This interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society is being recorded on February 27, 2003 as part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project. The interview is being recorded at the Columbus offices of Stanley Maybruck. My name is Dave Graham and I am interviewing Stanley Maybruck and now we will begin.
Interviewer: That’s what we’ll start off with is family background. Where
were you born?
Maybruck: Columbus, Ohio.
Interviewer: And was your family kosher? Did you have a kosher home?
Maybruck: Kosher, it’s still kosher.
Interviewer: Is that right? Did you attend Hebrew School?
Interviewer: In Columbus?
Interviewer: Do you know the family history to any extent? Let’s say the
origin of your father’s family and . . . .
Maybruck: Well I could give you, my mother was born in Warsaw, Poland.
Interviewer: Do you know the family name on that side?
Maybruck: Goldberg, her name was Goldberg. She came to America at 15 years
old by herself, worked in New York sewing, and she had a brother in Springfield,
Ohio. So shortly she moved to Springfield where she resided and worked. And what
she did in Springfield I don’t know but she was very fluent in sewing and that’s
where she, my father was, he was born in Hungaria-Lithuania and they were both
born in the 1900s.
Interviewer: What was the name of that again, Lithuania?
Interviewer: That’s the name of a village? Hungary?
Maybruck: That was the country. Now I can’t tell you more.
Interviewer: Lithuania is a country.
Maybruck: Yeah. And they were both born in the 1900s and my mother lived in
Springfield, moved to Springfield. And my father was born there but he, I don’t
know when he came, he came here at a young age. There was a, and they, they, he
came from a family of nine children. I don’t know how many children my mother’s
family had. But my father had nine children and they came all in the early
stages. I don’t remember his age but they settled in Springfield, Ohio.
Interviewer: Do you now if there was any name changes to the family name?
Maybruck: No, it’s Maybruck, M-A-Y-B-R-U-C-K.
Interviewer: That’s the original name? . . . .
Maybruck: That’s what I understand. To the best of my knowledge. And they
lived there. My father’s mother had ten children of which one died early. And
there was, and she died at age 34. They had a plague or something at that time
and so there was only my father’s father, he was in the scrap business. He had
a horse and buggy and he had to take care of supporting his family so it became
at the time that my father and the oldest sister, they were the mother and
father in the family. They raised them, they supported them and they sent them
to school and they did the whole thing. So I don’t think my father graduated
high school. I don’t know if my mother did. I don’t think she did either
because she became a citizen eventually. But my father, I’m pretty sure he
came here and became a citizen or he was born here. I’m a little vague on
that. And I wish I would have more information to tell you and for myself.
Interviewer: So did they say they came to Columbus from Springfield?
Maybruck: When my mother and father married, they came to Columbus. And I was
born in 1925. And they lived at, on South, at 944 S. 18th is where
they lived. In the south end. And I lived there until they moved to Maryland Avenue later
on, I forget, in 1954 I think it was. And I had moved out and had an apartment
myself. When they moved I had my own apartment and I forget, let’s see I was
2l. I forget how old I was then.
Interviewer: So you were pretty young when you entered the war then? You were
living at home?
Maybruck: I was 18.
Maybruck: Living at home and I was drafted.
Interviewer: You were drafted? Uh huh. Now . . . .
Maybruck: Leaving on August 10, 1943.
Interviewer: August 10, ’43, leaving from Columbus? Did you have at that
time any relatives or brothers-sisters in the Army?
Maybruck: No I have no brothers or sisters. And we went from there to Fort
Thomas, Kentucky. And we stayed there till we were assigned to, we went to
Texas, Camp Barkley, Texas. I forget what city that is, what’s the name of it
now. Stayed there for our basic training and then was transferred to . . . .
General Hospital in San Francisco and I was a medic. I was in medic training in
Texas and I opted to go to Dental Technician’s School and it was in . . . .
Interviewer: Have you any idea how you were selected to be a medic or how you
were . . . . . in Texas?
Maybruck: I was taking, had three quarters at Ohio State University,
Pre-Dent. I had opted to be a dentist. And as a result I thought well I’d get
into the dental side of it and try and do something so when I got out I can go
back to college and become a dentist. And I was there for three months I think
and went to school and then I was transferred to Camp Shanango in Pennsylvania.
It’s just over the border from Youngstown, Ohio.
Interviewer: So any chance to get home at that time?
Maybruck: I got home when I first got there. For a little while I was up and
back and my father, I thought I was going to be there for, for what, I didn’t
know how long I’d be there and my father and mother would come and visit me
and they left a car for me up there and I was able to do . . . . you know. We
were in a replacement unit there.
Interviewer: I have to ask at this point, what business was your father in to
have a car?
Maybruck: He was a traveling salesman, drug sundries is what he sold.
Interviewer: Okay. Any particular business by name that we may know?
Maybruck: No, not . . . .But later on in life he got into a different business but . . . .
Interviewer: I’ll just throw out a few questions, kind of fill in some . . .
Maybruck: Throw out whatever you want.
Interviewer: little bit of background as we go along. Okay. To get back to
Pennsylvania here, you’re in training there?
Maybruck: In Pennsylvania, we, I was, just another, actually we trained a
little every day. We’re in a replacement situation.
Interviewer: So you were not part of a division or unit?
Maybruck: No, not in a division, no. And then from there we went to, to . . .
. we were assigned to a unit to go to overseas to Italy and I was in, what is
the name, they’re right, right on the coast there, the port of embarcation . .
Interviewer: In New Jersey somewhere?
Maybruck: No it was south of that. Just above Virginia Beach, up in that area.
Maybruck: Norfolk. That’s where we, yeah. Sent me there and I got sick
there. I had an infection in my ear. And I was in a hospital and all my people
shipped out. . . . . I had a good friend from Columbus, Ted Green who was a
pharmacist, who was a first lieutenant. And as a result they didn’t have any,
I was there by myself and they shipped me back to Shenango. And I already said goodbye to my parents. They knew I was going overseas and we had all the tearful exodus and I got on a bus and came home, knocked on the door and they couldn’t believe that I was back.
Interviewer: Wow that ‘s something.
Maybruck: So . . . .
Interviewer: Did they have any special celebration having you got back? Okay.
Maybruck: When I went back to Shenango the second time, they assigned me to
be a replacement for overseas and I was shipped to New York. And from there we
went on a boat to England. And waiting to be replaced, we were first to go in, I
forget when we were and . . . . the exact dates.
Interviewer: No, huh uh, we don’t want to . . . . It’s all written down.
Maybruck: We went in . . . .
Interviewer: Just your personal, did you get a chance to see London?
Maybruck: No, we were in northern, Chatham I think, I can’t remember. But
we had, I was there for a few weeks and it was during the holidays. You know, it
was during Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur. And I was at services. I was very
religious. I had a siddur with me and I kept it very near to me the whole time.
I’m going to review some things that I want to come back to later on. But it
was given to me and I held it dearly and prayed out of it daily. And when I went
to, when I finally went to New York the, my duffel bag was lost for three days
and the siddur was in the duffel bag. So I figured everything’s lost, I
lost that siddur. I was really upset because it meant something to me ’cause
they gave it to me to hold, you know, to hold and carry it as highly as I could.
So finally we got to New York and when I was there for a few days, I don’t
remember how long and they called out, come to the barracks one day and called
me out and said they had my duffel bag. So there was the siddur. So as a result, we had full combat gear which did not include any weapons but was all medical supplies. And as a result I took the, put this, I knew I’d never lose it so I put this in my gas mask bag so I’d be sure to have it . . . . I got my duffel bag and the siddur was in it so I decided I never want to lose it again so I put it in my gas mask. At that time I didn’t take the gas mask seriously. I took all the contents of the gas mask out and left them in New York. And I carried the gas bag with me ’cause I wanted to be sure to have the, nobody ever checked it outside of myself and I put this and another few valuables. I was very lax that I did that but I wanted to keep my siddur with me. It was very dear. So we get to England and I’m going to relate some experience just about the siddur, the prayer book.
Maybruck: When we were called up to go to combat in France, I had, I took the
siddur and I tied it in a Red Cross bag on the back of my pack. Why I did
that I don’t know. And I’m going up the ramp to get on the boat . . . .
Interviewer: I’ll turn this on now. Okay you got the siddur in your
Maybruck: I’m going up the ramp there and somebody bumps me and the siddur
falls in the English Channel. And you can see it’s wet, you could see the staining from there. Falls into the English Channel.
Interviewer: Oh . . . . these marks?
Maybruck: Yeah well you can see it got wet.
Interviewer: Got wrinkled, huh? Yeah.
Maybruck: So I had it in the bag, it just, some things . . . . It was pretty
well wrapped up and protected. So I mean we got all, get ready to go. We haven’t
left and we were on the boat for about a day and all of a sudden they paged me
to come to the deck, to the deck. Had my name on the Red Cross bag that I tied
on the back so they called me and said, “Mr. Maybruck, Private Maybruck, is
this yours?” And I said, “Yeah it’s my Red Cross bag,” and they
gave me the siddur and the bag that was inside there. I don’t know. I says, “I’m so happy,” I just was overjoyed and I had it then. So it went with me until I got shot, wounded in France. I’m bypassing a lot of my experience . . . .
Interviewer: That’s okay. We’re following the story on the siddur.
Maybruck: So I got shot, it was in my gas mask bag naturally. And I had put
it in this Red Cross, they give you little candies and little things that you
carry with you and different trinkets. But I had the bag and I got shot in the,
I’ll have to go into that later on how we did that, but I woke up in a
hospital near the beach in France, near the beach and in between my legs was the
Red Cross bag and the gas mask bag. And actually the siddur was in there.
Besides that there was a box of coins, all kind of coins. I don’t know where
they come from but I’ve still got them. I put them in a safety deposit box.
But that was there and that stayed with me that time. And I had a funny
experience. You got to ask me that when we go through these other things, what
happened in the hospital.
Interviewer: About what, this again?
Maybruck: No well I got, I can relate a little, well better wait till later
on.So we stayed there for a week and then took us, they flew us in a DC3 to England and I was able to get up and walk a little. So they put us in a truck, an open truck, one of those big Army trucks with the seats in the back and I was sitting up and I put the bag on the seat, the Red Cross bag and I was kind of thinking about other things and I looked down, I had it on the seat when I was put on the truck, and I looked down and lo and behold the bag is gone.
Interviewer: It’s gone?
Maybruck: It disappeared. I dropped it on the road, you know these . . . .
with seats on it so I . . . . So I’m starting yelling and screaming to the driver and said, “I lost my bag, my Red Cross bag.” And he said, “Well what’s the big deal,” you know. And I yelled and screamed . . . . and I said, “You got to go back and look on the road. It’s got to be on the road where I dropped it.” And he went back, took us about a half hour and we found the bag.
