Today’s date is July 7, 1999. This interview is being conducted in
Columbus, Ohio, for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society. It is being recorded
at the home of Franklin County Municipal Court Retired Judge Sidney Harold
Golden. The interviewer is David Graham and Judge Golden is the narrator of this
oral history Now we’ll begin. Okay now, beginning with Judge Golden giving us
his family history.
Golden: My name is Sidney, full middle name Harold, Golden and I was born in
1925 in Columbus, Ohio. I have lived all my life in Columbus with the exception
of the time that I was in the military in Second World War from 1943 until my
discharge which was very unique because I was discharged overseas, I’ll show
you my discharge, in 1945, in February of 1945. I grew up in Columbus, attended
Heyl Avenue Elementary School, Roosevelt Junior High and South High School,
graduated in June of 1942. I would have graduated in February because at that
time they had half-year graduations. Some graduated in February, the end of
January, and some in June.
And since I was in high school, I would have, my
class would have graduated in February, or January, of 1943. However, before the
war even started, I didn’t want to graduate at the end of the Winter. I wanted
to graduate in June and so I went to Summer School in the Columbus Public
Schools so I could advance and graduate in June of 1942, which I did at South
High School. And I started Summer School before the war started in 1939 and 1940
so that then I had enough credits to graduate in June of 1942. The war was on
then and I was going to turn 18 in 1943 and I knew that the draft would take me.
I was in good health and it was just a matter of time. So I either could enlist
in the Navy which I didn’t want, or wait for the Army. I wanted the Air Force.
It was the Air Corps then.
I wanted to go into the Air Corps and so what I did
was after I graduated from South High School, I immediately started at Ohio
State and started to take courses and signed up for the Enlisted Reserve Corps.
At that time, it was in, I think, July of 1942 and they called it the Enlisted
Reserve Corps and they promised you that you could have whatever branch of the
service since you had enlisted before, until you were called up. Hah, famous
last words. And so I wanted to go into the Air Corps ’cause I would have loved
to have flown. But in any event, I went to the Summer Quarter of 1942 at Ohio
State, the Fall Quarter and the Winter Quarter and then in April of 1943, they
gave out a notice that the Enlisted Reserve Corps was being called up and that’s
shown on my discharge which I’ll show to you.
Interviewer: Might I just ask at this point, how did you pay for your college
education? Was that family?
Golden: My folks and from what I had saved by working at Gilbert’s Shoe
Store on Town Street, and at Lazarus. And that’s another whole story.
Interviewer: Did you have family involved in those businesses or?
Golden: My dad was a wagon jobber, sold auto parts from a truck, Charles
Golden. And he was born in England, born and raised in England. Came to the
United States just before World War I and my mother came to the United States
from Austria in Galitzia at the turn of the century.
Interviewer: What was her maiden name?
Golden: Freida, Freida Schechter.
Interviewer: Okay, Freida Schechter.
Golden: And she came here with her mother and an older sister.
Interviewer: Do you know what town in Austria?
Golden: Yeah, oh . . . .
Interviewer: Well that’s all right, we don’t have to . . . .
Golden: But it was the section of Galitzia that starts with Kalish,
Kalish-Galitzia because my mother used to talk about the, oh he was the king
then. And I can’t think of his name.
Interviewer: Was he Franz Joseph?
Golden: Franz Joseph.
Interviewer: Is that right? My goodness.
Golden: That’s right. And he was very good to the Jews, at least she always
had good things to say about Franz Joseph.
Interviewer: She would say that?
Golden: Yeah. In any event, that’s the background of my folks.
Interviewer: Now one other question. Any other close relatives, brothers,
sisters in the . . . .
Golden: Yeah I had one sister Marilyn who was younger than me and she was
born in 1928. I was born in 1925.
Interviewer: She wasn’t involved in the war effort was she?
Golden: She was not involved because she was still in Junior High and in High
School. She was in High School then during the latter part of the war.
Golden: Yeah. And Marilyn passed away two years ago or not quite two years
ago and very sad because she had never married but she had a very wonderful,
long life. She had a very good position at WBNS-TV. Worked there for almost 45
years . . . .
Interviewer: Is that right? Well that’s wonderful.
Golden: and she was the Executive Secretary to the Chief Engineer and that’s
another whole story.
Interviewer: Well let’s get back then, you’re in college.
Golden: Okay. So in April, and of course I was in college and interestingly
enough, I was interested in Pre-Med and I was taking all of the Pre-Med courses,
math, chemistry and so forth. In April of 1943, as it’s shown on my discharge
papers, the Enlisted Reserve Corps, they sent us notice that they were going to
call us up. And but they didn’t call us up until August of 1943 and I got a
notice to report to Fort Hayes, the 5th Service Command. If you remember that
was the 5th Service Command and I went from, and got my uniform and everything
and shipped out from Columbus, Ohio, to Columbus, Georgia. We got on the train
in Columbus, went down to Cincinnati, changed trains to the Southern Railroad,
took the train to Atlanta, where my son now lives, and at that time we walked
through Atlanta to the other railroad station. They had two railroad stations
and we got on the train and the train took us to Fort Benning. From Columbus,
Ohio, to Columbus, Georgia, Fort Benning. When we got to Fort Benning for our
basic, that was the Infantry School and all the basic there was basic infantry.
And that’s what I had from August through the latter part of December of 1943.
Interviewer: Now did they make you a specialist in any particular weapon like
a machine gun or a mortar?
Golden: No. I’ll tell you one very interesting story. When we got there, if
I may, I’ll, can you shut this off?
Interviewer: Yeah we’ll just stop at this point. There you go.
Golden: That’s me right there.
Interviewer: Oh I see. In the whole group of soldiers.
Golden: That was our company. Now wait, I’ll go down . . . .
Interviewer: Nice portrait of the whole company.
Golden: Yeah I meant to bring that up.
Interviewer: Okay, we’ll pause again. I’ll just describe the item here.
We have a photo of the Army unit here. It’s called the 7th Company, 2nd
Battalion, 4th Regiment A.S.T.P. That stands for the Army Special Training
Program, in December, 1943, Fort Benning, Georgia. And Judge Golden’s photo,
he’s one of the soldiers here. He’s pointed out his position here in this
Golden: Let’s see. You got it all. So we got to Fort Benning, Harmony
Church Area in August of 1943 and took Army Basic Training. If you remember, Mr.
Graham, at that time the Garand rifle (M1) had come out and they were giving
only overseas in the South Pacific and in Africa, the Garand. One of the first
Saturdays that we were at Fort Benning, they brought into the barracks, and if
you remember, the old World War II barracks, wooden barracks, up and down, with
the coal stoves, they brought in these huge crates, about three feet high and
about four-and-a-half feet long. And they were really heavy and inside, wrapped
in an oilskin was 03 Springfield Rifles from World War I. They had put those in
Cosmaline, that’s what they called that at that time, Cosmaline, and we
started early in the morning, we put on fatigues, cleaning those rifles, the
03s, Springfield 03s.
Interviewer: Bolt action?
Golden: Bolt action. Right.
Interviewer: Not automatic?
Golden: Not automatic. Didn’t even see a Garand. Although I trained…
Interviewer: Was that . . . . action?
