This interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical society is being recorded
on November 10, 1999 as part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral
History Project. The interview is being recorded at 505 S. Parkview, the
residence of Mr. Bernie Schottenstein. My name is Dave Graham and I’m
interviewing Mr. Bernie Schottenstein and now we’ll begin. Now why don’t we
start then with getting your name and the unit that you were in and then we’ll
talk about, first of all, starting off in the United States and your family
background. But your name and unit?

Schottenstein: My name is Bernard Schottenstein, serial code 35219456. I was
in the 160th Engineer Combat Battalion, 3rd Army, had 240
days in the line. Had five campaigns.

Interviewer: And you went from the front?

Schottenstein: We went from Omaha Beach until Austria, Limbach.

Interviewer: All the way through the campaign?

Schottenstein: All through all the campaigns. Battle of the Bulge, the
Rhineland . . . .

Interviewer: Five major . . . .

Schottenstein: Five major campaigns.

Interviewer: according to the unit history?

Schottenstein: And then after the war was over, we were going to China. We
were in Marseilles. They brought the battalion back to Reims and Epernay and
they were assigned to green battalions. We were going to make an assault on
Japan. I was in Marseilles and every man in our brigade had five to ten

Interviewer: And that was when the war ended?

Schottenstein: When they dropped the bomb.

Interviewer: You were in Marseilles when . . . .

Schottenstein: Waiting to go to Japan.

Interviewer: in southern France. That’s the big port city.

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: It was there on May 8th?

Schottenstein: May 8th.

Interviewer: Okay. Well for the benefit of our Jewish scholars and other
interested parties, we always like to get a little bit of understanding of your
family history. And since we already have quite a bit of that, has been done in
general, let’s focus on your immediate family at the time that the war was
about to begin. Did you have brothers and sisters?

Schottenstein: I had a brother Leonard and in my immediate family there are
five girls and four boys.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did any of the boys serve besides you?

Schottenstein: Just my brother.

Interviewer: Just your brother?

Schottenstein: Leonard. He was in the, cook in the field artillery.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: he was in the Pacific.

Interviewer: I see. Was he there during combat?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Campaign?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did he come back okay?

Schottenstein: Yes.

Interviewer: Okay. What was the attitude of your parents towards the war, do
you recall?

Schottenstein: No but I quit high school and I waivered my last year in high

Interviewer: What year was that?

Schottenstein: 1942. I was supposed to graduate in 1943 in June but I left
high school, but I quit high school and went into the Army.

Interviewer: Why did you quit high school?

Schottenstein: ‘Cause I wanted to fight.

Interviewer: Why did you have that feeling?

Schottenstein: Because it was patriotic and it was the thing to do.

Interviewer: So you were about 17 or . . . .

Schottenstein: Just turned 18.

Interviewer: What high school were you going to?

Schottenstein: South High School.

Interviewer: Were you able to join the unit that you wanted?

Schottenstein: No you just, they put you in any unit you were put in.

Interviewer: How did that turn out?

Schottenstein: You had no choice. That’s what they did. I got put in an
Assault Combat Engineer Battalion. We spent about nine months in the States and
spent about six months in the field, seven months in the field doing assault

Interviewer: Okay. Follow me through then, from Columbus you were drafted.
You reported . . . .

Schottenstein: Went to Fort Meade, Maryland.

Interviewer: That was your first location?

Schottenstein: Basic training.

Interviewer: Basic at Fort Meade?

Schottenstein: And then we went to Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont to do three
months of assault training in the field.

Interviewer: So you had learned early on that you were in the . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah I was in the 160th. I was not a reemplacement.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: And then we went to Tennessee for field maneuvers. And then we
went to Rucker, Alabama for training in the swamps and then we went down to
Georgia to do, practice assault landings on the beaches. Come back up to
Tennessee, got in trouble in Birmingham.

Interviewer: What do you mean “trouble”?

Schottenstein: Well they got in a fight downtown over girls.

Interviewer: Did you get in that?

Schottenstein: I wasn’t there.

Interviewer: Eh.

Schottenstein: And then we went back to Vermont. Then we went back to
Tennessee. Then in Vermont they brought in, the Vermont, they had about 100,000
acres of land they would use for assault troops and they moved out all the
civilians and this area was used for training.

Interviewer: You were in the 160th at the time?

Schottenstein: Yeah, uh huh. And I was home on leave ’cause I had an
appendix operation and they bring in the First Commando outfit that was famous
from Attu. In fact they made a movie out of it.

Interviewer: You’re talking about Attu in the Alaskans?

Schottenstein: Yeah and they come back to this camp and all the officers were
in Montreal and they got in a fight over the women.

Interviewer: Were you in that fight?

Schottenstein: No I was home.

Interviewer: Good.

Schottenstein: And they hung all 25 cops on the telephone poles.

Interviewer: Wait a minute. Killed them?

Schottenstein: No they just picked them up and put them on the telephone

Interviewer: This was the . . . .

Schottenstein: The commandos were on one side of the street and the engineers
were on the other side of the street and they were going to settle who was going
to date the girls.

Interviewer: What engineers was this?

Schottenstein: 169th, 159th.

Interviewer: Your unit?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: And you missed that big fight, huh?

Schottenstein: And they were going to settle who was going to date the girls.
The University of Vermont is in that city, Burlington. They weren’t allowed
out, the R.O.T.C., and when I come back to camp, we were being shipped out again
to go to, we spent a month in a stone quarry in Tennessee. They took out the
chain gang and put us in.

Interviewer: For what purpose?

Schottenstein: For punishment. We had to break up rocks with 15 pound sledge
hammers for 30 days.

Interviewer: You did this?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: And you weren’t even in the fight?

Schottenstein: Make no difference. The officers were there too. And then on
the weekends we had to repair bad roads that the natives claimed were destroyed
by the tanks. But it was very interesting ’cause you saw people who didn’t
know that the war existed. Claimed that the armored tanks tore up their highways
up in the hills and we had to repair any damage.

Interviewer: And the roads had really never been there?

Schottenstein: Never been there. You couldn’t even find the house.

Interviewer: So you were doing some road building?

Schottenstein: Yeah, right, as punishment.

Interviewer: Well that’s interesting. Well what happened . . . .

Schottenstein: And then we come back to Rucker and we had our party was
overseas for about three months, our advance party. And we had a group at Fort
Monmouth, New Jersey and when they got out of training there they said they were
going to be assigned to a new outfit because their outfit was already in Europe.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: We were supposed to be landing D-Day but we were in Rucker,
Alabama. Or they misplaced us for two months.

Interviewer: Or you would have been in D-Day?

Schottenstein: Yeah. So we were told by our officers and we went up to Fort
Miles Standish and boarded a boat in Boston, about 25-20,000 people on the boat,
at West Point. And we landed in Scotland, Firth of Kline. Spent enough time in
England to get our ammunition and spent about a month in England.

Interviewer: Get to meet any English people?

Schottenstein: Yeah we were in a place called Abbot’s Bromley.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: A little village in the Midlands.

Interviewer: Did you get to socialize with any of the English girls?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: ‘Cause you were a young . . . .

Schottenstein: Well there was a village right next door.

Interviewer: man. Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And it was nice. The first time you met the English, but what
amazed us was that everything was so old.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And then you could see Birmingham burn at night from the
bombings. At night- time you could see Birmingham which was about maybe 20 miles
or 30 miles away.

Interviewer: Did you see any of these aircraft that were doing it?

Schottenstein: No but you could hear the noise and you could see the flames.
And when we shipped out of Southampton they were bombing the hell out of
Birmingham and Nidea. We shipped out of Southampton.

Interviewer: In August of . . . .

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: ’44?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: According to unit history there, it’s about the 10th

or 11th.

Schottenstein: Yeah. And we landed in Omaha and we had also probably Utah
according to the notes.

Interviewer: Let me ask you what . . . .

Schottenstein: A battleship was firing broadside when we were at the beach.

Interviewer: That’s what I wanted to hear, what you saw, what was going on.
Now that’s two months after the invasion?

Schottenstein: Yeah we were only 20 miles inland.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: What they were doing, they were assembling the Third Army.

Interviewer: Patton’s famous Third Army?

Schottenstein: The Third Army was being assembled on the beaches for the
breakthrough. We were about two weeks or three weeks before the breakthrough
started ’cause they were assembling the whole Third Army . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: which made the attack at St. Lo.

Interviewer: Now do you recall which beach you came in at?

Schottenstein: I always thought it was Omaha because of the way the land was.

Interviewer: Well I was going to say, what did you see there as far as land

Schottenstein: When we come in at Omaha, I think I come in at Omaha, a
battleship was firing broadside. You come in there was a big hill and you walked
around that . . . .

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: hill to the crevasse.

Interviewer: There is a big hill there?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: There’s a hill all the way along the beach.

Schottenstein: Yes and there’s a roadway and we went on it.

Interviewer: Utah is flat.

Schottenstein: Yeah and there’s a big hill there. And the first night we
spend in the field where there must have been three or four service battalions

Interviewer: Did you get much sleep that night?

Schottenstein: Didn’t bother me. I didn’t know what I could do about it.

Interviewer: First night in . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: the continent? Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And then we had to change back into O.D.s ’cause our
fatigues resembled German uniforms.

Interviewer: But what color is fatigue versus O.D.?

Schottenstein: O.D. is brown.

Interviewer: O.D. is brown?

Schottenstein: And fatigue is a greenish color.

Interviewer: I see. Yeah the Germans had a field gray which is actually more
green than gray.

Schottenstein: And they saw that color on you . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And then we did some, we were engaged in combat off and on
along the hedge- rows.

Interviewer: You were involved in that?

Schottenstein: Yes. Our major combat took place at the breakthrough at St. Lo
. . . .

Interviewer: Now let me ask you . . . .

Schottenstein: after the carpet bombing.

Interviewer: What weapon were you trained to use?

Schottenstein: M-1, 50 caliber, 40 caliber, bayonet, bazooka.

Interviewer: All of those?

Schottenstein: And demolition.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Most combat engineers had, our platoon, had three 50s, three
30 calibers.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Three bazookas, three sub-machine guns plus rifles.

Interviewer: What was your vehicle?

Schottenstein: Big truck.

Interviewer: A truck? Was that where the 50 calibers were, mounted on the

Schottenstein: Mounted on the . . . .

Interviewer: Ring mounted?

Schottenstein: On a ring mount according to the picture I showed you.

Interviewer: Did the truck tow a trailer?

Schottenstein: No. And then also the 50 caliber was taken down and used in
the field.

Interviewer: Did you ever take it down and use it?

Schottenstein: Yeah, sure. It never stayed on that truck. You used it for a
machine gun. You used it for outposts.

Interviewer: It’s a big bullet that fires?

Schottenstein: 50. It would penetrate three-inch steel.

Interviewer: Did you ever see it hit a man?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What did it do?

Schottenstein: We used to dum-dum our bullets.

Interviewer: What was that?

Schottenstein: Put a cross on a man. When they hit you they spread out.

Interviewer: You actually did that?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you ever see one of those hit a . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What did it do to him?

Schottenstein: Tore him apart.

Interviewer: They must have been pretty close for you to . . . .

Schottenstein: Well the kill range is 1500 feet.

Interviewer: Then again you could hit them from quite a range?

Schottenstein: Yeah. They flew up and then they’d come down. After 1500
feet, oh they raise about 6′ or 8′ in the air. But at Chartres they were
driving the Germans out and we were driving them back in the town. So the Fifth
Infantry Division, Second Regiment, were driving the Germans out of town and we
were waiting for them and when they started coming out of the woods we were
waiting for them and we drove them back in so the Germans were caught in a

Interviewer: Now it strikes me that you’re engineers but that’s an
infantry . . . .

Schottenstein: You’re combat engineers. You fight as infantry.

Interviewer: Who would order your unit to do that?

Schottenstein: That’s part of your job.

Interviewer: Well now infantry is usually under the command of a battalion
and a regiment?

Schottenstein: You’re under the same command as all your corps troops.

Interviewer: Well for example, this action with the Fifth Infantry, were you
. . . .

Schottenstein: We were supporting them.

Interviewer: were you under the command of the Fifth Infantry?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: So the general . . . .

Schottenstein: In other words, what they would do is they would take over a
division, 15,000 men and maybe built it up to 50,000 men with corps troops.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: They were corps troops that were not assigned to a division.

Interviewer: Okay you’re talking about your combat engineers, the ones . .
. .

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: corps troops.

Schottenstein: Yeah, we were part of the 20th Corps.

Interviewer: Okay. Well let’s take this first major engagement. Was
Chartres the first engagement for your unit?

Schottenstein: Major engagement.

Interviewer: Major engagement?

Schottenstein: Drew was a major, Drew was not, not major per se
like . . . . Have you ever been to Chartres?

Interviewer: I’ve driven by . . . .

Schottenstein: Well we took . . . .

Interviewer: There’s a grand cathedral there.

Schottenstein: Well I fought in that cathedral.

Interviewer: Magnificent cathedral. You fought in that?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Personally were inside of it?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Well I killed a German sniper in the tower.

Interviewer: I’d like to hear a little more detail about that because
Chartres is near Normandie.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: I think it’s in the Normandie province or either that or
Brittany . . . .

Schottenstein: . . . . I’ll say one thing. What one squad did maybe another
squad did not.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: So they all never experienced the same. B Company could be an
experience, the majority of our wounded took place with B and C Company. A
company was lucky.

Interviewer: And you were A company? Well what happened to you at Chartres?

Schottenstein: Chartres we were assigned to the Second Regiment.

Interviewer: And what happened? Of the Fifth Infantry?

Schottenstein: Of the Fifth Infantry Division. We were working with the
Second Regiment, Fifth Infantry Division. They used us as infantry. We were
fighting hand-to-hand and house-to-house in town. Did you notice the Cathedral
of Chartres is a big courtyard? And you got a concrete wall both sides of it. We
were lined up on one side of the wall. The man in front of me when he stepped
out, got shot through the head.

Interviewer: The man directly in front of you?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Was shot through the head? What were you armed with at the time?

Schottenstein: M-1.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: And we fought our way into the Cathedral. As you go in the . .
. . I went back . . . . .

Interviewer: You’ve gone back, okay. That’s important to know.

Schottenstein: And so the Germans were in the Cathedral, snipers.

Interviewer: Where in the Cathedral?

Schottenstein: On the tower.

Interviewer: Okay are you in the building then?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay. What happened, what did you do?

Schottenstein: Went up there and shot them.

Interviewer: You climbed stairs?

Schottenstein: Yeah a stairway.

Interviewer: Well how did you get him and him not get you?

Schottenstein: He didn’t see me coming.

Interviewer: Did you kind of creep or what?

Schottenstein: No just leaned back against the wall. He was busy firing

Interviewer: Were you alone?

Schottenstein: Well yes, I was going up the steps but I was not alone in the

Interviewer: No but you were alone going up the steps?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You alone went up the steps?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: And how did this take place then when you got up to the top?

Schottenstein: He was there and I shot him.

Interviewer: Was he firing out or did he see you?

Schottenstein: I don’t remember.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: I don’t remember their faces.

Interviewer: You got him?

Schottenstein: Their faces have no . . . .

Interviewer: Did anyone think of recognizing you for that action?

Schottenstein: That’s what you did. That’s not an award winning . . . .

Interviewer: You were just . . . .

Schottenstein: That’s commonplace, that’s combat.

Interviewer: You did that and you went on . . . .

Schottenstein: That’s right. That’s what your life was.

Interviewer: This man who was killed in front of you, did you know him

Schottenstein: No he belonged to the infantry.

Interviewer: Oh he was?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: How about behind you? Were your men behind you?

Schottenstein: Some of them were but . . . .

Interviewer: You were mixed up?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Any other major events in Chartres?

Schottenstein: That, plus driving them back from the field as the regiment,
well then we were, and then we drove them back.

Interviewer: As you described, they were driven out of the forest?

Schottenstein: Yes. Well they were being driven out of town and when they got
to the edge of the woods, we were waiting for them. So they were caught in a
pincer. But the armor already took the town. Well what was happening at the
time, the armor was surrounding these towns and spreading out . . . .

Interviewer: I see.

Schottenstein: on the operation breakthrough. So the town was cut off.

Interviewer: Just a follow-up question on Chartres, you say you’ve been

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you return to the Cathedral?

Schottenstein: Yes, I had my son with me.

Interviewer: Did you retrace your steps?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you recognize anything?

Schottenstein: No just went. Since I have the pictures of it in the book.

Interviewer: Could you tell which, is it one tower or two towers?

Schottenstein: It was the tower to the left.

Interviewer: As you face the main entrance?

Schottenstein: As you face the main entrance.

Interviewer: There are two towers and it was the one to the left?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: You remember that?

Schottenstein: Uh huh. I remember going up the steps.

Interviewer: Okay. So there was only one sniper up there?

Schottenstein: . . . .

Interviewer: That, I think that’s a pretty interesting story. You’ve
mentioned before we began to record that you had a close combat engagement in

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: What can you tell me about that?

Schottenstein: We didn’t know where we were at the time but the order come
down to fix bayonet.

Interviewer: Was this daytime or nighttime?

Schottenstein: Daytime.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Was it on the highway?

