5:36 | Hannah Deutch was a teenager when the Kindertransport rescue effort became her means of escape from Germany. England was taking in thousands of Jewish children and she got her papers in order and left. Right away, as the oldest one in the large group, she became the leader on the journey.
Keywords : Hannah Deutch Jew Jewish German Kindertransport Dusseldorf Germany Rabbi England Cologne babies Holland Harwich
Hannah Deutch's father served in the German Army during WWI. He would not live long enough to see the tragedy that befell his Jewish family, having died in a flu epidemic in 1929. She and her mother were living with her grandparents in Bochum, where the schools were excellent. She was very good at learning languages.
Hannah Deutch had two inseparable friends when she was growing up in Dusseldorf. One made it through the Holocaust and one didn't. All of her family except she and her mother also perished. It all started when one of her non-Jewish schoolmates said she could not play with Hannah anymore.
Her Jewish school had been closed so Hannah Deutch was working in a textile store. She turned in early but was awakened by chaos outside. It was Kristallnacht, when anti-Jewish riots devastated the German Jewish community.
It was after the war, in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, that Hannah Deutch found out the tragic fate of the relatives she left behind in Germany. A few nearly made it to the end of the war, but none of them survived.
They were welcomed with open arms. 150 Jewish children arrived in England, including sixteen year old Hannah Deutch, who had been a substitute mother to the younger ones on the journey. She passed all the exams she needed to work as a nurse, but there was one little problem. No English. She remedied that right away.
Jewish refugee Hannah Deutch was working in a London hospital when it was bombed. The facility was evacuated to the seashore but, since she was a German citizen, she became an "enemy alien." Her internment was on the Isle of Man in a swank resort.
German Jewish refugee Hannah Deutch was working as a nurse in a Manchester hospital when she decided it was time to pay England back for saving her from the Nazis. She joined the British Army. At first she was told she had to be an officer's assistant or a cook. She said no, I am a trained nurse.
In London, when it was cold, you huddled close to the fireplace and talked. German Jewish refugee Hannah Deutch was now a British Army nurse and she had befriended another young woman who was in the group sitting around the fireplace. All of a sudden, her friend made a startling declaration, "I hate the Jews."
British Army nurse Hannah Deutch was stationed right next to Buckingham Palace when the place was bombed out. They were cheered by a visit from Winston Churchill. She was a Jewish refugee from Germany and was a regular at the Jewish Forces Club. That was where she met a very special Canadian.
Hannah Deutch got engaged to a Canadian soldier and right away, there was no end to the people who wanted to help with the wedding. The Jewish refugee was a British Army nurse in London and her wedding was staged in posh style by English benefactors.
All leave was cancelled. The D-Day operation was imminent, but British Army nurse Hannah Deutch and her Canadian husband managed an intimate rendezvous in London. Shortly after that, she came up sick. She couldn't be pregnant, could she? After all, leave was cancelled. Soon she was sick again, seasick on a difficult Atlantic crossing to Canada to be with her in-laws.
The end of the war was very sad for Hannah Deutch when she found out that nearly her entire family had perished. Fortunately, she was in the care of her new in-laws in Montreal, where her husband soon returned to join her and their new son.
While in the armada at Iwo Jima, the men on Corwin Mokler's destroyer went to the aid of a sister ship when it was hit by a kamikaze. They escorted it to a safe anchorage and took the opportunity to have a little beer on the beach. They then sailed for Leyte Gulf, where they encountered a Japanese task force and confronted them head on.
He would go to a designated place in Nazi occupied France and wait for a French Underground contact. Then, after gathering knowledge on German activities, he would make his way back to England. Ubert Terrell was in mortal danger on these missions and he was detained by German soldiers twice. They messed with the wrong guy.
Bill Pontow knew how men could get spooked fighting in the Pacific, especially from kamikazes. He made it through the war without losing his cool, but he had a tough time adjusting when he returned home. Eventually, reunions with his Navy brothers proved to be a big help.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #13) Having finished basic training and jump school, the men of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment went to Tennessee for war maneuvers. The men were allowed to go into town, but Jake McNiece missed the last truck back to camp. Fortunately, there was alternate transportation just sitting there.
It was the coldest winter in twenty five years. Harold Ford was a mortar squad leader along the Rhine just before the Battle of the Bulge broke out. When it started, his division was left to hold a line that had been manned by seven divisions. The others headed north to join the fray and, meanwhile, three SS divisions headed his way.
Ralph Way was an aircraft mechanic in India, maintaining cargo planes. He recalls one incident in which a pilot couldn't tell if the landing gear was up or down. That was resolved successfully, but there was another incident regarding propellers which did not end so well.