Interviewer: . . . . Were you the only one in the truck?
Maybruck: No there was about 15-20 . . . .
Interviewer: So you’re holding up all these other guys . . . .
Maybruck: Oh on the truck, just on the truck. We were going to a hospital. I
was going to have an operation there and I just yelled and screamed and said I
didn’t want to do it. Finally he said, “Okay, to keep you quiet,” he
turned around and went back. And we got the siddur there. And it stayed with me. There was never any more experiences other than that with the siddur but I did keep it all the way back and I have had it all these years and when I got married, we wrapped it in this covering here and my wife carried it down the aisle.
Interviewer: Oh my goodness. Carried it down the aisle?
Maybruck: Carried the siddur.
Interviewer: That is a lot of memories wrapped up in that.
Maybruck: Yeah . . . . so we’ll go back to . . . .
Interviewer: Well it brought to mind some questions that I could come out
with to follow along with that. As you prayed, you say you prayed daily . . . .
Interviewer: did, how did you find a quiet place? Did you pray with, around
with people around you or?
Maybruck: No I didn’t. I had a tallis, I had a, you know what, a
prayer shawl. And I did have, I’ve got it in there someplace. It’s in one of
my drawers. I kept that. But I, and I went to, when I was in England waiting to
be sent overseas to France, I went to services in London. I was the only soldier
in this one synagogue and I was invited, a fellow invited me to come over, he
said, “Would you like to spend the holiday with us?” And I, well you
know naturally, I . . . . “I’d like to do it,” and he said, “We’re
kosher and will you come?” And we walked. It took us about a half hour at
that time when they had blackouts and we walked and we finally go to this
neighborhood and . . . . . and he took us in between two buildings, he went back
into, his house was behind some buildings and lo and behold he opens the door
and the table’s set so, holiday spirit with all the trimmings, the wine and
the siddur and the whole thing and he had three daughters. I guess that’s
why he wanted me to come over.
Interviewer: Is that right?
Maybruck: . . . . But he was a good Samaritan. He just saw an American Jewish
boy praying and he saw I could daven, could read Hebrew, and he was
impressed I guess and he invited me to his house. So I became friendly with him
for the remaining time. I’d go over there when I had a pass and whatever I
could do. So . . . .
Interviewer: Any chance you remember the name of the family?
Maybruck: I can’t remember the name. I don’t know, remember, if I marked
it down, I don’t have it. I lost it when I got shot. I lost a lot of things.
Interviewer: Your religious holiday would have been in April of ’44?
Maybruck: It was in, it was in, it was still in 1943. I think it was Rosh
Hashonah or something like that.
Interviewer: So you were in . . . .
Maybruck: No I don’t know when it was. Let’s see, when was it? I think it
Interviewer: That’s what I’m thinking, it was probably Passover in April.
Maybruck: I have never reviewed this like we’re doing now so it was, I
think it was Passover, yeah, it definitely was Passover.
Interviewer: Because, yeah, because in a few months you’re in . . . .
Maybruck: Yeah, it wasn’t Rosh Hashonah.
Interviewer: Passover, yeah.
Maybruck: And we had a beautiful meal and I went over to the house there
several times. I don’t remember how long I stayed in England but I was very
friendly with them and their whole family, the girls and they treated me like a
son. I mean they were very, very kind. It was in Wrexham, England, is where it
Interviewer: Oh there you are. You remember the, yeah.
Interviewer: But he had just seen you somewhere first?
Maybruck: He saw me in synagogue praying. I had a, took the bus to . . . .
Interviewer: And you found the synagogue and he saw you?
Maybruck: . . . . for Passover, now that I remember. And so I went to the
synagogue and he saw me there. I was, there were some other fellows there but he
only invited me to come with him. And he saw that I knew how to pray and how to daven
and how to say the ritual, whatever it was. And he was impressed and he come
over and invited me to go with him. I was very proud of that.
Interviewer: Now during the war we think of some very, very religious people
as being what we called then, conscientious objectors, that would . . . .
Maybruck: I had no conscientious, no, no, no . . . .
Interviewer: Did you have any thoughts about that?
Interviewer: Did you have any thoughts about not participating?
Maybruck: Not, never gave it a thought. Never had anything come in my mind,
Interviewer: What was your family, your parents’ view of your involvement
in the war?
Maybruck: Well they, they, they were pretty wrapped up in me going.
Interviewer: Because you were drafted? You didn’t have much choice.
Maybruck: They were upset. They were very upset when I was drafted. But they
didn’t have any objections at all. They were happy to be Americans, very happy
to be . . . . My mother really studied hard because she couldn’t hardly, I
mean she didn’t write too good, didn’t read too good, but she studied hard
and she became a citizen.
Interviewer: Did they speak Yiddish at home or . . . .
Maybruck: They spoke in Yiddish, yes . . . .
Interviewer: So you spoke Yiddish?
Maybruck: I understood a lot of it then . . . . and we spoke, they did speak
Yiddish and we had a girl that worked for us for many, many years, an
African-American lady who was crippled. She had one leg shorter by, at least a
foot shorter, about eight inches shorter, and she took care of. She came to work
with us when she was 15 and as a result of our speaking Yiddish, she would, she
understood a lot of it so she could speak . . . .
Interviewer: . . . . That’s interesting. Well you know sometimes that
Yiddish came in handy . . . . in Germany. But you didn’t . . . .
Maybruck: Yeah well I . . . .
Interviewer: You didn’t make it that far?
Maybruck: It helped me, it helped me with, when I went back to, we took a
trip to Germany. It helped me a little bit.
Interviewer: Oh you returned to Europe?
Maybruck: Yes I took French in high school. I knew a little bit. I remembered
Interviewer: So you’ve returned to your battlefield, have you?
Maybruck: No . . . .
Interviewer: Omaha or anything?
Maybruck: We went over and went to Belgium and went all the way down to St.
Tropez and . . . . you know, down in there. And we came back and the family, they went to Paris and they didn’t go there. They wanted me to go but I didn’t particularly want to go back.
Interviewer: Okay so you really haven’t been back to the . . . .
Maybruck: . . . . stay for another . . . .
Interviewer: to the ground?
Maybruck: for at least ten days.
Interviewer: Well why don’t we pick up with your World War II experience
there as you, we kind of left you in training. You got to see your parents. You
came home again.
Maybruck: Then we went back to, to the . . . .
Interviewer: Back to Pennsylvania.
Maybruck: Pennsylvania and then we shipped to New York. From New York we
shipped to England. And then we went there, we were, from there we were to the
port of embarcation at Birmingham. Is Birmingham on there?
Interviewer: Probably, yeah.
Maybruck: It’s on the coast there.
Interviewer: You’re still not part of the 4th Division yet?
Maybruck: No, no. They put me in the 4th Division. Well they put
me in the 4th Division on the coast there. That’s where I was . . . .
Interviewer: When you arrived in Europe?
Maybruck: Yeah they said, “You’re assigned to that,” . . . . and so forth.
Interviewer: Do you remember anything about getting off your ship, whatever
put you on the ground in Europe? How did . . . .
Maybruck: We had to climb . . . .
Interviewer: How was that?
Maybruck: We come in and we climbed on the . . . .
Interviewer: Oh you did that kind of thing?
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: Did you see any of the . . . .
Maybruck: . . . . after we went in and we went on the boats and we walked in
the water and went up there.And we, there was a lot of activity, a lot of shelling, a lot of . . . and a lot of bombing and things like that.
Interviewer: That was happening but this was not D-Day?
Maybruck: No it was everything, couple of, few days after that.
Interviewer: A few days after D-Day?
Maybruck: And . . . .
Interviewer: Okay. But there was combat in the area?
Maybruck: There was combat and we were assigned right away, we were taking
care of the wounded. Right immediately, as soon as we got off . . . .
Interviewer: You were?
Maybruck: Yes, yeah, right away there was something going on. I can’t, to
be honest, I’m having a hard time remembering everything. All I know is we had
a break and I was sitting in the hedgerow with a lot of bullets flying over my
head. I was next to a tree reading a Reader’s Digest. I kept the
Reader’s Digest with my . . . . Why I don’t know. I never, I
still don’t have it. But I was very, at that time I wasn’t fearful of
anything. Why I don’t know. Nothing scared me. I just, I was sitting there
reading. Bullets were flying. ‘Cause we was in a hedge- row, we already, we
went into the hedgerow, see.
Interviewer: Yes, very famous . . . .
Maybruck: And I was working. I was taking care of the wounded, you know. We
went out to get them, we were first aid, the company first aid, and we were in
the infantry . . . .
Interviewer: This is where I want to get into the details. There are a couple
of ways that medics served. Some served with a complete medical unit.
Maybruck: No . . . .
Interviewer: Like a hospital, a field hospital?
Maybruck: . . . . a hospital. I was with a unit in the infantry.
Interviewer: Others, okay.
Maybruck: we went with them and pulled them back.
Interviewer: You were part of that fighting unit? Because you had a company
commander, you had continuing lieutenants, you had sergeants. Do you remember
any of them?
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: Is that right?
Maybruck: He kept a gun underneath his head.
Interviewer: So you . . . .
Maybruck: We were not allowed. They made sure we didn’t have any guns. This
I know. I’d seen him take it out several times and we never talked about it
but I know he had a revolver . . . .
Interviewer: Okay. Now to help us get perspective on your experience with
your unit, can you at all recall what company, they had A, B, C, D, F Company.
Were you pretty sure it was 12th Infantry Regiment?
Maybruck: Yeah, uh huh.
Interviewer: 12th Infantry Regiment? That’s broken down to
Maybruck: Uh huh.
Interviewer: First, Second, Third . . . .
Maybruck: . . . . infantry . . . .
Interviewer: Eighth Infantry?
Maybruck: Well I don’t really pay too much attention . . . .
Interviewer: Do you still have your discharge papers? It would have it
Maybruck: Uh huh. Well . . . .
Interviewer: It would say on there. Yeah, what your units were. But you don’t
recall like the Company Commander by name by chance, anything like that?
Maybruck: No I can’t recall anything . . . .
Interviewer: Okay. Did they kind of have a . . . .
Maybruck: We were moving forward . . . .
Interviewer: meeting where they accepted you . . . .
Maybruck: we were moving forward to, no, they . . . .
Interviewer: How did you know what’s your . . . .? I mean, kind of . . . .
Maybruck: When they assigned me, they . . . . the company commander and then
they, and the first sergeant and . . . . the platoon, I don’t know what they .
. . .