Schottenstein: A field.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: And the order come down to fix bayonet, the sergeant gave.

Interviewer: Are you with your combat engineers or infantry?

Schottenstein: No our platoon.

Interviewer: Your platoon, the A company? Okay.

Schottenstein: Come down the order to fix bayonet.

Interviewer: What was your platoon, what number?

Schottenstein: Third Platoon.

Interviewer: Third Platoon? Okay. Who was the platoon officer?

Schottenstein: Loh, Lieutenant Julian Loh.

Interviewer: Okay. And you were ordered to fix the . . . .

Schottenstein: Fix bayonet.

Interviewer: What happened then?

Schottenstein: The Germans come across the field.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And we charged them.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And the German I looked at was bigger than me so I grabbed his
bayonet and pulled him toward me. As he was coming toward me I pulled my trench
knife out of my boot and cut him up with it.

Interviewer: . . . .

Schottenstein: Then after that I took his shoe off to make a holster for his
pistol. And then as I was leaving I noticed he was wearing a diamond ring so I
cut his finger off and took off the diamond ring.

Interviewer: Did you cut your hand when you grabbed the bayonet?

Schottenstein: Yeah, still got a little scar.

Interviewer: Okay, let me see. Here?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You physically . . . .

Schottenstein: Grabbed his bayonet like this. Then I . . . .

Interviewer: Wow, that’s pretty quick?

(Blank section of tape.)

Schottenstein: . . . . because time has a habit of shutting out.

Interviewer: But the other troops were engaged in this same bayonet charge

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: We didn’t lose anyone in A company in the platoon in that

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: We were lucky. A Company, Third Platoon, First . . . . were
places that most people got the shit shot out of them but we never. We got a lot
of wounded but B and C Company, every time they stopped, they took a bath. Just

Interviewer: Just luck?

Schottenstein: Just luck.

Interviewer: . . . . There I go. So 80th Division’s here?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: So we talked about Drew. What was your next engagement then?

Schottenstein: Chartres.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: And then you had minor engagements along the line. The next
major one was Fontainebleau.

Interviewer: Okay we’ve seen that there was some fighting in Fontainebleau.

Schottenstein: The Fifth Infantry Regiment was making an assault . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: and the Fifth Engineers broke under fire ’cause the Germans
on this beachhead or were still on the river.

Interviewer: Did you see any of that?

Schottenstein: Yeah we were there. And so we were ordered to take the place
of the Fifth Engineer Combat Battalion.

Interviewer: You saw them retreating?

Schottenstein: No I didn’t; saw them retreating but they broke under fire .
. . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: and when we got there that night you could see the tracers
were all coming up and down the street.

Interviewer: Street of what kind of place?

Schottenstein: Of Fontainebleau.

Interviewer: Of Fontainebleau?

Schottenstein: Because the Germans were firing across the river and you could
see the tracers bouncing off of the buildings?

Interviewer: Now what infantry unit were you supporting then?

Schottenstein: Fifth Infantry.

Interviewer: Still the Fifth?

Schottenstein: And we put a footbridge up and a pontoon bridge up across the
river. We went across the river and occupied the other side of the river.

Interviewer: Okay, what was, sorry to interrupt you so much but I have to ask
you some details like what was your job in regard to building a bridge, that

Schottenstein: Anyone’s job was the same, putting the bolts in, the
pontoons in , . . . .

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: assembling it, and they all did the same.

Interviewer: You did that sort of work?

Schottenstein: Yeah they all did it. There was no specialty.

Interviewer: Okay. I didn’t know.

Schottenstein: Or the baling, that’s what you’re trained for.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And the German taggers were still on the other side of the
river and we were getting very heavy mortar fire. Every time we would move we
would get mortar fire. And they caught the French spy that was sending the
signals to the Germans.

Interviewer: Your unit did?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: And what happened to that guy?

Schottenstein: They were killed.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: He was someone in one of the buildings with a flashing, and
every time we moved, we got mortar fire. And mortar fire would come in three
phases, one in front and one in back and the next one on you.

Interviewer: You experienced that kind of . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: firing front and back.

Schottenstein: Yeah. And the next one, the third one, or normally you see
would be on target.

Interviewer: Let me ask you . . . .

Schottenstein: So you would normally move after the second . . . .

Interviewer: You know infantry, they’d dig foxholes. But you’re

Schottenstein: I was in foxholes too.

Interviewer: Oh, would you dig a foxhole?

Schottenstein: Yeah. I was involved in foxholes.

Interviewer: I didn’t know whether you had the opportunity to do that or
you had . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah at Remich.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: We provided the regimental C.P. We provided outpost duty for
it and foxholes. They were taking this town every day and getting kicked out
every night. What Patton was doing, he was pressing a heavy assault on that
area. We had two armored divisions in back of us.

Interviewer: You say regiment, what regiment?

Schottenstein: . . . . regiment.

Interviewer: Really? And you were outpost . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah. And the tank destroyers would come up behind us and fire
and leave and we were in foxholes around it.

Interviewer: Around the headquarters?

Schottenstein: Yeah, headquarters and about 500 yards away you had, they were
fighting in this town, being kicked out every night.

Interviewer: Do you recall the weather conditions just to help me know what
time of the year it was?

Schottenstein: October.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: And then Patton, and then when the Germans counterattacked,
Patton pulled us out and left the field artillery. The last I saw of them they
were firing their guns upright. And the panzer division run right in the two
armored divisions.

Interviewer: Well that’s at Remich. We want to come back to Remich again
and . . . .

Schottenstein: This was near Remich and at the same time.

Interviewer: Yeah and of course. We’ve jumped ahead a bit. Let’s go back
to Fontainebleau. How did that eventually turn out? Did you cross it, did you .
. . .

Schottenstein: We made the crossing and captured ground and our colonel got
sacked because our orders were to hold the bridgehead. They wanted to put us,
the colonel wanted to put us on the tanks and use us though as infantry. And
Colonel Leaf was his name and he was refused.

Interviewer: Colonel Leaf?

Schottenstein: Leaf, L-E-A-F. He was our original Colonel. We had three
commanding officers.

Interviewer: So he was the original, the first one?

Schottenstein: Yeah and he got sacked.

Interviewer: Who sacked him?

Schottenstein: The colonel of . . . .

Interviewer: Was it Patton or . . . .

Schottenstein: No it was our regimental commander of the Fifth Infantry.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: Because his orders were to come in, secure the bridgehead and
hold it. And once we got the bridgehead established they wanted us go across and
fight as infantry.

Interviewer: At Fontainebleau?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Well infantry life wasn’t really that bad compared to
combat engineers.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: ‘Cause the combat engineers went first and . . . . went

Interviewer: Hmmm. Well then what happened? Did you fight as infantry or did
you . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah we fought as infantry in action in different places.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well after Fontainebleau, what comes next? The unit
history’s over there. I don’t know if we need to . . . .

Schottenstein: What comes in next is the swing around Paris.

Interviewer: Paris?

Schottenstein: Enon. Not Enon. You got up around or where you were outside
Verdun, Reims.

Interviewer: No major actions there . . . .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: in any of those places?

Schottenstein: The only town outside Paris, north of Paris, Chateau, I can’t
think of the name or where we ran out of gas.

Interviewer: Oh, okay.

Schottenstein: We stopped at that town that night and we got tired and the
town was just burning like hell and we were going to spend the night there and
then decided to move on to catch up with the company and the Germans come back
and took the town that night and we had to drive them back out the next day.

Interviewer: Wow.

Schottenstein: And then our next action was Pont-a-Mousson, Metz, heavy-duty

Interviewer: Uh huh, I see that quite a few villages . . . .

Schottenstein: Pont-a-Mousson was outside Metz.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Was that a major action for you or what?

Schottenstein: No, that was minor . . . . crossing bridgehead, mine fields.
Stayed in a building all the time.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? So Metz probably is what, around November 21st?

Schottenstein: November 5th we was attacked on Metz. That was my

Interviewer: How old were you?

Schottenstein: Nineteen.

Interviewer: Nineteen on November 5, 1944? This was a major battle . . . .

Schottenstein: Just turned 20.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Turned 20?

Schottenstein: Yeah I was 19 on November 5th. Next day I was 20.
We didn’t even stop to pick up mines and we drove across the minefields.

Interviewer: Lose any vehicles?

Schottenstein: No. B Company did, C Company . . . . Like I said, A Company
was fortunate.

Interviewer: Did you have any idea what your assignment was in that?

Schottenstein: No you just did what you were told. Your only scope was what
was in front of you. You had two choices, either you got walked out or you got
carried out. That’s the only two, the only way that you were going to leave.

Interviewer: And you’re riding in this large truck?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Well what kind of combat assignment was given your unit there at
Metz then?

Schottenstein: Street fighting.

Interviewer: In the city?

Schottenstein: C Company did some brief repair. We, A Company, set up
outposts in front of bridges and stopped the Germans from coming back across the
bridge. Or we blew up the bridge as you’ve seen in that book.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you recall any close calls that you had there in

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Nothing of that . . . .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: type like that before with that bayonet? How about those big
German forts? You mentioned Durance.

Schottenstein: Ft. Durance. C Company was active in taking, in fighting in
Fort Durance.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: They occupied the first floor. I was on the first floor at one
time. Then Patton decided there’s no sense in wasting men. Just, and he
covered them up with bulldozers.

Interviewer: Was there fighting when you were in that . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: on the fort?

Schottenstein: Yeah the Germans were in there.

Interviewer: They were in there at the time you were there?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Was it dark and smoky? What was it like?

Schottenstein: I don’t remember.

Interviewer: Because some of those places were far, far underground.

Schottenstein: Yeah I think this Fort had four stories.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Underground.

Interviewer: Now you think it was Durance?

Schottenstein: It was Fort Durance.

Interviewer: . . . .

Schottenstein: And it had automatic mortar fire.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: It was Fort Durance ’cause that’s at Metz.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What was your assignment in that engagement there?

Schottenstein: Kill Germans.

Interviewer: Just . . . .

Schottenstein: Occupy land. It’s all combat.

Interviewer: Just combat, regular combat? How long were you there at that
Fort Durance?

Schottenstein: We were in Metz until, we started until after Thanksgiving.

Interviewer: Uh huh. That long? What was the weather like? Do you remember?

Schottenstein: Nice.

Interviewer: It was nice?

Schottenstein: Yeah I thought it was pretty nice.

Interviewer: Now you had mentioned in our discussion before we began taping
that the Regiment of the Fifth Division was . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah it was the Regiment of the Fifth Division that lost 500
men on a highway that the Germans had bombs planted and they set off charges.

Interviewer: Now how did you hear about that?

Schottenstein: Grapevine. I think it’s in the book, where they were caught.

Interviewer: Oh yeah. So you heard about that?

Schottenstein: So you heard about a lot of things.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did you see a lot of American casualties there at
Durance or any of that?

Schottenstein: We always saw, we always had casualties.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Okay.

Schottenstein: That wasn’t new.

Interviewer: Let me ask you this, did you have any air support, fighter
bombers supporting you or anything?

Schottenstein: I remember air support in the northern part of France by the

Interviewer: You did see that?

Schottenstein: Yeah they’d chase away the German planes.

Interviewer: Oh they were not bombing, they were fighting other aircraft?

Schottenstein: Because we were getting strafed by Luftwaffe . . . .

Interviewer: Oh yeah. Did you personally see any of that?

Schottenstein: Yeah you could see the face of the pilot. You could see the
pilot before he got shot down.

Interviewer: Well they must have come awfully close to you then?

Schottenstein: Yeah. There were two, I remember two P-47s following them.

Interviewer: What’s a P-47?

Schottenstein: The Thunderbird. Big, round, dive, 600-mile-an-hour dive.

Interviewer: Did you know where it was then?

Schottenstein: Called Yabo.

Interviewer: Yeah, uh huh, yeah. So you saw some air activity?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Now during this series of . . . .

Schottenstein: Then we saw it during the Battle of the Bulge too.

Interviewer: Let me ask you, during this series of combat, had any of your
friends been wounded or . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah but you didn’t pay any attention.

Interviewer: Any of your good friends, foxhole buddies or . . . .

Schottenstein: I lost a real good friend at Lisdorf, Shaw. Lisdorf as in
Saar-Moselle, France.

Interviewer: Well that would come later on in the . . . .

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: sequence of things.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay we’ll make a note of that to touch on that when we get to
that. But up to this point in time, you hadn’t lost any close friends and?

Schottenstein: Yeah we had two brothers that got killed and that’s at

Interviewer: Two brothers?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: In your unit?

Schottenstein: In our unit. They got killed a half hour apart.

Interviewer: What can you tell us about that? Did you see any of that or . .
. .

Schottenstein: Yeah but they were at Pont-a-Mousson.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Schottenstein: We were, they, the C Company was making an assault crossing.
We were about a quarter of a mile downriver.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And four of us were making a analysis of the beach on the
other side of the river and walked all over, sent over the infantry and they set
off the biggest minefield you ever seen.

Interviewer: You saw this?

Schottenstein: Yeah and we just walked all through the place.

Interviewer: Did they take a lot of casualties . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah the regiment, the 80th did.

Interviewer: That was the 80th . . . . ?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And so we didn’t find any mines or Bouncing Bettys.
And three of us walked all up and down the river bank.

Interviewer: At Pont-a-Mousson?

Schottenstein: Yeah outside Pondemeson. And we were just lucky.

Interviewer: And following you was a regiment and they . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah and then the regiment come over and they set off the
minefields that we just walked over.

Interviewer: You heard it?

Schottenstein: I was there.

Interviewer: What did you think of that then?

Schottenstein: That’s the way it goes.

Interviewer: . . . . Did they have medics there to helped the wounded or?

Schottenstein: Yeah medics, but Bouncing, oh you know what a Bouncing Betty
is don’t you?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: It comes three feet out of the ground.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And it’s shrapnel, anti-personnel mine.

Interviewer: Is that what was there?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And they would explode in sequence. One would set off a

Interviewer: Uh huh. They gave out . . . .

Schottenstein: And then C Company, downriver got into a hell of a fight with
the Germans and they couldn’t get the wounded off of the beaches. And that’s
where the two brothers got killed. Their name is in that book.

Interviewer: And they were brothers?

Schottenstein: Two brothers, C Company. It’s in the front in the wounded.

Interviewer: Would you have known them? You were in A Company?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: That’s your unit? Okay. So you were in lucky A Company?

Schottenstein: Pont-a-Mousson.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: They were two brothers. I think they got killed a half hour

Interviewer: How did they get killed? You know?

Schottenstein: Artillery fire.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So you were experiencing artillery fire too then?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What did you do after the minefield blew up? Do you recall or
what? Did you . . . .

Schottenstein: Just wired the bridge for demolition in case we had to retreat
and dig in on the far side of the riverbank.

Interviewer: You dug in?

Schottenstein: Yeah. So then we were so tired, we all took a nap.

Interviewer: I presume you stayed the night there . . . .

Schottenstein: Probably.

Interviewer: Sure, dig in. Do you recall any particular night that you spent
out in combat like that, that sort of comes back to you or that you remember

Schottenstein: In the wintertime somewhere in northern France, they flooded
the Moselle River and they were expecting attacks. And it was about five above
zero, six above zero. And they reinforced the riverbank with us and we had to
march out, we had to walk a mile and a half in water up to our hips.

Interviewer: In the wintertime?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And we knew that the sides of the roads were mined ’cause
two days before we saw the bodies laying there along the roads. And they were
expecting the Germans to counterattack. But meanwhile the German blew a dam and
the water was up to our hips.

Interviewer: And what river was this?

Schottenstein: Moselle.

Interviewer: In the winter?

Schottenstein: In the wintertime, sometime in November. And we spent the
night along the riverbank, soaking wet, still dug in.

Interviewer: Pretty miserable, hunh? That might be around Buzonville or . . .

Schottenstein: Could have been.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So you dug a foxhole and . . . .

Schottenstein: Couldn’t dig a foxhole.

Interviewer: Couldn’t dig?

Schottenstein: ‘Cause the ground was frozen.

Interviewer: The ground was frozen?

Schottenstein: We dug in beside a tank.

Interviewer: An American tank?

Schottenstein: Yeah. They were expecting a counterattack.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: From on the other side of the river.

Interviewer: At night? Did you have any night battles or?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Up to this point in our journey to . . . .

Schottenstein: It’s all the same.

Interviewer: Along the front?

Schottenstein: It’s all the same.

Interviewer: It’s just, things get mixed together?

Schottenstein: Uh huh. There’s no difference between night and day.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Uh huh. Okay. I want to move along. In Metz, what else
do you recall about Metz?

Schottenstein: Thanksgiving. Had a nice Thanksgiving dinner.

Interviewer: You mentioned the 95th Division there also. Whoops,
that comes later on, doesn’t it?

Schottenstein: Yeah, I imagine.

Interviewer: Don’t want to jump ahead. They fought there, the 80th
fought there.

Schottenstein: In Metz. We supported the 80th in Metz.

Interviewer: You supported the 80th in Metz?

Schottenstein: In Metz.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: That’s where the artillery general got killed out on patrol.

Interviewer: What do you recall about that?

