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Clifford B. Selwood oral history interview

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Material Information

Title:
Clifford B. Selwood oral history interview
Series Title:
Concentration camp liberators oral history project
Uniform Title:
Holocaust & genocide studies oral history projects
Physical Description:
1 sound file (29 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Language:
English
Creator:
Selwood, Clifford B., 1923-
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 Clifford B. Selwood. Selwood was a staff sergeant in the 99th Infantry Division, which liberated Mühldorf, a sub-camp of Dachau, on May 3, 1945. He was originally part of the 69th Infantry Division, but was transferred to the 99th as a replacement before the Battle of the Bulge. His first battle was at Elsenborn Ridge, shortly after meeting the 99th. While hitching a ride on some tanks, they came to Mühldorf and saw the camp; the Americans opened the gates, and the skeletal prisoners wandered through the town looking for food. Selwood saw one eating from barrels of lard and sauerkraut. He and his squad went through a house looking for clothing, which they tossed out to the prisoners. After the war ended, Selwood was transferred to the 1st Infantry Division, and he and a friend ran the supply office during the Nuremberg Trials.
Venue:
Interview conducted August 20, 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 Hirsh (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 - 024897025
oclc - 656423206
usfldc doi - C65-00124
usfldc handle - c65.124
System ID:
SFS0022171:00001


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This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Clifford B. Selwood. Selwood was a staff sergeant in the 99th Infantry Division, which liberated Mhldorf, a sub-camp of Dachau, on May 3, 1945. He was originally part of the 69th Infantry Division, but was transferred to the 99th as a replacement before the Battle of the Bulge. His first battle was at Elsenborn Ridge, shortly after meeting the 99th. While hitching a ride on some tanks, they came to Mhldorf and saw the camp; the Americans opened the gates, and the skeletal prisoners wandered through the town looking for food. Selwood saw one eating from barrels of lard and sauerkraut. He and his squad went through a house looking for clothing, which they tossed out to the prisoners. After the war ended, Selwood was transferred to the 1st Infantry Division, and he and a friend ran the supply office during the Nuremberg Trials.
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xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript segment idx 0 time 00:00:0.0 text Michael Hirsh: First of all, give me your full name and spell it for me, please? 1 00:00:2.4 Clifford Selwood: Sure.  What are we gonna talk about? 2 00:00:5.5 MH: Were gonna talk about your experience in World War II. 3 00:00:8.1 CS: (laughs) Generally, okay.  Clifford B., as in boy, Selwood, S-e-l-w-o-o-d. 4 00:00:18.8 MH: And your address, please? 5 00:00:19.8 CS: Junior on the end of it, if you want that. And phone number, you have that. 6 00:00:26.7 MH:  Whats your date of birth? 7 00:00:27.9 CS: 12-30-23 [December 30, 1923]. 8 00:00:32.3 MH: Okay, and you were with the 99th Infantry Division. 9 00:00:35.2 CS: Right. 10 00:00:35.7 MH: Which got to, I believe, a place called Mhldorf, although there were some others on the way.  Where were you before you went in the service, and what were you doing? 11 00:00:45.1 CS: What do you mean?  I was in college before I went in. 12 00:00:48.1 MH: Where were you in college? 13 00:00:49.2 CS: Down at the University of Miami.  I went out of there into theinducted into Camp Blanding, Florida.  Thats where I was sworn in.  And then they shipped me from there to Camp Swift in Texas. 14 00:01:9.4 MH: What year was that? 15 00:01:11.7 CS: Forty-four [1944].   16 00:01:13.7 MH: Okay. 17 00:01:14.6 CS: No, wait, that cant be rightforty-three [1943].   18 00:01:18.1 MH: Forty-three [1943]? 19 00:01:18.9 CS: In forty-four [1944], I was in Europe.  (laughs) 20 00:01:20.2 MH: Okay. 21 00:01:21.2 CS: No, it was in forty-two [1942]. 22 00:01:25.2 MH: Forty-two [1942], okay.  So, when did you join the 99th? 23 00:01:29.0 CS: We joined them in forty-four [1944], December or January ofDecember of forty-four [1944]the last part, or beginning of forty-five [1945]. 24 00:01:42.9 MH: And where was that? 25 00:01:43.9 CS: Did I say forty-five [1945]?  Yeah.   26 00:01:46.2 MH: Yeah. 27 00:01:46.7 CS: Im getting my years mixed up.   28 00:01:47.8 MH: Thats okay.  