December 13, 1999, at the residence of Mr. Leonard Schottenstein at 389
Northview in Columbus, Ohio. The interviewer is Dave Graham and we’ll be
discussing the World War II history of Mr. Leonard Schottenstein. And now we’ll
begin. This is for the archives of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society.

Interviewer: Well to get started here then Leonard. Get started right here in
the United States with your family status at the time, mom and dad, what they
were involved in, your brothers and sisters and the dates. For example, December
7, 1941. Where were you? That might be a good place to start.

Schottenstein: Well, on December 7, I believe it was on a Sunday because
believe it or not, I was working at Schottenstein’s Department Store and the
radio . . . .

Interviewer: Any relation?

Schottenstein: and the radio . . . .

Interviewer: Yep.

Schottenstein: was on . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: the old RCA Victor set and we had a radio in the Men’s

Interviewer: . . . . get this out of your way. Was that on Parsons Avenue?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Where it is today, or . . . .

Schottenstein: I was born on Parsons Avenue.

Interviewer: Is that right? What address?

Schottenstein: 1837.

Interviewer: Was that close to the Schottenstein’s store?

Schottenstein: A block away.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: On the second floor. Exact, the building was up until about .
. . . that particular building was a two-floor building that my father had a
store in there when he married my mother. And my mother was from Toledo.

Interviewer: Ohio?

Schottenstein: Uh huh. And I’m the oldest of nine children. Bernie is the
second. And I think between he and I it’s about a year and a fourth or a year
and a half. Something like that. And they had, my mother and father, they had,
well, nine . . . . and I went to school, elementary school on Reeb Avenue in
the, Schottenstein’s was on the corner of Reeb and Parsons and I went to the
Reeb Avenue School which is still standing there and still in use.

Interviewer: Can I ask you, what was your father’s business? You said he
had a business.

Schottenstein: He had a, when I was very young, I don’t know, four or five
years old or something, six, I remember that one of his brothers had a clothing
store there in this particular building and he took it and had it for a while
and then he turned it into a furniture store and I went to Barrett . . . .

Interviewer: High School? Junior High?

Schottenstein: Barrett Junior High. We then moved. When we moved, I was out
of Reeb Avenue and I went to Ohio Avenue School for one year which was on Ohio
and Fulton. And then from there, I went to South High School.

Interviewer: Did you graduate from South High School?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What year?

Schottenstein: I think I graduated in ’39 but I’m not . . . .

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Miss Edwards was the principal. And when I was going to
South High School, General Curtis LeMay . . . .

Interviewer: Yes?

Schottenstein: He graduated South High School. But he was older than I was.

Interviewer: Did you know him or . . . .

Schottenstein: No. He was out then. The ones that I knew was a good
basketball player and his name was, huh, I’ll have to think of it. And then we
had a couple baseball players that went to the majors.

Interviewer: Did you play any sports?

Schottenstein: Nope. I enjoyed watching.

Interviewer: I see. During that time, did you attend synagogue?

Schottenstein: Yes we did. To go to the synagogue, if it was a Jewish holiday
we would ride or take the trolley. And we’d get off at, instead of Livingston
and Parsons, we would get off at Washington and Livingston which is going west
and I think it was the first stop and then we’d just walk straight down
Washington to the synagogue which was the Agudas Achim and my grandfather lived
around the corner from the Agudas Achim and we’d go over there but my father
was an observant Jew and he would never go on a Sabbath or a holiday walking
unless it was a high holiday, so to speak. Or we’d go over, he’d stay at my

Interviewer: So he would be close?

Schottenstein: So he would be close. I stayed there several times or more, I
remember. And the longest walk I think we ever did as kids is the Knot Hole
Games at the old Columbus Red Birds. We’d walk from Innis and Parsons which is
practically the corner I was born at, we would walk all the way to Red Bird

Interviewer: Which is where Clipper Stadium is today?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: That’s clear across town?

Schottenstein: Yeah, we’d walk clear across town.

Interviewer: (laughs)

Schottenstein: And I remember that my brother Irving, when they had his
circumcision, he was at Mt. Carmel Hospital, and do you know, I was maybe 10 or
12 years old, somewhere in there, I think there’s maybe 8, 10, 9 years between
us; we walked all the way to Mt. Carmel Hospital from Innis and Parsons for the

Interviewer: Uh huh. That’s even farther?

Schottenstein: And that was a long walk.

Interviewer: Why did you walk?

Schottenstein: ‘Cause we never rode on Saturday.

Interviewer: Oh, because of the religious observance then?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Shabbat. We never walked, I mean we never rode.

Interviewer: Wouldn’t ride?

Schottenstein: We never even, there was the old Innis Theater which was owned
by people by the name of Rappaport, I think it was, and my father would go over
and during the week day, and give them whatever it was, 15 cents for each of us.
And then we would just, on Saturday, we would just walk in.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: It was paid for. So . . . .

Interviewer: Oh I see. Already paid for?

Schottenstein: Yeah. We paid for it ahead of time so we could go to the show.

Interviewer: Okay. Well those are interesting background stories of sort of
life and growing up in Columbus.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Let’s jump ahead then. You graduated from South High School in
1939. When did you have to register for the draft, or did you register for the

Schottenstein: I didn’t register for the draft but, I did register but
never called.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: And I was at Ohio State and I took the test for the Army
Specialized Training Program . . . .

Interviewer: A.S.T.P.?

Schottenstein: A.S.T.P. And going into the A.S.T.P., it sort of exempted the
students that were in it . . . .