Interviewer: Okay, yeah. That’s the smallest.
Maybruck: See we went with the infantry. We moved as . . . . We, when they
were battling ’em, they would just, we had to go out and get the wounded and
bring them back to an aid station and then at the aid station, they would put
them on a jeep and take them to the shoreline if they were seriously wounded.Or they would treat them. They had portable hospitals then. And we would go out and everything was sulfa. At that time we carried sulfa, right on our gun belts was sulfa, not bullets. And anything that happened, we were trying to put sulfa, you know tourniquets, and so forth. But the most important thing was put sulfa on and wrap, bandage them up and send them back. We didn’t have much of treatment. There was no treatment at all.
Interviewer: No. Being with the front lines did you have to dig a foxhole
Maybruck: And we had to dig foxholes. We were in the foxholes. We had to do
that, yes, yes, yes.
Interviewer: Living outdoors in all the rain and . . . .
Maybruck: In the rain. There was no cover, no anything.
Interviewer: They had quite a bit of rain at times I know.
Maybruck: And we worked very hard. We, you know, they’d, we were under fire
most of the time and they would call us, you know, they would yell and scream.
We’d have to go out and pick them up and we’d bring them back, drag them . . .
Interviewer: You would hear the wounded?
Maybruck: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: So you would go out under fire?
Maybruck: Under fire and get them. We had to do that We had to do that. That
was . . . . A lot of times we went out to get them and when we got there it was
too late, you know, they weren’t alive. But and sometimes, it was tanks if I
remember correctly, it’s pretty hard. It’s 50 some years and . . . . we went
in tanks. We had to pull the tankmen out of the tanks. They were burning and so
forth. You know we put them . . . .And I don’t remember how we did it but we had, I worked with the other ones, you know, not just myself. We had to pull them out.
Interviewer: So not only ground troops. There was some tank personnel you had to . . . .
Maybruck: Go in and retrieve . . . .
Interviewer: Now were you ordered by some superior officer to do that?
Maybruck: That was a sergeant who told us where to go and what to do and what
not to do. Some of the times, you know.Sometimes you were on your own, most of the time.
Interviewer: You’re with the troops and then you just respond to their . . .
Maybruck: After a couple of weeks we didn’t have any showers or anything
and I remember distinctly in one of the times being late at night I was tired
and I went in a bar and unbeknownst to anybody I went in and went to sleep. And
it was wet but I didn’t pay any attention to them, you know, wet or not, woke
up in the morning and it was a pile, I was sleeping in a pile of manure. That’s
how knocked out I was. When I got up in the morning I still couldn’t take a
shower . . . . But maybe a week or so later we were pulled into an area and they
let us, they give us clean socks and underwear and they had a mobile shower
unit. We took a shower.And . . . .
Interviewer: Did you have a foxhole buddy when you were . . . . you kind of
stayed with or . . . .
Maybruck: Not too much.
Interviewer: Not too . . . .
Maybruck: We moved around too much. We didn’t have, didn’t have too much.
I couldn’t remember who, who I, we probably did, I probably did. But I don’t
remember to tell you the truth. But we just did our thing and did what was to be
done and it really wasn’t all our command to do things but we all kind of
stayed together, our platoon and the unit. And we had, one time, they put on,
they used to put us on trucks and move us around . . . .
Interviewer: . . . . trucks.
Maybruck: And I remember going through St. Lo at the end there before I got
shot and I remember looking at those buildings. I did have a camera. I recorded
a . . . . and everything and I put the rolls, when I got shot the rolls were in
my . . . . gun belt . . . . I was a camera freak. I was a . . . .when I was a kid and I must have, I had, I must have had 30 or 40 rolls of . . . .They took, when I got shot, they took everything off of me and threw it away. I never got ’em. They weren’t developed. But I was really, that really hurt me. That hurt me something terrible.
Interviewer: You lost all that film?
Maybruck: I had some unbelievable, combat shots and coming in on the boat and
everything because I had been a camera, been my hobby since I was a child but. . .
Interviewer: Uh huh. . . . Yeah and it was left on the battlefield.
Maybruck: No wonder why I can’t answer, I can’t remember those things,
Interviewer: Well you know, some people, just so many things happened it all
comes together in one big memory.
Maybruck: It was a very short time. I think I was only there about 50-60
days, some- thing like that. I was shot on August 10. I went in in June so it
couldn’t have been over 45 to 55 days that I was there.
Interviewer: Well that’s right. But things like, you know, St. Lo, that’s
kind of famous because of the battle and the breakout.
Maybruck: Yeah, St. Lo I was, way I got, at St. Lo we were working to the
edge rivers, you know. We went out and we traveled at night. At night you could
hear the Germans, that’s how close we were. We heard them talking.We had to be real quiet and careful ’cause we were medics and we weren’t making any problems so we kept quite but you could hear Germans talking, that’s how close we were.
Interviewer: What do you remember about those hedgerows, I mean . . . .
Maybruck: I just remember they were square hedgerows, you know kind of square
and there was a lot of trees inside of them in some of those squares but there
was a lot of hedgerows. We fought in the hedgerows an awful lot, an awful lot.
Interviewer: Did you think you were ever going to get hurt?
Maybruck: I never even paid any attention. To be honest with you I never even
thought about it. Yeah I had, was crawling over a fence one time and two of us or three of us and one guy got shot, he got killed, right next to me, you know. Couldn’t do nothing, we kept on going. We had to keep on going.
Interviewer: So there’s a memory.
Maybruck: Yeah. That I . . . .
Interviewer: That’s specific.
Maybruck: I remember that. I . . . .
Interviewer: You were crawling over a hedgerow?
Maybruck: No over a fence. A wire fence . . . . and he got shot right next to
me and he got killed right there and then.
Interviewer: Was he a medic also?
Maybruck: Yes he was a medic too. Yeah.
Interviewer: Do you think they knew he was a medic when they shot him?
Maybruck: When I got shot I was wearing a medic arm band. And I got shot
exactly where the . . . . in my back. I got shot in the back. I was leaning over
to take care of a wounded soldier and they shot me in the back. And . . . .
Interviewer: Now you would have had the cross on your helmet, Red Cross on
your shoulder, did you also have . . . .
Maybruck: No just on . . . . and on the helmet. No other place.
Interviewer: You think they knew?
Maybruck: I don’t know but I got shot and the bullet went in my back, come
out in the front. It was a lucky shot but my right arm was paralyzed. At that
time it was paralyzed for about five years. But when I got shot it felt like a
truck hit me. I went straight to the ground and later, about three or four
hours, I did have morphine with me and I gave myself a shot of morphine.
Interviewer: You gave yourself the treatment? No medic around?
Maybruck: No medic. I mean, you know, I was laying there. I woke up maybe, I
don’t know, I mean, I don’t know how many minutes or a half hour later and
then I saw I was shot and I couldn’t use my right arm and I was laying on the
ground and the other guy was laying there and finally I . . . . maybe three or
four hours later they come out and dragged me back. We were under fire all the
time. And they dragged me back and finally got me to an aid station and dressed
the wound and then they come out with a jeep and they took me back to the
portable hospital there.
Interviewer: Back up. When you were shot, were you treating another soldier?
Maybruck: Yes. Yes, was treating a soldier. Yes.
Interviewer: Did that soldier survive?
Maybruck: Yeah he was there too. He survived. He was there, you know, I don’t
know. I was bandaging, I was leaning over with my knee . . . . down and you
know, leaning over and taking care of him and he was laying flat and they shot
me in the back. I got shot in the back. Like the other man’s here and I got
shot in the . . . . in the back underneath my collarbone. Come out underneath my
collarbone. Went in the back and then just went in right there . . . .
Interviewer: In your shoulder blade?
Maybruck: and come underneath the collarbone. Yeah. And it does, a great deal
of . . . . in the front, the nerve region, and I, it didn’t break the nerve
but they told me I had scar tissue afterwards. That’s the main . . . . So I
was under therapy for a long time.
Interviewer: Did they ever tell you if it was a rifle fire or machine gun
Maybruck: No how would they . . . .
Interviewer: They wouldn’t know?
Maybruck: It was . . . . a rifle shot. I think it was a rifle shot.
Interviewer: Do you think this was on an attack? The unit was making an
attack or . . . .
Maybruck: We were attacking, yes. We were attacking, yeah.
Interviewer: When they took you, did they tell you where you were? Any idea
where, what village.
Maybruck: Mortaine, I was in Mortaine . . . . that’s where . . . .
Interviewer: Mortaine? On August 10th?
Maybruck: Uh huh. It was in the morning.
Interviewer: In the morning?
Maybruck: Yes . . . .
Interviewer: Did they, sometimes there’s little villages around there. Were
you taken to any little village?
Maybruck: No we were dragged, they must have dragged me for several hours . .
Interviewer: They dragged you?
Maybruck: Because we’re under fire the whole time. They come out about
three or four hours later. We’re still under fire.So they dragged me back to a place where they could dress the wound and then pretty soon, sometime later a jeep come out and they put us on this litter and they took us back to the medical unit.
Interviewer: Any idea what unit that was? Did they give you any . . . .
Interviewer: information, you’re at some field?
Maybruck: . . . . They operated on my, you know, they had an operation . . .
Interviewer: They operated then?
Maybruck: the wound. And then I come back and this is interesting. I was
going to tell you about this. And when I had my siddur. So as I come
back, I got out of surgery and I’m laying on the stretcher, you know, these
low, they had these beds there and I seen my gas mask in there and I opened it
up, I was walking, and I, and everybody around me is speaking Jewish. Everybody.
You know, this guy’s speaking Jewish, that guy’s speaking Jewish. All
Interviewer: Do you mean Yiddish or . . . .
Maybruck: Yeah, no it sounded like Yiddish to me. So I’m there for about a half hour and then Yiddish and them talking and the other guy I’m telling, he didn’t understand me but I talked the few Yiddish words that I knew some Yiddish and all of a sudden an orderly comes in there and he says, “What are you doing here?” he asked. And I said, “Well I don’t know. I had an operation and they dumped me out of here.” And he said, “You’re not supposed to be here. This is POW. These are all Germans in here.”
Interviewer: Oh my goodness. That’s why you might recognize it. It’s
Maybruck: So I didn’t, I didn’t know. You know, I was kind of blurry at
that time after coming out of the operation and so they quickly rousted me out
of there and took me to a regular unit up there, you know. Then they, and I was
there for a day or something and they did another operation. I don’t know what
they did but they did it. And then after that, that’s when I was able to get
up a little after that. And they took us to the beach. Not a beach, they took us to some kind of a landing area, air strip. And they put us on a DC3 and took us to England and that’s when they put us in these trucks and were taking us to a hospital.