Where did you join the 99th? 29 00:01:51.0 CS: Elsenborn Ridge. 30 00:01:51.9 MH: Helsenborn? 31 00:01:54.3 CS: Elsenborn. 32 00:01:55.3 MH: Elsenborn.  So, you went over as a replacement? 33 00:01:57.9 CS: I wasno, Ive got a long history of things I was involved in.  I went overseas with the 69th Division, and we landed in Southampton and stayed atthe outfit I was in was billeted at a place called (inaudible).  I cant tell you the spelling on the thing, something like (inaudible) near Winchester.  And went fromabout that time the Bulge was breaking, and they came to the 69th Division and stripped it of us, and a bunch of other soldiers, and sent us over as replacements for the 99th.  Or at least we landed in the 99th; we were sent over as replacements intoacross into Le Havre and took off from there.   34 00:02:53.7 MH: So you go to the 99th as a replacement, and you joined them at where?   35 00:03:0.9 CS: Elsenborn Ridge. 36 00:03:3.2 MH: And where is that? 37 00:03:4.9 CS: Thats in Germany [sic]. Elsenborn Ridge is in Belgium, near the town of Elsenborn. 38 00:03:6.1 MH: Was that your first combat? 39 00:03:9.2 CS: First combat. 40 00:03:10.2 MH: What was that like? 41 00:03:11.2 CS: Well, it was kind of interesting.  In a facetious sort of way, becausepardon me, let me clear my throat.  Im hoarse this morning for some reason. 42 00:03:22.8 MH: Sure, no problem.  Okay. 43 00:03:25.1 CS: (clears throat) Thats what comes, I guess, from smoking too many cigarettes.  (laughs) 44 00:03:32.8 MH: Thatll do it to you. 45 00:03:34.2 CS: No, we went up to Elsenborn Ridge.  We were trucked up therewe went up partially by train and we were trucked up to Elsenborn Ridge, and thats where they met us and took us up to the front. 46 00:03:48.7 MH: When you say you went up by train, they put you in the 40 and 8s? 47 00:03:52.0 CS: From Le Havre, hell, I had no idea where we were going or anything else like that. 48 00:03:57.8 MH: And you were riding in a freight car. 49 00:03:59.7 CS: We were riding in a freight car to a town outside of Elsenborn, where we billeted overnight and got off the trains, then got on trucks and they trucked us into Elsenborn itself. 50 00:04:16.9 MH: How close was that to the front? 51 00:04:18.8 CS: Well, in terms of miles? 52 00:04:23.7 MH: In terms of how close the shooting was going on. 53 00:04:27.2 CS: Damn close.   54 00:04:28.0 MH: Damn close, okay. 55 00:04:29.0 CS: Right.  Elsenborn was saddled with a bunch of the rear echelon do-gooders who had nice hot meals and everything like that, but thats where we would go back to the front to freshen up with showers and get our clothes changed and what have you.  We were within walking distance of the front itself. 56 00:04:52.2 MH: Incoming artillery? 57 00:04:53.5 CS: Incoming artillery, mortar, fire rifle shots, the whole ball of wax.  I was there aboutI guess maybe a weekbefore my baptism of fire: [it] consisted of a combat patrol where we werepart of our company, my squad and I were selecteda group of about thirty peopleto go across over and pick a fight with the Germans who were in the swale, in a forest on the other side of a swale up on top of the ridge.  And that was my baptism of fire.   58 00:05:32.2 MH: Were you hit then? 59 00:05:33.6 CS: No.  No, we went over there with a group of thirty; we had the lieutenant and eleven of us who came back.  The others were wounded or killed or captured.  And all we had was eleven that came back; and of those, I understood it to be about eight of them, seven or eight of them all had little minor wounds.  For some crazy reason, I was lucky enough not to get hit by anything. 60 00:06:6.7 MH: And you were carrying an M1? 61 00:06:8.8 CS: I was carrying an M1.  I was an assistant squad leader at the time. 62 00:06:13.4 MH: What was your rank? 63 00:06:14.4 CS: Im sorry? 64 00:06:15.3 MH: What was your rank? 65 00:06:16.1 CS: At that time, I was just a corporal.  I came overmy squad leader that I was assigned to on the way back from that combat patrolwe called it a suicide patrol.  Although the rest of us got back, he had his foot blown off when he stepped on a mine over there.  So, I got the elevation.  And they gave me the squad for the rest of the war. 66 00:06:45.9 MH: You got sergeant stripes? 67 00:06:47.1 CS: Yeah, staff sergeant. 68 00:06:48.8 MH: Staff sergeant.  At what point did you know anything about the concentration camps or the slave labor camps? 69 00:06:57.7 CS: Oh, we had heard about them, rumors of them and things of that nature.  You know how the grapevine works; it works its way around.  But to actually see any of the fellows, any of the men that were in those things, it was well south after we had crossed the Danube: down in that area, down around Munich and coming in through there.  