Golden: What? I said, yes I qualified on both the Springfield and the Garand.
But we started out with the 03 and as you know, during World War II they still
used the 03 for sniper and also for the, what’s the thing that they put on
that throws a . . . .
Interviewer: A grenade launcher.
Golden: A grenade launcher. They used the 03s for grenade launchers. I don’t
remember them ever using the Garand for a grenade launcher. But in any event, it
took us almost all day to clean those up. That Cosmaline was unbelievable. And
here we were, a whole bunch of guys as you can see in that picture . . . .
Golden: that’s the company that I was in, that training battalion.
Interviewer: I want to ask you a question about this.
Interviewer: There are several black men here.
Interviewer: We were always told that there was no integration?
Interviewer: I’m curious about that.
Golden: And that was an Army Specialized Training Program when we were called
up and there were a few blacks.
Interviewer: That’s true.
Golden: And I will tell you that they were treated the same as everybody
else. The only time, when they found out about, what’s the word I want to use,
discrimination was when they went into Columbus, Georgia from the base. It was
segregated over there and they were not allowed in a lot of places in Columbus,
Interviewer: Southern segregation, yeah. Let me ask you again. The A.S.T.P.,
I knew about that. This was for college students…
Golden: That’s right.
Interviewer: who were supposed to be getting special training. So these men
were all college students?
Golden: These were all college students.
Interviewer: Former college students?
Golden: That’s right.
Interviewer: Including the black men they were college students.
Golden: Were college students.
Interviewer: And you were training together as A.S.T.P.?
Golden: As, no.
Golden: Basic infantry training but as an A.S.–, in the plan for going to
Army Specialized Training Program after basic.
Interviewer: Oh then you would return to college? Was that the deal?
Golden: That’s right. And I’ll tell you about that.
Interviewer: Okay. Okay. After this you were supposed to return to college?
Interviewer: Okay, very good.
Golden: And in my case I did. And then they called us up and I had an M.O.S.
of 741 which was infantry, basic infantry training. And you know what that was.
In any event we cleaned those rifles and like a lot of 18-year-olds, they were
all 18-year- olds or at most 19. Most, I think everyone was 18. These guys would
take the guns and point them around and, “Bang, bang, I shot you,” you
know. And of course there were no rounds in any of it. And I’ll never forget.
We had one sergeant whose name was, a Polish sergeant, Cudlowitz, as tough as
they come but as fair. There was a guy who indoctrinated us that anything that
you can do, he could do better and he could. And if there was ever a guy who you
would follow into battle, that was the kind of guy because he didn’t expect
you to do anything that he couldn’t do and do better. And I’ll never forget,
Cudlowitz, and we used to call him “Cuddles,” never in front of him.
If you ever called him “Cuddles” to his face, you’d pay hell. You’d
be on K.P. for the rest of the time. But his real name was Sergeant Cudlowitz
and I’ll never forget. He came into the room and there was this one fellow
holding the Springfield 03 pointing it at another. He was just sitting on the
floor. “Bang, bang, you’re dead,” you know like kids. And he came up
to that fellow and today they would never allow this and he had on his G.I.
boots, not the high tops. Those, the combat boots they saved for sending
overseas, just the regular Army issue. And he lifted up his foot and he kicked
this guy in the arm so that the gun went out of his arms. I thought he was going
to break his arm. And he said to him, “Listen,” and this guy let out a
yell. He said, “Listen to me you son of a bitch,” he said, “the
only time you ever point a gun is if you’re going to kill somebody and you
remember that.” And then he walked out and he put that guy on K.P. and
shoveling coal at the barracks I think for a whole week.
Golden: And the guy didn’t have, his arm wasn’t broken but he had it
wrapped up and he really knew. And of course today they couldn’t do that.
Interviewer: Pretty severe.
Golden: In any event we had our basic training. At the end of basic training,
I’ll never forget, there was a captain there and he said, “You know,
Golden, the A.S.T.P. program, if you’re eligible but,” he said,
“they’re taking some of these guys out of this outfit who now have M.O.S.
741 basic infantry soldier, basic training, and sending them overseas as
replacements.” And he said, “Where did you go to college?” And I
said, “Ohio State”. And it just so happened he knew of Ohio State,
said he had been there. To make a long story short, I was then assigned to West
Virginia University at Morgantown and we shipped out from there to Morgantown,
West Virginia and we were, and this was crazy because they put us in an Engineer’s
Training, taking math courses and so forth. And I was at Morgantown University
January, February, the latter part of February. They didn’t need A.S.T.P. any
more. They needed infantry and so forth and so . . . .
Interviewer: What year was that? Sorry.
Interviewer: What year?
Golden: February of 1944.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Golden: And we shipped out, this small group at Morgantown Univer—, and it
wasn’t very large because they had us billeted in Newman Hall, a Catholic hall
which was called Newman Hall at West Virginia University. And I got home once
from there because I took the bus from Morgantown up to Pittsburgh and took the
train, Pennsylvania Railroad train from Pittsburgh to Columbus and visited my
folks. They drove down one time to Morgantown to see me there. We shipped out
from Morgantown, West Virginia to Camp Plauche, Louisiana and everybody thought,
“Well,” and we were then with another large group, that we were going
to ship out somewhere to either Africa or to Italy or to the South Pacific
because New Orleans was a Port of Embarcation to go either to Africa, Italy or
to the South Pacific. We were at Camp Plauche and transferred then, this is
really crazy, into the Transportation Corps, what was called a Traffic
Regulation Group and I was supposed to belong to a harbor craft that would run
tugs, which they did for the Army Transportation Corps, at harbors. The next
thing we know, we were at Camp Plauche. I had one very interesting experience in
New Orleans. Got into New Orleans, ’cause Camp Plauche was right by the Huey
Long Bridge at that time. Now they say it’s all built up. But Camp Plauche was
right by the Mississippi River. You could look up and see that huge Huey Long
Bridge. One weekend we got a pass to go into New Orleans and we were going to
stay overnight, Saturday night at the Red Cross. They had a place there where
you could go. We went in on Saturday. Late Saturday night we go to the Red
Cross. They were filled up. And so it was very warm then because I think it was
in March and as you know, New Orleans is fairly warm at that time of year. It
starts to get warm. And so the woman or fellow there at the Red Cross place
said, “If you go over to the Charity Hospital, this huge charity hospital,
they sometimes have spare cots and they’ll put up a soldier overnight. So
three of us went over and we get there, it must have been about 12:00, 1:00 in
the morning and this orderly takes us up into this room, tile floors, and these
weren’t cots, they were gurneys, you know the gurneys that roll. And here they
are and they’re not very wide, they’re narrow. He said, “If you
guys,” there was about three of them in there, “if you guys want to
sleep on those, you can sleep in here.” And I’ll never forget, the one
guy said, “Hell if I get up on there and I turn over, I’m going to fall
down and hit that tile floor.” I went ahead and slept on the thing and then
in the morning when I woke up, I looked into this next area and there were
swinging doors. It had been dark before and there was this huge bright light. It
was an operating theater and we were in an empty room next to it but there was
nothing in there. I could hear these voices and there I could see the bright
light of an operating field and my buddy and I we dressed, ’cause all we did
was took off our shirts and pants and got the hell out of there. But that was
our experience at the Charity Hospital in 1943.