Interviewer: While you were in school?

Schottenstein: while you were in school. And I think about a year after I
went into the A.S.T.P. and I was going to Ohio State at the time, they disbanded
the A.S.T.P. unless you were in Advanced A.S.T.P., in other words, you were like
a Senior in college.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Or if you were in Medical School or other of the high-tech
type of things, then they would keep you in the A.S.T.P. So anyway, they
disbanded it and I went in to Fort Hayes and at Fort Hayes, they sent me to Fort
Eustis, Virginia, which happened to be an artillery basic training at the time
and we did our 13 weeks of basic training and then they sent me to a cooks’
school at Fort Eustis where they; in filling out my resume, so to speak. My
mother worked, bless her, at Schottenstein’s at the time. And us kids took
care of ourselves, so to speak, until she would get home in the evening. And so
by then we had moved to Fulton and Gilbert which is like two blocks, or three
blocks from Ohio Avenue, right close. That’s when I went into Ohio Avenue and
I graduated Ohio Avenue. That’s when I left Reeb and went to Ohio Avenue and I
think I was in the sixth grade, just starting the sixth grade so I had like a
year at Ohio Avenue and then I went to Roosevelt Junior High.

Interviewer: Let me ask you about the Schottenstein Department Store just
maybe for some historical perspective. I know it’s probably well known in the
Archives material but not on this tape. That Schottenstein family that owned
that department store, what family relation did you have?

Schottenstein: That’s my father’s oldest brother.

Interviewer: Oh. Okay. Is that the family that went on then to the, what we
know today as Value City Schottenstein?

Schottenstein: That’s the family.

Interviewer: Your family, that is your uncle?

Schottenstein: Yeah. My uncle and his children and they lived on the corner
of Columbus and 18th.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And by then, we had moved to Columbus between 22nd and

Interviewer: Boy you really remember the places, don’t you?

Schottenstein: Yes. And we had moved there and we went to South because if I
remember, Livingston Avenue was the cross line. If you were on the other side,
you went to East but I think that you could, if you wanted to, get permission to
go to East or to go to South. They weren’t as tough as . . . .

Interviewer: Was that a, was that a good community to grow up in or did you
have any problems?

Schottenstein: It was an all-American community.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: On Parsons Avenue, we had loads of friends that were black . .
. .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: and then we had loads of friends that were from West Virginia
and Kentucky.

Interviewer: Kind of a mixing pot?

Schottenstein: Yeah it was a mix . . . .

Interviewer: It’s interesting. I’ll share my own family history. My
mother grew up on Welch Avenue . . . .

Schottenstein: I know, where Cook and Son was on the corner.

Interviewer: Absolutely. She attended the Parsons Avenue Church of the
Nazarene . . . .

Schottenstein: I remember that.

Interviewer: which is still there today. It’s an auto garage. The building
is there, the cornerstone was laid in 1921. So I have family . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah, I was born in 1923.

Interviewer: Oh, okay. So it was quite a community?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And there were quite a few, we had a lot of Hungarian

Interviewer: Really?

Schottenstein: There was a church called St. Ladislaus, a Catholic church
right across from Reeb Avenue School.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And I noticed that they, after all these years, recently read
that they were closing it up.

Interviewer: Oh recently, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Schottenstein: And they were going to go to another school somewhere in the

Interviewer: Things have changed a lot there. You know, this could lead into
a question about the war time. Did you have friends from that community that
were in the war?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Maybe some didn’t make it back. I don’t know if you had
contact, any buddies or . . . .

Schottenstein: On Okinawa, I had a friend from the South End and he came in
as a cook’s helper maybe a year or so after I got in. His name was Miller.
Just a little guy. And he worked at Curtis Wright. But his time came up.

Interviewer: Did you know him before the war?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: But I knew a lot of his friends and so on.

Interviewer: But he was from the South End?

Schottenstein: South Side.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: In fact, I used to visit the family every once in a while
after the war.

Interviewer: After the war? Okay.

Schottenstein: And I remember when I came home, he said, “Would you stop
and say hello to my wife’s family,” and they lived on Main Street just a
little bit past 18th Street in a double. ‘Cause I remember walking up to see
her and she was sitting there on the porch.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And he had written her and told her I was going to stop.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: And about six months later, he came around.

Interviewer: He got home?

Schottenstein: He got home.

Interviewer: What was his name again?

Schottenstein: George Miller.

Interviewer: Miller?

Schottenstein: Yeah, he’s now gone.

Interviewer: Not Jewish I take it?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Other Columbus people. Well there was two that I knew from
Circleville. One was a captain and he was in Headquarters Battery. His name was
Jackson. And I think, in fact, I’m pretty sure his father was a physician . .
. .

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: in Circleville and he was from Columbus. And there was another
guy, from Cleveland.

Interviewer: Another Ohioan?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And we didn’t have, in our outfit, a lot of people
from Columbus per se. Every once in a while, you would bump into
somebody from Columbus and maybe at the USO or wherever. You might see them. But
Captain Jackson, and then the physician, the doctor in the Medical Corps that
was attached to the headquarters of the 749th . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: he was from Cleveland.

Interviewer: So you got to know him?

Schottenstein: And I got to know him and I got to know quite a few Jewish
that would come on Friday night to maybe a burned-out building and hold

Interviewer: On Okinawa?

Schottenstein: On Okinawa.

Interviewer: So you did attend services?

Schottenstein: And . . . .

Interviewer: On a Friday night you say?

Schottenstein: Yeah, on Friday nights.

Interviewer: Why not Saturday?