He had been a POW in Germany, but after returning home, Harold Ford was still on active duty. After an interesting interlude as an MP, he got orders to prepare to go to the Pacific. Apparently, the Japanese heard that he was coming and promptly surrendered.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #24) Jake McNiece relates his parachute jump into Holland right in the middle of a Panzer unit. He administered morphine to a friend with a grievous wound who was left for dead. Imagine his surprise when he saw him again, later. The Holland fight was totally different from the guerilla type fighting he had in Normandy and it went on way too long.
James Parish volunteered for the US Army on November 17th, 1942. He went to Camp Adair in Oregon for his training, and also endured desert training. At one point during training, he became a cook for the rest of the men.
He was drafted in 1943, but the Army sent Fred Lott to college to study engineering. That abruptly ended and he was sent to the newly activated 69th Infantry Division, which was training in the heat of Mississippi.
Dan McBride came to the Army fully ready. He'd been shooting since the age of three and he attended the Citizens Military Training Camp during his high school summers. At age sixteen, he was qualified on every weapon he would be exposed to later in Basic training. He was scared of heights, so, naturally, he volunteered for Airborne.
While in training, Eberhardt remembers that a lot of it was specifically designed to teach the new recruits how to kill their targets. He went over to Germany, where he was assigned to prison guard duty right outside of Giesen, Germany.
Joseph Williams was one of the first black Marines, serving in an anti-aircraft unit defending the Marshall Islands. The guns were advanced for the time, with a computer-like fire director that translated weather data into fire control.
It had been decided the Japanese supply routes must be disrupted. Jim Starnes describes the daring decoy mission that was given to the USS Boise to distract the Japanese forces further south. Then, the cruiser headed for the Mediterranean, where it participated in the bombardment for the Sicily and Salerno landings. (This interview made possible with the support of COL ROBERT W. RUST, USMCR (ret.) in honor of LtGen Lawrence Snowden & LtGen George Christmas.)
After his friend and platoon sergeant Charlie Altmans was wounded, Willie Lindsey got a new sergeant who was from the Panama coastal artillery. This man knew nothing about infantry tactics and was bound to get get someone killed as the GI's pushed deeper into Germany.
Fred Scheer describes the men in his work gang, who walked every day from the prison camp to the rail yard where they repaired the tracks. Most distinctive were the three paratroopers, who were kind of aloof. The POW's were paid for their work, though there was little they could buy.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #31) After the war, Jake McNiece got a call from a Dutch boy who told him the story of his aunt. She had watched the 101st Airborne Division's jump into Holland, and was thrilled because she knew she was destined for one of the Nazi's "baby factories," where blue eyed, blond girls were kept for the pleasure of the SS.
Howard Dean was an engineering student at Georgia Tech when he was turned down by the Navy. He settled for the Army and they sent him back to Georgia Tech, where he finished his degree, then they sent him to Boston for a Harvard and MIT program studying radar.
He'd been working as a mechanic for an airline, so when David Hirsch was drafted, they let him go to the Army Air Corps. There were too many cadets, so he was offered a spot as a gunner and accepted. The aircraft was the latest heavy bomber, the B-29.
Radar officer Howard Dean was in the 12th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, but he didn't know it yet. He'd arrived in the Pacific with no real assignment, and was attached to an anti-aircraft battery for a while. Then he was told to load a radar unit on a ship and prepare for a landing. Where was that going to be?
When Willie Lindsey got to Leipzig, his unit had to take a huge monument complex where German soldiers had holed up. It was tough but they had help from their artillery. Another building taken in Leipzig contained a large arsenal of German small arms.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #15) The paratroopers were quartered on a large English estate which functioned as a game reserve. Jake McNiece felt like the food they were being fed was just slop, so he looked around at the deer and the trout and the rabbits and started scheming.
Times were tough when Henry Rice was a kid. He got along, though, and he had a good time hitchhiking around Texas and sneaking into Mexico. He joined the Army on a lark in 1940 with two buddies and, after the war started, they volunteered for the infantry. Wait, we're doing what?
B-24 navigator Jim Fleming describes the shell burst that caused his hearing loss. They gave him a Purple Heart for that, but he suffers more from the rough landing he took when he bailed out at 300 feet. He was told to just go back to work after that one.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #20) Six days after D-Day, in the town of Carentan, France, an awards ceremony was held for valorous American soldiers. There were French collaborators at work because, suddenly, a barrage of shells from a German 88 tore through the assembly. Jake McNiece describes that heartbreaking scene and the surprise of snipers in a church steeple.
(From Interview #2 Jan. 9, 2011 Video #25) The new lieutenant was arguing with acting Sgt. Jake McNiece. He wanted to stay on the bridges they'd secured, even though German planes were making menacing passes. After that situation was resolved, with deadly consequences, McNiece rode a commandeered German truck into Veghel, thinking the British were in control. Think again.