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Volume VII: Across The Rhine—The Things Our Fathers Saw [2021]

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Volume 7 of the Best Selling WWII Narrative Oral History series continues... In "ACROSS THE RHINE", we follow our soldiers from the beaches of Normandy, into the Battle of the Bulge, and finally across Hitler’s West Wall into Germany.

358 pages.

Many of our young men would be exposed to the horrors of the Holocaust, an experience that effected them deeply. Others even went on to guard duty at the Nuremberg Trials, nineteen-year-olds handcuffed to the most notorious war criminals of the 20th century.

“But in 1945, the horror did not have a name. Some American soldiers had heard vague rumors of it, but many dismissed the stories as just that, propaganda put forth by the high command to get them in the frame of mind to fight the enemy; they certainly were not trained to deal with it when it confronted them, full in the face. And for many of these soldiers, the first of the five senses to be assaulted was the sense of smell. I interviewed one liberator of Dachau who remembered,

‘It was [the concentration camp] Dachau that we had smelled miles before we got there. And yet, people in the village who were right next to the camps said they didn’t know what was going on; people in Munich, which was actually only nine miles from Dachau, didn’t know what was going on. Now if you want to believe that, the Brooklyn Bridge is still for sale. But when you looked around some of these tough soldiers were throwing up and crying all over the place."

"It is not possible to really describe the number of feelings you get when you walk into something like that, because, well, first of all, nobody told us about the camp! We had no idea what a concentration camp was! We were going to Dachau, period. It was just another village as far as we were concerned. That’s kind of a shock to get all at one time.’”

[Front Cover: "Crossing the Rhine under enemy fire at St. Goar, March, 1945. 89th Infantry Division.” US Army, Office of War Information. Public Domain Photographs, National Archives.]

 



THE THINGS OUR FATHERS SAW VII: ACROSS THE RHINE
TABLE OF CONTENTS


PART ONE:THE ROAD TO THE REICH 15


TO LIBERATE A CONTINENT 17
THE RANGER 19
‘LOOK IN THE DEAD FILES’ 21
SHIPPING OUT 23
COMMANDO TRAINING 23
THE DAY OF DAYS 25
POINTE DU HOC 26
‘NOT MADE TO TAKE CARE OF PRISONERS’ 30
‘IT WENT RIGHT THROUGH MY LEGS’ 32
‘LET’S GO TO PARIS’ 34
THE LAST MISSION 36
THE ACCIDENT 40
LOOTER NICK 43
A CHANCE MEETING WITH GEN. PATTON 45
THE LETTER 48
A BRIDGE TOO FAR 55
THE PARATROOPER I 59
INTO THE PARATROOPERS 63
ITALY 65
MARKET GARDEN 66
OUT THE DOOR 68
THE DUTCH UNDERGROUND 70
CROSSING THE WAAL 72
THE RAILROAD BRIDGE 74
‘THEY’RE ZEROING IN!’ 75
‘LET’S HAVE THE INDIAN WORK ON HIM’ 78
THE ROSARY BEADS 79
THE OLD CAT 80
THE OUTPOST 81
THE RECON MAN I 85
SHIPPING OVERSEAS 91
I&R MEN 93
ON THE ROAD 96


PART TWO: SETBACKS 103
THE CAVALRYMAN I 105
REPLACEMENT 107
THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE 109
PATROL DUTY 110
THE BOOBY TRAP 112
THE PARATROOPER II 115
MOVING OUT 116
‘THEY TURNED THE FLACK GUNS ON US’ 117
THE PRIEST 120
CHRISTMAS IS HERE 121
‘YOU’RE GOING TO FREEZE TO DEATH’ 124
‘BE GOOD TO YOUR NEW COMMANDER’ 127
ANNIHILATED 128


PART THREE: CROSSING OVER 131
‘THE WAY IT WAS’ 133
THE INFANTRY SERGEANT 135
‘THEY HAD A LOT OF FIGHT LEFT IN THEM’ 138
THE GERMAN SOLDIER 140
GERMAN PRISONERS 141
‘A HORNET’S NEST OF SS’ 143
THE GENERAL 145
WAR’S END 146
‘THE SPIRIT IS THERE’ 147
REFLECTIONS 148
THE GIVER 151
HARVARD MAN 154
‘A LITTLE LOST PUPPY’ 157
‘WE AIN'T TAKING NO PRISONERS’ 158
‘WE WERE SUPPOSED TO DRAW FIRE’ 161
SEEING GENERAL PATTON 162
‘THEY WERE GOING TO HANG THAT KID’ 163
‘I’M A GIVER’ 165
THE FORWARD OBSERVER 167
THE FIRE DIRECTION CENTER 169
THE GUNS 170
CROSSING THE RHINE 171
THE NEW JET PLANES 172
NORDHAUSEN 174
‘NO HERO TO ME’ 176
THE RUSSIANS 176
THE BARTER SYSTEM 177
‘I CAN’T GET HOME!’ 178
THE ROCKET MAN 181
‘I HAD A GRUDGE’ 183
THE SECRET DOCUMENTS 184
OPERATION PAPERCLIP 185
THE END OF THE WAR 187
THE PARATROOPER III 191
AT REST 191
THE MARK V 194
‘IT'S NOT MY TIME YET’ 196
THE SIEGFRIED LINE 198
THE LAST RHINE COMBAT PATROL 201
THE CAVALRYMAN II 211
HITTING THE RHINE 211
THE CONCENTRATION CAMP 212
THE RUSSIANS 214
RESCUING THE LIPIZZANERS 215
RETURN TO THE RHINE 220
THE FIRST ONES IN DACHAU 223
‘I’M THROWING HER DOWN THE STAIRS!’ 227
‘THESE THINGS COME NATURALLY’ 228
THE MEDIC 237
‘A HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE BATTLE’ 238
‘A HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE SIGHT’ 241
RUSSIANS 244
‘YOU DON’T REALIZE HOW IT IS GOING TO AFFECT YOU’ 247
THE FALL OF BERLIN 251
THE PARATROOPER IV 253
ON TO BERLIN 253
OVERSEAS 265
THE SIEGFRIED LINE 266
‘I’LL BLOW YOUR GODDAMN HEAD OFF’ 267
PULLING GUARD DUTY AT NUREMBERG 269
‘FRESH AIR FANATICS’ 271
‘HOW DO YOU LIKE HAVING A JEW GUARD?’ 272
THE RUSSIAN DELEGATION 274
LE HAVRE REPLACEMENTS 279
‘THAT’S WHAT YOU CALL A SHORT ROUND’ 281
CROSSING THE RIVER 283
ON THE RUN 284
THE SLAVE LABORERS 285
THE FARM RAID 286
‘THEY’VE BEEN DRINKING WITH THE RUSSIANS’ 288
NUREMBERG 288
THE DOCUMENTS 289
SERGEANT OF THE GUARD 290
‘GOERING AND I, WE DIDN’T GET ALONG’ 290
THE RETURN TO NUREMBERG 295
‘I THINK ABOUT THINGS LIKE THAT’ 298


PART FOUR: LAST THOUGHTS 301
THE PARATROOPER V 303
‘TELL THE CHILDREN THAT I'M A WARRIOR’ 307
DACHAU AND THE QUESTION 309
DACHAU WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US 311
AMERICANS CAME TO LIBERATE 337

~ Because dying for freedom isn't the worst that could happen. Being forgotten is.~

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