Schottenstein: Only if it happened to be Rosh Hashonah, the New Year and we
weren’t in the middle of a . . . . The war came first.

Interviewer: Well of course. Okay. So you had a night free, so . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah. So we never did, that I can recall, have a Rabbi then a
Chaplain. We usually had a Catholic Chaplain.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: And he was versed in what to do . . . .

Interviewer: So he knew how to conduct a service?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: And . . . .

Interviewer: You had a Torah or something or . . . .

Schottenstein: No. In fact, we were in the harbor of Okinawa. But not
exactly. Maybe 25, 30, 40 miles out. For Easter Sunday, that’s when we went in
and it was our Passover so I remember our commander, Colonel Lewis was his name,
and he was from West Point . . . .

Interviewer: The commander of our artillery . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah, he was a West Point graduate. And people used to, the
guys used to say that he was just held down rather than, for some reason or
other, rather than go up.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: So he was a colonel and a wonderful guy. He really was. I
mean, the officers used to eat first and then the men eat. When he came in,
whoever gets there, gets in line. If you’re an officer or a sergeant . . . .
fine. But we never had what was called an “officer’s mess.”

Interviewer: You mean the officers stood in line the same as . . . .

Schottenstein: The same.

Interviewer: enlisted men?

Schottenstein: With this colonel. Yeah. We had another colonel just before
him that came over with us from Camp Hood, Texas, where they formed the
battalion. It was formed at Camp Hood. And then assigned different places. Like
I asked a Lieutenant one day, “How did you pick me to go into this, how did
I get picked to go?” He says, “I didn’t know any of you guys
so,” he said, “I just took every fourth one.”

Interviewer: You mean to be a cook?

Schottenstein: No, a cook or no, to be in the battalion.

Interviewer: Oh in the 749th?

Schottenstein: Yeah. A company, B, C, . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: and the four units. That’s how he picked them. And that’s
how I got in in Camp Hood because he was assigned to the new battalion.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: But he didn’t know anybody.

Interviewer: So at that time you were picked, you were not part of that unit?

Schottenstein: No, I was just . . . .

Interviewer: You were just an unassigned person?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Hummm.

Schottenstein: Just unassigned. So I was unassigned at Camp Swift, Texas, and
everybody was like an infantryman.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? At that time, at basic training?

Schottenstein: I’d already taken the Cook’s School and all that stuff.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: Buy the cadre were more experienced and they had been there
and they worked as the trainees.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And I asked him or some one of us asked him, “How did we
get picked?” And he says, “Well,” he said, “I had to
cut,” they had to cut so many men off of each roster ’cause there were
too many.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: And he says, “I didn’t know who to . . . . so,” he
said, “I just told them every fourth one.” And the rest of them went
over to Europe in the 100th, either 101st or 103rd infantry battalion.

Interviewer: Oh into foot soldiers?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: So you could have been a foot soldier?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Based on that count?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: A rifleman?

Schottenstein: Yeah. We used to get, once in a while we’d get a letter from
one of them. And we would write back and so on. And then when they got over, we
went overseas from Seattle, Washington. On a troop ship. We went to Hawaii. So I
maybe have you mixed up a little bit.

Interviewer: No, that’s the sequence and I think in the letter I sent you,
I had dates there.

Schottenstein: Yeah. And we were at Schofield Barracks.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Hawaii. I think that may have been January of ’45.

Schottenstein: Yeah. And at Schofield Barracks, they formed the actual units,
like A Company, B Company, C Battalion, and so on and what company you’re in
or what this and that. And then they assigned them to . . . .

Interviewer: But let us just clarify. At that point you had a military job
though and that was cook? Wherever you were going, whatever company . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: you were going to be the cook?

Schottenstein: One of the cooks.

Interviewer: Uh huh. One of the cooks. And you got headquarters?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: I got headquarters.

Interviewer: So did you actually, when did you actually begin the job of
cooking, I mean . . . .

Schottenstein: When?

Interviewer: Was that in San Francisco or . . . .

Schottenstein: In Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.

Interviewer: is when you actually began cooking?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Before that, people were cooking for you?

Schottenstein: Before that, they didn’t have any cooks.

Interviewer: Oh.

Schottenstein: We may have been assigned on board a troop ship.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: To cook and clean.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: We were like K.P.s on the ship.

Interviewer: But you really hadn’t been THE official cook until Schofield?

Schottenstein: No. Yeah. And at Schofield Barracks, they had the kitchens,
the field kitchens set up and then it became more or less a regular cook and
that’s when almost everybody was Private First Class and I don’t know, I
might have been a Private First Class for six months or something. Then I made
Corporal. Then I made T . . . .

Interviewer: T-5?

Schottenstein: 5 I think it was.

Interviewer: Let me ask you, okay, at this point in time then, you’re well
in, your training is finished; did you have a girlfriend or any romantic
relationships back in the States that you corresponded with or any . . . .

Schottenstein: No actual romantic but I did correspond with three or four
when I was in, when during basic training at Fort Eustis and at Camp Hood.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: And I remember, it’s a sidelight, I got a letter from this
young lady and she says to me, “Do you know Jerome Schottenstein?”

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: She met him in Temple, Texas, which is right outside of Camp
Tyler or something. I can’t remember the camp.

Interviewer: Might be Fort Hood?

Schottenstein: I don’t know. But anyway, Jerome for some reason, and I can’t
remember why, but when he finished basic, he was I think let out.

Interviewer: Now who is Jerome?

Schottenstein: Jerome was the one that we, Jerome Schottenstein . . . .