Interviewer: That’s interesting.
Golden: From in January, February at the . . . .
Interviewer: Of ’44?
Golden: Of ’44. At the end of March, just at the beginning of April we were
then ordered as replacements then, in the Transportation Corps but no unit
designation, to, we took the train from Camp Plauche to Camp Shanks, New York
and you know, I’ve always wondered where exactly Camp Shanks was. I know it
was north of New York City but how far exactly and where, somewhere around,
Bobbie, where does your cousin live?
Voice: Westchester County.
Golden: Yeah somewhere, and the town?
Voice: . . . .
Golden: Well in any event we went by train. And that train ride was really
something because it was the first time that I was on troop cars, you know,
where they had bunks inside and bunks about five or six high starting from
almost the floor right up to the top and we went from Camp Plauche up through
Mississippi, Georgia, into the Carolinas and Virginia and I’ll never forget.
We got into this town that’s right on the border of Tennessee and Virginia:
Bristol, Virginia. One side of the main street is Bristol, Virginia, and the
other side is Bristol, Tennessee. And one of the guys, Barney something, lived
in that town. And we were going through and he was killed.
Interviewer: He was killed in the war?
Golden: In the war and I’ll tell you how that happened. And what happened
was, here he is in Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee. The train tracks went right down
through the center of Main Street and on one side was Tennessee and the other
was Virginia. It’s still there, Bristol. And he came from that town and
Barney, the train stopped, and he got off and everybody said, he said, “I’m
going to go over and see my folks,” ’cause we didn’t know that we were
going through there and he didn’t know. And we said, “Barney, we’re
getting ready to go overseas. If you miss this train, you know where your ass is
going to be.” But he got back on and we went through there. I remember . .
Interviewer: He saw his folks, did he?
Interviewer: Did he see his folks? Did he . . . .
Golden: No he never saw his folks.
Interviewer: He didn’t. He got back on?
Golden: The train slowed down, stopped for maybe about ten minutes and on his
way he yelled out though for somebody to tell his folks that he was coming
Interviewer: That was his last chance?
Golden: Right. And I remembered then early the next morning we passed through
Washington, D.C. on the train. We looked out. I could see the Washington
Monument and we ended up at Camp Shanks. To make a long story short, we were at
Camp Shanks very short because that was an overseas port. We went, I got one
pass to go to New York City. Had an interesting experience there. Went right
down into Times Square near the hotel, either the Hotel Taft or Edison. It was
right down there in Times Square. And I’ll never forget, here we are, I was
only 19 at that point, out of basic training in New York. We knew we were
eventually going to go overseas but didn’t know when. And we were standing
outside of this hotel and they had a big plate glass window. There was like a
restaurant. And here was this fellow standing there and he said,
“Soldiers,” he said, “you want to buy a diamond?” And I
looked and I said, “What do you mean a diamond?” And he took out, and
here was an uncut stone and it was pretty large. And I said, my buddy said, I
said, he said, “That’s a bunch of crap,” he said. “That isn’t
a real diamond.” And he said, “I’ll sell it to you for 50
bucks.” And I didn’t even have 15 dollars on me at that time. I think I
had about 15 because at that time it you remember privates would get $37.50 a
month. Right. And I was buying a war bond so I didn’t have very much. Well to
make a long story short, he takes this diamond by the window, what I thought was
a diamond, and he rubs it across and sure enough there was a mark that cut into
the glass. To this day some people have told me that was an old scam. What they
would do, they’d go next to a window that had that mark already on it. They
would be standing up against it. They’d rub it right down across it and of
course there was the mark and they usually were fake diamonds. But we didn’t
fall for it.
Interviewer: Oh boy.
Golden: To make a long story short, the next thing we knew from Camp Shanks
they put us on the train. We took the train down across from Manhattan, took
boats, small tugs across the, what’s the river there, the . . . .
Golden: Hudson River. And we didn’t even go on land. There was the Queen
Elizabeth. And the Queen Elizabeth, we loaded on to the Queen Elizabeth. I’ve
got, wait a minute.
Interviewer: We’ll pause now while he’s getting another item.
Golden: Look at this. See this book here, Infantry In Battle?
Interviewer: Yeah. It says on it, it’s written here in ink, “Presented
to Sidney H. Golden 4th, what is that Train— . . . .
Interviewer: Training Regiment A.S.T.P., Fort Benning, Georgia, 6th November
’43, for excellence in training.” And the signature here is V. S. Burton?
Golden: Yeah, a Colonel.
Interviewer: Oh that’s nice.
Golden: He was a Colonel and you know, it’s . . . .
Interviewer: Let me ask you, how many people did he sign a book like that?
Golden: Only about four or five out of the . . . .
Interviewer: Very few? . . . .
Golden: And I saved it ’cause I sent it home.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Golden: But the interesting thing about it is, it’s all about World War I.
This was published in 1939, Infantry In Battle and all
about World War I if you look through it.
Interviewer: Teaching you how to fight World War I.
Golden: Yeah that’s right. Every one of that refers to incidents of either
company or battalion or division tactics of the infantry in World War I. But of
course that was in . . . .
Interviewer: That’s all they had. They didn’t know huh . . . .
Golden: Right, okay.
Interviewer: what they were? That’s interesting. Thank you for sharing that
Golden: Yeah. And then we got on the Queen Elizabeth. At that time, I didn’t
realize it, there was a little over 20,000 men on board. And they had hot bunks.
Only two meals a day. It was a British ship if you remember so we got British
rations. There were, we went into a small, little, it wasn’t a cabin even, I
think this had been some room that they had used for storage and inside, Dave,
they had bunks like right on those tiers, with just the canvas, and one right by
the ground, the steel deck, and then another one. You just had enough room to
get in. Maybe four or five going up to the ceiling and there must have been ten
of those in that small, enclosed area. Now you could only stay and you could,
only two meals a day.
Interviewer: This is your meal card?
Golden: That’s a meal card.
Interviewer: It says on here, “first meal 8:45, second meal 5:45
Golden: That’s right.
Interviewer: Where’s your lunch?
Golden: No lunch. Only two meals a day and the . . . . Yeah, that’s
Interviewer: Wow, this is your prayer book.
Golden: My prayer book from, that was issued when I went overseas.
Interviewer: Who issued this to you?
Golden: The rabbi at Camp Shanks.
Interviewer: The rabbi at Camp Shanks?
Interviewer: So you were in contact with the rabbi there?
Golden: Oh yeah.
Interviewer: You attend services there?
Golden: I went to one Friday night service at Camp Shanks.
Interviewer: Do you remember the rabbi’s name?
Golden: No, no.
Interviewer: Okay, and he gave you this book?
Golden: And he passed those out.
Interviewer: This has Hebrew and English.
Golden: Right. And he said, “Put in your name,” which I did and I
Interviewer: You carried this with you to Europe?
