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18 Entertainment and Rest

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

The whole USO troupe out for the finale number. The stage was especially built for this show, the usual showplace being inadequate for the expected crowd.

Regensburg, Ger—5 August ’45

Bob Hope is busy autographing. He seemed tired to me, but got his usual barrel of laughs from the fellows.

Regensburg, Ger—5 August ’45

Full house of GIs at the evening circus performance. An afternoon show is given for civilians, but they think it rather third rate because many performers are not German. The fellows, though, keenly enjoyed it all. As with most of the acts this one is a family, the Burketts. It’s a contortionist stunt known as the Elastic Act. The father, negro, and mother, white, are shown here holding their heavily tanned daughter split between. The daughter inspired many a GI whistle.

Gotha, Ger—24 June ’45

One of the formidably enclosed courtyards in the Oberhaus. The moat and bridge approach to this part appear on the left. Once a Roman fortress, the place recently was a favorite partying spot for Hitler until the US Army took over and converted it into a rest area for GIs. I enjoyed some rest time here.

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19 Going Home

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Billeted for a week in an old tobacco factory, we were processed by the old 3rd Repl Depot preparatory to going home. Same outfit, but with greatly changed tactics since the days they were supplying replacements for battle loss.

Final inspection is complete, and now with bulging bags we’re waiting by the numbers for trucks.

Marburg, Ger—13 Oct ’45

Handful of doughnuts and canteen cup of hot coffee—the invariable Red Cross handout, but a good sendoff before a rough two nights and a day on a boxcar.

Marburg, Ger—13 Oct ’45

Cattle-class accommodations, Marburg to Antwerp. Not actually the famed “40 (men) and 8 (horses)” of World War I, but no more comfortable for 24 men to ride and sleep in.

Antwerp, Bel.—15 Oct ’45

One of the seven theaters at this staging area running continuous showings all afternoon and evening. Nothing but a glorified quonset hut, but right appealing to the GIs because somebody’s bothered to name it the Roxy and run shows often enough to eliminate standing in long lines.

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5 Advance through the Hartz Mountains

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

Removing road block of wrecked vehicles, ours & theirs.

Between Dorste & Osterode, Ger—12 April ’45

Eymo 35 mm

This is another frame of a 35 mm motion picture I filmed with an Army Eymo camera. It’s from a test strip I received back after processing.

Infantry and Armor move cautiously to clear road running by a lake in the Hartz Mts. Doughs smashing through the brush on either side flushed out several prisoners, and the captain leading the column on foot picked off a German on a motorbike with his pistol. That’s about all that happened till about 4 PM they approached a town. As we left them to get our film turned in the heavy weapons section was setting up to cover a platoon going in, tanks being in reserve. Most doughs were busy sleeping in the town next morning when we returned. Infantry were of the 18th Regt of 1st Div. Tankers were of the 745 Tank Bn.

Near Osterode, Ger—14 April ’45

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Studio

Byrd M. Williams IV University of North Texas Press ePub

Dad's Westcliff Studio

DAD WORKED HIMSELF TO DEATH for 50 years in a Mom and Pop style photographic business. I was there for 30 of them. Our family was of the secular variety whose devotional piety was not directed toward any religious enterprise but rather to that postwar American work ethic that drove the entrepreneurial mental prison of the 1950s. We were in the evidence business. A wedding happened and for $59.95 you could buy the artifact proof from us. Indeed, participant testimony was piffle compared to full-color documents filled with aunts and uncles and in-laws and drunks. Same with the portrayal of family happiness. Stiff topographical maps of faces with awkward smirks in bad suits that displayed, however sterile, the family unit intact. One wonders what posterity will think of our culture 500 years hence. All 300,000,000 of us in the same J. C. Penney's uniform, the same sneer, the same phony grouping of eternal oneness. It may be a good thing that the Egyptians, Greeks, or Romans had no Olin Mills. These records of our appearance, our existence, even our sentience will become our headstones.

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9 Gardelegen Atrocity

Malcolm L. Fleming Indiana University Press ePub

On the day before US Forces took Gardelegen, over a thousand slave laborers were burned and shot to death here. They were herded into a barn, the floor of which was covered with gasoline-soaked straw. A grinning 16 yr. old SS boy struck the match. Victims who tried to smother the flames or escape the barn were shot—machine guns being emplaced around the building. About one in twenty was identified as Jewish.

Near Gardelegen, Ger—20 May ’45

Mayors were brought from all the towns in Gardelegen County, made to view the 300 charred bodies and the makeshift grave for the other 700. All able-bodied males in the city of Gardelegen were forced to exhume the bodies in mass graves and bury all in individual plots with white crosses.

Near Gardelegen, Ger—20 May ’45

Sign marking the cemetery entrance. As it implies, each grave has a Gardelegen family charged with keeping it forever beautiful. As we were leaving this area on May 30 the British, who had taken over, saw to it that flowers were placed on each grave.

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