all justwe went to bed.  But thats wherethat was the building we were in. 65 00:16:37.7 MH: What do you guess thatI mean, what did it look like?the building above ground was used for? 66 00:16:44.6 RL: Probably office space. 67 00:16:48.5 MH: But it wasnt one of the buildings that theyd found bodies in. 68 00:16:53.1 RL: No, uh-huh. 69 00:16:56.6 MH: Thats an amazing story, I mean, because it just fits with what I was told yesterday.  So, you found all this electronic stuff; did it look like it was connected? 70 00:17:8.1 RL: I could not tell.  It looked like it was usable.  I didnt know enough to know whether it was connected, but it looked to me like it was just sitting there.  Nobody was runnin it, but it was perfectly capable of being operated.   71 00:17:29.9 MH: It had switchboards? 72 00:17:31.8 RL: Yup.   73 00:17:32.7 MH: Just like the old telephone switchboard where theyd pull the cord up and plug it into a hole? 74 00:17:36.6 RL: Well, not exactly.  I dont recall it that well, about it, but I dont recall seeing that.  But there was just a mass, walls of wiring and switches and stuff.  I dont know about theIve seen pictures; in fact I guess Ive seenwhere theyd pull those wiresIve seen business switchboards.  I didnt recall it being just like that; it was obviously complicated electronics. 75 00:18:20.3 MH: Right.  Did you talk to your CO [commanding officer] and say, This is what we found down there? 76 00:18:22.6 RL: No.  No, we did not.  They neverin fact, I dont recall that we reported back at all; we just went back to our company when we left there.  And theres no one we had to report to or anything like that.  How did everything go?  Well, okay.  The people, obviously these were not the inmates from that facility; they were displaced persons that they had brought into that facility, because they were able to get around, you know. 77 00:18:59.1 MH: How many days after liberation do you think this might have been? 78 00:19:3.6 RL: Id say the second or third day. 79 00:19:9.3 MH: And they were bringing DPs in there? 80 00:19:12.2 RL: It was full of em.  And the first night, they said that was the problem, that some of them had gotten out and theyd gotten some schnapps and theyd gotten the rifles and they were gonna go out and kill some of the Germans, you know.  So, theythats when they sent us in there, to keep em calmed down.  And I justI guess just our presence was about all it amounted to, because we didnt actually do anything.  We didnt need to.  But theywe did cover all the streets, just constantly, and I remember one intersection: they had built a bonfire, and they were dancing, these Russians.  You know how youve seenIve seen movies, thats all Ive ever seenof how they dance squatted down, you know, around it.  Man, they were going at it.  They were having a ball.  They were really enjoying their freedom.  And I guess theyd been fed, too.  I didnt actually see that part of it, but obviously they werent lookin for food. 81 00:20:20.0 MH: Could you tell what language they were speaking? 82 00:20:22.0 RL: No, they were all types of people in there, all nationalities. 83 00:20:28.1 MH: But they looked like they had been fed.  These were not people who were starving to death? 84 00:20:32.3 RL: No, these people were not. They wereand of course days after this, why, wedthat was one of the problems we ran into.  They were massing on the highways and goin every which direction trying to go home, you know.  Pulling their stuff in every kind of conveyance they could think of, from baby buggies to wagons, one pull and one push and stuff like that.  And everything they could get their hands on they had with em, and I suspect much of it left on the side of the road.  I saw that happen.  You know, you get more than you can handle.   85 00:21:18.9 MH: Were these men and women? 86 00:21:23.4 RL: Men and women, yes.  All various directions. 87 00:21:30.5 MH: Had the bodies in the camp been totally disposed of by then? 88 00:21:34.5 RL: I didnt see any bodies.  I have photos that one of the guys in our outfit took, and he made a series of prints of them and after we got back to Le HavreV-J Day or V-E Day I mean, we all went back and took the whole division back to Le Havre and spent the summer there.  And while were there, he went to Rouen, I believe, and had these prints made, and I got a set of em.  Ive still got em. 89 00:22:8.5 MH: What do they show? 90 00:22:9.6 RL: It shows much of what youve seen inyou saw any of the fiftieth anniversary, several magazines printed, they printed one pictureand this was the first time I ever saw Ohrdruf mentioned, and I always wondered about that.  They talk about all the camps but you know, weve been there and we knew it was there but I never saw a word about it until that, when that fiftieth anniversary.  U.S. News had it.  I saw it in newspapers; I saw that picture four or five different times.  And the interestthe central interest of that picture, of course, was that was the first place [Dwight D.] Eisenhower saw this atrocity.  He was there with [George S.] Patton and I think [Bernard] Montgomery, I believe.  Not MontgomeryMontgomery might have been there.  But thats 91 00:23:3.7 MH: [Omar] Bradley. 92 00:23:4.7 RL: He and Bradley and Patton were there, and I remember in one of the stories I read Patton got sick. 93 00:23:12.0 MH: Right. 94 00:23:12.8 RL: But thats where he made the statement that he wanted all the pictures made and all the correspondents he could get to come and look at it, because somewhere down the line, they would deny it.  