Schottenstein: We were right near the spot and the commander, had one star
general, commander of artillery, was out on a combat patrol and got killed.

Interviewer: I’m trying to recall his name.

Schottenstein: But that’s what happened. We were right near the spot.

Interviewer: You were near the spot?

Schottenstein: The area, so we knew about it.

Interviewer: Okay, what else about Metz then, did you finally get away from
the forts?

Schottenstein: Yeah we didn’t stay long at the forts. We got in the town
and then we went to Alput and then we took the small towns on the outside of

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: It started the Saar-Moselle Triangle campaign.

Interviewer: Okay. That’s quite a slugging match?

Schottenstein: Yeah, Kaiserlautern.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: Mannheim.

Interviewer: All right. Well does that take us up to Remich then for example?

Schottenstein: Well we were in Remich twice.

Interviewer: Twice?

Schottenstein: We were in Remich in October I believe.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And then Remich again shows up after the Battle of the Bulge
or during the Battle of the Bulge. ‘Cause that was in Luxembourg. That’s
right near Echternach.

Interviewer: Yeah it’s south of Echternach.

(Mixed voices)

Interviewer: . . . . about Remich.

Schottenstein: Well I’ll give you a copy of that.

Interviewer: Of this?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Oh wow! Fantastic.

Schottenstein: And then you can ask me more questions.

Interviewer: Yeah boy that would be great. Yeah we just ran out of tape on
the other side. We were talking about the next major . . . .

Schottenstein: It was the Saar-Moselle Triangle.

Interviewer: combat activity after Metz was . . . .

Schottenstein: Saar-Moselle Triangle.

Interviewer: Saar-Moselle Triangle that I have personally researched quite a

Schottenstein: There was Kaiserlautern.

Interviewer: Have you been back to Remich? You went to . . . .

Schottenstein: One time when I went, I’ve been back to Luxembourg twice.

Interviewer: Uh huh. You went to Remich?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Went back to Knockenen, south of Enon.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well let’s go to . . . .

Schottenstein: In fact a good friend had a machine gun set up in a hotel, of
a good friend of my son’s.

Interviewer: Wow. (Mixed voices)

Schottenstein: Hotel Zimmer. The Millim family.

Interviewer: You had a machine gun . . . .

Schottenstein: Set up in the window of that hotel and the soft crossings and

Interviewer: Phone call there. Okay. We were talking about Remich. You had
returned on a trip to Europe. Oh, you were telling me about this machine gun
that you set up in someone’s hotel.

Schottenstein: Yeah but this was during the Battle of the Bulge.

Interviewer: Okay well we’ll make note of that in my guidelines here . . .

Schottenstein: . . . .well my son’s gone to his son’s wedding, Jean
Millim from the Millim family.

Interviewer: Millim family, okay. I’ll ask about that story as a special
story here. Let’s try to keep . . . .

Schottenstein: The Saar-Moselle Triangle?

Interviewer: Yeah, along with it now. Remich, you returned to Remich. You
knew . . . . do you recall the lay of the land? It’s very hilly?

Schottenstein: It’s hilly on one side and you got grape vines on one side
and then on the back of it you’ve got roads coming around.

Interviewer: Then you cross the river?

Schottenstein: Cross the river there.

Interviewer: What do you recall? If you could put your mind back during that
battle of the Saar- Moselle and Zinsk, can you recall if there was a bridge
across the river . . . . bridge?

Schottenstein: Well not across, well Remich was not in the Saar-Moselle

Interviewer: Oh okay.

Schottenstein: The Saar-Moselle Triangle was from Metz to Saarlong.

Interviewer: Oh right.

Schottenstein: Kaiserlautern is to where that convoy got wiped out.

Interviewer: The convoy? That’s another story that comes a little bit
later. Okay. So we’re at this Remich which is the breaking of the Siegfried
Line then.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: We’ll call it that. How did you cross the river there at
Remich? Was there a . . . .

Schottenstein: We didn’t cross the river.

Interviewer: You didn’t?

Schottenstein: The fighting was on the other side of the river.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: This was October.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: We were not into Germany . . . .

Interviewer: In October?

Schottenstein: in October.

Interviewer: So you fought there twice?

Schottenstein: We got into Germany after the Battle of the Bulge.

Interviewer: That’s correct.

Schottenstein: We were into Germany in the Saarlong-Lisdorf area.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: Along the Saar. That was Germany. That was the . . . .

Interviewer: Okay. I might like to jump ahead then because of my special
interest in the February battle there. If we could cover that, then we’ll come
back to the Battle of the Bulge.

Schottenstein: You’re talking about Echternach?

Interviewer: We’ll skip Echternach and we’ll jump ahead to Remich and

Schottenstein: I was not in Remich in February.

Interviewer: You were not?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Oh.

Schottenstein: We were, that was during the Battle of the Bulge.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: The Battle of the Bulge took place in Christmas Day.

Interviewer: Yeah, okay.

Schottenstein: It was over in January.

Interviewer: Right. Where were you then after January was over and February?

Schottenstein: Germany.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: Trier.

Interviewer: Trier?

Schottenstein: Echternach.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: We fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

Interviewer: Well then let’s take it in that sequence then. I guess, after
Metz, what do you recall was the next major event for you?

Schottenstein: The Saar or Lisdorf.

Interviewer: Lisdorf?

Schottenstein: Lisdorf.

Interviewer: I had a note here. I’m just trying to place this in time.

Schottenstein: Saarlong.

Interviewer: You had two hand-to-hand combats. There was a second one, a
combat patrol. Had that happened yet?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Okay, that’ll come later. How about the 95th
Division where you helped the man retreat who was shot?

Schottenstein: That was Lisdorf.

Interviewer: Oh, okay. Now we’re on schedule.

Schottenstein: That was in the book.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: We took 5,000 shells a day in that town.

Interviewer: Then let’s focus on Lisdorf. I see it here, yes. From Metz you
went on to Lisdorf.

Schottenstein: Uh huh. You had a river there.

Interviewer: Now you said you got across and . . . .

Schottenstein: Well . . . .

Interviewer: helped a wounded soldier.

Schottenstein: Well let me, in other words to get down to the town every road
was under fire. The Germans had every highway road under artillery fire. We did
not use the road to get into town. We went across the hills.

Interviewer: Driving?

Schottenstein: Driving to get into town. If four trucks went, two trucks didn’t
make it.

Interviewer: What happened to those two?

Schottenstein: Got blown up.

Interviewer: Blown up?

Schottenstein: Blown up. We occupied half of the town. Every house was a

Interviewer: What town is this, Lisdorf?

Schottenstein: Lisdorf. To get across, and you got the pontoons there in
Lisdorf showing . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: if you looked in the book.

Interviewer: In your unit history?

Schottenstein: Yeah, under Lizdorf.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: After Metz.

Interviewer: So you saw these pillboxes?

Schottenstein: No, every house was a pillbox.

Interviewer: Every house? Here we are, Lisdorf. Did you build this pontoon

Schottenstein: It got blown up all the time. You had to, you took the tanks
across the river by pulling them. You couldn’t move and you’d cross then an
open field to get into the other little town. And we were fighting in the other
town too. You could be in one room, Germans could be other room.

Interviewer: Did you experience that kind of thing?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: In houses . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah. And I was in this outpost and you could hear the Germans
firing and they had a captured American machine gun. You could tell by the sound
of it at that time.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And this infantryman stood up and took five rounds in his

Interviewer: How close was he to you?

Schottenstein: He was standing right next to me. Our job was to guide the
tanks with ammunition, walk with them in the road in the darkness so they’d
get in the town to unload the ammunition.

Interviewer: And you were still with your combat engineer . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: buddies?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And then I took him back and I was coming across a
footbridge. I heard someone yell, “Oh I want my mother, I want my
mother”, and a mortar come in and blew the bridge up.

Interviewer: Which side of the bridge were you on when that happened?

Schottenstein: I fell in the right side so I was not dragged downstream. My
neck, I caught the deck of the bridge.

Interviewer: This is Lisdorf?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Lisdorf we were getting 5,000 rounds a day.

Interviewer: Now in your unit history it has a photograph of a bridge knocked
out by artillery. Is that the one?

Schottenstein: Yeah that’s the one. That’s the bridge.

Interviewer: It’s a pontoon, do they call it, a pontoon bridge?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: That’s the one?

Schottenstein: No the footbridge next to it was knocked out too.

Interviewer: And you were on the footbridge?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And then when we pulled out to go to the Battle of the
Bulge, the Germans didn’t know that the Americans pulled out and we were
consolidating on the opposite side of the river. Our job was to blow up 26 tons
of ammunition.

Interviewer: American ammo?

Schottenstein: Yes.

Interviewer: Where was this?

Schottenstein: In Lisdorf on the other side of the river. And we blew up the
ammunition and then it was every man for himself to getting out of town because
there was no more infantry there and the trucks we were leaving in got blown up
by artillery. I got blown out of a truck twice and I decided the hell with it, I’m
going to walk out.

Interviewer: Could we just have a little detail of being blown out of the
truck? What . . . .

Schottenstein: What? Mortar come in, hit the truck and you go up in the air.

Interviewer: You’re in the back bed of the truck or in the cab?

Schottenstein: Yeah, back bed of the truck.

Interviewer: Were there other men with you?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Were they killed, injured?

Schottenstein: Probably ’cause nothing you could do for them.

Interviewer: And you’re blown out.

Schottenstein: Yeah. So I decided to walk out.

Interviewer: Was this nighttime or daytime?

Schottenstein: Nighttime.

Interviewer: And you’re, physically you were blown out of the truck?

Schottenstein: Yeah, right. So then I thought the hell with it, I ain’t
going to ride in no more trucks out. I walked out.

Interviewer: Did you think it was unusual that you were not wounded?

Schottenstein: No it didn’t bother me.

Interviewer: In times like these did you think you were going to live very

Schottenstein: Never thought. I’d already accepted the fact I was there.

Interviewer: When did you accept that?

Schottenstein: Omaha.

Interviewer: That’s when you arrived?

Schottenstein: ‘Cause the only way you accept the fact in life that you’re
dead or that you are going to be dead.

Interviewer: Okay, back to Lisdorf. The scene as I understand it, your trucks
are blowing up, you’re blown out, it’s nighttime. How can you find your way

Schottenstein: You knew approximately where you were ’cause you were going
up and down the road.

Interviewer: You had been there before?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Been there half a dozen times. Our C.P. was not in
Lisdorf. It was on a hill above Lisdorf.

Interviewer: Did you have a buddy with you that you could go with or what did
you do?

Schottenstein: Well Shaw got killed down there a little bit earlier.

Interviewer: This was your buddy?

Schottenstein: Yeah. He got killed. One of my few close friends.

Interviewer: Were you with him when he was killed?

Schottenstein: Well we come out of this basement and he turned left and asked
me to go with him . . . .

Interviewer: Okay we’re talking about your good buddy Shaw. You were coming
out of a basement you said?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What happened?

Schottenstein: And he turned left and he asked me to go with him. I said,
“I’m not going that way.” And a shell come in and blew him up.

Interviewer: I mean actually shattered his body?

Schottenstein: Yeah, yeah. Blew him up.

Interviewer: How close was he to you?

Schottenstein: He was maybe a block away.

Interviewer: What was your reaction?

Schottenstein: I had no reaction. I was used to it already.

Interviewer: This was your good buddy now?

Schottenstein: Yeah but that’s the way, there’s nothing you could do?

Interviewer: Did you check him to see if he was dead?

Schottenstein: You couldn’t get near his body even.

Interviewer: Why is that?

Schottenstein: ‘Cause the shells were coming in.

Interviewer: Still coming in?

Schottenstein: We were getting about 5,000 shells a day.

Interviewer: This is Lisdorf?

Schottenstein: Lisdorf. Oh they never got back in that town until March.

Interviewer: Yeah I see.

Schottenstein: And this was December.

Interviewer: Did you know anything about his family, Shaw, or anyone?

Schottenstein: We never knew about any of them.

Interviewer: You didn’t?

Schottenstein: ‘Cause you’re here today, gone tomorrow. You could be with
a guy and turn around and he’s not there any more.

Interviewer: Well let’s go back and try to get you out of Lisdorf. Do you
recall how you got out of there that night?

Schottenstein: Walked out.

Interviewer: Wow! How did you hook up with American units? Do you remember?

Schottenstein: Well I knew where the C.P. was.

Interviewer: You knew where the C.P. was?

Schottenstein: Yeah ’cause we were there for a month.

Interviewer: So you went to the C.P.?

Schottenstein: Yeah I seen our command post and our company was stationed in
this, what we would do is we would go down in this town maybe two or three
nights a week, four nights a week. But no one stayed in that town over a long
period of time.

Interviewer: Why?

Schottenstein: ‘Cause you were fighting constantly, you were being
constantly rotated.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: When you’re in a town getting 5,000 shells a day, you’re
not moving much.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Just to fill in a detail here, when you took the wounded
man, the soldier that had been shot, did you take him to an aid station?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay. And you were on your way back then when the bridge was
blown up?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: And you were on the footbridge?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Okay. You were on the American side of the bridge when it blew

Schottenstein: It was . . . . we had the American, oh we were occupying both
sides along the river.

Interviewer: I was trying to think, did you have to swim back or you were
able to . . . .

Schottenstein: Just pulled myself back.

Interviewer: Pulled yourself back? To this point in . . . .

Schottenstein: Well there was more than one footbridge. There . . . .

Interviewer: There was more than one? Okay. You were able to walk back?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: In our preliminary discussion you had mentioned some river
crossings when you were in a boat. Had any of that happened to this point in

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Crossing in a boat?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Schottenstein: Fontainebleau.

Interviewer: Under fire?

Schottenstein: Under fire at Fontainebleau. Echternach was the biggest one.

Interviewer: That’s coming up?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: In our sequence here. Okay. We’re at Lisdorf and you’ve
gotten back to the command post then?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Any what . . . .

Schottenstein: We already pulled out and went up to the Battle of the Bulge.
That’s when the Third Army pulled out and went up to the Battle of the Bulge.

Interviewer: Okay. General Patton begins to play a bigger role in the
breakthrough to the Bulge. Up to this point in your combat had you ever seen

Schottenstein: Once.

Interviewer: And what was that like? What was that event?

Schottenstein: He was making a tour of the front lines.

Interviewer: What did you see?

Schottenstein: Just saw him drive by in a jeep.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? How did you know it was Patton?

Schottenstein: Four stars.

Interviewer: He didn’t stop or anything?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Okay. You see him again later on though ’cause you’ve got a
picture . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay then. Your next big engagement is the Battle of the Bulge?

Schottenstein: Yes.

Interviewer: How did you hear about that attack? In other words, this is the
biggest battle of the war. How did you get engaged in it, do you recall?

Schottenstein: Well we got sent up to the Bulge with the Third Army. Our job,
we were assigned to the southern flank with the 80th Infantry
Division and we attacked Dittrich, the southern flank.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: Ice cold.

Interviewer: Do you recall snow?

Schottenstein: Snow up to your neck. Couldn’t get the tanks moving.

Interviewer: You still riding in a truck then?

Schottenstein: Yeah. My mask was frozen to my face.

Interviewer: What mask?

Schottenstein: It was a cloth I put over my face to keep me warm. The breath
froze it solid. It made Omaha look like child’s play.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: ‘Cause it really was man-to-man.

Interviewer: In other words you felt like you were fighting alone?

Schottenstein: No it was, as General Patton’s jeep driver says, he saw
everything from North Africa and everywhere, he said, the Bulge really brought
home to him what war really means.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: You know how many men were killed there with the Americans?

Interviewer: Large numbers.

Schottenstein: 87,000. How many Germans were killed?

Interviewer: Many, many.

Schottenstein: Quarter of a million.

Interviewer: Did you get replacements into your engineering unit?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Do you recall anybody in particular?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Do you recall whether they were . . . .

Schottenstein: And we sent some men out when they took some of our men to
replace infantry too.

Interviewer: You know I haven’t asked you to this point, did you wear dog
tags with the Hebrew “H”?

Schottenstein: Yeah I still got them.

Interviewer: And you did identify your religion?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay. Did you ever have any thoughts if you were captured, what
you would do?

Schottenstein: Never occurred to me.

Interviewer: Okay. Echternach, was that the big . . . .

Schottenstein: No the next big push was the Saar-Moselle, Kaiserlautern.

Interviewer: Before the Bulge?

Schottenstein: Yeah before the Bulge.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: That’s before you got to Lisdorf.

Interviewer: Before Lisdorf, okay. What happened then?

Schottenstein: That’s where those convoys got wiped out.

Interviewer: Oh I see. You said you fired a 50 caliber machine gun until the
barrel got white.

Schottenstein: Pure white.

Interviewer: Where was this and what was going on?

Schottenstein: That was happened in the Saar-Moselle Triangle. We were
getting ready to take this town in the morning. I don’t remember the town. And
out come marching down the road four abreast columns of German soldiers. And
they got within 50 feet of us before we opened fire.

Interviewer: Were you hidden in something?

Schottenstein: No we were just, we were dug in.

Interviewer: Oh you were dismounted?

Schottenstein: We were dismounted and they had armor there and we were
getting ready to attack this town.

Interviewer: Do you recall what town?