Interviewer: Was that your first airplane flight? First time you ever got in
Maybruck: Yeah it was the first time, yeah.
Interviewer: Put you on. Now those Germans, was that the first time you’d . . .
Maybruck: Well that’s the . . . .
Interviewer: talked to the Germans?
Maybruck: I’d seen a lot of dead Germans.
Interviewer: You’d seen a lot of dead ones, huh?
Maybruck: A lot of dead Germans. I’d seen a lot of dead, the worst thing,
the memory about the war is naturally that the people get injured and die and
get killed. But the worst memory is the smell at night when you walk through
different fields and cattle and the animals were laying upside down with their
feet up and they were, you know, stiff and the soldiers, with the small, the
stench from human bodies and from animals. That was, I didn’t talk about that.
I could still smell that smell. That’s the worst smell I ever smelled in my
life. I can still smell it and that was a terrible, terrible . . . .
Interviewer: Uh huh. And you had to live and spend the night?
Maybruck: Oh yeah. You kept on. You didn’t have time to stop to do
anything. You know you thought while you were in France you must have had a good
time in France. We didn’t have the time for a good time. But I did, I look
back on my memory of the short time in combat, I had no fear, no fear
whatsoever. Nothing bothered me. A fellow was wounded and so I went out to get
him or they said, “Go,” you went. Whatever they told you, we were
programmed to do whatever they told us.
Interviewer: Did you ever treat any Germans? We took in Germans.
Maybruck: I had no opportunity to treat . . . .
Interviewer: Not to treat. All right. No.
Maybruck: But it was amazing about how I felt and I never worried. They said,
“Do it,” you do it. We were, you know, that was, they trained all the,
everybody in the Army. You followed the leader. Whatever he said,
“Do,” you’d do.
Interviewer: Back on the day you were wounded. How do you know that was
Maybruck: ‘Cause it was August 10.
Interviewer: Well how . . . .
Maybruck: Well I kept track of the days. I know, I didn’t have any
magazines. I know it was August 10. I know definitely it was August 10.
Interviewer: During the battle, how did you know it was Mortaine?
Maybruck: Because it was, we went through St. Lo and I remember seeing signs:
Interviewer: On . . . .
Maybruck: I’m pretty sure that’s how I remember . . . .
Interviewer: In other words the last . . . .
Maybruck: They told me when I was in the hospital, also that’s when I got,
in the portable hospital they said, “That’s where we got you there, in
Mortaine.” They were telling me. Don’t ask me how they knew but that’s what they told me.
Interviewer: That’s where it . . . .
Interviewer: In your knowledge?
Maybruck: I got inducted on the 10th, got shot on the 10th and I got discharged on the 10th. Don’t ask me why. Two years I was in, just two years in the service. Well I was, remained in the hospital. I went to England. They flew me to England and that’s when I was on a truck. That’s when I lost my siddur and they went back, got it. I related that to you earlier. And they put me in a hospital. Well they transferred, we were on a neurosurgery hospital and they were, they kept me there until December, December, somewhere December 20th. And they, I had about four or five operations and every time they repaired the nerve and I had, and one time they wanted me to have an operation, I was in these neurosurgery wards all the time .
Interviewer: They had neurosurgery then?
Maybruck: And in the wards was all of the same type, legs, arms, whatever. So I was in a hospital in England and I was mobile, pretty mobile . . . . All the time I was mobile. So I’d walk around. I spent a lot of time in different wards. I got to know the nurses, I got to know the people in there and I was really able to move around quite a bit. And finally the last operation they wanted to perform was an open-arm surgery. They wanted to go from my collarbone up through my arm and all the way down to my wrist. They opened it up and try and repair the nerve. It was exploratory surgery and one thing I did notice that most of the surgeons and the doctors were very young. They were out of college, real quick out of college and I wouldn’t give them permission and they wanted to court martial me ’cause they said I had to do it, you know. It was an order. And I absolutely refused to let them do that surgery. ‘Cause I’d seen other fellows come back that they opened up the legs from here all the way down and in different parts of the body and I just didn’t want to do that. I just felt that my arm’s going to be paralyzed, I really felt that it was going to come back. And it would hang down like that, they put a cast on it but wouldn’t confirm it and this arm is still today, I can still here I can’t feel it but over the years I’ve retrieved quite a bit of use of it. So I was glad I didn’t take that operation. ‘Cause they did a lot of experimenting with the soldiers in the hospital there. That’s my opinion from what I’d seen. And we were in an amputee hospital also at one time and I saw quadruple amputees and that was very, that’s when I really realized how bad the war was when I saw most of the amputees and seeing fellows shot in different parts of the body that they never had any control of their . . . . their hygiene or in the back or in the front and a lot of guys were 18 years old. They figured they’ll never be able to have children, they’ll never have any love life. They just were absolutely devastated. And at night when you were sleeping you could hear the fellows crying and yelling and moaning. And most of them were suffering pretty bad but they were very emotional because of their wounds . . . . I was in, I visited this ward was mostly, was all colostomy wards. You know what a colostomy is don’t you? And I spent a lot of time there. Thank goodness I did because later in life my mother had a colostomy and I was able to tend it and take care of it with her. But I was in there for some time. I was there from August 10th and I think four or five different hospitals until December and while I was there, I used to go with a girl in Columbus. Her name was Bromberg, Billie Bromberg. And she would write me letters quite often and she would send me letters and said her brother was in a hospital and she told me where it was and everything. She says, “I wish you’d try and find him and see how he’s doing over there. He sends us letters, he don’t want to come home. He wants to go back to combat and he just barely reads the letters.” So you know, so I did some research and I was able to get around and I eventually borrowed a bicycle. I had with one arm, this arm didn’t . . .So I’m riding this bicycle. It was about 10-20 miles, something like that, and I rode over to this, they give me information to get it, and I was out most of the time ’cause I was mobile. And why they didn’t send me back to the States real quick I don’t know but they tried to repair it over there. So I, in the meantime I’m riding this bicycle, I go to the hospital and I run in to see Irv Bromberg. That’s this Billie Bromberg’s brother.
Interviewer: Had you ever met him before?
Maybruck: I’d never met him before.Never met him. ‘Cause he was, I had met her, known her for a year or two and we were very friendly. And I met him and I introduced myself and we became very, very close friends. I mean we were, as close as you, and I would go over there quite a few times to see him and visit him and take him things and I’d write letters and tell his sister. And he would, the nurse would tell me, you know, I had to leave at certain times. They wanted him to take a nap every day and he wanted to go back. He absolutely would not want to go back to the States.
Interviewer: I wonder . . . .
Maybruck: . . . . if they were bombing the States, if they were in hardship,
they had rationing and he was worried to death. He wanted to go back to combat,
wanted to do his, he was very loyal and very, just he was a true American, a
true warrior who knew, wonderful, wonderful man. But he . . . .
Interviewer: I’ve interviewed Irv and I just want to ask you, what did you
think of his mental condition, of his wounds. How was he wounded?
Maybruck: Well he might have had, he wasn’t in any, I had no bandages. Most
of his was shock, shell shock I think, mental, his mental capacity . . . .
Interviewer: Did he seem like he had his capacity, mental capacity?
Maybruck: Good mental capacity. But he, always in our conversation, he was
trying to figure out how he could get back into combat. That was his biggest
worry, why he, they would send him back to America. So I kept going over
frequently, I don’t remember how many times. And he tells me, this was in
December. He says, “Well they’re making me go back to the States. I can’t
go back to combat.” He was very unhappy. He’s telling everybody he wants
to talk to generals and so forth. He wants to go into combat. They overruled him
and he says, “I’m going back to America.” So I said goodbye and he
says, no wait a minute, no I told him, wait, I’m sorry, let’s retract that.
So I was at the point they told me I’m going to America. And he’s still
there and he, you know, he didn’t tell me he was going to America. That’s
what. He still was fighting to go back to combat. I mean he was very, the nurses
would tell me, I got to know his nurses pretty well, and they’d tell me he
wanted to stay there and I, finally they told me that I’m going back to
America. They said, “We’ve done as much as we could here. We’re going
to send you back to a hospital in America for treatment and surgery, what-
ever.” So I bicycled over to see him the last time. I take him, you know,
all my goodies and say, “Here I am,” I said. “Is there anything
you want me to tell your parents or your sister or any of your relatives? What
can I,” (tape fades out for a short time) talk to someone so he could go
back to combat.
Interviewer: Okay, we’re on the second side here. Yeah I just want to give
the introduc- tion to this part here. You’re talking, you’re going back to
the States. You’re saying goodbye to Irv Bromberg . . . .
Maybruck: In December, yeah.
Interviewer: And you ask him if there’s any message he wanted to send back
with you back to. And what did he say?
Maybruck: He said, “No I don’t want to go,” he said. “I want
to stay here and I want to go back in combat.” He said, “I have to do
that for my country and I got to do it no matter what you tell me or what
anybody says. I got to go back.” So I go back and about a few days later
they get us together . . . everything and I get sick before I’m going back.
Well they took me, carried me on a stretcher on the boat, and put me in there.
Well I got a little better and I was able to get around.
Interviewer: How were you sick? What was . . . .
Maybruck: I don’t know, I guess I just got sick, the flu or some kind of
virus. Who knows what it was? I was really sick and I got better. So, and then
finally they would bring me food every day. So I got to the point I could walk
so one afternoon we’re on the boat and going home to America and on the boat I
got in line, I was able to get out of the bed and go in the, and I’m walking.
We only had two meals a day ’cause there’s too many people to serve three
meals a day. You know, when you walk to the mess area. So I’m in this line and
here I come down to the bottom of the steps and who do I run into but Irv
Maybruck: It’s a true story. He says, first thing he said to me, he says,
“I’m going home. Is there anything you want me, is there anything you
want me to tell your folks?” It was really, we were very, very happy to see
each other. We hugged each other and as a result, we had a lot of good times on
the boat. But I became seriously ill, very, very sick on the boat. So they had
me in sick quarters, sick bay, and he would come every day to visit me and more
and more it became not so much a joke. It looked like I was going to die to him
and, but I was really sick. And I didn’t think I was going to die but he kept
telling me, “What do you want me to tell your folks?”
Interviewer: Was this an infection from your wound?
Maybruck: It was a virus infection from the wound. I don’t know what it
was. I was really sick. I mean they had to, they carried me on, they carried me
off the boat.
Interviewer: Well what, did you have any contact with a rabbi or any
spiritual help at that time?