And of course, that has happened. 95 00:23:27.6 MH: That has happened.  This wasthese were pictures that your friend took? 96 00:23:32.0 RL: No, but this picture that Im talkin about was put in all these different publications. 97 00:23:38.3 MH: Right, Im familiar with the picture. 98 00:23:39.5 RL: That was made in that camp.  And these pictures I have were similar to what you saw there, or more graphic, more dead bodies.  One of the ones I have showed this guy whod just been killed, and I think theres one of the Americans that was there.  They found him; hed been killed.  And of course youve read the story Im sure that they brought the Brgermeister and his wife in there and were going to bring them back the next day, but when they went to their home, they had hung themselves. 99 00:24:21.0 MH: Right.  Not a moment too soon. 100 00:24:22.6 RL: Yeah.   101 00:24:23.8 MH: You still have those pictures? 102 00:24:26.8 RL: Yes, I do have them. 103 00:24:28.9 MH: I wonder if itd be possible to get copies or look at them, with an eye toward using a couple of them in the book? 104 00:24:37.3 RL: I think I could send you an e-mail attachment, you know, and send you one and see if you could use 105 00:24:47.1 MH: If you could send me a JPEG attachment, thatd be great.  What Id like to do is look at it, and then if its something we want to use, Id probably want to get the original that you had so I could make a real good scan of itor Id actually have the publisher make a good scan of itand then return the original to you. 106 00:25:4.4 RL: I think I can do it, (inaudible). I think I can copy those. Ill see what I can do. 107 00:25:17.1 MH: Thatd be fine, and theres no particular rush.  I mean, this is not something I need instantly. 108 00:25:21.9 RL: Well, were trying to get away in the morning, and weve both turned up ill this week.  Im in pretty good shape, and I have sore throat, but my wife has an intestinal thing, so shes iffy.  But were supposed to fly out of here in the morning, going to Kansas City, cause my grandsons graduating from school, from college there.  Hes at Kansas in Lawrence.  So were bound to be there. 109 00:25:49.8 MH: And then youre coming back to Hobbs? 110 00:25:53.9 RL: Ill be backwell be back late Sunday.  Sometime next week Ill get this together for you. 111 00:26:0.0 MH: Thatd be terrific.  Let me ask you a couple more questions. You never saw any of the other camps or other people? 112 00:26:9.3 RL: No. 113 00:26:10.1 MH: Over the course of the years afterwards, whatd you do when you came back to the States? 114 00:26:15.0 RL: Well, when I came back, I had an eighteen-month-old son that Id never seen, and I went to work, started to work for the weekly newspaper that I started in, when I first started printing.  I worked there a couple of years, and then I moved up to a larger town, to a daily, and worked there for a while.  And then around in 1950, I came out to New Mexico.  My younger brother had come out here and hed gone to work for a weekly paper that had a job shop in it, and thats what I was doing afterI didnt work very long at the newspaper there, because I couldnt find a place to live.  Everythings booming (inaudible), and a guy called me from this commercial job shop and said, Ive got a six-room apartment that you can have if you come work for me, so thats what I did.  I worked for him for a couple of years.   My brother then went to work for a place here that had a weekly paper and a job shop in it.  And they needed a job printer, so Ithe Lord led me here, but (inaudible) and the two boys, moved out here to New Mexico, November fifty [1950].  I worked there for a couple of years, and then I moved down here to the daily newspaper here in Hobbs. 115 00:27:48.0 MH: Where is Hobbs, exactly? 116 00:27:48.8 RL: Its in the southeast corner of New Mexico, about 95 miles from Midland [Texas], about 105 from Lubbock [Texas].  Heck, I worked there at that paper, that daily, for six and a half years, and then an opportunity came along.  Small job shop; a friend of mine had a little money and he went with me and we bought it, and my wife and I operated it.  After about four or five years, I bought him out, and we operated it for forty years.  I sold it in November ninety-nine [1999].  Its still operating, the same name. 117 00:28:30.5 MH: Did the impact of the things you saw at Ohrdruf ever come back to you in later life? 118 00:28:42.0 RL: No, I wouldnt say that it did.  The biggest impact I had from the whole thing was that I got back to here and people would complain about how tough it was and everything, and Id think about all those people Id seen over there and what they had gone through and it kind of ticked me off, you know.  I had a real resentment about that, but nothin major, no.   119 00:29:12.8 And I workI didnt get my education: that was the biggest mistake I made.  Many of the guys went on to college and so forth, and I didnt.  I went right in to work, but I guess it was intended to be that way.  It all worked out.  We raised four kids, two of em turned into lawyers.  One of em works for computerhe works for Symantec; he worked for Controlled Data for twenty-nine years and they went out of business, and hes been with Symantec now for several years.  So one, the youngest daughter, is in Austin; shes an accountant. 120 00:30:8.1 MH: Sounds like life was good to you. 121 00:30:12.4 RL: It has been, yes.   122 00:30:14.5 MH: Thats a good thing. 