Golden: Yeah I took that with me to Europe. We got on the Queen Elizabeth,
one of the . . . . and we left very early the next morning and they told us you
could sleep. Hot bunks. We slept from, I think it was around 11 at night until 7
in the morning, which was pretty good. And then somebody else would come in and
go to sleep and then you had to get out of that room, either stay in the, what
do they call those, the hallways of the ship or go up on deck. The Queen
Elizabeth they told us, they didn’t say how many were on board but we
understood that it was one of the largest contingents during World War II of
just a little over 20,000. And that’s been verified by things that I’ve
read. And the Elizabeth they said, there was no, what do they call, escort . . .
Interviewer: No destroyers?
Golden: because the Queen Elizabeth would change its, if you looked back at
the wake, you could see it going, curving and they said that it would take a
submarine about 10 1/2 minutes to be able to line up and this would change
course every seven minutes. And they warned us at that time, they said, “If
anybody falls over, you’re on your own because we’re not stopping this ship
for any G.I. And there were nurses aboard too for if anybody fell over.”
And so that’s how we went over in five days. The only escort we had was out of
New York, some airplanes above. Once we got into the ocean, why we were . . . .
Interviewer: On your own?
Golden: on our own.
Interviewer: Do you know what other division or unit was on that . . . .
Golden: Oh there was . . . .
Interviewer: make up 20,000. Was the First Division . . . .
Golden: Yeah not, oh there was practically . . . .
Interviewer: The First was already there?
Golden: Yeah. There was, almost all of them were either replacement outfits
or there was one tank outfit and there was a artillery outfit. But as far as
unit designations . . . .
Interviewer: And what exactly, what month was this did you say?
Golden: This was April, this was about the middle of April . . . .
Golden: of 1944. We went from New York to, I’ll never forget, Gurock,
Scotland, which is just outside of Glasgow.
Interviewer: Could we, could we kind of jump ahead? I want to make sure we
get that story on Barney.
Interviewer: He missed his chance to see his parents and then something
Golden: Okay. In, after we got to France, and I had some interesting
experiences before I told this. This was when we were on our way to Paris. Dave,
that was a crazy time. As you remember, in August we landed in France and I’ll
tell you about that. We landed in France at Omaha Beach at, I think, the end of
the first week of August. And they had already planned this, as you remember,
the fighting was still going on in the Cherbourg Peninsula. They had gone beyond
Cannes and were about 25-30 miles off the beaches. But the Cherbourg Peninsula,
there was still heavy fighting on the Cherbourg Peninsula and it wasn’t until
almost halfway through August, and I’ve got another book that I bought about
August of 1944, that the fighting ended where they cut off Cherbourg and caught
a whole contingent of Germans .
Interviewer: So there was fighting when you were . . . .
Interviewer: There was fighting when you were there?
Golden: There was fighting ahead not when we got onto the beaches.
Interviewer: Right. So you personally experienced then what aspect of that?
Golden: Well, that’s interesting. We went over from Southampton on an LCI.
I don’t know if you remember: Landing Craft Infantry. They were small little
suckers and there was only enough room on there for just about a company, a
little less then a company.
Interviewer: About 200 men.
Golden: That’s right. And we were already, I was then assigned to the
Headquarters 13th Traffic Regulation Group, Traffic Regulation Group attached to
the First Division. But that attachment was strictly for administrative
purposes. When we, and I’ll never forget, our commanding officer was Colonel
St. Sidizier, he was S-I-D-I-Z-I-E-R. He was an a-hole of the first order. Was
in the Reserves. We used to call him “Saint Dizzi” behind his back.
And he was the officer. If you remember those Landing Craft Infantry? They rode
very low in the water. The galley for the thing was like a little hold-down, a
few steps down and there was a little galley. The crew of the Landing Craft
Infantry was commanded either by an ensign or, what is the next rank, first
class in the Navy, equivalent to a first lieutenant or second lieutenant. And
only had a crew, I think there were two cooks on board, a little galley and a
crew of about three or four. And then this ensign who commanded it. And all
they, and you could either stay down under- neath where it was very confining
with the little bulb and the wire around it down in the hold which you were like
in a submarine. You were actually below deck and there was only one deck on the
thing and all they had was the stanchions going around with a steel cable. No
guard rail or anything. Just that steel cable. And I’ll never forget Dave, I
got so sick. We left Southampton early in the morning and I didn’t have
anything to eat and here I was standing up there on the steel deck of that
Landing Craft Infantry and in the hole, the crew, they were cooking breakfast
for themselves but all they were cooking was, um oh not bacon.
Interviewer: Ham or something?
Golden: And not ham.
Golden: Sausages. Sausages.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Golden: And I looked down there and I was so doggone hungry because we had
not had anything to eat. They gave us, you know, those rations in the boxes,
three rations for a day but they told us, “Save those until you get to
France.” In any event I was looking down and this one sailor down there
said, “Are you hungry, G.I.?” And I said, “Boy am I.” And he
took a piece of bread and slopped it in that grease of fat and put a sausage on
there and I ate that and that tasted like the best steak in the world to me.
Well Dave, then it got rough out on the Channel. I got so seasick. That was the
only time I really got seasick was on that LCI and one of the guys, I was
leaning over that rail. I didn’t give a damn whether I went into the water or
not. One of the guys said, “If we hadn’t held onto you, you’d have
fallen right into it.” We get to France, Omaha Beach. It was about 6:00 in
the evening. It was, the sun was beginning to go down and I’ll never forget,
we were about 50 yards out, maybe not quite because that thing had a very low
draft but it was still in the water. You could see the water. We knew the water
would come up to our waist. And the next thing we know the ensign is on the top,
Dizzy, St. Sidizier, ’cause his name is on the award that I got, I’ll show
you . And he said, “Colonel,” he said. I think he was a lieutenant
colonel then. He said, “Colonel,” and he put down the two little
things that go into the water where you could walk down from off there. You were
practically on the water. And with that Sidizier said, “God damn it, I’m
not getting out in the water.” He says, “You take this boat . . .
.” With that the ensign said, “Colonel, with all due respect, this is
a ship.” And he said, “You take this boat and bring us up on the
beach.” And with that the ensign, no I think he was a first class,
equivalent to a first lieutenant . . . .
Interviewer: This is a continuation of our discussion here, on the second
tape, beginning with the landing at Omaha Beach.
Golden: Okay. And we walk up and it’s dusk and the next thing I hear is the
sound of a loud motor, a bulldozer, a good-sized bulldozer. It was back after we
got over the rise, back, and before we got to any hedgerows and here was a U.S.
Engineer bulldozer and I saw all of these, what were the bodies of German
soldiers wrapped up in white muslin bags. And they, the bulldozer was digging a
long ditch and they were going to bury them there temporarily, of German
casualties. There were no Americans.
Interviewer: No Americans.
Golden: We then went back . . . .
Interviewer: Let me ask you, did you see anything else on the beach,
destroyed tanks, debris?
Golden: Oh yeah, yeah. There was a lot of debris. They were beginning to
clear that away and there was a lot of other landing craft that were unloading
troops. There were M.P.s up there, if you remember, M.P.s and directing guys off
of the beach.
Interviewer: You walked up from the beach?
Golden: Oh yeah, we walked up.
Interviewer: They didn’t have any trucks?
