A Witness To The Horrors Of War

A story by David T. Daniels

Recently on PBS a documentary by Ken Burns viewed the life of Franklin Roosevelt and family. In one of the five episodes Ken told of happenings in 1945 war’s end in Germany. One happening was about the poor displaced people from Eastern Europe who were enslaved by the Nazis to work in German fields and factories and live in stockades. The big story here is that, once they learned that their countries were now under Russian rule, they refused to leave the stockades. I shall now relate my experience with these sad people. Returning from the hospital in early March I rejoined my division in the Ruhr Valley where it had moved up from the Saar Valley. In the Ruhr one finds Germany’s large agriculture land as well as three huge industrial cities of Essex, Dortmund and Dusseldorf. These cities had been tremendously bombed. We found limited resistance and by April combat had ended. We then moved farther into the rural area. Here we found these horrible stockades. How many were there? There were probably dozens with an estimated population in each of two hundred. There were women and men. In our limited combat area there were four stockades made of wood and wire. The fencing was falling apart, making escaping fairly easy. But where could they go? The living quarters were filthy and had poor sanitary conditions. The only food spotted was the potato. They dug these out of piles of dirt which was the winter protection. Captain C, my company commander, called me into his field office and gave me an assignment to get food to these people. I was told to do it. It was, just do it. No matter how!! I chose Cpl. Frank from my squad to help me and with aid from our Jeep driver we found an old Opel van along a side street. A key was in the ignition and we worked to get it started by priming with gas. German civilians had no gasoline. We had hundreds of five gallon cans. In fact, the Jeep driver had replaced mortar shells with dozens of these flat cans. We were now ready for action. Famous during the war years of 1944-45 was a unit called Red Ball Express. This was hundreds of large trucks which brought supplies from French ports to millions of soldiers in Europe. I found a warehouse filled with canned food and dry food (K and C) for combat soldiers. Working day ad night we fed these sad people. Frank and I were hugged and kissed on each visit. We did this for about six weeks. Then word came down that the war was over and to assemble and leave in days. I could only hope that the forces which would occupy would continue to care for them. Part of the answer did come 70 years later. David T. Daniels Stories Title: Author: David T. Daniels Location: Southbury, CT Creation date: Event Date: Event Location: Media: Tag words: Content: Professors Who Influenced My Life Prior to World War II, I attended a small Methodist college which was largely liberal arts. This college had a mandatory ROTC from which I was called into active service in November 1942. For the next 3 years I was in the military (note that I have written several Story Chips about these experiences). Many friends in service were college boys who mostly were in schools of business. I decided to give this a trial upon discharge. The discharge came in November 1945 and I immediately applied to 3 schools and was accepted by all. I chose The University of Richmond. I had some previous service nearby and loved the city. I really dug into the books and graduated early by going to summer and night classes. My major professor was Byron Miller, who had a PhD from Ohio State University. Professor Miller liked me and obtained for me a fellowship at Ohio State. I entered Ohio State in September of 1947 wth the expectation of a MBA within one year. My major professor at Ohio State was Dr. Theodore Beckman. He was tough but seemed to appreciate my work. He encouraged me on every step. Unfortunately, my graduation was delayed with a ruptured appendix. I went South and taught at Mississippi State for two semesters. I came back to Ohio and finished my studies. There was a gentleman by the name of Herman Nolen who had left the teaching world in Ohio and became a top executive at a large drug company. Dr. Beckman told him to hire me. So, 3 Ohio State professors had a tremendous influence on my business life. David T. Daniel © 2017 Southbury, CT Title: Author: David T. Daniels Location: Southbury, CT Creation date: Event Date: Event Location: Media: Tag words: Content: Emulation Webster’s definition of this word differs from that of the advertising world. Here it means doing as or copying. For examples in early movies cigarette makers paid large sums to have stars such as Clark Gable and Joan Crawford smoke as they acted. This convinced men and women to begin to continue to also smoke. A very famous emulation resulted from what took place in March, 1962. In his Inaugural Address Jack Kennedy stood outside without wearing a hat. His bushy hair flew in the breeze. I, along with millions and millions silently said, If our President is not required to wear a hat, neither am I. Note the many other hats in the crowd, including President Eisenhower's top hat on his lap. During the twentieth century and before, dressed up professional and businessmen wore soft felt hats (Fedoras) as it was not only fashionable but socially mandated. A few days after Kennedy’s action I was walking on Fifth Ave. in New York City. Shockingly, I saw few hats. This business had a quick death. Connecticut, specifically Danbury, was the hat center of the USA and had to suffer economically. Hat wearing by men is still not a custom in the twenty-first century. David T. Daniel Southbury, CT © 2014

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 Eastern European,rations,Red Ball Express,slaves,starvation,stockades
  Germany
Feb 28 2024

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