123 00:30:15.3 RL: And I haveI really didnt go through bad times.  You know, time was different.  We didnt have another child for six years, but we finally got everything settled, I guess, and we had three.  So, they were about three years apart. 124 00:30:40.7 MH: Good.  Do you happen to have a photo of yourself from World War II? 125 00:30:45.7 RL: I have some photos.  Ive got some snapshots, (inaudible) some friends.  Ive got, like, a studio photo that was made in Camp Butner, North Carolina that I sent home to my family.  Just a head shot, you know. 126 00:31:11.6 MH: If you have time, you could scan that too.  Id appreciate that. 127 00:31:16.4 RL: I can do that. 128 00:31:18.5 MH: And anything else that I didnt ask you about? 129 00:31:30.4 RL: No, nothing.  My division, we did make an assault crossing the Rhine.  From there we hit, we almost got to (inaudible) when they shut us down, and we stepped out for two or three weeks.  We were gonna set up a final protection line, you know, waitin for the Russians.  Course, when the Russianswe never saw the Russians, but we saw a lot of Germans coming fromgetting away from the Russians. 130 00:32:12.6 MH: Right. 131 00:32:13.1 RL: We saw em in conveyance again, kinda like the displaced persons were; they were riding horses and anything that moves they could get on, and it was pretty amazing, cause they surrendered to Americans and not the Russians. 132 00:32:33.6 MH: Not to the Russians.  When you were at Ohrdruf, you were Company M, 355th Infantry, 89th Infantry Division? 133 00:32:42.4 RL: Yes. 134 00:32:43.2 MH: And what was your rank at that time? 135 00:32:44.6 RL: PFC, as high as I got.  I was the Jeep driver.  I was a weapons carry driver.   136 00:32:52.0 MH: Thank you very much, I really appreciate it.  Its just an amazing coincidence that you told me about that underground place and I just heard about it yesterday from the retired general, and he said thats the reason they went looking for Ohrdruf. 137 00:33:9.7 RL: Well, I just always felt it had to be some reason.  That was the onethey had spent a lot constructing there.  And it had some basis, some meaning.  I never knew exactly what it was. 138 00:33:25.9 MH: Would the cables going in and out of that place have been all underground? 139 00:33:29.6 RL: They must have been underground, cause I didnt see them outside.   140 00:33:34.3 MH: Right. And Ohrdruf was in the woods someplace, wasnt it? 141 00:33:37.4 RL: It was a wooded area down there, yeah.  Weeven in that camp there was some woods, cause the other guy and I were lookin around and in some leaves back there there was a human skeleton 142 00:33:54.3 MH: Many of them or just a few? 143 00:33:58.2 RL: Just one.  Yeah.   144 00:33:59.3 MH: That has to be a bizarre discovery. 145 00:34:4.1 RL: Well, that whole thing was bizarre.  That wasI dont know if youve seen it or not, but theres a couple of letters in the 89th Society that I have copies of em that two guys who escaped fromthey were actually being marched from there to the bigger camp.  And that eveningand of course the guards, they were all very frightened, Im sure, cause they knew we were right close to them.  Anyhow, after dark these two guys slipped away from the column; one of em was a priest, and they are at Societys conventions, many years later, of course.  And they wrote, and I have copies of the speeches they made, telling about their experience therenot in the camp so much as how they got away and all that, how they were treated there all right.  So, if you could find thator I could make you copies of that, too. 146 00:35:18.5 MH: Id be very much interested in reading it, if you could do that. 147 00:35:23.8 RL: Theres another thing that Ive got that I always felt I was impressed with; in fact, I took it down to the newspaper here four years ago, I guess, when I first got it.  This was akid must have been about eight or nine years old when we came into his town, and I think he went to Australia or somewhere down in that area at work.  Hes retired and came back to Germany, and he sent this letter to the Society telling about his experience there when the GIs came in. And I took it down to the newspaper; I wanted him to print it, cause I thought it was interesting. Well, it wound upinstead of doing that, they printed a special of me with my picture on it, in the newspaper.  That wasnt what I was after, but thats what I got.  I never did get this article in the newspaper. 148 00:36:24.4 MH: Do you have a copy of the special thing? 149 00:36:26.6 RL: Ill do that, too. 150 00:36:27.6 MH: I think my address is on the e-mail, but Ill send you another email with my address on it in case you just want to mail it.  Well, thank you very much. 151 00:36:39.3 RL: Well, I know I can scan that and send it to you on the email. 152 00:36:42.8 MH: Okay, whatevers easiest, whether you want to snail mail it or email it. 153 00:36:48.0 RL: It was just interesting because these kidsyeah, it was so foreign to him.  I think his final line in there was he decided towith American kids had right, something to that effect.  But anyway, I thought it was interesting.   But Ill send it to you. 154 00:37:9.9 MH: Thank you very much, and congratulations on the graduation. 155 00:37:13.6 RL: Well, thank you very much. 156 00:37:14.8 MH: And have a safe trip. 157 00:37:16.1 RL: Well, thank you. 158 00:37:17.2 MH: Okay.  Bye-bye, sir.


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