Golden: Now they issued us in Southampton at the staging area, carbines. Some
guys had, I almost ended up with an 03 grenade launcher ’cause, oh and we, and
at the end of our basic, toward the end, we qualified on the 03 and then they
issued us the Garand. You remember? I can never forget how you, with your right
hand you pulled back on that lever that comes out and to put in a, ’cause it
loads from the top, if you remember.
Interviewer: The magazine.
Golden: The magazine. And we qualified with carbines. I mean I qualified with
the 03, I qualified with the Garand and I qualified with the carbine
Interviewer: M1 carbine?
Golden: And they issued us the carbines. And even had a little attachment for
the carbines for a small grenade launcher. I don’t know whether you remember
Golden: But believe it or not they had it on the carbine. The carbine was
like a pea-shooter compared, but they were still effective. To make a long story
short, we marched in then and had our pup tents, oh I’d say about a quarter of
a mile off of the beaches. And were there . . . .
Interviewer: First week of August?
Golden: End of the first week of August, right. The weather was very nice and
it rained some but it was still okay. Now I’ll go a little bit ahead of the,
well, I’ll tell you the story. We were in this area and being out there, all
we had, we started out eating the K Rations which came in those little boxes.
You’d get three of them, these about two and a half inches high, khaki colored
and it’s wrapped in a card- board sealed wax. And inside was cigarettes, a
little can of pork sausage or Spam and a little thing for mixing with coffee,
powdered, powdered stuff in there.
Interviewer: Coffee and powdered lemon?
Golden: Right. And then if you remember the real rough kind of ration was the
K Ration, that real hard chocolate like a chocolate bar, did have that. In any
event, I got very constipated ’cause we were living on the ground. I’ll
never forget, one of the first mornings we were in this area. It was near the
hedgerows. There had been fighting there. No fighting then. Couldn’t hear any
sound . . . .
Interviewer: I was going to ask you, any sound of artillery?
Golden: No, no sound of artillery. They were at least 25-30 miles and of
course the heavy fighting was then on the Cherbourg Peninsula and where they cut
it off. To make a long story short, I’ll never forget, during my training in
Fort Benning and also in England, they warned us about German mines and one of
the mines was a Teller mine made round, about this round . . . .
Interviewer: Like a dinner plate.
Golden: Right and most, some of them were plastic. But the one identifying
mark was it had a brass plunger at the top, looked like a large head of a bolt.
And that was this brass. And I’ll never forget, one morning we were walking up
back toward the beach ’cause they had a, engineers put up a place where they
were cleaning, filtering water, where you could go and get water in your helmet
for shaving and fill your canteen out of, you know, those big bags. And we got
to the point where there was a, and it had rained and the ground around me was
just like a lane and here were these Jeeps and trucks one after another coming
through there and there was an M.P. there. And he had all he could do to keep
’em moving when he would then direct them, when they got up to the point where
he was, either to the right or the left or straight ahead based upon the
outfits. And I’ll never forget as I’m walking along there, it’s very
muddy, and I looked down and I see like a brass bolt coming out of the mud. And
I yell over to the M.P., I think he was a sergeant, I said, “Sarge, I think
that’s a, looks to me like, could that be a mine?” And I mentioned it to
the guy I was with. I said, “I swear to God that looks just like the top of
a Teller mine.” And this M.P. said to me, “Get out of here, God dammit,
soldier, I got,” you know, sloughed me off and I wasn’t about to get,
argue with an M.P. and so it went on. I get over the rise going up and the next
thing I hear is a big WHOOOOMF. And we run back and here there was a 6X6 had hit
that thing, tore the whole front end of it up and there were some guys on there,
whether they were killed or not I don’t know but it was messy. And I’ll
never forget, they then got, they had Jeeps with tow bars and they also had
heavier trucks. All they did was tow that thing off to the side and roll it
over. You know, they just, that’s the way they did. I’ll never forget the
Jeeps that were coming off of the beaches. If you remember they had those steel
bars in front with a . . . .
Interviewer: With a notched cut in them.
Golden: Yeah, would come down like a inverted V and what the Germans were
doing was at various places, stringing along wire and if the Jeep guys would hit
that and were in a Jeep, it would decapitate them. And so they had these things
on the end of the, that almost everybody had at that time, had on their steel
helmets the white stripes in back. And if you, that was to identify, the white
stripe in back, to identify officers and it didn’t take the Germans long to
realize that when they would see a G.I. with the white in combat and so the
officers put mud over it because they were sitting ducks. In any event, we were
on the beach for about not, a little over a week in pup tents. As you remember,
we each had a shelter half and to make a long story short . . . .
Interviewer: Two men in a tent?
Golden: Two men in a tent.
Interviewer: You hooked up your part to the other guy’s part.
Golden: Right. And then we get the order that we’re on our way to get the
Jeeps. I was in a Jeep, I wasn’t driving. There was a driver, myself, and
Barney was in the back sitting on that little seat in the back. And we didn’t
know we were going to Paris. We knew we were going to go near there but where,
in fact, I never even knew, I think we went through St. Lo because we weren’t
very far from St. Lo. I remembered the hedgerows. Hedgerows were unbelievable.
You remember how thick it was? And I can imagine how that fighting was. There
was no fighting when we were there. We were in a field between two hedgerows.
And just getting through those hedgerows was something. You had to really climb
up, some of those hedgerows were as high as almost from here to the . . . .
Golden: ceiling, right. To make a long story short, we were riding along,
that was really crazy, Dave, I can remember we were on this road and they had
what they called the “Red Ball Express”. All of the black units were
in what, kind of service companies, quartermaster companies and they were
driving these huge 6X6s and they put these red balls on a steel thing that they
drive on these roads and all they had to do was follow that red ball and that
took them to Paris. And that Red Ball Express boy, everything was going on there
and that’s what we were on. We were going on there. And it was really weird,
Dave, I can remember going around the town, small, little French villages. There
was tanks and infantry in the village, sometimes 500 yards away or 300 yards
away. You could hear mortar fire. You could hear fighting. They were still
fighting in there. All we did was got a road and went right around those and
kept on going and they were like cleaning up these areas. There must have been
about four or five of those. And I’ll never forget we were on this road, here
it’s in August, it was a beautiful day and going along. And of course it was
a, like a macadam road. And there had been mortar rounds that had landed but it
was basically in pretty good condition and the next thing I know, I could feel
something on my shoulder. And I turn around and here’s Barney and he’s,
(trying this morning to find him in that picture there. ‘Cause he’s in that
picture.) And he’s slumped over like this on the back. Now as you know all
there was was that little seat, the front of the back of the Jeep seat had just
a back that came up, it wasn’t very short, and so the front of his head was
hitting. And I thought maybe he was asleep.
Interviewer: Hitting your shoulder?
Golden: Yeah, hitting me in the . . . .
Interviewer: Did he have a helmet on?
Interviewer: Did he have a helmet on?