Maybruck: Nothing on the boat, nothing.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: I still had my siddur and I . . . . So I get well and I
never thought that I was going to die but I was really, I was in intensive care
down there. Not after an operation but I was in just a, they had a, they had me
with people watching me all day long. So we finally get to America and they, and
Irv checking me out, and they carried me off the boat and put me in a ambulance
and I go one way and Irv goes another way. But he, he went to a different camp,
wasn’t, a different type hospital.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: And so I, they shipped me to Battle Creek, Michigan. I was able, I
was on a train. I think they put us on a train and went to Battle, it was a
neurosurgery hospital, Kellogg, I think it was Kellogg Sanitarium turned into an
Army hospital. And there I had a couple of operations. They were trying to give
me all kind of treatments and I got well from my serious illness, completely
well. What it was, I wish I could remember what it was but I can’t remem- ber.
And as a result they operated there I think once and then I would get a pass to
go home every week. And on Wednesday my father brought my car up to me. He was
very devoted. I was an only child.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: He brought the car up to me and we, we had a lot of experiences in
the hospital but they, and I was able to drive with one arm of course. But I
would come home every weekend and I would go to the Fort Hayes here in Columbus
and take treatments every day. Had to take whirlpool treatments, massage
treatments, they, they, my arm was coming back, the feeling was coming back,
little by little I could feel something in the arm.
Interviewer: At Fort Hayes, many other boys there too?
Maybruck: Oh yeah there was . . . .
Interviewer: A lot? Oh yeah.
Maybruck: . . . . a ward there on Fort Hayes. So I’d go there every day.
Every day I went to . . . .
Interviewer: Did you meet any other Jewish veterans around that time, would
you recall any?
Maybruck: All I remember was Mitch Cohen.
Interviewer: Oh is that right? You met him?
Maybruck: Oh I met Mitch. Mitch was a friend of mine a little bit. Before he
knew me, of me, I knew of him but . . . .
Interviewer: Was he wounded?
Maybruck: But I met Mitch, he wasn’t wounded, but he was rescued. You know
he was . . . . well now how I knew Mitch it was after the war . . . . we went to
the Jewish War Veterans thing and I met Mitch there and we got to talking, he
told me his experiences and we became good friends. But I met no other Jewish
Interviewer: So you met him at Fort Hayes?
Maybruck: No I met him at the Jewish War Veterans.
Interviewer: Oh I see. Okay.
Maybruck: Had a doings or something and invited me and I became a member.
Interviewer: Oh okay. So you were undergoing. . . .
Maybruck: . . . .a lot of things, you know.
Interviewer: under treatment here in Columbus?
Maybruck: I was under treatment and even after I got discharged I still went
to Fort Hayes for this massage-whirlpool. Had whirlpool at least once a day.
Sometimes I had to come back twice a day.
Interviewer: Now do you have a medical disability benefit now?
Maybruck: I have 20% disability.
Interviewer: Only 20?
Maybruck: Percent medical, well . . . .
Interviewer: For an injury to your . . . .
Maybruck: . . . . permanent, yeah 10%, I think I get 10%.
Interviewer: Is that all?
Maybruck: That’s about all.
Interviewer: So for an injury like that?
Maybruck: And . . . .
Maybruck: I wasn’t really concerned about that but I never even thought
about trying to get more. I never even thought about it to be honest with you.
Interviewer: Well yeah.
Maybruck: I kept going back and forth. So finally in the end of July they
said they’d done as most they could for me and they said we’re going to
discharge you, a medical discharge which I got and my discharge was August 10th.
Interviewer: August 10th of?
Maybruck: Of 1945.
Interviewer: ’45. So you’d been in treatment for a year?
Maybruck: Well I was about a year, yeah.
Maybruck: A whole year. Yeah.
Maybruck: Which was, to be honest, after in England, from England all the
way, it was like being, it was an interesting experience. I was very happy. I
read my siddur every day and I was, I thanked God that I was wounded in
such a way that I got out of combat for one thing, got out of that mess. I was
happy. In fact when I got shot, I says, “Boy, I’m in bad shape. I think I’m
done and I’m glad that I got shot, that I’m still alive.” Because I
wanted to be, what I said, but I knew that I couldn’t do anything. But I was
really, it was a lucky shot. Very lucky that I was alive. If it had been on the
other side, it was on my right side. If it had been on the left side, I think it
would have got my heart.
Interviewer: When you were shot was there any particular passage or anything
from your prayer book that came to mind or anything that . . . .
Maybruck: Nothing, nothing. You mean, what are you talking about?
Interviewer: Well you’re in a life . . . .
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: you’re in a life-threatening situation. You’re laying there
for several hours.
Maybruck: No, never paid any. There was a lot of . . . .
Interviewer: You might have been under shock yourself. Your body . . . .
Maybruck: I didn’t really . . . .
Maybruck: I still wasn’t worried when I’m feeling bad. I never for some
reason or other I never was scared. I don’t understand why but in . . . .
Interviewer: You gave yourself morphine you say?
Maybruck: Yeah. I was alert, you know, it just felt like a truck hit you.
Interviewer: So having . . . .
Maybruck: Well I was able to lay there and turn over and so forth and console
the other fellow. I had already treated him already and was just finishing
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: I forget what it was, I don’t know, a bandage on his leg, his
arm, probably his leg I think it was and I was bandaging him and pouring sulfa
on him and bending down. And I was just finishing and that’s when I got shot.
So . . . .
Interviewer: Let me ask you about some of your activity as a medic to help
fill out your combat experience. You could treat any kind of wound, some of the
worse ones would be stomach wounds.
Maybruck: Stomach wounds. Everything. We were instructed . . . .
Interviewer: Did you have any of that where a soldier would have a . . . .
Maybruck: Yeah we had . . . .
Interviewer: a shot in the stomach.
Maybruck: we had plenty of that, plenty of that. Everywhere . . . . We were
instructed to, we were just immediate assistance, to get ’em back and somebody
else took over after that.
Interviewer: ‘Cause I’ve heard soldiers feared most being shot in the
Maybruck: Yeah, did everything. But they were issued, we were issued sulfa by
the trainload to be honest with you. Everything is pour sulfa on the wound,
bandage them and get ’em back. There was nothing you could. And if you got to
apply a tourniquet and they’re bleeding bad, apply a tourniquet and get ’em
back. Drive them back.
Interviewer: Burns also, you made . . . .
Maybruck: Everything, everything.
Maybruck: Everything. If I recollect they wanted to put sulfa. Everything was
sulfa. If you had a toothache I think they wanted to put sulfa.
Interviewer: Using that sulfa.
Maybruck: Ask me any other questions.
Interviewer: . . . . morphine now. That was very effective, I think.
Maybruck: Gave the fellow morphine.
Interviewer: Gave the morphine?
Maybruck: For pain. And we had these, these, you know, you break them and
give them the morphine kind of.
Interviewer: Yeah, stick, that appears now in some of these recent movies
where you know . . . .
Interviewer: you know, they’re sticking that in there.
Maybruck: . . . . believe me, to . . . . never to give myself morphine. I don’t
remember how much pain I was in but I do remember giving myself morphine. Then I
think I fell asleep.
Interviewer: Well you were shot in an area where a lot might have been
nicked. Were you coughing up blood?
Maybruck: No, no, nothing like that. Just move my right arm and I was laying
there and . . . . and still, all I can remember, it just looked like somebody,
like somebody slapped on the back as hard as he could. It slapped (demonstrates)
and went to the ground.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: And you was asking me about treating the wounded there. But we were
the, we didn’t do any surgical, anything at all, nothing, nothing. Only thing
that we did was pour sulfa on, bandage them . . . .
Interviewer: How about shell shock? Did you recognize combat . . . .
Maybruck: No we . . . .
Interviewer: fatigue or anything like . . . .
Maybruck: didn’t see much of that, no.
Interviewer: You didn’t deal with guys that just . . . .
Maybruck: No ’cause there was a short time, June till August, that was in,
a lot of them, I didn’t have contact with many . . . .
Maybruck: that had been in combat for a long time. That was, a lot of them
were scared. There were a lot of boys that were really nervous, I mean, they
were hiding and when they, when an 88, the sound, once you’d hear it you were
okay, you would duck and a lot of them had a hard time getting out of it, you
Interviewer: That artillery fire?
Maybruck: Infantry and medics, you know. It was a scary thing to almost
everybody. I guess I was a little scared but I never paid that much attention. I
don’t know why it never affected me and as a result I carried it through my
entire life, you know. I could take diversity, I could take whatever happened. I
was able to cope with it and I just know nothing affected me about worrying
about things. I figure things are going to be good, you know. Things are going
to get better. I still, I had faith in my religion, faith in my God and I read
my siddur reli- giously, religiously. I mean when I was in the hospital
laying there, I’d get it out every morning and say the morning prayers. Every
evening say the evening prayers.
Interviewer: Did anyone object to your practicing religion or make any . . .
Interviewer: comments at any time?
Maybruck: Well I had comments . . . .
Interviewer: Did you ever . . . .
Maybruck: Jewish. I had . . . .
Interviewer: Did you have . . . .
Maybruck: In basic training we had things like that.
Interviewer: Well anything you remember?
Maybruck: Had some bullies in basic training. Some rednecks who made comments
but I . . . .
Interviewer: What kind of comments would they make?
Maybruck: Oh . . . .
Interviewer: Do you recall?
Maybruck: I just can’t remember them. I do remember that. Now you ask me
questions it brings back some memories but I had a friend, a big fellow. He’s
six foot, six and he must have weighed 300 pounds. And he was my benefactor.
With that, I made a point to be sure to run around with him because anything
that would happen, he would come to my rescue.
Interviewer: Was he Jewish?
Maybruck: He was Jewish, yes. His name was Tepper, T-E-P-P-E-R.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: I don’t know whatever happened to him but that was in basic
training and I never . . . . But . . . .
Interviewer: Anything after that? When you got into combat . . . .
Maybruck: . . . . nothing like that, nothing. Never had a bit of problem.
Interviewer: No soldier ever asked you if you were Jewish and . . . .
Maybruck: Oh yeah . . . . just get over to the hospital. Well they see, I
mean, on your name tag . . . .
Interviewer: Yeah when you were wounded yeah. Yeah.
Maybruck: It was on there you know, what you were Jewish or what, you know.
Interviewer: Well that’s something that you could also see. Well when you
treated somebody, you didn’t go for their name, dog tags.
Maybruck: We didn’t look at their name.
Interviewer: You didn’t care about dog tags or anything did you?
Maybruck: We never did anything. We got the, we pulled their dog tags (tape
fades out) to make sure they were there and . . . .
Interviewer: Oh yeah.