Interviewer: That’s Value City Arena? Here in Columbus?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: It’s that Jerome?

Schottenstein: That’s . . . .

Interviewer: Who is he? A cousin?

Schottenstein: First cousin.

Interviewer: First cousin? That . . . .

Schottenstein: His father and my father were brothers. And we were, all my
brothers in the age group, and sisters, and they, we were close.

Interviewer: Is he deceased now?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh. But he was in the war for a short time?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Exactly how long I can’t, but it’s so funny that she
met him . . . .

Interviewer: In Texas?

Schottenstein: in Texas. And she wrote me . . . .

Interviewer: And asked you?

Schottenstein: Yeah, if I knew him.

Interviewer: Hummm. And you did. And you did, I take it?

Schottenstein: Oh yeah. Sure did.

Interviewer: Sure did.

Schottenstein: But isn’t that ironic that . . . .

Interviewer: Small world.

Schottenstein: going back, that Captain Coreman out of Cleveland.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: I went to a United Jewish Appeal meeting at Les Wexner’s

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: And they had somebody from Cleveland come in with a few
people. I can’t remember the reason why or this or that, and I notice he had a
little thing that said “Coreman” you know?

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: And so we struck up a conversation sitting there in the den
and he says, I said he was a doctor, I’d never heard from him, I don’t know
where he went, and he says: “You know something?” he said, “that’s
my brother.” And he was in the same 49th and when he came home, he went out
in the Middle West somewhere to practice and he got married and it sounded like
there wasn’t any, too much closeness with the family or whatever. But anyway,
he says, “I can’t believe it that we found someone that knew him.”

Interviewer: During the war?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And they wrote me a letter from Cleveland.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: His family.

Interviewer: Oh they did? Later on?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Well you were in a position to meet a lot of men, weren’t you,
being a cook?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you like to serve them or you were just there when they
came? You would . . . .

Schottenstein: And to be honest with you, I used to cook a lot at home ’cause
my mother worked and I was the oldest one and I was making, there might have
been maybe four or five Jewish officers in the place and that . . . .

Interviewer: Oh.

Schottenstein: and I would make some Jewish dishes for them.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What do you remember? Anything you remember you used to fix?

Schottenstein: Yeah, like the briskets. We used to get briskets of beef.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And I’d take one brisket, make it different . . . . and I
would tell the guys, I said, “If you want it, I’ve got it.” And
different meals, I remember that for Passover we were on board a ship going over
to Okinawa and the chaplain who acted as a rabbi, he says: “You know
what?” he says, “if you look out the ships,” there must have been
a dozen or two of us out there, ships, so each one is signalling, “has
anybody got any matzah?”

Interviewer: Are you kidding?

Schottenstein: No, I swear.

Interviewer: Did you see that going on?

Schottenstein: Yeah. So you know what? You won’t believe it but I made the

Interviewer: For all these ships?

Schottenstein: No, no.

Interviewer: Oh for them, for your ship?

Schottenstein: For our ship. It was a little tough but . . . .

Interviewer: Where did you get the ingredients for that?

Schottenstein: I just figured that it’s water and flour and no seasoning or
anything, no leavening . . . .

Interviewer: No yeast, without yeast or . . . .

Schottenstein: I can’t remember if we put any yeast or not. But I made
enough, we could have thrown at the Japanese and killed them with our matzo. It
was tough.

Interviewer: (laughs) That is funny. I just can imagine all these lights
blinking: “You have any matzah?”


Interviewer: What a great story.


Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: Uh huh, yeah.

Interviewer: Well good, that’s what I want to try to do is just kind of
have things come to mind, you know, as we’re sailing across the Pacific or

Schottenstein: . . . . in California, several years ago, and right outside of
Long Beach, I remember this particular Jewish fellow had stopped in Columbus
once as he’s going through and got ahold of me and we talked that he was from
California. So I got hold of him when I was there in California and we talked
for a little while. And he came down to Long Beach where the big ship that was
anchored there, the Queen Mary.

Interviewer: The Queen Mary is there now today.

Schottenstein: Yeah. And we sat outside and talked and talked for quite a
while and I used to hear from him but it seems like it’s gone. He was with

Interviewer: Oh yeah. Well, it’s interesting. We’ll touch again, you were
fixing food at your home, I mean, wherever you were, your barracks, you could

Schottenstein: Yeah. Yeah we had our own kitchen.

Interviewer: So you could fix something special then at special times?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Any other time that . . . .

Schottenstein: No, it wasn’t every day . . . .

Interviewer: maybe on some special holy days or something?

Schottenstein: Holy days where I made like the matzo balls or I’d make
stuffed cabbage but . . . .

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: the Yiddishe way.

Interviewer: Oh really? The Yiddish way?

Schottenstein: Yeah, seasoning and so on . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: and so forth.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So you had Jewish friends that would come and partake of
your . . . .

Schottenstein: They were part of the battalion.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And I remember this lieutenant who was a pilot, a little guy
from Memphis, Tennessee. And he was a great one for, I would make a noodle kugel
. . . .

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: or potato, just here and there.

Interviewer: I’ll bet you . . . .

Schottenstein: Because I wanted it too.

Interviewer: I’ll bet you were kind of popular then at certain times? Yeah,
that’s pretty neat.

Schottenstein: Yeah. It was the line sergeant in charge.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: First sergeant. He was from Circleville.

Interviewer: Another Ohioan?

Schottenstein: But he was a Army career . . . .

Interviewer: Army career, that was his . . . .