I was in the 394th Infantry Division 70 00:07:29.7 MH: Regiment? 71 00:07:30.7 CS: Regiment, Company B. 72 00:07:32.7 MH: Company B of the 394th. 73 00:07:34.1 CS: First squad, third platoon. 74 00:07:38.0 MH: Okay.  Some things you never forget.   75 00:07:40.8 CS: Aint that the truth? 76 00:07:42.3 MH: Ill bet you remember your serial number, too. 77 00:07:44.8 CS: Damn right. 78 00:07:45.5 MH: I know.  Did the Armydid the chain of command ever tell you anything about these camps, to be prepared to see this stuff? 79 00:07:54.2 CS: Not that I ever recall.  We were kind of down the echelon; being squad leaders and being in the squads, we didnt get much contact with any captains.  Certainly saw nevernever saw any doggone officers of any type other than our platoon leaders, which we couldnt keep.  When I say we couldnt keep em, they were smart alecks: they came over, ninety-day wonders, and theyd give us a platoon and they wouldnt follow our suggestions and keep your butt down and your head covered.  Theyd go out and think they were going to be some sort of heroes, and first thing you know, theyre gone.  Theyd been wounded.  So, we went through the combat for the most part, until the very end, with a staff sergeantwell, he was a tech sergeantin charge of the platoon. 80 00:08:49.0 MH: What was the first camp you remember seeing, or the first thing like that? 81 00:08:54.4 CS: I dont know the namethats what I said.  Id talked at length with Bob Humphrey on this and have no idea what the names of those places were.   82 00:09:3.3 MH: What did it look like? 83 00:09:5.1 CS: Well, this particular one that we saw was all fenced in with about a fifteen-foot fence around it, gates and so forth.  And all these skeletons were walking around, living skeletons, barely clothed or anything else like that in em.  They broke it open, and they just swamped the town that we were in, and I cantdont recall exactly the name of the town, either.   84 00:09:30.7 MH: When you say they swamped the town, what did they do? 85 00:09:33.5 CS: Well, we let them out of the camp.  And they were runningwhen I say they were running, hell, they could hardly walk.  They were nothing but skin and bones, and they had raggedy garments surrounding them, and some had their shoes, their feet wrapped up in cloth or rags of some sort.  Some only had papers, newspapers or something of that nature around them, and like I say, they were just nothing but living skeletons. 86 00:10:5.4 MH: This is in April of forty-five [1945]? 87 00:10:7.2 CS: It was before thatwell, it was April, the end of March or April.  Wherever we were at that particular moment after wed gone past Munich and down through the rest of Bavaria there. 88 00:10:21.4 MH: When they went into the town, what did they do? 89 00:10:27.2 CS: Well, they were just grabbing anything they could grab that would keep them warm or anything like that.  My particular squad, we had a billet assigned to us temporarily, and heck, we got upstairsor the guys didand we just tore everything out, all the clothing we could find or put our hands on and threw it out the second story window down to these people so they could keep warm.  They were looking for food.  I got from my best friend over there, whos the platoon leader at the time, he said he was witness to them fighting over a dead cat, because they were so starveyou know, starving to death.  I personally witnessed this one old straggly poor old guy, skinny as heck, got alongside the billet that we were in, and it was kind of a, you know, residential area.  But they used to make their sauerkraut in great big barrels, and the same with lard.  And this guy got into the side of that, just grabbing hands full of the lard and sticking it in his mouth and eating it like it was ice cream and grabbing a hand full of this fermenting sauerkraut and did the same thing, wild-eyes on him.  I can visualize and see the guy right now.  And I tried to get him to not gorge himself like that because, hell, putting that in an empty stomach, it would kill him anyway. 90 00:12:9.2 MH: A lot of GIs gave stuff, gave food to people, and it did kill them. 91 00:12:13.4 CS: Yeah.  Theyd raid the cellars; the cellars were raided.  Everything we could we gave out, you know, put out on the street.  And it was so cold then.  Patches of snow were still around and it was just as cold as the devil.   92 00:12:30.1 MH: Were you able to speak to any of these people? 93 00:12:32.7 CS: Im sorry? 94 00:12:33.4 MH: Were you able to speak to any of these people? 95 00:12:35.3 CS: No.  Just barely, just barely.  