Maybruck: so that they could be identified and so forth. You know what I
Maybruck: We had a little training. And I knew, I’m a little vague on a lot
of things. It’s been so long I can’t remember now.
Interviewer: . . . . trying to touch some memory that, did you ever see any
German tanks, you know? Kind of, some of those big army vehicles?
Maybruck: In the distance. Never up close.
Interviewer: Oh yeah?
Maybruck: Never up close. Most of our battles was in the hedgerows.
Interviewer: Did you have confidence that we were going to win the war or?
Maybruck: I always felt we were going to win, I always felt, always felt
Maybruck: I always felt that. Never had no qualms about being captured, never
thought I would be captured, never thought I’d get shot. Never, I’m not
trying to make a bigger issue out of it, I never paid that much attention.
Interviewer: Did you ever have any contact with the French?
Maybruck: Yeah a few contacts with them. Very little.
Maybruck: When we had a rest period they would come by and say
“Hello” to us and . . . . .
Interviewer: Remember anything in particular?
Maybruck: Give us some gifts and food items and things like that.
Interviewer: Nothing special you remember about the French?
Maybruck: We didn’t have much contact with the French.
Interviewer: How about souvenir collecting? A lot of soldiers would pick up
the old German Luger pistols and stuff.
Maybruck: All I got was a knife.
Interviewer: Oh yeah?
Maybruck: A switch, not a switch blade but a . . . .
Maybruck: A . . . . knife, a small knife.
Interviewer: Did that make it home with you?
Maybruck: Yeah I have it someplace.
Interviewer: Is that right? That’s interesting.
Maybruck: It said “kosher” on it, I think it said on it. I don’t
remember how I got it.
Interviewer: You remember how you got it? You don’t remember how you got
it? Something like that?
Maybruck: I don’t remember. That’s the only thing I brought back beside
myself. And I brought my siddur. That was the most important thing there
all the time with me. Hold onto that. Make sure it got back.
Interviewer: Well that reminds me as you were telling about that and the time
that you were able to get it back, you said that in the hospital you had a funny
experience. Was that the Irv Bromberg or was there another funny you said you
would touch on a funny experience in the hospital? Do you recall what that might
have been as you were . . . .
Maybruck: That was the experience about “what do you want me to tell
your folks,” that was a funny experience.
Interviewer: With Irv?
Maybruck: I told Irv when we were there, “What do you want me to tell
your folks?” and here I bump into him on the ship that day. We got put on
the same ship unbeknownst to each other and we, it was comical. He said, the
first thing he said to me, he said, “What do you want me to tell your
folks?” And it was so funny and we really, and we became the best of
friends after we both got out of service and he was still had problems from
being in the Army and I was the only one who’d find him or know where he was
as he was a little distant. But he overcame and became a successful business
man. He went into business with his father and he was really a, he was a great
friend. He was one of the best friends I could ever have.
Interviewer: Let’s see now you mentioned another person named Ted Green.
Was that over there?
Maybruck: Ted Green has passed away. He was, he was in Norfolk with me. He’s
the one that, I was sick in the hospital there. Had an ear infection . . . .
Interviewer: Whatever happened to Ted Green? Did he go . . . .
Maybruck: He went back to Italy and he was in combat there . . . .
Maybruck: He was a pharmacist.
Interviewer: He was in that unit that left?
Maybruck: Left. And I was the only one who stayed there. I was in the
hospital. So . . . .
Interviewer: Well I’m just checking on all these little things that we
touched on there. You say you had talked to some veterans from your unit . . . .
you get their paper?
Maybruck: I get the paper.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: . . . . I haven’t talked to anybody. I haven’t talked to
Interviewer: So you haven’t really . . . .
Interviewer: tried to get back to anything from that . . . .
Maybruck: I was never really interested in it. I had I think a lots of
memories and I just, you know, it’s something you just forget about.
Interviewer: Now did you say . . . . in the hedgerows, the hedgerow fighting,
you could hear the German soldiers?
Maybruck: At night several times we were in the hedgerows and we heard them
walking by on the other side of the hedgerows.
Interviewer: . . . . you know, patrols, American patrols would go out at
night. Were you as a medic ever assigned to go out with a patrol?
Maybruck: No, no, never, no.
Maybruck: But I know they were Germans ’cause it sounded like they were
speaking Yiddish . . . . We had to be perfectly quite, perfectly quiet. And we
were. It happened several times.
Interviewer: Here’s a question I often ask. What was the worst discomfort
that you exper- ienced while in combat? I mean what was the most difficult thing
Maybruck: Not being able to stay clean. That was my big thing. I mean we had
mud on us and we had when I fell, when I fell asleep in the excrement from the
cows in the barn, that was bad. I could smell it. Luckily it was only a week
till I was able to take a shower.
Interviewer: Now you said you were from a kosher family?
Maybruck: That’s right.
Interviewer: What did you do about that in the Army?
Maybruck: I never had any meat at all. The only place, I talked to my rabbi
before I left, Rabbi Rubenstein. He’s still living. And he . . . .
Interviewer: He’s still living?
Maybruck: Yes he’s still living. Remember, well he wasn’t in combat. He
was the rabbi of our synagogue.
Interviewer: In Columbus?
Maybruck: Agudas Achim. That’s the name of it.
Interviewer: Yes. And he’s still alive?
Maybruck: He’s still alive. He’s the Emeritus Rabbi and he’s retired
and I had a long, my father was more or less responsible for him coming to
Columbus. He was the first one who met him when he got off the train and brought
him to our syna- gogue and they were very close. He and my father was close. My
father was very religious and he was very prominent in the synagogue. My father
took care of the Junior Congregation for 35 years. He was Chairman of the Board
for many, many years. He was the main, one of the main supporters of getting a
new synagogue built on Roosevelt and Broad Street.
Interviewer: What was your father’s first name?
Interviewer: And this rabbi, did he give you permission to . . . .
Maybruck: Well that’s what I was going to, started telling you about. He,
we discussed it. I says, “We don’t, I don’t eat trafe,”
that means non-kosher food, and I would, I asked him what’s the. He told me
that if you need to sustain yourself, you can eat anything you want. That was
his opinion. You know, rabbis can’t give permission to do anything. He can
voice his opinion, interpret the laws and give you advice. Now we don’t pray
to the rabbi, we pray to God. But he was very helpful and as a result, he said,
“If you get served ham, you could eat ham, you could eat bacon. You can eat
anything because everything you can eat, you try to eat those, not . . . . But
don’t, after you’re done with the Army, you should feel like you could want
to go back to your original, you know, the way you were Orthodox.”
Interviewer: Uh huh. So you say in England . . . .
Maybruck: In England there was all kind of blockades and there was a lot of
non-kosher foods. At one time we were served ham and I . . . . didn’t do it
for, you know, when I was in the hospital there and I didn’t eat that ham. But
finally I broke down and I remembered what the rabbi told me and I took and I
started eating some ham. Very little but I wanted to have some meat. At that
time meat was important.
Interviewer: Uh huh, protein.
Maybruck: And mostly, they served ham. A lot of ham products. There wasn’t
much meat because they used the meat there to give to the troops, to send to the
troops most of the time.
Interviewer: Here’s another, some more related question, while you were in
the service over there had you heard about the Holocaust, any . . . .
Interviewer: any word of that?
Maybruck: And we used to read those paper, the Army paper every day whenever
I was able. In the hospital we got it every day. And it said some things about
it. But we had, I had no knowledge of it and it wasn’t any factor in my
thinking of anything at all. Nothing, nothing.
Interviewer: Didn’t know about that?
Maybruck: We didn’t even know about it hardly.
Interviewer: . . . . back again, that artillery. German artillery was very
effective. Did you ever have to take cover in a bunker, or ground or . . . .
Maybruck: Oh yeah.
Interviewer: Do you ever remember that?
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: Do you remember those shells?
Maybruck: Never was in a bunker.
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: Under a vehicle perhaps at any time?
Maybruck: Under a vehicle, next to it, very rarely but most times we spent in
a foxhole most of the time. . . . . and if we was going to be in any place
special for a little while, we’re going to dig a foxhole. I do remember that.
Besides I was very lax, didn’t dig it too deep.
Interviewer: You didn’t . . . .
Maybruck: No, no. But we did, we did.
Interviewer: Did you ever see any famous generals like Patton?
Interviewer: About General Patton, ever see him? Or Eisenhower?
Maybruck: . . . . I never seen anybody.
Interviewer: Anybody big?
Maybruck: All I saw was the first lieutenant.
Interviewer: First lieutenant?
Mayruck: That’s about it. My lieutenant. I think I saw a captain over
Interviewer: Remember anybody’s name? First lieutenant?
Maybruck: Oh no, no.
Interviewer: None of the . . . .
Maybruck: I know he was attached . . . .
Interviewer: . . . . to get that name.
Maybruck: The first lieutenant, he was a dentist.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: . . . . service as a medical officer.
Interviewer: First lieutenant was a dentist? Okay. Now this is along the line
of, did you have bad leaders, good leaders? Did you have any opinion, were they
sending the men out to be slaughtered? Did they make . . . .
Maybruck: I never seen any . . . .
Interviewer: big mistakes?
Maybruck: I didn’t see any of that.
Interviewer: Men complain to you they’d been shot because of stupidity of
Maybruck: They’d just moan and groan and . . . .
Interviewer: Nothing of that?
Maybruck: We tried to, we weren’t, we didn’t have, when a person was
wounded we did the first aid and they were, somebody else, we left them right
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: We had no big contact with them. Our first thing was to bandage
them up, stop the bleeding and get them ready to, for somebody . . . .
Interviewer: Cause see my point was, often times when people are wounded they
may say, “I was wounded for no reason,” you know. “Big
mistake,” or . . . .
Maybruck: If it happened I can’t remember.
Interviewer: or the past and . . . .
Maybruck: We had, and we, and sometimes we wouldn’t get a stretcher.
Interviewer: ‘Cause you’re on that receiving end of the bad . . . .
Maybruck: Well sometimes . . . .
Interviewer: always the bad?
Maybruck: Well sometimes another corpsman would take care if them and we had
to go back, three or four of us had to go bring him out of the battlefield.
Interviewer: Did you carry, you carried stretchers?
Maybruck: Yeah there were stretchers in our unit . . . .
Interviewer: You didn’t personally carry the stretchers?
Maybruck: No, see there was a combat, there was a line of combat, behind it
or over here was a small aid station. They always had aid stations set up.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: All the time. So we would either treat them, and some of them come
back take this first aid . . . .
Interviewer: You didn’t carry them back then?
Maybruck: Sometimes I was back here and said, “You get a stretcher and
we’ll pick this guy up or that guy.”