Schottenstein: No. And they were all young kids coming out to meet us.

Interviewer: Now what weapon were you working with?

Schottenstein: 50 caliber.

Interviewer: What was your position with the gun? Were you gunner or handler?

Schottenstein: I was a gunner.

Interviewer: You were pulling the trigger?

Schottenstein: I pulled the trigger.

Interviewer: What happened?

Schottenstein: We was getting five out of five.

Interviewer: You mean five out of five . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah the whole group was wiped out in the same 20 minutes
between the tanks and everyone. They were a military school I think coming out
to fight for Germany.

Interviewer: And they were marching?

Schottenstein: Four abreast.

Interviewer: Down a road?

Schottenstein: Down a road.

Interviewer: Wasn’t that a stupid idea? That was rather stupid, wasn’t

Schottenstein: Stupid things are done.

Interviewer: I can’t imagine that the noise of weapons like that firing,
you know, all that, what that must be like.

Schottenstein: Well can you imagine a battle going on and 2,000 tanks firing
at one another?

Interviewer: Huh, no I can’t, no, can’t imagine.

Schottenstein: Or where you got each line, each division occupied a mile of
front? Or the magnitude of the fighting at that time?

Interviewer: Are these things that you’re, you’re saying that you
experienced these?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: These tanks?

Schottenstein: Or can you imagine the magnitude?

Interviewer: The ground must shake, I don’t know.

Schottenstein: Do you realize that New Year’s Eve Walker fired every gun in
the 20th Corps at the Germans to celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Interviewer: Did you see that? Hear that?

Schottenstein: Imagine a hundred thousand guns going off at the same time.

Interviewer: Must be something unbelievable.

Schottenstein: It is unbelievable.

Interviewer: Hmmm. Experience that.

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: So you got those Germans on the road then?

Schottenstein: I don’t remember the town.

Interviewer: Don’t remember the town? Well we’ll move along here just a
little bit more. Just to make sure we’re following the right sequence, we
finished Lisdorf, was it?

Schottenstein: Lisdorf.

Interviewer: Okay and you rejoined your unit? You’ve had casualties? You
lost your buddy?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You got replacements?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: So you’ve regrouped and then gone on to the next activity
which according to the map here is Saarlautern?

Schottenstein: That’s Lisdorf and Saar.

Interviewer: That’s Lisdorf?

Schottenstein: That’s the same area.

Interviewer: Okay. Then you go . . . .

Schottenstein: That’s the battle of the Saar.

Interviewer: Then you go to . . . . Doesn’t have arrows on it so I’m not
sure if you go from here to . . . .

Schottenstein: Battle of the Bulge.

Interviewer: Okay. Then this has Echternach, Bettendorf and Gilsdorf.

Schottenstein: Those were three or four major engagements during Battle of
the Bulge.

Interviewer: Okay. Well I’m going to change a little here. So had you heard
that there was a big battle shaping up?

Schottenstein: We heard of breakthrough but we never . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh. But you didn’t know really a lot of detail? Well then
what began to transpire in this huge Battle of the Bulge? Did you come to the
village of Echternach or?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Echternach was toward the end of the Bulge.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: We fought in the area prior to that.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Schottenstein: Yeah, Bettendorf, Dittrich, Clairvoy.

Interviewer: Oh Clairvoy, all those, the 28th Division.

Schottenstein: The C Company went to, I think, to the north.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah this shows Gildorf, Bettendorf, Mesdorf.

Schottenstein: Those were the three important areas. But those were the
Battalion C.P.s.

Interviewer: Do you recall anything in particular about those battles?

Schottenstein: Just that it was this miserable.

Interviewer: Just your typical combat?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Well that would be true then that Echternach was the major event
for you again then?

Schottenstein: Yeah the most heavy. Because we had the assault crossing.

Interviewer: Tell us about the assault crossing then. Was this day or night
once again?

Schottenstein: Night.

Interviewer: Night? Is the enemy firing on you?

Schottenstein: You couldn’t, well let’s say that’s the night I got hit
by a big piece of shrapnel, broadside, knocked me down.

Interviewer: Tell me about that. Was that where, in a field or . . . .

Schottenstein: At the Cathedral, downtown.

Interviewer: In Echternach?

Schottenstein: Yeah as I was coming out of the C.P. The shell come in, hit
me, but it hit me flatside. It just knocked me down.

Interviewer: Where did it hit you?

Schottenstein: In the back.

Interviewer: Was anyone else around when it hit?

Schottenstein: No. And then I was going back up to the position to our
command post, fell over someone, said “Pardon me,” picked him up, his head was off.

Interviewer: You fell over someone in the dark?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Then I said “Excuse me.” But his head was
blown off. G.I.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And even then you could see the tracers as we was moving down
to the riverbank, you could see the bullets coming up and down the streets.

Interviewer: So your unit had an assignment there to . . . .

Schottenstein: To drop assault.

Interviewer: Was this to . . . .

Schottenstein: To take the infantry, across. That’s where the guy got the
Russian Medal of Valor.

Interviewer: Did you, okay. You didn’t know that guy, did you?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: So we didn’t know what happened until after I got the book.

Interviewer: I kind of neglected to ask you about your officers who were
commanding you. I would assume that you had your platoon sergeant or your
platoon lieutenant was leading you at these times?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay. Do you recall was he doing a good job in what he was
supposed to do?

Schottenstein: I thought so.

Interviewer: Okay. So then were you under . . . .

Schottenstein: We never questioned him much.

Interviewer: Were you under his orders then at this river crossing?

Schottenstein: You always were under either your sergeant’s orders and
during the river crossing we were in a house up on a hill. When you stepped out
of that house you caught machine gun fire and we had to come out of that house
and go down that riverbank one at a time.

Interviewer: Really? Was this to get down to the river crossing?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And then you took the infantry across. You got halfway
across, your boat got shot down and you come back because the Germans were still
along the river- bank. And American infantry from the 76th was caught
on the hill.

Interviewer: What was your assignment in this crossing? What were you
supposed to do?

Schottenstein: Take G.I.s across in a boat.

Interviewer: What do you mean “take them across in a boat”? I don’t

Schottenstein: You took troops across.

Interviewer: Did this have a motor or something or what?

Schottenstein: Yeah a motor. There were two engineers to each boat.

Interviewer: And what did the engineers do, I mean, paddle or what?

Schottenstein: No, no, you just guided the boat across. You had about 10
infantrymen in the boat.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: The boat got shot down, the boat got shot and they were, see
the 76th never had any combat experience and their colonel knew
everything as we found out later. He was told to move away from the pillboxes.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: He refused. And he made his men wear their helmets strapped to
their neck with packs so if the boat got shot down, they got caught on the
barbed wire.

Interviewer: Did this happen then?

Schottenstein: Yeah. They got caught on the barbed wire. We couldn’t get
across I imagine. I don’t know how many men were killed by infantry there. But
I betcha’ a whole regiment got wiped out. And they even brought down
eight-inch guns and fired point blank at the pillboxes. I imagine an eight-inch
gun firing point blank and then the 5th went through down further
down the line and come down in back of the Germans.

Interviewer: So you were supporting the 76th?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: These were 76th guys . . . .

Schottenstein: 76th Infantry Regiment.

Interviewer: going across with you ten in a boat?

Schottenstein: Yeah. You had either eight or ten boats going across at a

Interviewer: You were taking fire?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Men were getting hit in your boat?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Boats got shot. Boats went down.

Interviewer: Were you in one that sank?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: So you were thrown into the river?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Swam back.

Interviewer: How many times did you do that?

Schottenstein: Twice. One of my friends who’s still missing, he’s buried
in Ham, Luxembourg, got caught on barbed wire down there and his body was there
until March or April, one of the guys that was in the boat with me.

Interviewer: An engineer?

Schottenstein: Yeah. He’s buried in Ham, Luxenbourg.

Interviewer: One of the two engineers?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You and one other guy?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Do you recall the sinking of that boat or what . . . .

Schottenstein: Nah.

Interviewer: You went down and he was lost?

Schottenstein: That’s right. He got caught on barbed wire.

Interviewer: How did you survive?

Schottenstein: Lucky.

Interviewer: Were you a swimmer?

Schottenstein: You couldn’t swim. You just floated downstream and hoped you
didn’t get caught in barbed wire.

Interviewer: Did you have any flotation device?

Schottenstein: No. No rifle, no equipment, no nothing.

Interviewer: Do you remember anything about the struggle to get out of that

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: But you had to go and do it again, all over?

Schottenstein: Yeah. ‘Cause you never had any choice.

Interviewer: Well trying to understand as an engineer and not an infantryman,
what did you do differently in crossing that river?

Schottenstein: Well combat engineers made the assaults. You took the infantry
across. Your job as a combat engineer was to land first and secure the

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: You did your patrols and then you took the infantry across.
Here that was not being done. They were, you had probably within a two-three
mile range, you had five, you had four divisions making assault crossing all at
the same time. And Echternach was the most highly-defended, fortified.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: ‘Cause you noticed in those pictures, the pillboxes were
just chipped. Then at Echternach you had troops caught on the hill. Instead of
taking everything in front of them, you went up and got caught.

Interviewer: Well what was . . . .

Schottenstein: See combat engineers are assault troops.

Interviewer: So you’re helping somehow the infantry to get across?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: And you had to go back and go across again and again?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Do you give them directions or something? I’m trying to
understand how you helped the infantry. How is it you personally . . . .

Schottenstein: You just put them in a boat and just take them across.

Interviewer: By taking them across, you have some special knowledge they don’t
have? You . . . . .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: You’re not, are you driving the boat?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Have you been trained in this? Does this have a motor?

Schottenstein: Yeah you practice, you learned in the States. It’s just that
the boat might never come back.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: But that’s incidental.

Interviewer: So are you running the motor or something?

Schottenstein: Yeah. It was not a paddle boat.

Interviewer: Yeah. Has a motor to it?

Schottenstein: Yeah. It had to have a motor ’cause it was a flooded river.

Interviewer: So you would, if you had the boat to bring back, you would bring
it back and get more?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: All this under fire? Artillery? Small arms?

Schottenstein: Any of it.

Interviewer: Any, any?

Schottenstein: Small arms fire. Heavy artillery. Artillery from the

Interviewer: Uh huh. So this went on all night or?

Schottenstein: It went on for about a week before we were pulled out.

Interviewer: You were doing that for a week?

Schottenstein: That’s where that guy got caught and killed the five
Germans. His boat got shot up. They went across I believe to secure the
bridgehead and got captured by the Germans. And he killed five Germans

Interviewer: You’d think he might get the Medal of Honor or something for
that. But he got, he was given an award by the Russians according to the unit

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Well I don’t know what more to ask about that. It was going
over and back and forth and being shot up like that.

Schottenstein: But that’s an every-day occurrence.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: In war, if you’re a combat soldier.

Interviewer: And an engineer?

Schottenstein: And if you’re in the infantry, you go through it every day,
every town, every piece of yard, every tree. All you know is the piece of ground
in front of you.

Interviewer: This new unit, the 76th, that . . . .

Schottenstein: It was a Wisconsin division.

Interviewer: This was their first engagement; do you recall where they were
frightened? What they were doing?

Schottenstein: Nah. I didn’t know . . . . I found out about it at a time of
reunion, one time.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: One of the commanding officers was Archie May of the C
Company, still living.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And he was telling us what went on.

Interviewer: What the unit was?

Schottenstein: What the unit was and in the discussion our colonel had with
their discussion was to move the attack downriver.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Like at Regensburg.

Interviewer: I see.

Schottenstein: Instead of making an assault where they wanted to, we moved it
downriver and took less . . . .

Interviewer: Less casualties?

Schottenstein: less casualties.

Interviewer: So you’ve gone to unit reunions then?

Schottenstein: Yeah two of them.

Interviewer: When was the last one?

Schottenstein: Two years ago.

Interviewer: Huh. I would like to attend one. Do you know, do they have any
newsletter, do they correspond?

Schottenstein: Yeah they come through every October.

Interviewer: A paper they put out?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: If I could have a copy, make a copy . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah and I’ll give it to you.

Interviewer: See when the next reunion is or . . . . It’s quite a unit.
Well, golly I don’t know what else to ask about that Echternach crossing. I
guess eventually it . . . .

Schottenstein: Well the fighting was from Echternach to Enon. The battalion
was involved during the whole front.

Interviewer: All the way?

Schottenstein: At Enon the battalion got the Congressional, the Presidential
Unit Citation.

Interviewer: Presidential Unit Citation?

Schottenstein: Yeah at Enon, for the fighting at Enon.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: I think it was C Company that was working with the cavalry
outfit. So they gave it to the cavalry outfit first. Then later on they gave it
to three other units that were supporting the cavalry . . . .

Interviewer: I see.

Schottenstein: unit. So even though A Company was involved in Echternach, B
and C Company was involved up and down the river.

Interviewer: Up and down that . . . .

Schottenstein: From Enon down.

Interviewer: Now.

Schottenstein: You ever been in Enon?

Interviewer: I don’t think so but I’m just thinking now, we wanted to
touch on this place where the machine gun was in a . . . .

Schottenstein: That was in Enon.

Interviewer: You were at Enon then?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What happened there? How did this machine gun event take place?

Schottenstein: Well there was an assault crossing going on right in front of
the unit.

Interviewer: Of what, a hotel?

Schottenstein: Yeah well it was the only land that was flat and we were
making an assault crossing there and I had a machine gun set up for support fire
. . . .

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: in this hotel.

Interviewer: What’s the name of the hotel?

Schottenstein: It’s the Jean Millim family “Hotel Zimmer.”

Interviewer: Jean Millim?

Schottenstein: Millim Hotel.

Interviewer: M-I- . . . .

Schottenstein: And I even forgot all about it until I was there having lunch
with my wife one time and my son, and it come back that I was even there.

Interviewer: Just all revisiting?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: You say your son is a friend . . . .

Schottenstein: My son went to school in Luxembourg and met Jean Millim who
was also in school in Luxembourg.

Interviewer: Is that the son of the owner?

Schottenstein: Yeah and his father was Ambassador to United Nations for

Interviewer: Millim?

Schottenstein: Millim, yeah.

Interviewer: M-I-L-L-I-M?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: The Zimmer Hotel?

Schottenstein: Zimmer Hotel.

Interviewer: In Enon?

Schottenstein: In Enon, Luxembourg. And my son’s going back to a wedding.
Jean’s getting married. We’ve become very good friends.

Interviewer: Where was Jean when you were in that hotel?

Schottenstein: He wasn’t living.

Interviewer: He wasn’t living? This was his parents?

Schottenstein: No one was in that town that day.

Interviewer: Uh huh, no one? But it was owned by his family?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Anything special while you were in that hotel?

Schottenstein: Nah, I never even thought about it.

Interviewer: You just set up a 50 caliber . . . .

Schottenstein: And put it in the window.

Interviewer: In the window?

Schottenstein: Yeah ’cause you had to face the river. It’s the only place
you could make assault ’cause it was flat. Because Enon is all mountains.
Grapeyards in Enon, wines.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So that was a successful crossing then?

Schottenstein: Yeah that was probably . . . . Once the Fifth went across the
whole thing just caved in.

Interviewer: That got the Fifth across?

Schottenstein: Yeah and then we went to Trier from there.

Interviewer: Then you went to Trier? Well okay.

Schottenstein: I think it’s Trier we went from there.

Interviewer: Difficult to follow on a map exactly. Okay that looks, okay. Did
you then go back to Remich?

Schottenstein: I don’t remember.

Interviewer: There was a connection here . . . .

Schottenstein: It’s possible.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: Either A Company, B Company or C Company or one of the squads
. . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: or companies or platoons could have been.

Interviewer: Well what I’d like to do is pause at this point. We seem to be
halfway through. You’re at Trier. You got a lot to go, Vieskierchen, Oberthal,
Kaiserlautern, Mainz. You’ve got river crossings, you’re clear up north in
Ben Lauchenhausel.

Schottenstein: Mannheim.

Interviewer: A lot to cover. We’ve been at it for a couple of hours here. I
think, I would like to do a little research. Put this on pause here. Okay, so
that wasn’t entirely out of order, I’ll repeat, this is the end of Side B,
the end of our recording session. We plan to schedule a second interview session
within a week or so. This is the end of tape 1.

This is Tape 2 of the interview with Bernie Schottenstein. It’s November 22nd.
This interview is conducted for the Jewish Historical Society at his home here
on 505 Parkview. The interviewer is Dave Graham and now we’ll begin. Okay we’ll
get started picking up with the next sort of chronological action after Enon.
Looking at the events here, let me just confirm. Have you already been through

Schottenstein: I mean Trier came after Enon.

Interviewer: Trier came after Enon. Okay. And was that in February?

Schottenstein: Enon comes during the Battle of the Bulge.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: At the closing of the Bulge.

Interviewer: Okay and then?

Schottenstein: Enon, we were, I remember, come to think of it, the 20th
Corps for New Year’s Eve, fired every gun they had.

Interviewer: Wow! You witnessed that?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Were you close to any of the artillery?

Schottenstein: Yeah but you could see them.

Interviewer: You could see them?

Schottenstein: Because we were always close to the action.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: So when we got pulled back, it wasn’t pulled back far.