Golden: Had a helmet on. Yeah he had a helmet on. And I turned around, I
said, “Barney,” I said, and I pushed him and with that he went right
back and I saw that there was blood on the side of his jaw. And I yelled to the
driver and he honked his horn. He stopped and then the, another Jeep came up and
we knew there had to be a sniper somewhere and so we all stopped and got out and
then the first thing that happened was this lieutenant came up and said,
“God damn it, keep moving, keep moving.” Then we said, “We’ve
got a guy that’s been hit.” And I knew he was dead the way he was slumped
over. To make a long story short, we all got out. I had the carbine and we were
behind this and all we could see was about 150 yards up on a knoll was a large
tree and somebody said, “There’s a sniper in that tree.” And all
hell broke loose. I think everybody fired at that. Nobody, anybody that was in
that tree never had a chance because everybody was firing at that tree. We saw
one guy run from the base of it and got behind the rise.
Interviewer: Did you fire?
Interviewer: Did you fire, do you remember?
Golden: Oh yeah, I fired too. Yeah. To make a long story short, Barney, I
think his last name was Oldfield if I remember. No.
Interviewer: Barney might have been a nickname . . . .
Golden: Yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: Well perhaps you’ll find him . . . .
Golden: But in any event, and sure enough there was a sniper up there. I got
up part way and they had killed him. We got back in the Jeeps, went to the first
place where there was a medic outfit and gave Barney’s body to the medics
there and went on to Paris.
Interviewer: What did you think about that? The sniper could have picked you.
Golden: Well I was damn glad to be alive.
Interviewer: Did you think about that later on?
Golden: You know Dave, I went through the war. I think somebody upstairs must
have been looking over my shoulder because the only other time was the incident
that occurred in Paris, the bombing of Paris and all. I’ll show you. And but
you, it was so unexpected, you know. It was just like something out of a dream
and we went on and that was it.
Interviewer: It was your first experience . . . .
Golden: It was my first experience.
Interviewer: . . . . combat?
Golden: Right, that’s right. The interesting thing is that I then got to
Paris . . . .
Interviewer: We’re pausing while you pull out a document.
Golden: the very first troops. And here was our, we didn’t know it until we
got to the out- skirts of Paris. Now here we had been in pup tents, this
happened, that’s a letter from my folks . . . .
Interviewer: Uh huh. You have a letter from your folks and they . . . .
Golden: That was in December of 1944, the bombing of Paris.
Interviewer: Now would you be able to allow us to make a copy of this?
Golden: Oh sure, sure. And also my orders. Remember I mentioned about St.
Sidizier, Roger B. St. Sidizier, a Lieutenant Colonel. That was the papers.
Interviewer: Okay. This is your Award of the Purple Heart.
Golden: Purple Heart.
Interviewer: We’d like to make copies of that . . . .
Golden: Okay, fine.
Interviewer: and put it into the archives.
Golden: Oh sure, sure.
Interviewer: Okay then well let’s . . . .
Golden: So you got to Paris. When we got to Paris okay, when we got to Paris
one of the, it was just unbelievable, Dave. One of the first things was you
would see places where there were 6X6s, if you remember the Army . . . .
Interviewer: The trucks.
Golden: big trucks. And here were both black soldiers and white soldiers and
they were black market, selling stuff, Army rations and stuff off of the trucks
in there in Paris. There was, I’m trying to find those pictures. Bobbie
remembers them. They, the prostitutes in Paris or women who had shacked up with
the Germans were paraded down at the Place de l’ Opera
and some of those . . . .
Interviewer: Did you see that?
Golden: Oh yeah.
Interviewer: You personally witnessed it?
Golden: Yeah. They were paraded down, they had shaved their heads. They had
cut into their forehead, not very deep, the swastika and were parading them down
the street. Some of them had torn their dresses and stuff. I bet there must have
been 30 or 40 and I, somewhere in the house, have those pictures which they took
of those. There was still pictures, I’ve got those downstairs, of some of the
tanks on the there. As you know, the Germans just, that, just ran out of Paris.
Our outfit, this is very interesting, was assigned, first of all, the first
place we go to, here we’re off of the pup tents, had been sleeping on the
ground and where did they take us to billet us? At the Gar—, do you know in
Paris there’s a railroad station called the Gar de l’ Est, the railroad
station east. And there’s a big plaza in front of it. I’ll never forget and
there was this small hotel, the Hotel Gar de l’ Est. And that’s where they
put us up. It was so small and it had a very small little elevator. There was no
power and we had to walk up the stairs and I’ll never forget, they had these
rooms and the first night we were in Paris they billeted us there. We weren’t
at that hotel for more than about four or five days, not quite a week, and they
moved us into a parking garage at the Parc Monceau, across from the Parc Monceau.
Never forget. But to make a long story short, we get into this room. There was
no power. The electricity was out. And the electricity was out for almost a
week. It would come on maybe for an hour at a time.
Interviewer: Did you speak any French at the time?
Golden: No. I, I . . . .
Interviewer: No foreign language?
Golden: I had no foreign language. I had learned a little German because I
took some German in high school and up at Ohio State.
Interviewer: Did you use it any in France?
Golden: I used it, yeah. A little bit. To make a long story short, we,
“Oh boy,” everybody said. Here were these beds. We got into the beds
and they were so soft and lumpy, we couldn’t fall asleep after being on the
ground. The guys that were in the room with me, we all got back on the floor and
we slept on the floor.
Interviewer: Slept on the floor?
Golden: Right. Now . . . .
Interviewer: Would you, we’ve got about 30 minutes left. Would you want to
jump ahead to the bombing incident, it’s an interesting . . . .
Golden: Oh okay. I was just going to tell you just one story and I’ll then
get to that.
Golden: We were assigned, we were then the 13th Traffic Regulation Group
Headquarters Company but we had orders to take over a space near the Place
de l’ Opera in thisbuilding. The Americans that
were setting up units in Paris only wanted to take over where the Germans had
been because the Parisians, the French, had enough problems as it was and the
Americans didn’t want to take over any other space. So we were assigned in a
building on the second floor which had been the Head- quarters of the German
Medical Corps in Paris. And they had left all the records there. And the first
thing we did, there were no booby traps or anything, we got into all these
records. I didn’t speak German but there was a number of guys who were Jewish
who spoke Yiddish and also knew some German and fellows that were non-Jewish who
also knew German. To make a long story short, they found out from these records
what the Germans had done when they took over Paris in 1940. Germans were, you
know, very efficient. Prostitution was legal in Paris. They had houses of
prostitution in the 40s. And they had these prostitutes in these houses. When
the Germans took over, they took over the houses of prostitution lock, stock and
barrel. They set off certain houses of prostitution for officers and certain
ones for G.I.s and when a German soldier would get a pass to go to those houses
of prostitution, when they went inside, they’d have to give up their dog tags.
And they would then have their fun. They, these are my dog tags from that.
Golden: Do you remember all it had on there was your serial number, 35216352?
H for Hebrew.
Interviewer: For Hebrew.
Golden: They told you you could either have your designation or if you didn’t.
Interviewer: Oh they gave you a choice?
Golden: Oh yeah, they gave you a choice.
Interviewer: So you said, “Okay, put it on.”
Golden: Right, and your blood . . . .
Interviewer: Did you know that that was risky?
Golden: Oh yeah, yeah. But I . . . .
Interviewer: If the Germans captured you?
Golden: Yeah. What?