Schottenstein: that was his, he had already been in the Army maybe 15 years.

Interviewer: Was he in charge of you then?

Schottenstein: He was in charge of all . . . .

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: the whole Company A and so on. He was the enlisted man.

Interviewer: Was he a good, was he a good person or, sometimes you hear . . .

Schottenstein: Very Army.

Interviewer: wild stories about cooks being a little bit odd.

Schottenstein: Yeah.


Schottenstein: . . . . cooks, but this guy was, I mean he was no fooling
around, was he . . . .

Interviewer: He was serious business, is that it?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: If you weren’t out there for reveille or whatever in the
morning or evening, he was in there at you.

Interviewer: He was a stern disciplinarian?

Schottenstein: Very stern.

Interviewer: But he was a cook?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: No? Okay, he was just in charge of the . . . .

Schottenstein: He was a first sergeant of the battalion.

Interviewer: I see. So you were subject to regular Army discipline?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: This was no . . . .

Schottenstein: Except . . . .

Interviewer: resort or club?

Schottenstein: No, but I did get a lot of advantages. Especially when we
weren’t at war. I don’t mean at war, in combat.

Interviewer: Combat, yeah.

Schottenstein: You cook, you’re on for 24 hours and then you’re off for
two days.

Interviewer: Twenty-four hours!

Schottenstein: Yeah, that’s tough work. But then you’re off for two days.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And another shift takes over. Yeah. And we used to have guys
that were on guard duty and they wanted to go into Naha or they wanted to go
into Pusan or any of this . . . .

Interviewer: That’s Korean, yeah.

Schottenstein: Yeah, the Koreans. And believe it or not, they’d pay some
cooks to do their guard duty.

Interviewer: Is that right? So you were off regular duty?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you do some of that?

Schottenstein: Yeah, I guess a little of it and actually, when you go out on
the guard duty, not that you want to but you’re sitting there and he already
had his fox hole built and everything. You sit down in there, you have a
tendency almost to fall asleep.

Interviewer: Yeah, let me set the stage here or get the understanding. This
is combat?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You’re being paid to be a . . . .

Schottenstein: Take somebody’s . . . .

Interviewer: a soldier right now?

Schottenstein: Yeah, so . . . .

Interviewer: This is really different.

Schottenstein: because I was off . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah, yeah. But this is really different. You, I’ve never
heard this before.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Somebody has paid you to go sit in their fox hole and defend or
watch this gate . . . .

Schottenstein: The perimeter.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: Yeah, or watch . . . .

Interviewer: So they can go have some fun?

Schottenstein: So they can go in and have some fun and . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: or whatever they want to.

Interviewer: What did you do with the money? Did you, you got paid for that?
Was that just sort of extra cash?

Schottenstein: Yeah. He asked me to work . . . .

Interviewer: Did . . . .

Schottenstein: I don’t know. The guys would either be playing poker or they’d
be playing craps or . . . .

Interviewer: Have to ask you about you cooking on Okinawa, being that that’s
an island and got to be a lot of fishing going on. Did you prepare fish meals at
any time?

Schottenstein: Uh . . . .

Interviewer: Was there fresh fish available?

Schottenstein: You know, you ask me that and I can’t remember unless it
came in, the fish came in frozen and a lot of it came in from Australia.

Interviewer: Oh really? Okay. So you cooks didn’t go out to the seaside and
sit there and try to catch a big one?

Schottenstein: No. But after we got into Korea from Okinawa . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: and the pheasants, they ran loose. They had pheasants,
hundreds of them like chickens, just running around.

Interviewer: Wow.

Schottenstein: So the guys, a couple of guys would go out every day ’till
we got tired of them and they would bring back about 25-30 of them that they

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: And we’d prepare them and we’d have fried pheasant.

Interviewer: Oh my gosh, that’s really quite a treat.

Schottenstein: And I’m sure there was a lot of others that did the same

Interviewer: Yeah, we’re jumping a little bit ahead to Korea now. Your
artillery unit moved there from Okinawa. Do you know what time you left Okinawa?
Was it, how long you’d been there. Had you been there several weeks or several
hours or . . . .

Schottenstein: We were there until the war was . . . .

Interviewer: Okay, all the way through August?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Oh really? So you were there . . . . combat?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: The whole time, wasn’t it?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: We lost some people, mostly through infiltrators.

Interviewer: We’re getting to the end of this. I’m going to sign off on
this side and we’ll flip it over and pick up with the story about those
infiltrators then. Okay, this is side 2 or side B. We’re on Okinawa and we’re
just going to begin to talk about some of the combat.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Now you say you lost guys to the Japanese sneaking in? You mean
in your cooks?

Schottenstein: . . . . We lost one cook who pulled the first duty and he
walked into the kitchen which was just a large, rectangular or six-sided type
canvas, you know, had the kitchen in . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: it didn’t have the table where you sit down and eat and
everything. That was later on or early in the States and in Hawaii and so on.
But he walked in and there was a guy in there, a Japanese and he killed him.

Interviewer: How did it happen? Was the Japanese armed . . . .

Schottenstein: These Japanese, and that was one of the problems that some of
them had, they were starving to death, some of them, almost . . . .

Interviewer: Okay. They had been left behind, they were hiding out?

Schottenstein: Or they got out of the prisoner camps . . . .

Interviewer: Oh.

Schottenstein: a lot of prisoner camps.

Interviewer: I see.

Schottenstein: And they got out and he slipped in underneath the canvas that
was down to the ground.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And I remembered from then on, when any of us went in there at
night, we went around the back and opened up, looked in.