Id picked up a lot of pidgin German, you know, and I could communicate to a degree with them, but they were not communicable.  They were wildthey couldnt believe that we were letting them out of the doggone camp. 96 00:12:57.5 MH: You say you literally unlocked the gates?  Or shot the lock off, or? 97 00:13:2.3 CS: Well, when I saw it, the gates had been thrown open.  And some of them were still in there, couldntwere making no effort to getthey were just hanging on the fence, not really believing what they were seeing, that they had been freed.  I dont know if this was a prison camp, labor camp or what, as such. 98 00:13:22.9 MH: But its in Bavaria somewhere. 99 00:13:25.6 CS: Oh, yeah. 100 00:13:26.2 MH: How many of those inmates do you think you saw in the camp; could you estimate it? 101 00:13:31.5 CS: No. 102 00:13:33.4 MH: I mean, are we talking tens, or are we talking hundreds or thousands? 103 00:13:35.9 CS: Were talking about a limited number; it sure wasnt thousands.  No, I didnt go into the camp itself; we were on the outskirts of it.  Wed been escorted in there and riding tanks and trucks to get in there. 104 00:13:53.9 MH: You were riding tanks from which unit, do you remember? 105 00:13:56.9 CS: No, no.  You know, just hitching a ride.  We werent driving them or operating them.  (laughs)  Just ride em. 106 00:14:7.5 MH: No, I understand.  I mean, there were a number of armored divisions in the area.  And it could have been like the 14th Armored was in the area, trying to seethe 11th Armored was in the area.  The Germans had already left the campsthere was no fighting? 107 00:14:26.2 CS: No, no fighting. 108 00:14:27.8 MH: And in this town, were the civilians around? 109 00:14:32.1 CS: I dont recall ever seeing any.  When you say, I put it blanklythere might have been a few that I saw cursorily, but they werent doing anything except sticking their heads out a window or something like that to see what was going on.  There were flags that were out some of the windowsyou know, surrender flags. 110 00:14:55.7 MH: You mean what, like white bed sheets? 111 00:14:57.5 CS: White flags of some sort.  In several of the placesbut they had essentially, for all practical purposes, vacated the town themselves.   112 00:15:10.8 MH: How long did you stay in that town? 113 00:15:13.7 CS: Oh, just a couple of days at best. 114 00:15:17.4 MH: Were the prisoners that you saw, that you were throwing clothing and food to, were they men and women, or just men? 115 00:15:23.8 CS: You know, Ive thought about that, and I dont really recall any women.  Not at this point in time.  There might have been somemost all of them were men. 116 00:15:35.2 MH: So, the purpose of staying in the town for a couple of days would have been what? 117 00:15:38.9 CS: Just to temporarily recoup and move on.   118 00:15:42.7 MH: How do you finally get the wordif everybodys living in different houses, how do you finally get the word that were moving out? 119 00:15:49.3 CS: Oh, hell, that waswe had runners, you know, in the company, and what have you.  Between the company and the squads and battalions and so forth, theyd run up and down and give the messages and we would pass them on. 120 00:16:4.5 MH: So, was it just your company in that town? 121 00:16:6.4 CS: No, there might have been the whole 122 00:16:9.7 MH: The whole battalion? 123 00:16:10.7 CS: maybe even part of the rest of the battalion. 124 00:16:15.5 MH: And then when you move out, youre walking or youre in trucks? 125 00:16:19.8 CS: Yes. 126 00:16:20.7 MH: No riding in trucks or tanks? 127 00:16:22.3 CS: No, no. 128 00:16:23.5 MH: So, you came to another one of these places or something like it? 129 00:16:28.0 CS: No, I dont recall any other ones.  We heard that there were some others in Moosburg or someplace like that.  Now, I dont know whether we were there or whether we were in another town similarly located, but it was in that general area.  Just a catchy name, thats the only reason I remember it: Moosburg. 130 00:16:57.6 MH: When you confront this sort of thing and you see it, what do you think about?  Do you talk about it with the other guys? 131 00:17:6.0 CS: No, we just take it as (inaudible) such andcan you hold on just a minute 132 00:17:11.4 MH: Sure. 133 00:17:12.1 CS: My wife is 134 00:17:13.2 MH: No problem. 135 00:17:13.5 CS: bedridden and shes just buzzing me.  Ill just be on the phone (inaudible) talk to her. 136 00:17:18.3 MH: No problem. 137 00:17:19.1 MH: ThisllI know you have to go; thisll only take a couple more minutes.  I was asking if you had talked about this stuff amongst the guys. 138 00:17:25.9 CS: Well, we remarked about it, of course.  