Interviewer: If the Germans captured you?
Golden: Yeah but didn’t think anything about it.
Interviewer: Didn’t think about it?
Golden: And the other thing, all I knew was that if I died, why somebody
would say the “Shema“, and then your blood type.
Interviewer: Okay so you did that, for a purpose, that if you were killed,
you wanted . . . .
Golden: Yeah, yeah.
Golden: I never denied that I was, I never denied that I have ever been
Jewish and I put . . . . .
Interviewer: . . . .
Golden: Yeah, right. And that’s what I wore all the way through. If you
notice here Dave, I got the mezuza . . . .
Interviewer: The mezuza?
Golden: Oh yeah.
Interviewer: What’s that? I’m not familiar . . . .
Golden: No, it’s got a Jewish inscription inside.
Interviewer: Where did you get that?
Golden: Oh I got that back in the States and I put that on my dog tags.
Interviewer: You wore this?
Golden: Oh yeah I wore my dog tags all the . . . .
Interviewer: And you wore the mezuza?
Golden: Oh yeah, yeah. All the time. Yeah. And then . . . .
Interviewer: That’s a can opener there.
Golden: Do you know what that is?
Interviewer: Yeah it’s a can opener from. . . .
Golden: Yeah, right.
Interviewer: I forget what it’s called, a K-bar or something.
Golden: Yeah, something.
Interviewer: Or something.
Golden: It’s still on there.
Interviewer: Yeah, okay. This is what you wore, with the mezuza?
Interviewer: That is interesting. Thanks for sharing that with us.
Interviewer: We got a little off the track. You were telling us about the
medical records . . . .
Golden: Yeah. And so the Germans took over and they had all of these houses
of prostitu- tion. When the, we turned over all these records. The next thing
we, of course, the next thing we hear, the American Medical Corps, this was
never publicized but it’s in the record, were talking about and Patton was the
one that was for it ’cause he said, “Why if it was good enough for the
Germans, take over these places.” The madams were great. They wanted to go
along ’cause the Germans paid them for their services. And the next thing we
hear from ETOS, European Theater of Operation, which was Eisenhower’s command
and then the Chaplain Corps. They said, “If this ever gets back to the
States that the U. S. Army has sanctioned houses of prostitution for the
soldiers that the Germans used, there will be a hue and cry from the wives,
girlfriends and the public.” And so what happened was they went into these
houses and they closed them down. I’ll never forget, one of the first things
we did was to go to one of the places and give them an order, with a couple of
guys, that they were closing. And what happened? All of the girls went out into
the street. During the war, the German records showed that their rate of
venereal disease in Paris, the same district, was less than 1% because when a
German G.I. went in, they had to give up their dog tags and before they could
get their dog tags back, they had to take a pro, a prophylactic. What happened,
all these girls went out on the street and you know what happened? The V.D. rate
in Paris soared. And that’s the way it was all through ’44 and’45 through
Interviewer: Well it’s interesting having you . . . . here that you finally
are describing an assignment that you had.
Interviewer: Up to this point you’ve been on the move.
Golden: Yeah that’s right.
Interviewer: You had not been . . . .
Golden: We had not done anything.
Interviewer: If I understand it correctly, what you’re saying is your first
job was to close down a bordello?
Golden: That’s right. In fact all we did was to issue the orders to this
one house. There were some other guys in the Headquarters…
Interviewer: I just want to clarify it. That was an official military
Interviewer: That was your first assignment really.
Golden: Right, yeah.
Interviewer: Was to close down a bordello.
Golden: Right, right. All it was was handing a piece of paper. We were
Americans. They were not about to argue.
Interviewer: Yeah, okay.
Golden: The madam there said, I’ll never forget this French woman had a
little broken English. She said, “You’re more than welcome,” she
said, if we would want it. It was a place like in a large house and she was
sitting there like at a librarian’s desk.
Interviewer: And you delivered the . . . .
Golden: Handed it to her. There was a couple of guys there and others had
M.P.s with them. Told them they were closed up. And what happened the girls just
moved out on the street.
Interviewer: Now this is the first description of any military assignment you’ve
Golden: That’s right. The next day we unloaded and our Headquarters Company
for the 13th Traffic Regulation Group had its headquarters on the second floor
of this building. We were right down from the Place de l’
. . . .
Interviewer: Of the bordellos?
Golden: Oh no, no . . . .
Interviewer: . . . .
Golden: Medical offices.
Interviewer: You didn’t move into the bordellos?
Golden: Where the medical corps . . . .
Golden: German medical corps had . . . .
Interviewer: Okay. You were by the Opera House?
Golden: That’s right. Oh, just a half a block away. We used to pass that
Golden: Yeah, right. I’ll never forget, the first place they opened up,
they took over a large, what had been at the time a restaurant, a very large
restaurant like a cafeteria that the Germans had used and there were French
cooks in there and they had, the Germans had used that for . . . .
Interviewer: For your meals?
Golden: For meals.
Interviewer: Could we just jump ahead then, we’re . . . .
Interviewer: running kind of . . . .
Interviewer: The bombing incident, maybe just a little bit of background?
Golden: Yeah, okay.
Interviewer: And then we’ll see what . . . .
Golden: What happened was, and then I’ll tie it in with the letter I got
from my folks after- wards and this order. I had been, I got very constipated
when I got to Paris and through September and into October I still was very
constipated. And the next thing I realized was I was bleeding from, had terrible
hemorrhoids and bleeding. But you know, wartime. What are you going to do? But
finally it got to the place where it really was painful to go to the bathroom.
Just terrible, and, these huge hemorrhoids. I don’t wish that on anybody. I
went then to the Medical Corps. What do they call it, oh, when you first see a
Interviewer: . . . . station?
Golden: The what?
Interviewer: No that wasn’t it?
Golden: Oh uh, not First Aid.
Interviewer: . . . . First Aid . . . .
Golden: No they have a name for it. But in any event the next thing I know
this guy says, “Hey you got hemorrhoids,” and the next thing I know a
doctor looks at it and he signed a slip. He said, “Soldier I’m going to
put you in the hospital for, to have the hemorrhoids taken out.” There was,
and this was the American hospital of Paris. Still there. It was a nice
hospital. The Americans had, were using it then for casualties and they had one
whole wing for guys with hemorrhoids and I mean hemorrhoids. And the first thing
I know was we get there and it was late in the afternoon. I didn’t realize it
but they were supposed to sign you for about two days to clean you out
completely because here you were already impacted and everything with these
hemorrhoids. And the next thing, I didn’t know that. And the next thing all I
know is I’m, early in the morning they take me out of there. I’m in a
hospital operating room. I’m under general anesthesia and they do the
hemorroidectomy. They cut those all out but here I was all impacted and hadn’t
had a bowel movement for a couple of days. Dave, when I came to and had to go to
the bathroom, and they had to take stitches, I thought I could walk on the
ceiling and I’ll never forget this. One American doctor came in ’cause the
nurse said that I was just screaming, yelling ’cause I went in and tried to
move my bowels and the stitches broke. There was blood and crap, maybe crap
mixed with blood. And this doctor came over and he said, “Weren’t you
cleaned out soldier?” And I said, “No, what do you mean?” And he
said, “Didn’t they keep you here and give you enemas for about a day and
a half or two days?” I said, “No,” and I told him, “I came
in on the afternoon and the next morning.” And so that’s how I recovered.