Interviewer: Wow. Did you know the man who was killed?

Schottenstein: Yeah. I remember him.

Interviewer: You didn’t see the event or . . . .

Schottenstein: No. They just found him . . . .

Interviewer: Did you find him personally or . . . .

Schottenstein: No, I didn’t. The cooks’s helpers or somebody found him
lying there and they got the guy and the reason they got him was that he ran and
he was looking and he left a trail, so they went after him and they got him.

Interviewer: What did they do to him?

Schottenstein: I don’t remember but I think they turned him over to . . . .

Interviewer: He was a murderer?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: No longer just a prisoner of war?

Schottenstein: But he was, I remember seeing him sitting there shaking like a

Interviewer: Oh the Japanese guy?

Schottenstein: Yeah, yeah. When they caught him. And also, they used to catch
them at night when they’re hunting around for something to eat. You’d go to
the trash where the food was thrown out and so on, and most of them were
harmless. They just wanted something to eat. They had taken most of them in,
immediately were put in prisoner camps. And guarded by the army battalions.

Interviewer: Well this experience of that death and that murder is sort of
unique to the Pacific. But the Japanese were a different kind of enemy. They
didn’t give up, they didn’t surrender in most cases and they’d hide out
and you had problems for a long time.

Schottenstein: Yeah, I remember going on that observation plane and the
lieutenant was the pilot and happened to be Jewish. He pulled . . . . “See
that down there?” he said. “We closed that up yesterday, the

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: He said, “We closed it up yesterday with the howitzers.
Wide open the next day.”

Interviewer: Oh so this pilot was the observer for your guns?

Schottenstein: Right. He was the pilot . . . .

Interviewer: And he would see them blasting those caves?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: And they’d close them up?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: And the Japs had dug out?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: Or they got out somehow.

Interviewer: What caused you to be up in that airplane?

Schottenstein: Just wanted to see it.

Interviewer: You were invited to go for a flight?

Schottenstein: Yeah, he asked me if I wanted to go.

Interviewer: For what purpose?

Schottenstein: Just to look.

Interviewer: Oh.

Schottenstein: That’s when we, he flew me and he flew several others. His
name was Julius Feibelman and he was an attorney in Memphis, Tennessee. A little
guy. And he flew quite a few people, not only Jewish, but if they wanted to go
up, while he was observing . . . .

Interviewer: . . . . a little pleasure flight, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah. We got a few of them that got shot up but really not
that many because he tried to stay up high enough that if they shot at him as he
was going over, they wouldn’t reach the . . . .

Interviewer: That high up to the plane? And that was called an F-4 Piper Cub
type of observation plane? Now you said you saw something on this flight,
something special?

Schottenstein: No that . . . .

Interviewer: Ernie Pyle?

Schottenstein: Oh yeah. On the island, he was only maybe 10-15 miles from

Interviewer: Okinawa? Yoshima was the name of the island.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Ernie Pyle’s . . . . Was this the one trip? Same trip?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: Another trip? You went up more than once?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And you could look down and you could see the stones and
so on.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Where Ernie Pyle, who I think was from Indiana . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah, he was shot by a sniper and buried there.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Buried there.

Schottenstein: And maybe later on brought back to the States.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: . . . . don’t know what happened. We had a colonel that,
this Colonel Lewis that I was telling you about . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: We had a colonel who was very stern and rough, from Texas. And
he was our colonel. And he was at the officers’, the officers already had,
even during combat but in the back, not right on the front, they had an officers’

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Temporary type. Yeah. And he supposedly was walking back one
night to the company, to the headquarters battalion, and they found him shot,

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: And the guys used to joke that somebody got him but he wasn’t

Interviewer: Was he not well liked?

Schottenstein: Yeah, he was tough. Colonel Post, P-O-S-T.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: He was a tough one.

Interviewer: And so it might not have been a Japanese?

Schottenstein: Yeah, somebody got him.

Interviewer: Oh that’s too bad.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Something like that.

Schottenstein: But you know what? During the war things like that happened.
We had a young fellow, his name was Swift and he was somewhere from the Middle
West. And he was doing guard duty. And the officer in charge of the guard duty,
his name was Miller, and he was from the South. He heard some rustling and so on
around the bushes and so on and he shot at it ’cause it sounded just like
somebody walking through. And he killed this guard.

Interviewer: Oh, a guard.

Schottenstein: And he, no it wasn’t a guard, I take that back. He needed to
go to the urinal and he got up and he walked maybe two feet, three feet away
from where he was sleeping or maybe it was guard duty. But he killed him.

Interviewer: Oh man.

Schottenstein: And from then on, this Army officer was a nervous wreck, I
mean he had a nervous breakdown . . . .

Interviewer: Because of that?

Schottenstein: Yeah and . . . .

Interviewer: Killing somebody?

Schottenstein: Then they sent him back.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: Yeah. He was a nice man but he thought he was doing the right

Interviewer: You know, thinking about being on Okinawa, there was a terrific
storm there. Were you there during the storm?

Schottenstein: They had a lot of storms.

Interviewer: Lots. Well there was a typhoon. I think it was actually the
strength of a typhoon that did a lot of damage. Was that during your time there?
You would have remembered. It blew buildings down and all kinds of things.

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: That may have been later on.

Schottenstein: You got to remember which . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: I never said anything about, it just came to me that when we
landed on Easter morning . . . .

Interviewer: April 1?