We were aggravated as hell with the Germans in general and the whole fighting and what have you, but we accumulated there or gathered there in our billets and chop up whatever wood we could.  Wed chase chickens down, and raid the cellars for eggs or food of any type whatsoever that was fresh, instead of K rations that we lived on and that sort of thing.  But other than being disgusted with what we were seeing, that had been the nature of it. 139 00:18:7.0 MH: Did it change your attitude toward the Germans you were fighting against in the next couple of weeks? 140 00:18:13.0 CS: At that particular time, youre kind of frozen in time.  And on the circumstances, youre paying attention to whats going on, and youre ticked off over the fact that youre having to fight these guys, and you know, a lot of them were so doggone young.  It wasnt funny.  They werent a heck of a lot older than we were, or younger than we were.  And Im satisfied that many, many of them were Germans who had abandoned the ship, so to speak, and put on civilian clothes so we wouldnt think that they were, or know that they were.  But as far as attitude is concerned, after the end of the war, the occupation, we ,of course, handled them with kid gloves until we got to a point where we knew what they were doing and how their attitude toward us.  Generally speaking, as far as our outfit is concerned and what we were exposed to, it was congenial and not hostile at all. 141 00:19:16.2 MH: When did you finally get home? 142 00:19:18.4 CS: I didnt get home until February of forty-six [1946].  Because after the end of the war when it was declared, we were in a little town, and I can remember we(laughs) its kind of funny, because we got word by word of mouth that the warto hold up for three or four days, which we did, and then the rumor got around that the war was ended and they were about ready to sign a peace treaty.  We couldnt believe that.  But we hadjust hanging out there in this little town(inaudible) or something like that, I dont what the hell it was, and somebody was coming around passing out booze rations to the officers.  And when we saw that, well, the GIs werent getting any.  We werent getting a damn thing. 143 00:20:13.9 But my buddy and I in my squad, we decided to go up and talk to the doggone officer that we had in charge, the platoon leader and myself that we finally had tacked on and had been able to stick around towards the end of the war.  Go to his room, wherever he was on this little first floor thing, and find out just what the heck the score was so we could pass the word on down to our own people.  Nobody was telling us a darn thing at that point.  So, heres a bottle of scotch sitting on the doggone table for him.  Well, he wasnt there; we wanted to know where the heck he was.  Well, all the officers had been called either to the company or the battalion area, wherever the heck that was located, to be critiqued on what was happening at that time.  We waited and waited and finally got tired of waiting for him and said, What the hell, lets have a drink of his booze. To make a long story short, we drank the whole damn thing.  (laughs)  We did have a hangover. 144 00:21:31.9 MH: I bet you did.  Was the Army serving good scotch at least? 145 00:21:38.2 CS: They were serving what? 146 00:21:39.5 MH: Was it good scotch? 147 00:21:40.4 CS: Oh, it was good scotch, yeah.  It was Cutty.   148 00:21:42.9 MH: Cutty? 149 00:21:43.7 CS: Yeah, I can remember that.   150 00:21:45.1 MH: Not bad.  So, you came home to where?  Where did you live? 151 00:21:49.5 CS: I lived right here.   152 00:21:51.2 MH: In Plantation? 153 00:21:52.2 CS: No, not in Plantation, but Miami.  I lived in Miami at this point. 154 00:21:55.3 MH: In Miami?  And what was your career for the most of your life? 155 00:21:58.8 CS: Attorney. 156 00:22:0.0 MH: An attorney?   157 00:22:1.1 CS: Yeah. 158 00:22:1.8 MH: Specializing in anything? 159 00:22:2.9 CS: Trialpersonal injury trial.  Product liability, medical malpractice. 160 00:22:8.2 MH: And when did you retire? 161 00:22:10.6 CS: In 1995, at the end of forty-four years of it. 162 00:22:17.3 MH: Did that experience of seeing those people in that camp and how theyd been treated ever come back to you in later life? 163 00:22:28.9 CS: Oh, I sometimes think about itcertainly more often earlier, when I was relating some of the stories and the things we had gone through to others.  But I remember it very vividly, just as vividly as itd happened day before yesterday.  That part about it, about the camp.   164 00:22:54.6 MH: Right, but its not something that gave you nightmares. 