Interviewer: You were always up close?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay well . . . .

Schottenstein: Always was in a combat zone.

Interviewer: In our schedule then, Trier is the next after Enon and that is
in early March. Now . . . .

Schottenstein: I don’t remember whether Trier comes from the Saar-Moselle
Triangle . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: or not.

Interviewer: It’s at the northern end of that geographically.

Schottenstein: Mannheim, Kaiserlautern.

Interviewer: Yeah. Now just to help you pick up your story there, from my
research you were supporting the Tenth Armored.

Schottenstein: In the Saar-Moselle Triangle.

Interviewer: And Trier. Now they claimed credit for capturing the city of

Schottenstein: Probably.

Interviewer: And the bridge. Now, the Roman Bridge. You’ve mentioned that.

Schottenstein: We took out all explosives on the Bridge.

Interviewer: Did you participate in that?

Schottenstein: Yes.

Interviewer: So that was Company A.

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Was there any fighting going on when you did that?

Schottenstein: There was fighting in the city.

Interviewer: In the city? What was the bridge fixed with? What kind of
explosives . . . .

Schottenstein: Mines and booby trap explosives. You had to go down real deep
to dig them out.

Interviewer: Now had you been trained in how to . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: deal with German explosives?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Well also we were trained to blow up bridges the same
way as we were trained to dig up mine fields.

Interviewer: Did you ever have to actually blow up a bridge?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well . . . .

Schottenstein: We would wire bridges.

Interviewer: For demolition?

Schottenstein: For demolition in case you had to pull back and a lot of those
bridges were bridges that we built.

Interviewer: So you actually wired them for demolition? Now in this case you
were removing what the Germans had done.

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Now was there quite a lot of . . . .

Schottenstein: It was pretty heavy.

Interviewer: stuff on there to blow it up?

Schottenstein: Took four or five hours.

Interviewer: Four or five hours?

Schottenstein: I remember it was during the nighttime we did it.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Was there any vehicle traffic on the bridge at the time

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: It was just the engineers?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Okay so you were involved in that activity. And that’s
recorded. There’s quite a bit of explosives on that bridge. The Germans had .
. . .

Schottenstein: Heavy duty.

Interviewer: had failed to blow it?

Schottenstein: Right. 9th Century, the bridge was built to Roman .
. . .

Interviewer: Uh huh. It’s still there today.

Schottenstein: I know, I’ve seen it.

Interviewer: You’ve been back? Now last time you had mentioned something
about a cathedral.

Schottenstein: There’s a cathedral at Mainz. There’s a picture of it in
my book.

Interviewer: In Trier?

Schottenstein: In Trier, yeah.

Interviewer: What happened there?

Schottenstein: It was part of the fighting going on and we shot some Germans
in the bridge, in the, we fought, two of us fought in that cathedral.

Interviewer: Two of you, of Company A?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Do you recall the other man’s name?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: But this was what, infantry support again?

Schottenstein: Yeah, fighting as infantry.

Interviewer: How do you fight in a church, what would . . . . ?

Schottenstein: The Germans were occupying it. There were German soldiers

Interviewer: Was it a big church?

Schottenstein: Big cathedral.

Interviewer: Do you recall if it was nighttime or daytime battle?

Schottenstein: I think it was daytime.

Interviewer: Did you have any support, tanks or weapons, like that?

Schottenstein: I imagine so.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Because you never took a town by itself.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Not armored.

Interviewer: Now how close did you get to the cathedral yourself?

Schottenstein: I was inside it.

Interviewer: What was going on when you went inside?

Schottenstein: I saw the German soldiers up at the head of the pulpit there.

Interviewer: Were they armed?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Shooting at you?

Schottenstein: Yes. It was too far to throw hand grenades and you fired back.

Interviewer: Inside the cathedral?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: How many Germans were there?

Schottenstein: I don’t remember, one or two.

Interviewer: One or two? How long did the fighting last there?

Schottenstein: In Trier?

Interviewer: In this cathedral for example?

Schottenstein: A minute or two. The cathedral was hit by artillery also.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? So you and the other man, were you the only G.I.s in
the cathedral?

Schottenstein: At that particular moment. There were more on the street.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Sort of reminds me of your experience at Chartres. You
were in a cathedral there fighting.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: How many cathedrals did you have . . . .

Schottenstein: A lot of cathedrals in Europe.

Interviewer: There are, aren’t there, yeah. Yes, yes. And they survived the
war and yet . . . .

Schottenstein: In fairly good shape.

Interviewer: And then you had, in a house of peace, so to speak. You’d been
involved in deadly combat.

Schottenstein: Correct.

Interviewer: I mean, I assume the Germans didn’t surrender?

Schottenstein: No. We didn’t ask them to surrender.

Interviewer: Were they hiding behind the columns or did they have some . . .

Schottenstein: I don’t remember. I think one was trying to get away.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: ‘Cause you see our combat book, you see the cathedral was in

Interviewer: Yeah where they were hit by artillery fire.

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Do you remember anything more about your experience in Trier?

Schottenstein: No. In fact when I went back with the kids and my wife, I
wouldn’t even order a sandwich there.

Interviewer: You would not?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Why?

Schottenstein: I don’t know. I just didn’t want anything to do with it.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Okay. Then we’re on the move again in March. Now stop
me if some- thing comes to mind during Trier or on into March. You know your
history book has Company A at a place called Four in Germany and you’d built a
Bailey bridge over a railroad overpass?

Schottenstein: That was common.

Interviewer: Common, common activity? Okay.

Schottenstein: Now don’t forget, A Company, maybe one squad built the
bridge and another squad could have been someplace else.

Interviewer: Oh okay.

Schottenstein: So companies were never always intact.

Interviewer: So that doesn’t mean you were there when it says “A

Schottenstein: A Company was there but the Third Platoon could have been
someplace . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: else or you got three platoons in a company.

Interviewer: Oh I see.

Schottenstein: Three line platoons. And those troops could have been spread
among a regiment.

Interviewer: Ummm. So they would break you up then from the whole group?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Now your company, you had that platoon leader, I noticed in your
unit history, he received a medal, an award of some sort.

Schottenstein: Silver Star.

Interviewer: Silver Star?

Schottenstein: At Echternach they did, five of them were issued at Echternach.

Interviewer: Oh. Okay. It was during that river crossing?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Back at Echternach? Did you know anything about his activity?

Schottenstein: No it just . . . .

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: Just got it. The activities were all the same.

Interviewer: Well, yeah I mean, how could they single one person out? You, as
I recall, you described being blown out of a boat, one of your friends you
mentioned his name, was drowned or lost.

Schottenstein: Right. It’s in the book there.

Interviewer: Yeah, yeah.

Schottenstein: He was buried in Ham, Luxembourg.

Interviewer: Yeah and . . . .

Schottenstein: But it’s an every-day occurrence.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well what do you think about members of Company A had
seen quite a bit of combat? Now you’re busy, Company A mentioned again at a
place called Bousendorf in March at Bailey Bridge replacing a blown bridge over
a stream. Once again you’re supporting the Tenth Armored Division. Did they
ever let you ride in those tanks or did you have to . . . .

Schottenstein: One time is, no we didn’t ride the tanks.

Interviewer: You didn’t?

Schottenstein: We would be with them, walk with the tanks, behind the tanks.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Schottenstein: We were outside, I don’t remember, outside Luxembourg one
afternoon. We walked across the field with the tanks.

Interviewer: You mean under fire?

Schottenstein: Under fire.

Interviewer: Now this . . . .

Schottenstein: Most infantrymen walked just behind the tanks.

Interviewer: Uh huh. To support the tanks?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: This reminds me, last time you mentioned you had two very close
combat events. One was a bayonet charge. We didn’t talk about the second one.
Do you recall the second, like a hand-to-hand combat?

Schottenstein: The second one was, I can’t remember where it was. We were
on combat patrol and we come across the Germans sleeping and we liquidated them.

Interviewer: Was this daytime or nighttime?

Schottenstein: Nighttime. The German who had pulled sentry duty, I slit his

Interviewer: Uh huh. And this was what you made patrol . . . .

Schottenstein: Combat.

Interviewer: What was the patrol doing?

Schottenstein: Combat patrol is a patrol, maybe a squad of eight or ten men,
would go out to kill the Germans behind the line.

Interviewer: Wow! It seems kind of a very risky business.

Schottenstein: And recon patrol at that time was one that went out to gather
or catch the prisoners.

Interviewer: Okay. So the recon patrol and then a combat patrol?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: So your purpose was to kill Germans?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Was this a sort of a strategic location, was it a bridge, a
bridge they were guarding or . . . .

Schottenstein: No we were just sent out on the patrol.

Interviewer: The purpose just to be out there . . . .

Schottenstein: To kill Germans.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Had you been trained in night fighting in particular?

Schottenstein: Yeah, in the States, trained in hand-to-hand combat.

Interviewer: And how to use a knife?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh. To kill? You know those of us, you know, can’t imagine
how for one thing you can surprise someone, you know, without them knowing that
you’re . . . .

Schottenstein: You come up from behind ’em, you put your hand over his
mouth and . . . .

Interviewer: Kind of like in the movies, huh? How many Germans were there at
the time? Do you recall at all?

Schottenstein: I don’t remember. It was over with in a matter of minutes.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So that’s pretty much the event, the second close . .
. . ?

Schottenstein: I was in a lot of close combat.

Interviewer: More than that?

Schottenstein: Yeah but not hand-to-hand.

Interviewer: Uh huh. But up close where you see the enemy?

Schottenstein: Yes. There was like the time outside Metz where we got fired
on by a sniper and the whole squad went up to get him. And the lieutenant was
yelling, “Don’t fire, don’t fire.” And the soldier stood up and
raised his hands up in the air. Then the yell “don’t fire.” Didn’t
. . . .

Interviewer: Didn’t stop?

Schottenstein: No, but he could have killed half a dozen soldiers.

Interviewer: How?

Schottenstein: Because we went up the hill right after him.

Interviewer: Wow!

Schottenstein: And he was looking down at us.

Interviewer: And he put his hands up?

Schottenstein: Yeah. He’d have been better off staying in the hole.

Interviewer: He was in a dug foxhole, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And he started firing on the convoy.

Interviewer: Sounds like suicide. One man?

Schottenstein: One man, one sniper, one German sniper.

Interviewer: So he was eliminated by your squad then?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Did they take any souvenirs in events like that? I mean, look
for a Luger pistol or . . . .

Schottenstein: I have his nine millimeter Steyr.

Interviewer: Oh really? Did you keep it or trade it away?

Schottenstein: I kept it and then it was swiped out of my office when I come

Interviewer: Oh is that right? Well you were allowed to bring back weapons,
small ones and things like that. Any other weapons like that that you . . . . ?

Schottenstein: I have a sword downstairs.

Interviewer: Oh really? How big is it?

Schottenstein: A dress sword.

Interviewer: Is it, some had small daggers, some bayonets.

Schottenstein: No it’s a dress sword.

Interviewer: Is it a long one?

Schottenstein: Yeah . . . .

Interviewer: Is that right? That may seem more unusual for a general or
something to have, huh?

Schottenstein: I got it at Metz.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? Do you remember how you got it?

Schottenstein: We were going from door to door and I kicked open a door and
this German was sitting in a corner, a German soldier.

Interviewer: And what happened next?

Schottenstein: That’s where he stayed.

Interviewer: Oh? He was armed . . . . ?

Schottenstein: Yeah. He was sitting, I think he was holding the sword like
this in front of him. He was in the basement.

Interviewer: Oh yeah. So he was using that as a weapon?

Schottenstein: No he was hiding.

Interviewer: He was hiding? Do you think he was an officer? Did he have . . .
. ?

Schottenstein: Probably. I think the sword’s got his initial on it,

Interviewer: Is that right? Does it have the scabbard?

Schottenstein: It’s got a Swastika on it.

Interviewer: . . . . Does it have a scabbard that it fits into?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: That’s interesting. I’ve seen a lot of daggers or smaller
items or bayonets that they hang on their belts but swords, that’d be
something different. How did you manage to carry that around with you?

Schottenstein: I put it in the truck.

Interviewer: In the truck, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Each squad had a truck.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Okay so you had a place to put it and store it?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Okay. Well that’s interesting. A lot of different things were
brought back. Anything else of that type? We saw your combat boots. You had your
own boots you brought back.

Schottenstein: That’s the only thing I brought back.

Interviewer: Uh huh . . . . That’s pretty interesting. Okay. Well you’re
okay. Well we’re going to follow the support then of the Tenth Armored for a
while here. A lot of bridge building. Oh okay, here we come to a major event in
the history of the Tenth Armored. Well it’s famous, I don’t know if it’s
major. It’s Frankenstein, Germany. Now this is a small village. I’ve been to
this in the hills near Kaiserlautern before you come to the Rhine River and the
event there is the destruction of a German convoy.

Schottenstein: Yeah it’s in the book. That’s one I told you about.

Interviewer: Right, now. I’ve been to that place, particularly because
General Patton comes there shortly after you were there and he sees the
destruction of, the carnage left over from what happened there. Now can you tell
me anything about what you saw of that convoy? Did you see the destroyed convoy?

Schottenstein: Yeah we shot at it.

Interviewer: You actually shot at it?

Schottenstein: Yeah. We took part in that action.

Interviewer: Can you try to recall that, what it looked like, the location or
how you were trapped on the road?

Schottenstein: No, didn’t bother us.

Interviewer: How about this, what was the convoy made up of, tanks . . . .

Schottenstein: About a five hundred truck convoy I think.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: According to the book.

Interviewer: Do you recall horse-drawn vehicles, horses or anything?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: The five hundred trucks take a long stretch.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: I think they were caught by the armor between the river and
the hill.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And they were trapped.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah. And the vehicles and soldiers fell down into a
large ravine, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: In a depression in the valley?

Schottenstein: In the valley.

Interviewer: It strung out along several miles?

Schottenstein: Miles.

Interviewer: And you saw that? Well you say you were firing on it?

Schottenstein: Right. Everything, we were involved in a lot of action.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: In other words, these pictures that you saw in that book, we
were there because we were involved in that combat.

Interviewer: Uh huh. The destruction of a lot of equipment. Those were
retreating Germans trying to get away?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: From the Tenth Armored and you were with the Tenth Armored. Were
you with tanks at the time? Were they firing on these . . . .

Schottenstein: Tanks were firing on them. They were point blank.

Interviewer: Meaning very close? Must be a pretty devastating sight to see
all that destruction?

Schottenstein: I don’t know. I remember, I was thinking about it the other
night. After the battle of Falaise Gap.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: I was standing on the corner of a road and trucks were coming
by loaded with all dead German bodies.

Interviewer: American trucks or?

Schottenstein: Yeah. What I was doing on that corner I can’t tell you.

Interviewer: But it stayed in your mind?

Schottenstein: It stayed in my mind. What I was doing there, it was at the
end of a field but you could see just truck after truck. Because don’t forget
at the battle of Falaise Gap the armor and the 20 caliber field artillery pieces
were dug in at road level.

Interviewer: The line?

Schottenstein: They used to have trailers with mounted guns in the trailer,
four 20 mm and one 50 caliber.

Interviewer: Uh huh, uh huh.

Schottenstein: They were dug in at ground level.

Interviewer: So you had all these barrels with . . . .

Schottenstein: Firing their weapons.

Interviewer: with weapons firing on the enemy? That’s just before Paris,
isn’t it, the Falaise?

Schottenstein: At Falaise Gap, . . . France.

Interviewer: In August, wasn’t it?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: That’s when they wiped out the German Seventh.

Interviewer: Just after you were in Chartres?

Schottenstein: Right. Yeah. (Phone rings.)

Interviewer: You need to get that?

Schottenstein: I’ll get it.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: It was Bobby Schottenstein.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Schottenstein: Sometime in the early 50s or early 60s he was at a real estate
closing in Dayton and the lawyer representing the other, he never got the man’s
name. He asked him what relation he was to Bernard Schottenstein.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: And Bobby said, “Why?” He says, “He saved my
life. He shoved me in a foxhole and jumped on top of me.”

Interviewer: You’re kidding!

Schottenstein: Uh huh. But he never got the man, and I’ve no recollection.

Interviewer: Just by pure chance there’s a . . . .

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: a man out there somewhere and you saved his life?

Schottenstein: If he was living or now living.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: It was amazing but Bobby never got his name.

Interviewer: Huh.

Schottenstein: And I don’t remember shoving someone . . . .

Interviewer: And you don’t remember?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: But somebody else sure does?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: They remembered your name?

Schottenstein: And so it must have been from our outfit.

Interviewer: All these years?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Isn’t that something? You just had so much action that, you
know. Of course you could be mixed up and it could happen in an instant.

Schottenstein: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: that you could save someone’s . . . .

Schottenstein: It was like on this . . . . I was thinking, you know, like
when we were on, were walking along the road one afternoon and we stopped and I
bent over and a rifle went off and hit the guy in back of me.

Interviewer: There was a shot fired while you were bent over?

Schottenstein: I bend over and the guy standing in back of me got his back cut

Interviewer: My gosh. Just a few seconds?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Or like the time outside Mannheim, once we crossed the
Rhine at Mainz we worked with a cavalry outfit behind the German lines for a
week or two.