Interviewer: Oh yeah?
Maybruck: And bring them back, you know. But our main thing that I can
remember was to treat them, bandage them and go on to the next one. Get ready
for something else.
Interviewer: You know you may have saved lives. You probably certainly saved
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: Did they ever, you know, anybody try to contact you and say,
“Were you the guy that saved my life at Mortaine?”
Maybruck: No, nobody would even know my name. If we took care of them they
wouldn’t know. They took them back here with minor . . . . sent them back
Interviewer: Just that? Nobody . . . .
Maybruck: If they were bad they sent them back, they got them back to these
tents, you know, the hospital tents. And then whoever, it looked like to me,
they’d treat them, send them to England or send them back into combat. They
would send, if guys were mild, even mild, very mild, they would send them back.
They would send them back. Definitely.
Interviewer: A million dollar wound . . . . minor.
Maybruck: That’s when I got to . . . .
Interviewer: No yours was . . . . pretty, pretty severe.
Maybruck: It was an interesting experience. I don’t regret anything in the
Army. There was nothing, the only thing that was bad was seeing all these people
get shot and wounded and killed and the smell, the stench was terrible.
Interviewer: Clean up civilians also? Did you ever treat a civilian?
Maybruck: Never. Never treated a civilian, never had occasion. But we would
go, one thing I want to say, we did fight in the field and when we took a break
we would go in the farm houses and look for food, for fresh food. See all we had
was the K-rations of which I would trade, if I had Spam, I would trade it for
cheese or for, I would trade all my cigarettes for candy. I was a candy freak.
So I never smoked.
Interviewer: What kind of candy? Do you remember the types of . . . .
Maybruck: Well they had, you know, Tootsie Rolls type things there.
Interviewer: Oh yeah.
Maybruck: . . . . chocolate.
Maybruck: I think, I had, my pack was filled full of that stuff. Filled full
Interviewer: Is that right?
Maybruck: ‘Cause I traded all my cigarettes and Spam for candy . . . . See
I would eat the cheese. ‘Cause I was religious and I didn’t want to eat, I
didn’t like, I didn’t want to eat Spam, didn’t want to eat it.
Interviewer: How about alcohol?
Maybruck: I was still not eating meat at that time till I got . . . .
Interviewer: Did they give the medics any alcohol to provide for the wounded
or anything like that?
Maybruck: Uh . . . .
Interviewer: Sometimes you hear . . . .
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: oh whiskey, there’s whiskey rations provided for the officers
. . . .
Maybruck: . . . . never got involved . . . . anything . . . .
Interviewer: Officers had whiskey . . . .
Maybruck: They never gave me . . . .
Interviewer: If they ran out of morphine . . . .
Maybruck: Only thing I had alcohol was in the hospital.
Interviewer: No they . . . . All these little aspects . . . .
Maybruck: I hate to be so vague and I just can’t remember.
Interviewer: Well your time was brief, I mean, within those three months and
you had your role to fill. I don’t know. You really touched on a lot of good
subjects here. Well we brought you back home. I don’t know, family after that?
Did you start a family, did you or what?
Maybruck: No I was single till I was 37.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: Then I married my wife, D. J. Maybruck and we had three daughters.
Interviewer: What was her maiden name?
Maybruck: Knapp, K-N-A-P-P. She was from Groveport, Ohio and we met in
Florida and we had courtship and finally married her. She was in the airlines.
She was an airline stewardess for almost a year and we had a long courtship,
about a year and a half or so. And I asked her to marry me and she consented and
gave up the airline and we came back. We had a nice wedding in the Agudas Achim
synagogue and it was a midnight wedding. And this was a unique wedding because
my wife didn’t know, my wife didn’t know many of my friends and my father
was one of the big wheels in our synagogue so we, I, I didn’t, I wanted a
small wedding but my father wanted a big wedding so we decided to have this
wedding at midnight. In New York they have a lot of weddings at midnight. So we
decided, we figured well there would be a few people there. Well it happened to
be ‘ everybody knew my father and knew me and we had over 500 people
uninvited. No guest list issued. Everybody wanted to see if I would show up. So
we had a wonderful wedding and it lasted till almost 4:00 or 5:00 in the
morning. And my father helped out. My mother had passed away. She wasn’t
living then. And it was really a great affair and there’s people today that I
run into who were at my wedding and it was quite something. I had a cousin who
was being married the next day on Sunday here in town and they were a little
upset because we were getting married the day before and they didn’t want us
to take any flavor from their wedding. As a result we thought we’d have it at
midnight and just something unusual, something different. Candlelight, a lot of
candlelight. But it was really well received. My wife couldn’t believe it. She
had very few of her family and friends there but she couldn’t believe that
many people were there. It was like a Jewish holiday . . . .
Interviewer: Sounds wonderful. Now I have to ask you, as a war experience,
sometimes the soldiers had nightmares and their wives, you know, experienced . .
Maybruck: Never, never . . . .
Interviewer: see how the effect was. Did you ever have any of those bad . . .
Maybruck: No. The thing is, I will tell you when we had this, when we had our
wedding, I gave this siddur, this prayer book to my wife and she walked
down the aisle with it. That was, to me that meant an awful lot, to be there . .
Interviewer: . . . .
Maybruck: And I have, you know, taken it with me on most of my trips, you
know, wherever I, around the world or vacations and . . . .
Interviewer: I have to ask you, what will become of this in the future?
Maybruck: I don’t know. I don’t know. Probably . . . .
Interviewer: You have three daughters you said?
Maybruck: Probably give it to my oldest daughter, Heidi. She’s not married
but it will have to stay in the family. I don’t know what to do with it after.
I might give it to, you know, maybe give it to the Historical Society, I don’t
know what to do with it. You might give me some suggestions that I, it’s
really, it really has been part of myself and my family and it’s a great, it’s
a great thing to have . . . .
Interviewer: I would say that would take some thought.
Maybruck: I think I lost it a couple of other times but I don’t remember. I
don’t remember the incident but the most important time when I come out of the
operating room and . . . .
Interviewer: . . . .
Maybruck: hospital but the gas mask with the siddur in it was there
right between my legs. I couldn’t believe it.
Interviewer: Like it was following you then . . . . It would take some
thought where this should remain. Probably with the family but . . . .
Maybruck: There’s no dates on it there you know.
Interviewer: Yeah. It’s beautifully bound though isn’t it?
Maybruck: Yeah. Well they have those, now they give that to the graduation
class, Sunday School class, they give it to Bar Mitzvah and Bat
Mitzvah. They give a siddur similar to that . . . . and all that size
and . . . .
Interviewer: Now this piping, did you pipe that later on.
Maybruck: No my father did that.
Interviewer: Your father he put that in there?
Maybruck: My father . . . .
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: . . . .
Maybruck: It’s an unbelievable . . . .
Interviewer: That’s typed as your . . . .
Maybruck: He did it. I never . . . .
Interviewer: typed it there. I want to get a picture of that. Yeah. For about
60 years ago that that was placed in there.
Maybruck: But I, you know, I’m a firm believer in God and God has answered
my wishes and my whatever I need, He’s been good to me and I think that I hope
He will be good to my family as He was to me.
Interviewer: Fairly wrinkled from falling in the English Channel, the water.
Maybruck: But it was in the bag wrapped in the Red Cross bag so and some kind
of a rag. They fished it out with a hook they told me. Somebody got it after I
left the gangplank. The way they told me the guy got out and it was laying there
and finally somebody opened it up and found my name in there and . . . .
Interviewer: Did you have a favorite prayer, anything in particular that you
. . . .
Maybruck: Well there’s always a favorite. I think all the people in the
Judaism, the Shma Yisroael is the favorite prayer for myself and my
family and I think that’s the favorite prayer of everybody. But as you can
see, it is worn. You know, I’m thinking about this tape here. And I said to my
father putting the tape on there, I think I did that ’cause it was starting to
come off. I think . . . .
Interviewer: But he typed that?
Maybruck: Yes, yes.
Interviewer: You’re sure of that typing?
Maybruck: I’m sure, oh yes, definitely.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: The list that my father gave me when he died I think so, yes. I
kept it in there. He was a very religious, charitable individual. My father . .
Interviewer: . . . .
Maybruck: No that’s . . . .
Interviewer: from your father. This is your father’s obituary? When did he
Maybruck: In 1967. What does it say? Is the date there?
Interviewer: No date and . . . .
Maybruck: In 1967.
Interviewer: He’s age 66, Harry Maybruck. Died on August 4, survived by
wife Jean . . . .
Maybruck: I think he was 67 I think, I don’t know.
Interviewer: Daughter-in-law Peggy Jo, three granddaughters, Heidi, Bambi and
Shanie. Brother, he had a brother Joseph in Dayton?
Maybruck: Uh huh.
Interviewer: And Dr. Maybruck.
Maybruck: Uh huh.
Interviewer: David Maybruck of Springfield.
Maybruck: He raised a doctor and sent him to Dental School, my father.
Interviewer: Oh my God.
Maybruck: And another, Leon, the youngest in the family. He took him in to
live with him. And he put him through high school and then he left, went back to
Interviewer: The organizer, one of the things that’s mentioned, the
organizer of Kobacker DeMolay . . . .
Maybruck: He was the original . . . .
Interviewer: and Dad of DeMolay.
Maybruck: Right . . . .
Maybruck: See that’s the junior organization of the Masons.
Interviewer: I was a DeMolay.
Maybruck: You was? Well he’s the one that started it in Columbus.
Interviewer: Started the DeMolay?
Maybruck: Yes. He was the original one.
Interviewer: I was in the west side, it was called Westgate . . . .
Maybruck: He wanted me to become a . . . .
Interviewer: You also think it’s a Christian-oriented . . . .
Maybruck: Yeah it is, yeah, well. That’s the thing but he was a Mason. He
had a lot of friends were Masons in the pharmacy area and they wanted him to
become a Mason and he became a Mason. They’re . . . . become a Mason. But it
is a kind of religious type, I don’t know how to say it but . . . .
Interviewer: So you were not a DeMolay?
Maybruck: Huh uh. He wanted me to become a Mason.
Interviewer: Ah. I didn’t care for the Mason part of it. I enjoyed the
friendship of my buddies in DeMolay.
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: It’s very interesting. He founded DeMolay . . . .
Maybruck: He was a real charitable individual. He worked for the synagogue a
half a day a week, every week. Wednesday at noon he’d finish his work and he’d
go to work for the synagogue.
Interviewer: Here’s a related question. Did your parents write to you all
the time when . . . . camp . . . .
Maybruck: . . . . I got one letter someplace. Somebody finally gave it to me.
But I was . . . .