Schottenstein: April 1, that the army took, I can’t remember, the east half
of the island and the marines took the west half. What happened was all the
Japanese, most of them, were in the west half down from the coast so you thought
there was nothing and they had, they just tore the marines apart.

Interviewer: Well you landed, you said earlier, you walked ashore?

Schottenstein: Yeah, so did the marines.

Interviewer: Through some water though?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: How long was it until you actually, your unit had combat? Do you
recall some of those events, as to how . . . .

Schottenstein: The only combat we had was stray bullets, a stray shell. We
had, believe it or not a fellow sitting on the latrine and a stray shell hit

Interviewer: Huh.

Schottenstein: He never . . . .

Interviewer: Oh wow.

Schottenstein: he just . . . . We were always three, four, to five miles

Interviewer: Being at headquarters, you’re behind the guns?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Five miles?

Schottenstein: Right.

Interviewer: Yeah. And your guns are behind the front lines?

Schottenstein: There was one of the companies where they strung wire to the
different commanders and so on. And they were in headquarters company. Like the
guys stringing for cable. Yeah, you know. And so they know what’s going on. Or
they could let them know if they saw a contingent of Japanese because it was
tough. How can you tell which is Japanese and which is Korean?

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: They look alike, unless you look at them right in their face.

Interviewer: Now why would you say that? You’re on Japanese territory
fighting the Japanese. What does Korean have to do? Were there Koreans there?

Schottenstein: I mean Okinawa.

Interviewer: On Okinawa? Oh, oh, local civilians? Oh I see.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Oh okay, yeah, yeah.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah, you got a civilian population there. Okay.

Schottenstein: We used to have a Chinese boy and he was going to college I
think on the west coast. And it sounds funny but he would lie down halfway with
his head up and a guy would come up with a bayonet and so on and get real close
to him and they’d snap a picture of him.

Interviewer: Oh.

Schottenstein: And then these guys would send this home like he caught this

Interviewer: Oh boy.

Schottenstein: He’d pose for them.

Interviewer: A posed photograph, a combat photograph.

Schottenstein: Yeah he was Chinese.

Interviewer: Chinese-American?

Schottenstein: Uh . . . .

Interviewer: Is that it?

Schottenstein: I think so.

Interviewer: Or . . . . civilian?

Schottenstein: He looked the part, I mean, I hate that the guy . . . . go out
at night, or even during the day. ‘Cause he’s going to get it.

Interviewer: It’s dangerous, huh?

Schottenstein: It was very dangerous for him.

Interviewer: Did you ever go up and watch the artillery firing?

Schottenstein: We did a few times. They made such a roar. An 8-inch Howitzer
sounds like a bomb going off. When it would go off, we would shiver and shake
with that. Probably one of the worst things was the detail, whatever they called
it, or so on, would come back in the mornings usually with a load of dead

Interviewer: Japanese, I assume?

Schottenstein: No, our own Americans.

Interviewer: No?

Schottenstein: Americans.

Interviewer: Did you see this?

Schottenstein: I saw the bodies. I didn’t see right up at the front where
they got ’em. And they’d wrap them, roll the rubber or like a poncho or so
on over them and this truck would come by and you could, their legs would be . .
. .

Interviewer: Bouncing?

Schottenstein: bouncing.

Interviewer: . . . . waving your hand, so . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: So the legs are going up and down?

Schottenstein: The legs going up and down.

Interviewer: How many do you think were in the truck? This was a large truck?

Schottenstein: Yeah. I’d say probably 35 or 40 . . . .

Interviewer: Bodies coming back?

Schottenstein: coming back. We lost a lot of men on Okinawa.

Interviewer: Yes, Okinawa was terrible.

Schottenstein: It’s one of their . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: But there was 35 or 40, I imagine, and they were bringing them
back to a staging area and they had across their foot something, a tag, who they

Interviewer: The bodies were tagged?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: So you knew what was going on up there at the front?

Schottenstein: Yeah you could tell. We saw pictures of the atomic bomb. They
came through Okinawa, the pictures. To the army headquarters in the States or
wherever . . . .

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: And we saw like the next morning . . . .

Interviewer: You got to see photographs, huh?

Schottenstein: We saw the photographs.

Interviewer: What did you think about that?

Schottenstein: Well, right after the war was over, they took our outfit
because we just did a little of everything plus the cooking and then here’s
another thing. I got a guy who let me take his place ’cause every day from
when we hit Korea, they would take the soldiers back to Japan every night. They
had these landing craft and they put probably 100, 200 men on that thing.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And a group of us or others, would ride, spend the night going
across the straights there and we landed near Nagasaki and places like that.

Interviewer: Oh I see. From Korea, you . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You rode across?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And several times we would take long enough to go up the
beach or wherever and look into the city where the atomic bomb . . . .

Interviewer: You saw that?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You saw Nagasaki?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: What did it look like? You recall anything . . . .

Schottenstein: There wasn’t much left. There were, I remember, the first
one I looked at, the only thing left standing was a church. Just like it was
meant to be. Everything else was flat except that church.

Interviewer: Was that Nagasaki or a suburb or . . . .

Schottenstein: One or the other; I’m not sure.

Interviewer: Something you saw?

Schottenstein: Yeah. That . . . . I’ll always remember, I mean, ’cause it
was really levelled. It wasn’t the first bomb . . . .

Interviewer: No.

Schottenstein: it was the first city versus the second city.

Interviewer: Was this a ride over on this craft just to see Japan?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You didn’t have any job, it was just . . . .

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: to go over and see it?

Schottenstein: Just wanted to see Japan.

