Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas in Kirschnaumen and other holiday stories

A card from Lt. Fred Lemm, 712th Tank Bn., to his wife.

   Ira Weinstein of the 445th Bomb Group volunteered to fly a mission on Yom Kippur in 1944. It would have been his final mission, and he would be home in time for his wife's birthday on Christmas Day. Instead his B-24 was shot down over Kassel, Germany, and he became a prisoner of war. He did make it home for Christmas ... in 1945.
   Tank driver Tony D'Arpino celebrated Christmas during the Battle of the Bulge by stringing machine gun bullets around a scrawny tree.
   Bob Rossi, the loader in Tony's tank, recalled eating Thanksgiving dinner in the rain.
   Far from home, holidays were especially poignant for the men and women fighting World War II. These are some holiday-themed audio clips from my World War II oral history interviews.

track 1 Major Forrest Dixon, 712th Tank Battalion, recalls Christmas shopping in Luxembourg.

track 2  Pfc. Bob Rossi recalls Thanksgiving of 1944.
track 3 Sarah and Jim Schaen get married on Christmas Day.

track 4 Bob Rossi and Lt. Jim Gifford recall Christmas in Kirschnaumen (France).

track 5 Ex-POW Jim Koerner recalls a Christmas Eve service in 1944.

track 6 B-24 bombardier Ira Weinstein is shot down on Yom Kippur in 1944.

track 7 Karnig Thomasian grows an Easter lily in a Japanese prison camp.

track 8 Corporal Jim Rothschadl, 712th Tank Battalion, recalls his father's love for the 4th of July.

track 9 Forrest Dixon's Christmas dinner is interrupted by an order from General Patton.

track10 T-4 Tony D'Arpino decorates a tree for Christmas.

track 11 Orlando Brigano and Paul Wannemacher recalls a Christmas Eve tragedy

track 12 More on the Christmas Eve tragedy.

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