Interviewer: Hmmm.

Schottenstein: Our squad was assigned to a cavalry out–, recon whose job was
destroy enemy supply lines.

Interviewer: Wow! That’s a special assignment.

Schottenstein: And then that’s when we took this town and the Fourth
Armored fired on us ’cause they didn’t realize we had it.

Interviewer: Oh a friendly fire . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: engagement?

Schottenstein: Friendly fire engagement. But what struck me as odd though was
somewhere in this area where we captured this small town we found 300 slave
women . . . .

Interviewer: Oh my gosh.

Schottenstein: who the Germans brought in from Italy to work in the fields.

Interviewer: Three hundred of them?

Schottenstein: There must have been three hundred of them.

Interviewer: My gosh.

Schottenstein: And that’s the first time you come across slave labor not in
camps but in . . . .

Interviewer: In their work location, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you try to liberate them or I mean what?

Schottenstein: They were liberated.

Interviewer: They were already liberated, huh?

Schottenstein: Well when we got there, we took the town.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And we stayed in that town for about two days or three days.
That’s when we were working behind the German lines.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well what did you do for support and food and . . . .

Schottenstein: Carried your rations.

Interviewer: Carry that with you?

Schottenstein: It was a cavalry outfit composed of maybe a half a dozen
tanks. Squad of combat engineers to be used as infantry. And our job was to set
up the ambushing of German convoys.

Interviewer: That sounds like a very risky business again?

Schottenstein: Yeah it was risky.

Interviewer: You’d be outnumbered? Yeah but this is extra, I mean, you’re
outnumbered? You can’t call for help, right?

Schottenstein: No. Come to think of it, that’s when Patton issued the order
that you weren’t supposed to fraternize.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Schottenstein: And they was reading us the order behind the German lines that
you couldn’t fraternize.

Interviewer: And you’re back there behind the lines?

Schottenstein: Yeah. It was, I think it was after Mainz. I’m not sure.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So it was pretty far into Germany, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah well Patton did a lot of bold moves. He sent a whole group
of tanks, I don’t know, 20 or 30 tanks, to go rescue his son-in-law in prison
camp and they all got . . . .

Schottenstein: Shot up.

Interviewer: shot up. Yeah. But sending people out there to do bold things.
But I hadn’t heard about that behind-the-lines sort of thing you’re doing.

Schottenstein: That was common.

Interviewer: Wow. It was a common thing. Well we’re still following the
trail along and you’re doing things into Germany there at Mainz. And that was
next after Frankenstein. You . . . .

Schottenstein: Well Mainz . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: We pulled out in front of Mainz at night. I have a picture on
the wall of the day before we moved into Mainz itself, three of us standing in
front of an old house with a blanket. And the church was the only building left

Interviewer: In the city?

Schottenstein: The city. You couldn’t get your armor through the streets
’cause everything was totally obliterated.

Interviewer: From bombings?

Schottenstein: Bombings. They hit it with 14,000 bombers in two days.

Interviewer: Well let me ask you this. With homes blown down, people
probably, was there the odor of decaying bodies? I mean, did that strike you?
Some people mention that n, like the death camps. They could never forget the

Schottenstein: I saw the death camp at Ohrdruf.

Interviewer: Was the odor of death . . . .

Schottenstein: I never noticed the odor ’cause I was around death so much.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: It never occurred to me until afterwards what I really saw.

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Schottenstein: ‘Cause you were used to seeing dead bodies. You were used to
seeing people get killed. You were used to seeing heads flying around, bodies
flying around from being blown up by artillery. So it took a while before you
really realized what you saw.

Interviewer: You’re talking about Ohrdruf?

Schottenstein: Ohrdruf.

Interviewer: You had seen so much of . . . .

Schottenstein: You can smell, there’s a smell when you come close to it but
it fell right into our path.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: If you notice our book had a picture of a superintendent . . .

Interviewer: Beaten?

Schottenstein: beaten to death by the inmates.

Interviewer: Did you witness that kind of thing?

Schottenstein: No, huh uh.

Interviewer: I believe they also, Germans tried to burn bodies there too and
. . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah and it was a P.W. camp.

Interviewer: Uh huh. They had P.W.s there.

Schottenstein: And then I noticed bodies on, but we were there for about a
half hour before we moved.

Interviewer: Is that all?

Schottenstein: No doubt.

Interviewer: So you weren’t given any assignment there . . . .

Schottenstein: No, no.

Interviewer: to deal with anything?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you think you were there on the day, the first day
that it was . . . .

Schottenstein: If they captured and had a picture . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: of a supervisor being stamped to death.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: You know that photographer was there early.

Interviewer: Early? That’s what I was getting to, do you think you were
there early or the second day or . . . .

Schottenstein: I don’t remember but maybe the first day. But it was, it
fell right into our, down the road from us. It fell right into our path.

Interviewer: In other words you didn’t go out of your way sightseeing . . .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: to see the prison camps?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: You were right there? Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Right into it.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Couldn’t miss it?

Schottenstein: No. But it took a couple days to realize what you really . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: saw or what reality of man’s inhumanity to man really was.

Interviewer: Well it behooves me to ask you, were you aware of what was
happening to the Jews in . . . .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: You were not?

Schottenstein: No we were, all we were aware of was what was in front of us .
. . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: what piece of land are we going to take that day or what river
we’re going to occupy.

Interviewer: But in terms of the Holocaust . . . .

Schottenstein: That was later.

Interviewer: in ’43-’44? You had no idea what was happening?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Ohrdruf was the first camp they captured that told them really
what was happening.

Interviewer: Did you know when you were there that 30 minutes, did you know
those were Jews that were killed there?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Because I saw Hs and Ps and Cs.

Interviewer: On what?

Schottenstein: On their shirts. They had P for Protestant, C for Catholic, oh

Interviewer: You saw that on their shirts?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And a Star of David.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And I remember in my broken Yiddish I asked them what they
were and this man wouldn’t answer. And I saw one of my friends who was
deceased a little bit later, spoke Polish, you know; he was from Chicago.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: I asked him in Polish what they meant. He said he’s only a
Jew because Hitler told him he was a Jew.

Interviewer: Is that right? Just classified by some rule?

Schottenstein: Because maybe his father or grandfather . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah they had rules like if you are a Jew, if one of your two
grandparents is a Jew.

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: And he was only a Jew because Hitler told him he was.

Interviewer: And that makes, yeah.

Schottenstein: And that I never forgot.

Interviewer: And you heard that at that tine?

Schottenstein: Yeah. ‘Cause I was standing right there when we, ’cause I
was curious what the, the Cs were for Catholics, the Ps were for Protestants.
The camps were not really . . . .

Interviewer: It wasn’t Jewish only? They had other . . . .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: perhaps political prisoners and then the Jews?

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: So there were some alive then still?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Well that’s interesting.

Schottenstein: Then in Mainz I met a fellow from Columbus who I know.

Interviewer: A soldier?

Schottenstein: Yeah. It was Irv Topolosky.

Interviewer: Irv Topolosky?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: I know of Harry. Are they related?

Schottenstein: That’s his cousin.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: He was in the 80th Infantry Division, Field
Artillery. And at Mainz at the bridge there when we made the assault and fought
in the island, we went across the river and did a sweep of the opposite bank.
Went across in a L.C.I.

Interviewer: That’s a larger . . . .

Schottenstein: Landing Craft Infantry.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: A naval craft actually.

Schottenstein: Yeah. ‘Cause the Rhine River at that time was 2200 feet in.

Interviewer: Was that a combat assault under fire?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And we went over on combat patrol to clear up the
bridgehead and to make a sweep to make sure there were no Germans . . . .

Interviewer: Before the regular infantry comes?

Schottenstein: Before the regular infantry.

Interviewer: The way I understand it, you’re the first ones there on the

Schottenstein: Yeah. And coming back I see this soldier standing next to a .
. . . tree. And I says, “He look familiar.”

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: Oh yeah, it’s funny. Before that happened I picked up a
bottle of whiskey on the opposite bank and gave it to the chaplain and he broke
and dropped it.

Interviewer: Oh.

Schottenstein: And, I just remembered that.

Interviewer: (laughs)

Schottenstein: And coming back then I saw him and started to go over and see
who it is and it was Irv Topolosky.

Interviewer: You knew him from Columbus?

Schottenstein: Yeah. He lived, I knew him. He was a cousin of, this is a

Interviewer: Of Harry. Who did you know better, Irv or Harry?

Schottenstein: Harry I knew better.

Interviewer: You did?

Schottenstein: But I knew Irv ’cause my aunt lived next to them on Heyl
Avenue when we were kids.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Had you ever seen him during the war?

Schottenstein: Only time.

Interviewer: Did you stop and chat?

Schottenstein: Yeah I stopped, we talked. The next day when the 80th

was going across the river, he was in the back of a jeep.

Interviewer: You saw him again?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Which is rare.

Interviewer: Hah. He was in Artillery . . . .

Schottenstein: He was a spotter, Field Artillery spotter.

Interviewer: Okay. So he was up front as a forward observer?

Schottenstein: A forward observer.

Interviewer: I hope he survived the war.

Schottenstein: Yeah he did.

Interviewer: Okay. You had mentioned this island. I saw that in the book when
I was researching for tonight. What can you tell me about this island part of
this river crossing?

Schottenstein: The island was manned by Germans. 160th I think
with the help of the infantry took that island.

Interviewer: Were you there during that?

Schottenstein: No I was not on the island.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: I was someplace else in Mainz.

Interviewer: Okay ’cause I had read that they were surprised. They thought
that they had crossed the river on their assault boats but they were in an

Schottenstein: Yeah. So they had to fight to take the island.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: I don’t think they lost any men at all.

Interviewer: Is that right? Okay. So you were nearby at the time then?

Schottenstein: You could have been right here and you could have been right
here getting shot at and you were over here was just getting field artillery.

Interviewer: In the same time period?

Schottenstein: In the same time.

Interviewer: Here.

Schottenstein: You could have been a hundred feet apart.

Interviewer: That close huh?

Schottenstein: That close.

Interviewer: Humm. Okay well that was the long bridge across. Did you help
build that bridge?

Schottenstein: Yes.

Interviewer: There’s photographs of that here.

Schottenstein: 2200 feet. Longest bridge ever built under fire.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Twenty-two hours.

Interviewer: Did you work non-stop or did you work . . . .

Schottenstein: Non-stop.

Interviewer: Non-stop?

Schottenstein: Or you weren’t given any time off.

Interviewer: 22 hours? Did they give you a sleep break or something to go?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Did anybody ever fall in the river and drown during all this . .
. .

Schottenstein: No, there were floating mines down the river added but we had
people up in front firing at the mines.

Interviewer: Humm. They were trying to destroy the bridge? Yeah that’s the
80th Division then crossed in that area.

Schottenstein: Yeah. We sent the 80th across.

Interviewer: Well that is getting later on into March then, when that event.
Any major events around Mainz? That’s on the Rhine and you’re crossing on
into going towards Frankfurt in that area. The whole 20 Corps crosses.

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Yeah. And then you’re in April and you’re into Germany,
deeper in, there’s a place called . . . .

Schottenstein: Fulda.

Interviewer: There’s a place called Guxhagen. Maybe that’s near Fulda. A
Company builds another bridge. Then there’s Allendorf. Well what do you
recall? You get into lots of villages and towns in those areas. Any . . . .

Schottenstein: No each one was the same.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did they hang out this white flag and bed sheets and all
that to surrender?

Schottenstein: Never saw them.

Interviewer: You know, sometimes you see that in photographs or paintings?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: The Germans are putting out their bed sheets, bed linens.

Schottenstein: We never run into many civilians until we got deep into

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Every town we were in previously was evacuated. The only ones
were there were the Germans and us.

Interviewer: Oh is that right?

Schottenstein: And the Americans.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: But once you got into Germany they had no place to hide . . .
. Like at Kassel, we were in Kassel.

Interviewer: Oh okay. That’s a large industrial city, isn’t it?

Schottenstein: Once we got across Frankfurt we were at Kassel. And then we
dropped back into Heidelberg.

Interviewer: Heidelberg? Now Heidelberg was not destroyed?

Schottenstein: No, they were given two hours to surrender . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: or be destroyed ’cause otherwise the town would be leveled.

Interviewer: That’s the Nekkar River?.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And then we went up toward Fulda.

Interviewer: Up north?

Schottenstein: Up north.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Pretty hilly going up that way? Was it sort of
mountainous, hilly area?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Do you recall any of that . . . .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: going up hills and . . . .

Schottenstein: No, ground never, you never . . . .

Interviewer: You don’t recall any particular battle then?

Schottenstein: No and then you followed the infantry or engaged as infantry.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Then you had so many Germans you just kept shoving them back.

Interviewer: Prisoners?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Now sometimes you run across a pocket of S.S. Did you ever
encounter any of that Waffen S.S.?

Schottenstein: Kaiserlautern.

Interviewer: Oh really? Did you have any combat with S.S. troops? Do you
recall then? They were always described as so cocky.

Schottenstein: Well this . . . .

Interviewer: arrogant.

Schottenstein: This outfit was marched down from Norway they told us.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: And then we also engaged Hungarians toward the end.

Interviewer: Hungarians?

Schottenstein: Yeah, they were fighting with the Germans.

Interviewer: Their allies, yeah.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Any particular events with those soldiers, the S.S.?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: With the Hungarians?

Schottenstein: We fought S.S. in France. ‘Cause you have pictures of them
in that book . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: Being captured.

Interviewer: Yeah, uh huh.

Schottenstein: In fact we never took any prisoners until Patton got into

Interviewer: What do you mean, you didn’t take any prisoners?

Schottenstein: He didn’t want any S. S. taken prisoners.

Interviewer: What does that mean in combat?

Schottenstein: When they went to surrender, you shot them.

Interviewer: You actually did?

Schottenstein: Uh huh. But that stopped outside Chartres. The Second Regiment
had a four-day battle with an S.S. outfit and never took one prisoner.

Interviewer: Oh really? You know they’ll play the same game, you know?

Schottenstein: Oh yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: It’s not a game you want to get into, yeah.

Schottenstein: Well if they caught you with a German pistol, they would bend
you over and stick the pistol up your hind end and pull the trigger.

Interviewer: Oh my gosh.

Schottenstein: And we would do the same if we caught them with an American

Interviewer: This happened?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you ever see that sort of event?

Schottenstein: Yes, one time, I don’t remember, it was in the woods and
they were questioning a bunch of Germans and we asked the Germans to talk and
they wouldn’t talk. After the first two got shot, then all the rest started

Interviewer: Was that technique used to get them to talk?

Schottenstein: It was combat. War is war.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And there’s no technique.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Pretty tough. Hard-nosed things going on there?

Schottenstein: More so than a lot of people ever realized or can comprehend.

Interviewer: Well I think that, yeah, maybe contributes why there are some
veterans who just can’t bear to talk about it because of bringing back
memories there . . . . experienced there by the nature of war and to participate

Schottenstein: I had a friend of mine, 36th Infantry Division in
Italy. Fought on the Verkl River. Went back in 1960 with his wife. His squad was
wiped out on the River and he told his wife that he come back to die and dropped

Interviewer: He actually died on that spot?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: First thought is . . . . ?

Schottenstein: And she says that when they got to Italy, he was like in
another world.

Interviewer: Now that’s really bringing him . . . .

Schottenstein: . . . . responsible.

Interviewer: He must have had a deep impression of the war.

Schottenstein: Yeah that his whole squadron was wiped out.

Interviewer: And he went back to die with his buddies?

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: You heard this story?

Schottenstein: From his wife.

Interviewer: First-person from his wife?

Schottenstein: Or G.I.s that went back and found their helmet in Luxembourg .
. . .

Interviewer: (laughs)

Schottenstein: that got blown off, years later.

Interviewer: Did you ever lose any equipment?

Schottenstein: Rifle one time.

Interviewer: The Army would make you pay for it, wouldn’t they?

Schottenstein: They did.

Interviewer: Did they really?

Schottenstein: They damn well did. When I got discharged at Fort Benjamin
Harrison, they asked me for my serial number and the one that I was issued cost
me $80.50.

Interviewer: Bernie, that is really something now. You are in combat. Things
get destroyed, lost. Well they . . . .

Schottenstein: I’m sitting there looking at the guy and a good friend of
mine, Frank Maxon I was in the Army with says, “Don’t hit him. Leave him

Interviewer: (laughs)

Schottenstein: He says, “Hey, he took it right out of my discharge

Interviewer: It was $80 huh, for a rifle?

Schottenstein: I’ll never forget, $80.50.

Interviewer: You know that was a lot of money in those days, wasn’t it?
That was . . . .

Schottenstein: It was a good thing I wasn’t a tank driver.

Interviewer: (laughs) That would have been more, huh? Oh my gosh. I’m glad
I asked about that ’cause I heard about, I had a friend, another veteran, who
lost a typewriter and they wanted him . . . .

Schottenstein: They make you pay for it.

Interviewer: They make you pay for it, yeah. That’s just crazy. That isn’t
that . . . .

Schottenstein: And then we went into Stuttgart, in that area.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: We went in through the south.