And that’s what my mother in her letter thought later ’cause I got out of
the hospital. It was in the latter part of October or November. To get to the
bombing, there was one very nice Red Cross place. And after I got out of the
hospital I was fine for the hemorrhoids. There was one very nice Red Cross place
at the Gare St. Lazare Training Station, beauti–, it’s right in the downtown
section of Paris. I don’t know whether you ever . . . .
Interviewer: . . . .
Golden: it stands out in my mind like yesterday. And as you remember those
beautiful train stations had those big steel arches with glass enclosing the
area where the tracks are. And you could look right up through there and these
huge girders like arches only in the St. Lazare they were huge arches and there
was glass up above and they had a very nice Red Cross club there off of the
tracks, set back, where they had coffee and doughnuts. And I used to go there
about once a week for coffee and doughnuts. The coffee was always good and the
doughnuts were good. And on December 26th, the day after Christmas, oh I’ll
tell you one story, how I spent Yom Kippur in Paris in 1944. We, and they had
services. Guess where they held the services? In 1944 there was a synagogue in
downtown Paris. The Germans had taken it over during the war. They moved out the
bima, they took all of the pew seats out and they had used it as a
warehouse for storing parts. And there were still all these boxes inside of the
synagogue in downtown Paris, still in there. But there were spaces between the
boxes and that’s, and they didn’t have time, the manpower, to move that
stuff out and so they held, but at least they held the services inside that
synagogue for Yom Kippur and for Rosh Hashonah in 1944. I’ll never forget
Interviewer: You attended?
Interviewer: You at—–
Golden: And I attended. Yeah. 13th Traffic Regulation. That’s another
thing. I never ran into any discrimination.
Interviewer: I was going to ask if you had anything . . . .
Golden: To make a long short, we went , I went to the, alone. And that was
something, we had been to a bar. Used to, I’ll never forget, we used to go to
those French bars. A glass of champagne, it wasn’t very good champagne but it
was champagne. It was very cheap. And of course you had the French francs that
the Army would give you. To make a long story short we get there and in the
place, in the Red Cross place sitting at a table, at that time I knew that there
was a large hospital train that had pulled in, had stopped because they had
these big red crosses on the top of the train and there were bright lights and
they were bringing guys off of the train…
Interviewer: You saw that?
Golden: …wounded. And but I was sitting at a table and the next thing that
happened, Dave, it was the loudest and most intense WHOOMMMF, just a loud noise
that just came like a bolt out of the blue. I felt like a little bit of
compression and then it seemed like it was completely silent. Although maybe
there were maybe rever- bertions but it was completely, the next thing, all I
remember is there’s like dust all around. I’ve got dust on my tongue and so
forth and I could feel that I was under something. Two planes. That was one of
the few times that they ever bombed Paris.
Interviewer: Were you near a train at the time? Could you see the train?
Golden: Oh yeah. We were right close to this hospital train.
Interviewer: It was visible to you?
Golden: Oh yeah, yeah. The trains were maybe, what, a hundred feet from set
back, we, the Red Cross . . . .
Interviewer: Are you saying that you could see the . . . .
Golden: Yeah ’cause it was right there by the tracks.
Interviewer: Might wanted to see . . . . Where were you hurt? Did you know
you were injured?
Golden: No I really didn’t know. All I knew was I couldn’t see anything.
I couldn’t see anything. That was because all of this dust and stuff had got
into my eyes. And then I was in shock and I was underneath there and then I
heard this girl crying. And it was one of the Red Cross women. And I then must
have gone out because I don’t remember anything. But then I remember a lot of
yelling and so forth and the next thing, these guys yelling, “There’s one
down here, there’s one down here.” And they were standing over me but I
could hear this Red Cross girl who was somewhere underneath me crying and
yelling and I knew of course it was a woman. And so they started with getting me
out. And of course they said, “Be careful,” because some of these, the
girders had all come down. I said, “Get her first. She’s over here.”
And so they got her and then got me and I ended up in a hospital.
Interviewer: What was wrong with you, did you know?
Interviewer: You were not physically . . . .
Golden: Oh not, no broken bones.
Interviewer: . . . . Just concussion?
Golden: Just a good case of concussion and a lot of bruises and stuff.
Interviewer: That qualified you for the Purple Heart?
Golden: Yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: And that’s this certificate you got here?
Interviewer: How long were you in the hospital then?
Golden: Oh it must have been about a week.
Interviewer: So this is your close call then in a life-threatening . . . .
Golden: That’s right. The only time.
Interviewer: Well we’re just running out of tape. Is there anything else
that you would add to the overall experience.
Golden: Oh when I got to Germany, that was after the war was over, in Bremen.
Now we were, by then I had been transferred into another outfit, the Armed
Interviewer: I saw that.
Interviewer: You did that for a while? Maybe just a little wrap-up here. You
came back to the United States then eventually, the war was over . . . .
Golden: That’s interesting. I want to see something . . . .
Interaviewer: Honorable discharge?
Golden: Yeah. See where the place was?
Interviewer: Bremerhaven, Germany.
Golden: I was discharged overseas.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Golden: I worked my way back.
Interviewer: In 1946, yeah.
Golden: I worked my, that’s another whole story in itself.
Interrviewer: Uh huh.
Golden: I worked my way back on a Merchant Marine ship and there’s the
discharge from . . . .
Interviewer: The Merchant Marine.
Golden: From the Merchant Marine Coast Guard.
Interviewer: How did you get into law and become a judge? . . . . We’d love
to make copies of these.
Golden: Well what happened was I went back to Ohio State. Was in Pre-Med
before I went into the service. I really wanted to go to Med School. Tried for
admission into Med School and at that time they did have quotas for Jews getting
into Med School. And too, my grades weren’t right up there. If my grades had
been right up there tops, I would have probably. But when I got turned down from
Med School I finished getting my B.A. And after I got my B.A. Dave, I thought to
myself, “What have I got? I really haven’t got anything.” And at
that time I was working in radio and I decided, I was going with a girl who was
a secretary in a law office. To make a long story short, I decided to go to law
Interviewer: At Ohio State?
Golden: I went to Ohio State Law School.
Interviewer: Graduated when?
Golden: And graduated in 1956.
Interviewer: ’56. Did you go into private practice?
Golden: Went into private practice with a firm and then went with the
Interviewe: What was the name of the firm?
Golden: Schwartz, Gurevitz and Schwartz.
Interviewer: Okay and then into the Prosecutor’s Office?
Golden: Then in the Prosecutor’s Office for almost three years. And then
went into private practice with Troy Feibel and Jim Feibel and Bob Shamansky,
Feibel’s partnership was Feibel, Feibel, Golden and Shamansky. Bob Shamansky
just had an office there. To make a long story short, I was in private practice
with that law firm for ten years, got appointed to the bench and then went on
the bench and retired.
Interviewer: In what year?
* * *
Transcribed by Honey Abramson
Proofread by Marvin Bonowitz
Edited by Toby Brief