Interviewer: So you got regular, okay and you corresponded . . . .
Maybruck: My dad sent me, there was a, you couldn’t send too much through
the mail but he had a connection. He sent me boxes and boxes of candy and I told
him to send me some silk hose. Hose was the greatest thing for the English
women, English girls.
Interviewer: Oh for girls, huh?
Maybruck: A lot of candy, a tremendous amount of candy. And they had . . . .
Interviewer: . . . .
Maybruck: and he sent me a lot of trinkets, you know, I don’t know, a lot
of trinkets he sent me. I forget what it was. I would pass them out in the wards
to the fellows ’cause I tried to do what I could to help out the feelings of a
lot of these soldiers, you know. They weren’t mobile, they were confined to
the bed and I would help out in the colostomy ward, that I know, that I did a
lot of work there, what I could do with the, using one arm. And I gave a lot of
help you know. And there was the most, now you asked about pain and suffering.
There was the most pain and suffering. I can remember that distinctly. That was,
it was terrible. Side colostomy was bad.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Maybruck: ‘Cause they felt that they were done as a human being, the men,
Interviewer: You sort of had more combat experience in the hospital surviving
. . . .
Maybruck: It was, it was . . . .
Interviewer: surviving that?
Maybruck: It was my favorite place to stay to try and console them and try
and be with the guys and joke around and to play whatever cards, whatever you
could do with them, you know and make them happy. We would, sometimes we’d, I
was able to get out, we’d sneak out at night. In our ward we had one of the
mobile ones, and we would sneak out at night and she shouldn’t put this in
this archive (blank space) . . . . wasn’t . . . .
Interviewer: No, sounds like a . . . .
Maybruck: We had beds there and we were, everybody in our ward was very
playful. The beds did not have a full mattress. They had individual sections.
They were fixed so you could lower it and raise the center or lower the top.
Each section was in a, now if you pulled a lever, the center section would fall
out completely. Why I don’t know. That’s the way they would work. So we got
to the point, either we were bored or we were mischievous. We would sneak out at
night after bed check and we would go into town. We would go into, town was real
close to the hospital. I’d say it was maybe a hundred acres away. So we’d
sneak in there and we’d go to a bar, local bars and we’d drink beer and so
forth. And we’d come back and our friends would take, and a lot of times we’d
get in bed and we’d fall down to the floor. They’d take the . . . ., take
the . . . . They played all kinds of . . . . So we would come back and we would
. . . .
Interviewer: Somebody’d pull that slat out on you?
Maybruck: Pull that slat out and I got stuck . . . . We didn’t get hurt but
we pulled all kind of jokes on everybody, every day, we just . . . .
Interviewer: Well you know . . . .
Maybruck: Some of these guys were very playful and we really tried to make
everybody feel as comfortable as possible, away from home so far. So then I’d
been in the hospital for so long, several months, and I got used to it, and I
tried to make myself useful and to have as much entertainment as possible.
Interviewer: You know you would have been there when the Battle of the Bulge
was on and soldiers, we had our most casualties then. Do you remember anything
about that event?
Maybruck: No we just kept getting more soldiers in all these hospitals. I was
in five, they transferred me to five different hospitals till I got to the final
one. Why I don’t know.
Interviewer: I’m trying to think. ‘Cause when those boys came in then you’d
. . . .
Maybruck: . . . . soldiers. Now one of the wards was an amputee ward there
also. We saw a lot of the . . . . But the . . . .
Interviewer: How about Air Force guys. Did you see any of them?
Maybruck: Well this was kind of a stable hospital. I think the people, it
wasn’t a lot of fresh combat casualties coming in there . . . . Definitely was
Interviewer: So it wasn’t the Air Force . . . . We take pictures too. We
have talked about a lot of things.
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: Oh that got, yeah I remember that. I was going, I had a question
about that. Did you try to treat that man . . . .
Maybruck: There was no sense treating him. There was nothing to treat, you
Interviewer: Why is that? You’d call . . . .
Maybruck: Well you saw his head was all blasted. He wasn’t moving and he
was bleeding profusely and there was nothing you could do. What could you do
with, we were in a forward motion. We kept it going forward all the time.
Interviewer: Any idea where that was? Was that early into your thing or near
Maybruck: That was before I went through St. Lo, way before that.
Interviewer: And you’re climbing a wire fence?
Maybruck: We were climbing over a wire fence, went through a field, yeah.
Interviewer: He was a rifleman? No you said he was a medic.
Maybruck: He was a medic, yeah.
Interviewer: He was right next to you?
Maybruck: Right next to me, yeah. I could have got shot at that time also and
they were, were, they, I remember they always kept pushing us forward all the
Interviewer: Did you hear the shot or was it just . . . .
Maybruck: Oh yeah, oh yeah, yeah. Right next to me, right next to me. And
the, his head wasn’t shot off but most of it was gone. And he was laying
there, you know, he wasn’t moving so what could you do? There’s nothing you
could do. We had, I had five members, now you’re bringing back memories, there
was other fellows. You know you could just took their pulse and you didn’t
feel nothing, you kept on going to the next one there. Sometimes there was 10,
15, 20 people at a time, you know, that you had to treat, you had to go out and
Interviewer: It’s overwhelming.
Maybruck: And you couldn’t, you couldn’t stop and maybe we passed up
somebody but if you didn’t feel a pulse and you saw they were motionless, you
kept on going to the next one. That was important. Treat whoever you could treat
and I, you hate to be repetitive, but that sulfa was the greatest treatment you
could give them.
Interviewer: Well I know . . . .
Maybruck: According to the medics you know, they always wanted to give you
sulfa, you know.
Interviewer: Didn’t you have difficulty sometimes finding the wound?
Maybruck: Well you could see the blood. It was no trouble.
Interviewer: Yeah but where is the wound? You’re . . . .
Maybruck: You tear off the clothes and . . . .
Interviewer: You’re tearing the clothing off?
Maybruck: . . . .
Interviewer: Did you have to carry a knife to cut through it?
Maybruck: Oh I think we had a knife or something. I think we had a scissors
is what we had.
Interviewer: Oh is that right?
Maybruck: And we always carried that. I’m sure we carried a scissors . . .
Interviewer: Of course if the man’s alive he can tell you, you know, talk
Maybruck: Well he could see where he was all the time. There was no trouble.
Interviewer: No trouble.
Maybruck: He could see the blood spurting out, or see a hand shot off or an
arm, you know, laying open or laying, laying in open or the guy’s eyes, you
know, shot or some shrapnel or whatever. You could, you didn’t have any
trouble finding the wound, I’ll tell you that.
Interviewer: That’s ghastly, isn’t it, to see that?
Maybruck: It is plenty bloody, I’ve seen, plenty things you know. It was
horrible. It was really horrible at that time.
Interviewer: And this would be on your uniform . . . .
Interviewer: as you’re treating them.
Maybruck: You didn’t . . . .
Interviewer: You mentioned the hardest thing was you couldn’t get clean.
You probably . . . .
Maybruck: Oh we had plenty blood all over, everybody had blood.
Interviewer: Covered with . . . .
Maybruck: You had to treat ’em and keep on going. The most important thing
was now if you were under fire in a foxhole, the worst thing was you had to
crawl out to get the individual to treat him.
Interviewer: Oh yeah.
Maybruck: And they said to go and I don’t care how many bullets were
flying, you went out. They said, you got an order to go, whoever told you to go,
the sergeant, lieutenant or whatever it was, corporal. “Go,” so we, I
was fortunate that I didn’t get hit. Well finally one time I got hit, you
know. They, you know, you had to go out and drag them back. A lot of times they
were moaning and groaning. You went out to see that you take care of them and by
the time you got there, it was too late, you know. Not a lot but a few times,
you know that happened. But . . . .
Interviewer: And you know the boys are talking to you, calling for their
mothers or stuff like that?
Maybruck: Oh yeah. There was always talking like that all the time. You never
paid any attention. You didn’t pay, the thing you concentrated, being at the
age of 19 I think I was then, whatever it was, 18 or 19, you didn’t, I didn’t
have the responsibility that I have in later life. Everything happened and was a
thing you got to deal with, you got to do it and that’s it. That’s the end
of it, you know. You couldn’t renig because it’s all you could do it. They
did train us in the Army and you had the word, that was the point, whether it
was right or wrong you got to do it, treat it. No going back. Do it.
Interviewer: Did you have to leave that man who was killed next to you, I
Maybruck: Oh we kept on going because I stopped for a minute and . . . .
Interviewer: You didn’t stop and say, “We got to take care of his
body,” or something?
Maybruck: We didn’t do nothing. Somebody else took care of it. They had
people to come back afterwards and care of it. If you could put his dog tags, if
they were shot or something, you could put them around his body some way, shape,
or form, you know, you did that. But you, really in a fast-moving action you
didn’t have time to make a prayer, you know, like in the movies or whatever.
In my recollection our thing was to treat and go when we were doing it. We weren’t
doing it constantly. A lot of times we were sitting around waiting to do here
and do there. But . . . .
Interviewer: How about officers? You had to treat wounded officers?
Maybruck: Anybody, anybody that was, anybody . . . .
Interviewer: They would fit in your hands. You know the military’s very
strict. You don’t touch an officer.
Maybruck: Well that doesn’t mean a thing at that time. If he was wounded or
shot somebody had to take care of him. You can’t wait for another officer.
Interviewer: Did you ever happen to come upon a lieutenant or a . . . .
Maybruck: When I was in action I probably would have. Yeah.
Interviewer: You just stayed . . . .
Maybruck: I don’t remember the exact, specific incident. It was a soldier
shot, the soldier bleeding, a soldier in pain and you wanted to make him
comfortable, as comfortable as you can. Get him ready for the other people to
drag him back or you were at the point you had to drag him back, you know. ‘Cause
if you could yank him out of fire, put him in a foxhole or something, you did
that. But you had to try and get ’em, try and get ’em taken care of. That
was our duty. My duty was to get ’em ready for someone else to take them back.
I mean I very rarely got to carry . . . . in a stretcher, very rarely.
Interviewer: Did they have any count of casualties of your medics? Did they
say, “Well you started out with 20 and now”. . . .
Maybruck: No they didn’t mention that. They didn’t mention it.
Interviewer: You’re the last one or something. Some guys come back and they
say, “There’s only five of us left out of a hundred.” You don’t
have any count?
Maybruck: You kept on going and then they got replacements comin’ all the
Interviewer: Uh huh. This is the end of the interview with Stanley Maybruck.
This is the end of the tape. It’s off.
* * *
Transcribed by Honey Abramson
Proofread by Marvin Bonowitz
Edited by Peggy Kaplan