165 00:22:59.1 CS: No, I reallyI really have never been bothered with any of these post-traumatic syndromes that everybody claims, or so many people claim they have, and the hysterical things.  I have never been bothered with that from the first day on.  When the war was over, it was over.  (laughs) 166 00:23:20.2 MH: Thats a good thing. 167 00:23:21.7 CS: We went into occupation, an army of occupation there for a while, and we were transferred over to the 1st Division, and in the 1st Division they put in a requisition for people to work at the Nuremberg War Trials.  So, my friend and I, somehow or other, we were selected to go over and run the supply office for the Nuremberg War Trials.  Hell, we didnt know anything more about supplies at all, (laughs) but we were put in charge.  I say put in charge; there was a captain in charge of it, but he had the points and he was sent home, so he and I were the two that were running the whole show there forwell, for the rest of the war, until I got out.  I had more points than BC did, so I came homeor started homeabout November or December of forty-five [1945]. 168 00:24:27.9 MH: You came through the warwere you ever hit? 169 00:24:30.5 CS: Nope.   170 00:24:31.4 MH: Nope.  Okay. 171 00:24:32.6 CS: Mighty close, mighty close. 172 00:24:34.0 MH: And decorations? 173 00:24:35.9 CS: Little miracles seemed to happen.  I can recall one instance right after wed crossed the Rhine: we were on top of this hill trying to take some other houses down the line, some other villages.  And they were aiming ack-ack [anti-aircraft gun] at us, and hitting the ground, having a shell burst right over the top of my head.  I was in a prone positionyou know, we hit the dirt at the edge of the forest there, and this thing exploded right over my head, tore up all the ground all around me, and never touched me, never touched me.  I dont know how it exploded, but it burst and went out and around and the ground was torn up, but I didnt even have a piece of shell or anything else in my pack or any of my clothes or anything else. 174 00:25:35.8 MH: Thats amazing.   175 00:25:36.7 CS: It is. 176 00:25:37.5 MH: Lucky man. 177 00:25:38.2 CS: It is.  You just wonder whats watching over you. 178 00:25:41.3 MH: Where did you finally go to law school? 179 00:25:44.1 CS: University of Miami. 180 00:25:45.8 MH: Miami, thats where you got your degree from? 181 00:25:47.3 CS: Im sorry? 182 00:25:48.6 MH: You got your law degree from there? 183 00:25:50.0 CS: Yeah. 184 00:25:50.6 MH: Anything else that I didnt ask you that I should have? 185 00:25:55.9 CS: About what? 186 00:25:57.1 MH: About the experience of the war.   187 00:25:59.1 CS: (inaudible) particularly? 188 00:26:0.1 MH: Yes, you told me some things that were very interesting that Id never heard about the GIs going in the homes there and tossing clothes and food to the people.  Its a moving scene to think about. 189 00:26:13.5 CS: Well, this was not only happening in our billet, it was happening up and down the street.  It wasnt just one group of people, you know, doing it.  There were fur coats going out there and everything else like that.  They were struggling and fighting in some instances over who was going to grab what garment to throw around them. 190 00:26:38.0 MH: Did the GIs ever have to break up those fights? 191 00:26:40.0 CS: No.   192 00:26:40.8 MH: You just stay out? 193 00:26:41.7 CS: When I say the fightingyou know, struggling with each other, tug and pull, that sort of thing. 194 00:26:48.1 MH: Do you happen to have a picture of yourself from World War II? 195 00:26:51.6 CS: Uh, yeah I got a wholeIve got a picture Im looking at right now of the whole, part of the platoon.  And individually I had the (inaudible), to sayI dont know exactly where it is but I do know at one time I had all my memoirs and so forth that my folks had kept: correspondence, emails and things of that nature.  And that whole box was accidentally thrown away 196 00:27:24.3 MH: Oh, God. 197 00:27:24.9 CS: when we were cleaning up in the garage, as you might imagine.  It disappeared. 198 00:27:33.0 MH: But you do still have a picture of yourself? 199 00:27:35.2 CS: Im sure I do somewhere. 200 00:27:40.2 MH: If you have some time, and theres no rush at all, if you could find a picture of yourself from back then and one from today, I sure would like to have it and copy it, you know, scan it and Ill send it back to you. 201 00:27:53.4 CS: Just trying to think of one, one pictureI know we had our pictures taken in Nuremberg, by a professional, you know, photographer.  I had that; but in combat garment and so forth and that sort of thing, no.



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