(Mixed voices)

Schottenstein: And then went into Regensburg.

Interviewer: Regensburg, yes. Now you know . . . .

Schottenstein: That’s where the picture of Patton is.

Interviewer: Yeah and maybe now would be a good time to talk about that. I
want to learn more about that because I found in the history book it was the 71st
Division you were supporting then.

Schottenstein: I don’t remember . . . .

Interviewer: Ah well I do now. I researched. It was the 71st

Infantry and, what do you remember about that Patton encounter . . . .

Schottenstein: I remem—

Interviewer: What was it all about?

Schottenstein: Well you know Regensburg had a concentration camp?

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: Which I didn’t know until many years later. What I
remembered mostly about Regensburg is we got fired on in the highway by a sniper
as we were coming into Regensburg and we took off to the house that we thought
it had come from ’cause there was only one house in that, across a big open

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And we kicked the door open and the door got slammed shut.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: So normally, we would normally have thrown in a hand grenade.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: But for some reason we didn’t. We kicked the door back open,
went in and I grabbed the German or the man who was there, put a 9 mm to his
head, was getting ready to pull the trigger when I heard someone yell, “My
tata, my tata.” Turned around and there were three little girls.

Interviewer: Ummm. His children?

Schottenstein: Must have been his children ’cause “my tata” is
Jewish in German for “my father, my father.”

Interviewer: In Yiddish?

Schottenstein: In Yiddish or German.

Interviewer: Tata?

Schottenstein: Tata.

Interviewer: And you knew Yiddish, you had mentioned you knew.

Schottenstein: Yeah. And I was getting ready to pull the trigger.

Interviewer: He’d fired on you, right?

Schottenstein: We assumed that he fired on us.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: ‘Cause no matter what it was, there never was questions and
that’s one time I really was glad I didn’t pull the trigger.

Interviewer: You almost killed the guy, huh? That is something . . . .

Schottenstein: And then we made the assault across the river on, oh at
Regensburg and Patton come down. Well of course you see him in a jeep there.

Interviewer: I want to get that. Really interested in Patton’s story
because he’s such a big figure in history. That any time someone had an
encounter, saw Patton, why it’s just really interesting history. So if you
could describe to me . . . .

(Mixed voices)

Schottenstein: I think we had a gun position set up along the river and he
stopped and talked with us.

Interviewer: He did?

Schottenstein: And then the next day is when that picture was, or about two
days later. And if you notice in that picture, there’s white bursts. That’s
artillery bursts.

Interviewer: It was actually combat?

Schottenstein: Yes. That was, the assault was being made at that…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: …thing. Now here’s one town which I found out from a reunion
from General Mays, Archie Mays . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: …that they requested that the assault be moved downriver
because it took you out from under the heavy guns which happened at Echternach.

Interviewer: Okay. That experience, that experience there?

Schottenstein: Yeah. But Patton was there and we took…I took his picture or
how someone took his picture.

Interviewer: Oh you don’t know if it was you or not?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: That picture that you have pasted in your book…

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: …comes from that, was there a bridge there that you had built?

Schottenstein: A pontoon bridge. You could see it in the rolled up…some of
the rolled up bridges.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: See the bridges were brought to us by a treadway company.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Schottenstein: A treadway company brought the bridge and we assembled it and
took it across.

Interviewer: Oh so it took two different units to make…

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: …make this happen? This was pontoon you think you’re talking…

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Well it is a fact in the history book of the 71st
that Patton did come to Regensburg to a bridge.

Schottenstein: That was the bridge.

Interviewer: And the witness to that story he has written, he was, this
witness was rather upset because Patton forced all of the vehicles off of the
road so his jeep could come up there to see, you know, this bridge. And all
these vehicles had to get into the mud and I don’t know if you recall but they
got stuck in the mud.

Schottenstein: That was common.

Interviewer: And they had to pull them out and it was all because of General
Patton coming up.

Schottenstein: I saw him one time on the road in Normandie, in
Pont-a-Mousson, him and Marshall and Churchill.

Interviewer: Really?

Schottenstein: Big, black, when they were visiting . . . . Metz or

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: There and they were on the road. We were providing security on
the road.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Schottenstein: No but that picture was taken of Patton, that bridge was under
fire ’cause you see the white . . . .

Interviewer: The white flashes? Okay and you were there when he had his
picture taken?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Was this taken by one of the men in your unit? How did you get
that photo?

Schottenstein: I don’t know how. Who knows at that time? Maybe one of the
guys had cameras.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: There was a half a dozen pictures taken.

Interviewer: Yeah but this picture you have came from a publication or a
friend gave it to you or?

Schottenstein: No publication.

Interviewer: Yeah? So a friend had that then, huh? Or at one of your reunions
or something?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Did you come home with it from Europe?

Schottenstein: I come home with all these pictures.

Interviewer: Oh I see. So you didn’t get that years later then?

Schottenstein: No, right then.

Interviewer: Okay, now I understand. So this may be a one-of-a-kind
photograph then?

Schottenstein: That could be one-of-a-kind.

Interviewer: All right, all right. Well that’s great. That’s very
interesting, that more . . . .

Schottenstein: All those combat, all those pictures . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Were taken at that time like that book was.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Just like that? Only someone else had a camera.

Schottenstein: Someone else had the camera.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: ‘Cause they were taking your picture.

Interviewer: Yeah. And you’re not in it? You’re standing behind . . . .

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Yeah. You’re not there with Patton?

Schottenstein: No. Just his jeep and his commanding officers.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Just the big guy?

Schottenstein: In the view.

Interviewer: The big shot. Well we’re getting near the end of your combat
days. It’s late April. You’re supporting the 71st Infantry but
there’s still fighting. You’re still having river crossings?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Under fire. And you’re onto a place called Sulzbach. You
crossed the Danube River. You remember anything about the Danube, the famous . .
. .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Danube? And then finally the . . . .

Schottenstein: I betcha we made about 25 river crossings.

Interviewer: Well you’ve got two pages in here of river crossings.

Schottenstein: . . . . just river crossings.

Interviewer: Yeah, uh huh.

Schottenstein: Which was enough combat for anyone.

Interviewer: That’s right, just one. The last place, is Landau, Germany.
Now you have another list. I’d like to just maybe take my own notes of that.
You were on, remember that, you have a list of your own places. I don’t know
whether your particular expe- rience was at Landau. Was that your last . . . .

Schottenstein: We were also in Linz and Landau.

Interviewer: Linz, okay. That’s into Austria?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Landau or Lombach or Landau. We were coming in the town and
the Germans were leaving.

Interviewer: You see them . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah, they were leaving.

Interviewer: Ah.

Schottenstein: And then we also were in Linz.

Interviewer: Well Linz must have been one of the very last days?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Is that where the war ended in Europe for you?

Schottenstein: Yeah. May 12th.

Interviewer: Let me ask you, how did you get word the war was over? What
happened? Do you remember?

Schottenstein: They told us.

Interviewer: What happened then?

Schottenstein: Nothing. We still did some engaging. We still went up in the
mountains after the S.S. troopers.

Interviewer: Oh you did? So for you and your people it wasn’t necessarily

Schottenstein: Over. We were there rounding up S.S. troopers who were up in
the hills.

Interviewer: I think you’re in Czechoslovakia or Austria then?

Schottenstein: Austria.

Interviewer: Austria, okay. Did the attitude change when you went into
Austria or was it the same as Germany?

Schottenstein: The same.

Interviewer: So you treated them the same way?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Now it’s beginning to be springtime then. Did you sense that
the, you know . . . .

Schottenstein: It was over with.

Interviewer: conditions were getting over?

Schottenstein: No it was over with.

Interviewer: Yeah. Big celebration?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Not with you guys, huh?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Did you have orders or the idea that you were going on to Japan
after this?

Schottenstein: No, what it was, they brought back the combat groups into
Epernay, Reims, that area.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And they were stripping them with troops going to the Pacific.

Interviewer: Taking men out?

Schottenstein: I got assigned to the, that’s when I really found out what
position you had. I met a major and I was bored like hell. And he said he was
picking out men, they would go through your records and pick out soldiers to
serve in these outfits. And the more combat you had, the better chance you had
of being picked.

Interviewer: Oh boy. And you had a lot of combat?

Schottenstein: The group I was in, I’d become a secretary to an executive
officer. He never was in combat so he assigned five men who had a sense of
combat as his jeep driver and secretary.

Interviewer: Oh.

Schottenstein: Like bodyguards.

Interviewer: Surround himself with experts, huh?

Schottenstein: With experts. This brigade, this engineer’s brigade, every
man in it had from five to ten campaigns.

Interviewer: Wow.

Schottenstein: And we were in Marseilles when the war ended. Our ship was
going right to the . . . . . It was going right to the . . . .

Interviewer: Down the south? The port city, yeah.

Schottenstein: Yeah but our ship was in the harbor . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: and we were boarding it with rifles and equipment.

Interviewer: And what happened?

Schottenstein: They dropped the bomb.

Interviewer: That’s August of ’45?

Schottenstein: That’s right. They had a million men in Marseilles.

Interviewer: Is that right? What was that like when that finally happened,
the end there? Was there a celebration in Marseilles, anything going on?

Schottenstein: You wasn’t allowed to celebrate too much ’cause of the, I
think it was just over with. They were . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah, just the relief?

Schottenstein: It was over with.

Interviewer: You know, I didn’t ask you this. During this time period were
you writing to any girlfriends back home?

Schottenstein: Never kept up correspondence.

Interviewer: Never wrote letters?

Schottenstein: I didn’t want anyone to be, to get a letter?

Interviewer: Yeah. What about your parents?

Schottenstein: I wrote them and . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: they and my sisters wrote me but I didn’t . . . .

Interviewer: You got letters from home? You had . . . .

Schottenstein: I got the football scores.

Interviewer: (laughs) Is that right?

Schottenstein: I got letters from home and so forth but I never kept up a
correspondence with . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: everyone.

Interviewer: Yeah. Got your family . . . .

Schottenstein: That’s all.

Interviewer: letters. Popped in my mind one combat event I wanted to ask you
about, I don’t think we covered it in any detail the last time, a minor event.
You mentioned there was a time you were out and an artillery barrage happened
and a shell came in and didn’t explode. But it was close, close to you? What
do you recall about that?

Schottenstein: It was at the Battle of the Bulge, the night the 3rd
Army jumped off an attack. It was ice cold as could be.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Heavy snow, heavy, we were in the south around Dittrich,
coming up from the south. I believe C Company went toward Bastogne. And I was in
this house or shed with a squad of infantrymen. What I was doing there I can’t
tell you and an 88 come in and landed in the middle of us and never went off.

Interviewer: The projectile came into the building?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And it was a dud.

Interviewer: How close was it to you?

Schottenstein: Landed right in the middle of where we were all sitting. If it
had went off, it . . . .

Interviewer: Would have been the end?

Schottenstein: Been the end.

Interviewer: Was there a heavy barrage going on at the time or . . . .

Schottenstein: Uh huh. Not as bad as Lisdorf.

Interviewer: Yeah. You talked about Lisdorf. Well that was a real close call
wasn’t it to being killed which, we’ll touch on Lisdorf here in a minute,
but any other close calls like that when you, you know? Of course being blown
out of the boat now and out . . . . we touched on that but . . . .

Schottenstein: Echternach.

Interviewer: Being blown out of the boat?

Schottenstein: Echternach. I had a rifle shot out of my hand.

Interviewer: Out of your hand?

Schottenstein: When I picked it up to fire it, there was no stock.

Interviewer: The wood was gone, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah it was gone.

Interviewer: Is that the one they made you buy?

Schottenstein: That’s the one they made me buy.

Interviewer: You’re kidding? That’s the serial number that was assigned
to you?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: It was destroyed at Echternach in the river crossing?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: And they made you pay for that?

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: You know you’d think the government owes you $80 back with


Schottenstein: No it was, no I remember, I don’t know where it was, a funny
thing happened. We were all lined up along a stone wall, going over the wall one
at a time. The Germans were in this house and we were wiping out the house. This
one guy next to me says, “Is there any other place, is there any place we
can go but here?”

Interviewer: You mean he didn’t want to be . . . .

Schottenstein: No he was looking for another place.

Interviewer: He didn’t want to be there?

Schottenstein: He didn’t want to be there.

Interviewer: Was he serious?

Schottenstein: He was dead serious. He says, “Do we have to be

Interviewer: (laughs) Little things like that stay in your mind, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: The odd little statements.

Schottenstein: The things that normally you forget or that . . . . But so
much of it you really forget.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: What happened day-to-day on a day-to-day basis.

Interviewer: That’s where I read a little bit of eye-witness story from one
of these unit histories and they describe things where you were and the events.
Let’s touch on the Lisdorf and the blowing up of the ammunition. I have now
read that. I know what was going on.

Schottenstein: Lisdorf, the closest you got to Lisdorf was on the top of a
road. We got to Lisdorf, our command post was not in Lisdorf.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: It was on a road outside Lisdorf. To get down into Lisdorf you
cut across a field that was under fire. This is where everything was zeroed in.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: So if eight trucks started down, maybe four trucks made it.

Interviewer: Wow! Half of them would be destroyed?

Schottenstein: Yes. Lisdorf, every house was a pillbox. Every house was

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Every street and house was mined. Our job was to make the
assault and the entire riverbank was zeroed in.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And you put up a pontoon bridge; it got blown up. The
infantry, the 28th I think.

Interviewer: Ninety-fifth.

Schottenstein: Ninety-fifth.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: The 28th took their place . . . .

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: after we pulled out.

Interviewer: Uh huh. I have a history of the battle. When you crossed the
river the place was called Insdorf.

Schottenstein: Insdorf on the other side.

Interviewer: Exactly right.

Schottenstein: And there’s an open field.

Interviewer: Yes. All the way to Insdorf from the river.

Schottenstein: There’s an open field.

Interviewer: You got a map of it here.

Schottenstein: There’s an open field.

Interviewer: Do you remember this from your own memory?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Not by looking at some old map?

Schottenstein: No, no.

Interviewer: You’re exactly right.

Schottenstein: And that’s where we had the machine gun nest set up.

Interviewer: In the field?

Schottenstein: In the field. Insdorf was all fortified. The Germans were in
one room; the Americans were in the other room.

Interviewer: Right.

Schottenstein: The only way we got ammunition over was to pull it across the
river at nighttime in the pontoons.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And then the trucks would drive without lights and one of us
would walk in front of the truck and steer it.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: ‘Cause you couldn’t turn your lights on ’cause Germans
would see it. There was a bigger, that was the field that fellow picked up five
bullets in his stomach.

Interviewer: And you were right there?

Schottenstein: Yeah, in that open field.

Interviewer: How did that happen again?

Schottenstein: We were in a forward gun position protecting the trucks.

Interviewer: Machine gun?

Schottenstein: Machine gun.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: He stood up and the Germans had captured an American gun ’cause
you could tell by the sound.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: And he stood up and he took five bullets in his gut.

Interviewer: He was next to you?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: I would assume he was killed?

Schottenstein: Yeah. I carried him back to the outpost across the river.

Interviewer: Did you get him across the river?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: This was a pontoon bridge or?

Schottenstein: Yeah a footbridge.

Interviewer: Footbridge?

Schottenstein: That’s the one I got blown off of.

Interviewer: You were blown off of it, while you had this man?

Schottenstein: No, coming back.

Interviewer: After taking the man to the . . . .

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Yeah the map shows two bridges coming across to that field and
then you go on across to Insdorf.

Schottenstein: Yeah a big field, Insdorf.

Interviewer: Big, yeah it is, with bunkers all the way.

Schottenstein: Bunkers all the way and that’s where the ammunition was

Interviewer: Ah, I was going to ask you about that ammunition. What was it
stored in?

Schottenstein: I don’t remember.

Interviewer: Piles out in the field?

Schottenstein: Inside of buildings I think.

Interviewer: Exactly right. That’s what the book describes.

Schottenstein: If my memory serves me correctly.

Interviewer: You’re exactly right. According to the book here . . . .

Schottenstein: Inside buildings.

Interviewer: Now what did you have to do or when did you . . . .

Schottenstein: Blew it up.

Interviewer: When? Did you participate in that?

Schottenstein: Yeah we provided, A Company blew it up.

Interviewer: Tell me how you did it. What did you do?

Schottenstein: Set charges to it. The infantry pulled out. There was nothing
between the Germans, the riverbank, but us. The infantry already left, pulled
back across the river ’cause they were retrenching and the Third Army was
getting ready to move up into Luxembourg. So the 28th, so the A
Company’s job, maybe C Company might have been involved, I don’t remember.
But it was in buildings and we blew it. And once you blew it, the Germans knew
there was no one there.

Interviewer: So what would that mean?

Schottenstein: And all hell broke loose.

Interviewer: Did it?

Schottenstein: But we were on the other side of the river holding the

Interviewer: Where were you when it blew?

Schottenstein: In Lisdorf.

Interviewer: You had crossed the river then?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What did you use, some kind of a timed fuse or what? How did
that . . . .

Schottenstein: We just set the fuse and left.

Interviewer: Like a burning fuse you think, like a . . . .

Schottenstein: No I think they set charges. I think they used the charges
that they would blow up a pillbox with.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: They, you put, you drop it on . . . . Com C.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: Composition C.

Interviewer: Now what kind of ammunition was it? This was an infantry
engagement. It wouldn’t be artillery shells, right?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: So it’s small arms?

Schottenstein: Small arms.

Interviewer: Did it make a big explosion or?

Schottenstein: Or mortar shells.

Interviewer: All, ok, larger . . . .

Schottenstein: Mortar, bazookas, rockets that you fired from your shoulder.

Interviewer: So was there a lot of ammo . . . .

Schottenstein: A lot. They say it was close to 20 ton or more.

Interviewer: Did you see that blow up?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What did it look like?

Schottenstein: One hell of a fireworks.

Interviewer: Yeah?

Schottenstein: Then all hell broke loose.

Interviewer: What do you mean “all hell broke loose?”

Schottenstein: Well the Germans started pouring artillery in, all in the
Lisdorf area, just raking everything down the line.

Interviewer: Where you were?

Schottenstein: Yeah. That’s when I got blown out of the truck twice and the
company commander says, “It’s every man for himself.” We didn’t
lose one man.

Interviewer: You didn’t?

Schottenstein: Huh uh.

Interviewer: But that wasn’t when your buddy was killed, Shaw was killed?

Schottenstein: No he was killed in that town . . . .

Interviewer: Earlier huh?

Schottenstein: A week or so earlier.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So the Germans responded to the blowing up with . . . .

Schottenstein: Well they knew no one was . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: with the ammunition gone, they never realized, and the
infantry was gone. They pulled back and there was nothing between the river or
the Germans . . . .

Interviewer: But you?

Schottenstein: but us. And then the 28th come up and dug in and
held the riverbank I believe.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And then we went up to, I started to walk out.

Interviewer: After the trucks were gone?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: I suppose men were killed when those trucks were blown up?

Schottenstein: Yeah they were . . . . a big open field, Insdorf.

Interviewer: Yeah well that I found in the 95th . . . .

Schottenstein: And people weren’t allowed back in that town until March or

Interviewer: Uh huh. That was a pulling out to go up to the Battle of the
Bulge. Well I’m trying to recall if there any other incidents we . . . . They
marched you across Europe. Many locations. And I always come back to Zintz. I
don’t know if you recall, I guess your unit really didn’t have, you were at
Remich but was up the hill on the other side . . . .

Schottenstein: Could have been.

Interviewer: Yeah. ‘Cause there are pictures in your book. It may have been
another platoon or company.

Schottenstein: Right. You can’t remember every place.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: See if you were in Remich you would know the places. But the
name Remich sounds more familiar to me ’cause of the wine cellar.

Interviewer: Yeah there is vineyards, a winery right along there.

Schottenstein: Yes I remember Remich more ’cause of the gun set up in this
building and one of the guys went back to get ammunition and fell on the floor
and saw all the champagne . . . .

Interviewer: Oh really?

Schottenstein: that they hid from the Germans.

Interviewer: He discovered the champagne?

Schottenstein: Yeah, we left the gun there and went after the champagne.

Interviewer: You did?

Schottenstein: Yeah all the Americans. All but the 5th, I think
the 5th Infantry was involved in that area. And they confiscated all
the whiskey.

Interviewer: Took it away from you?

Schottenstein: Oh yeah. They were loading their trucks and their equipment
full of it.

Interviewer: Huh, huh.

Schottenstein: Get rid of the shovels. We wanted . . . .

Interviewer: Oh you’re throwing out the good equipment?

Schottenstein: Yeah, good equipment. That’s when the light armored was

Interviewer: Oh that, yeah, that area, yeah. They came in there. Well let’s
revisit that one more time then and see we didn’t skip any ’cause we’ve
got a good chronological coverage of things. Let me ask you have you in the past
week since I was here last, anything else sort of come to mind that you want,
you think would be worth sharing that I haven’t asked you about? Any other . .
. .

Schottenstein: I think in the Battle of the Bulge it was so cold that your
feet were turning black.

Interviewer: Did you suffer any of that frostbite or?

Schottenstein: No I didn’t suffer but I seen it.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: You had to change socks every night. But you never had
rubberized equipment.

Interviewer: Yeah. Now during that time you were living outdoors, is that

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: It sort of, to me, seems like living like an animal. You’re
outside. You have no human shelter. You’re just living in the . . . .

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: in the earth?

Schottenstein: You lived in the snow and you died in the snow.

Interviewer: So you had . . . .

Schottenstein: You went into combat and never come out. . . . . replacements
never come out.

Interviewer: Well speaking of never coming out, some people came back to the
United States and still had combat in their minds. Did you?

Schottenstein: . . . . No, what I mean is so many of the soldiers come in as

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: To replace the soldiers that got killed or wounded and they
never made it back out alive.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: They got killed the first day they went in.

Interviewer: The new ones, the green ones?

Schottenstein: The new ones. Course the old ones got killed too.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: But your chance of surviving was rare.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did you have nightmares after you came back to the
States in civilian life?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: None of those flashbacks? How about a loud bang? Would that . .
. .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: put you on the floor? That kind of thing?

Schottenstein: Only one time outside Lisdorf, we started getting heavy fire
and I started to tear up.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And so I went to the command post and said, “Send me back
to the rear. I’m shell-shocked.” They said, “You ain’t going
nowhere.” They gave me a drug for two days.

Interviewer: They did? Did that make you sleep?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: That was one of the treatments I read about.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: They would give you some special drug that would just simply
knock you out?

Schottenstein: Knock you out.

Interviewer: And that was the method of treatment for shell-shock.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: They’d just simply make you unconscious for a while?

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: And they did that to you?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: That’s interesting too. You know, that’s a medical
treatment. They didn’t really know what they were dealing with.

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: How to deal with it? And misunderstood. Some people would say,
“Well you’re a coward, you just can’t take it.” And when in fact
it’s the nerves breaking down after such a . . . .

Schottenstein: I think . . . .

Interviewer: It was a natural reaction.

Schottenstein: We had a major at Pont-a-Mousson where we were, Sergeant
Flynn, got the Soviet Medal of Valor . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: and the Croix de Guerre, C Company where
the two brothers were . . . .

Interviewer: Killed?

Schottenstein: killed, was so pinned down they couldn’t get the wounded
out. So the major and Flynn, who was drunk all the time anyway . . . .

Interviewer: Oh really?

Schottenstein: got in a command car and picked up the wounded. The major
spent all his life sitting on a bed in Fort Leavenworth. He just closed the
world out.

Interviewer: You mean mentally he was . . . .

Schottenstein: Mentally.

Interviewer: Destroyed him?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Now you say Fort Leavenworth. Was he in prison or was it just .
. . .

Schottenstein: No it was a hospital.

Interviewer: Hospital? For the rest of his life?

Schottenstein: For the rest of his life.

Interviewer: What was his name?

Schottenstein: Rausch I think. I’m not sure.

Interviewer: And he was a major of what unit?

Schottenstein: A Company. I mean he was the Adjutant General.

Interviewer: Of A Company?

Schottenstein: Uh huh, of the 160th.

Interviewer: Of the 160th?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: And it destroyed his mind?

Schottenstein: Destroyed his mind.

Interviewer: Well that’s some of the impact of combat upon the brain. You
just can’t imagine what it was like.

Schottenstein: I seen men go after it with knives ’cause they got into an

Interviewer: After what?

Schottenstein: Get into a fight from the tension.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Got that bad, they were trying to kill each other.

Interviewer: G.I.s . . . .

Schottenstein: G.I.s.

Interviewer: killing each other? Well the . . . .

Schottenstein: We had a fellow by the name of Tate who broke and run under
fire, Archie, come to think of it. He had his choice being shot or being
strapped tied to a pole in an open field and all night long the field took heavy
artillery fire and he never was hurt.

Interviewer: This is a new thing. They strapped a man to a post?

Schottenstein: Our company commander did.

Interviewer: Because he ran?

Schottenstein: Under fire.

Interviewer: And they stuck him out in a field all night?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What was he like after that event?

Schottenstein: He was drunk all the time anyway. It didn’t make any

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: Archie Tate from Louisville, from Kentucky.

Interviewer: Did he survive the war?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you ever visit, or some guys, you know, you lost a good
buddy, Shaw. Did you go see his family . . . .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: after the war or try to do anything?

Schottenstein: I put his name on the Normandie Wall.

Interviewer: What do you mean?

Schottenstein: There’s a wall in . . . . D-Day they have a wall . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: Normandie, the troops that fought in Normandie and Omaha.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: I put his name on that wall.

Interviewer: How could you put his name on the wall?

Schottenstein: I paid for it.

Interviewer: Oh if you paid a donation . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah and listed his name and then, because I always wanted him
to be remembered, and then I forgot because he didn’t come from Columbus,

Interviewer: Oh, you said “Columbus?”

Schottenstein: Yeah I said . . . .

(Mixed voices)

Schottenstein: They have a wall in Normandie.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: That your name is put on it.

Interviewer: Is that for deceased or . . . .

Schottenstein: No, living or people who fought.

Interviewer: People who fought, uh huh.

Schottenstein: Yep.

Interviewer: And so you contributed that? Yeah you had described earlier how
he was killed there in that terrible artillery barrage. It sounds like Lisdorf
was the worst place for you?

Schottenstein: They all were bad.

Interviewer: Yeah but Lisdorf, you said you spent more time in one place
there. It sounds like . . . .

Schottenstein: We spent a lot of time in Lisdorf.

Interviewer: Yeah and Insdorf across the river. I would say that sounds like
about the worst. Yeah, you’ve had a lot of combat but, bad at Echternach of
course, your expe- riences at Echternach were equally as bad it sounds like.
Running those boats across and, according to the book, they were all destroyed.

Schottenstein: Every boat.

Interviewer: There was nothing left?

Schottenstein: Nothing left. And every man died or close to it.

Interviewer: It must have been a mess for days there with all that?

Schottenstein: And then to get to the river you had to run tracer fire.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Because every street to the river was lined up with German
fire so when you come out of your little shed, you was in. You looked out, you
could see the white tracers . . . .

Interviewer: Hmmm.

Schottenstein: bouncing off the walls.

Interviewer: Not a place you’d want to be walking alone around at all?

Schottenstein: But you went anyway.

Interviewer: You had to go through that? Tracers coming across the river?

Schottenstein: Didn’t mean a damn thing.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So I imagine there was a lot of screaming and yelling as
you crossed that river, the noise and . . . .

Schottenstein: I don’t really remember because of the heavy fire, the

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: But we stripped down. We didn’t take any heavy equipment
with us.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? They had these pillboxes up on the hills?

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: Did you ever go in the pillboxes and look at what the hell they
were made up of or stuff in there?

Schottenstein: Yeah. I was involved in blowing some up one night, one day.

Interviewer: Was this after the Germans had surrendered or, no?

Schottenstein: No, Siegfried Line. There’s pictures of one going up.

Interviewer: Oh yeah. Were there Germans in there?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: They hadn’t surrendered?

Scottenstein: Hunn unn. Most of those pictures were combat pictures.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: If you took out one pillbox, then the rest of them become, you
took out the field of fire.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: ‘Cause they covered one another.

Interviewer: Well as I understand you had to blow them up or the Germans
would come right back in them?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: So you put a charge on top of them.

Interviewer: On top? Not inside of them?

Schottenstein: You’d get on top, pull your pin, your charge for your packs,
and jump off and then the force of the explosion would turn the top upside down.

Interviewer: Hmmm.

Schottenstein: The reason was, you see the one in Fort Durance that you used
the Bangalore torpedo ’cause you couldn’t get close to it. So you blew up
everything, the minefields and the barbed wire so you could get through.

Interviewer: And they were firing out so you couldn’t get closer?

Schottenstein: Yeah. That was where you used the Bangalore.

Interviewer: Did you ever use a Bangalore?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Under fire?

Schottenstein: I used a bazooka under fire.

Interviewer: Against what?

Schottenstein: Tanks.

Interviewer: What do you recall about that?

Schottenstein: In the Battle of the Bulge. I don’t remember where it was
but all of us were using bazookas at close range. We’d . . . . on our shoulder
to fire.

Interviewer: And you were aiming at a tank?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did the bazooka round bounce off? A lot of times I heard it
would just bounce off?

Schottenstein: Well I would try and get the back of the tank.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? But you have to be pretty close don’t you, I mean?

Schottenstein: Oh yeah you were close.

Interviewer: Well, that’s . . . .

Schottenstein: We weren’t any closer than at Fontainebleau where a good
friend of mine was caught. He was a medic. He was putting air in the wounds of
the German wounded.

Interviewer: Air?

Schottenstein: Yeah killing them.

Interviewer: The medic was doing this?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What do you mean “he was caught?”

Schottenstein: He got caught.

Interviewer: Caught by who?

Schottenstein: By American soldiers, saw him do it. He, instead of giving the
German wounded a treatment, he was putting air in their veins.

Interviewer: Oh . . . . killing them. To stop their heart or their brain or

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: That’s another story. Did you see that. . . . ?

Schottenstein: Yeah I was with him.

Interviewer: With who, the medic?

Schottenstein: Yeah . . . . Name starts with an S.

Interviewer: What was he crazy or what?

Schottenstein: No he just, it was like . . . . Did you read the book, A Civilian Soldier?

Interviewer: No.

Schottenstein: Read the book, Civilian Soldier. There’s a
page where it shows them, talking how the Americans are walking down the road.
This one German says, “Help me, help me.” He’s wounded. American
soldier takes his rifle off this soldier, puts it to his head and pulls the

Interviewer: Hmmm. Shot him?

Schottenstein: Death never mattered.

Interviewer: Didn’t matter, huh?

Schottenstein: Didn’t matter. But yet that same man wouldn’t have shot
you otherwise if you were someone else.

Interviewer: Other than what?

Schottenstein: Than a German.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: There was no mercy, there was no questions asked.

Interviewer: So if you got in that condition or under the circumstances, you’re

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: And the Germans were gonna . . . .

Schottenstein: That’s right. No questions was asked.

Interviewer: Huh.

Schottenstein: And no mercy was granted.

Interviewer: It sounds like you guys weren’t taking many prisoners during

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Didn’t have time for that. Well I didn’t know you fired a
bazooka at a German tank. That was a, do you recall if you did any damage or?

Schottenstein: Hit ’em but I don’t know.

Interviewer: What, just an image you had of that event that . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Happened and it’s gone?

Schottenstein: Happening and it’s gone. Or where we was crossing the field
with the Sherman tanks and then one tank started going crazy.

Interviewer: Zig-zagging?

Schottenstein: Zig-zagging. Then it stopped and when we got up to it and one
G.I. got out and started running across the field. Opened up, looked inside and
a rocket come through and took the heads off of the gunner and assistant gunner
and dropped them in his lap.

Interviewer: In whose lap? Their laps, the dead or the other?

Schottenstein: No the driver’s.

Interviewer: The driver’s lap?

Schottenstein: Right. He was the one who got out and just blew it.

Interviewer: The decapitated heads?

Schottenstein: The heads fell right in his lap.

Interviewer: Into the man’s lap?

Schottenstein: Right. The gunner and assistant gunner. You know they had a
driver and a driver…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: …and two manned the cannon.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: The German rocket come in, pierced the armor, took off the

Interviewer: You saw this?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You looked into the tank?

Schottenstein: Yeah. See the tank is pure white on the inside.

Interviewer: So you had visibility, huh to lighten it up?

Schottenstein: He’s probably still running.

Interviewer: He got out and ran?

Schottenstein: And ran, screaming.

Interviewer: Those were his crewmen, his buddies?

Schottenstein: Uh huh.

Interviewer: The horrors of the war huh? Unbelievable. Those are the events
that would make you wake up in the middle of the night. That kind of thing.
There was no end to it, was there?

Schottenstein: No. Every day was the same.

Interviewer: And we just think of the image. You can’t imagine the noise
associated with that or the smell, the sights, sounds, the feeling of the
rumbling of the earth.

Schottenstein: You can’t imagine.

Interviewer: The shaking of the earth and all of that?

Schottenstein: You can’t imagine it.

Interviewer: Have you seen the movie “Private Ryan”?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What did you think about that landing? Did that bring back

Schottenstein: Yeah but there never would have been two American brothers.

Interviewer: Oh well that’s one story.

Schottenstein: Two, they never would have walked or marched across a open
field the way they marched.

Interviewer: Yeah that was…

Schottenstein: Or talked.

Interviewer: Well I mean the…

Schottenstein: But it was realistic.

Interviewer: …the landing, the D-Day landing?

Schottenstein: It was realistic.

Interviewer: That kind of sound, all that stuff happening?

Schottenstein: There was fighting in the town…

Interviewer: In the town, yeah.

Schottenstein: …and the civilians getting caught there.

Interviewer: Did that remind you of things like that?

Schottenstein: Yeah, because we never, coming across France, most civilians
either left or else you overtook a town and they stayed in the basements. It
shows you what happened to people.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: Which was real. It also showed you what happened, that
you never took prisoners ’cause they made an example if they didn’t shoot
the prisoner, remember?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: They let him go.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: And what happened?

Tape ends.

* * *

Transcribed by Honey Abramson

Edited by Toby Brief

Crrected by Bernie Schottenste