Interviewer: An opportunity to see Japan?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Oh, okay. Well let’s go back to Okinawa. I happened to think,
talking about airplanes and the bombing, did you see any of those kamikazis,
those terrible . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah. We used to sit on the beach and see these suicide,
coming straight down for a ship, to land on a ship. And the anti-aircraft
shooting at them and every once in a while, or most of the time, they would get
them so they would come down, caught on fire. We used to watch that at night
because they had spotlights looking for the suicide bombers.

Interviewer: Did you see any of them actually crash into a ship, an American

Schottenstein: Yeah. I couldn’t tell you which ship, it could be ten miles
out or something. But you could see the explosion when it hit the deck.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did they come in large numbers or was it just something
you watched and happened to see one or what were . . . .

Schottenstein: I don’t think that they were huge numbers . . . .

Interviewer: any masses of them; they just, something going on?

Schottenstein: One coming, two, three, four.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: Then a half hour later, another two, three, or four.

Interviewer: Wow.

Schottenstein: And down they went.

Interviewer: Uh huh. They didn’t try to get your cook’s . . . .

Schottenstein: Well they were . . . .

Interviewer: They were getting the ships, weren’t they?

Schottenstein: Yeah. They wanted to get the troop ships. And the other. And
they got them. They got quite a few.

Interviewer: Yeah. That was another thing very unique to Okinawa, was the
kamikazi attacks.

Schottenstein: And then the, what was the city, Kadima?

Interviewer: That’s the air base. Yeah, Kadima Air Base.

Schottenstein: Yeah, the air base at Kadima, the other planes, the American
planes would come out like almost on a dog fight. . . .

Interviewer: Oh, okay.

Schottenstein: The funny part that I remember is that most of it was at
night, not in the day time.

Interviewer: It’s interesting. We don’t think of that, being at night,
going on.

Schottenstein: Yeah. But I recall the reason is it would light up the sky and
you could see.

Interviewer: Well you know what causes us to think of daylight is because the
news reels’ combat films can only be made in the day time. So that’s all you’re
ever going to see but what you saw was the real war picture and that’s day and
night. And you think a lot happened at night, and there you are. And we wouldn’t
see that ’cause you can’t make films in the dark.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Nothing’s going to show up. But all this activity you saw
going on, happening in the night, ’cause that’s pretty interesting

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: How about disease? Was there any disease, illness that came
around? When you think about Okinawa, . . . .

Schottenstein: They gave us shots for . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: I think they called it Atabrine, Atabrine.

Intervieweer: So you didn’t get malaria and so on, those tropical . . . .

Schottenstein: You had to take shots . . . .

Interviewer: sicknesses?

Schottenstein: but there were a lot of wild pigs on the island. They may not
have been wild but they were loose. And that’s one thing you had to watch or a
horse, or a donkey or stuff like that.

Interviewer: Some wild animals, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah, and they really weren’t that wild, I don’t think.
But there was many of them killed because they thought they were, at night in
the brush and the woods and that. It sounds like people coming through.

Interviewer: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.

Schottenstein: And they really did a job on them. The guards . . . .

Interviewer: Did you ever fix any of those wild pigs for dinner?

Schottenstein: That’s what I was coming to.

Interviewer: Okay.

Schottenstein: Some guy says, “I’m going to go out and we’ll get a
pig and we’ll,” so, he was from somewhere where he had butchered and he
knew what he was going to do. And so he brought this pig in, pulled it in, and
cut it open. It was full of maggots.

Interviewer: Ugh.

Schottenstein: Just full. So he tried it again. In a couple of days, brought
one in. Full of worms, maggots . . . .

Interviewer: Ugh.

Schottenstein: So we didn’t fool around with the . . . .

Interviewer: So the animals were diseased then?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: They were alive but they were infested with . . . .

Schottenstein: Infested.

Interviewer: Ugh. That’s too bad. You know, another thing about Okinawa
that we’ve heard so much about is the civilian population committing suicide.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you witness anything about that?

Schottenstein: We used to see quite a bit but I don’t know whether they
committed suicide or the Japs did it or them. I do remember one thing that was
eerie. They always said when you dig a fox hole, being a cook or anything, you’re
supposed to dig a fox hole so you can get in it fast.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: So I was busy. I found a spot and I’m digging a fox hole you
know, and I get it about half dug and I take a look, and here’s somebody’s
arm and leg and what it was was he apparently had been killed and buried and I
found the spot that the soil wasn’t hard so I said, “Hell, I’m going to
dig a fox hole right here.” And I know that they told us, “Don’t, if
it’s dirt that has just recently been put down there, don’t do that.”
And I dug one up.

Interviewer: (laughs) You dug him on up. That is different. Do you know if it
was an American or who it was?

Schottenstein: No, it was a . . . .

Interviewer: Civilian?

Schottenstein: Either a civilian. See some of them, they wore just, you
couldn’t tell a soldier from a civilian.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And we had guys that were walking on their day off, or
whatever, you know, and here comes these kids with this soldier where the
soldier was using the little kids as a decoy and if you went up to see them or
to talk to them like a civilian, whoop, you had it.

Interviewer: Oh he was going to kill you, huh?

Schottenstein: Sure, he’d kill you. The Japanese, they have no morals
whatsoever there.

Interviewer: Did you have any contact with Japanese there?

Schottenstein: Only contact we had with them was I recall that when they were
disarming, you know, and they had to throw their guns in a pile or their swords,
and those swords to the officers meant an awful lot because those swords might
be 200 years old.

Interviewer: They’d been in the family, I think. Samurai swords?

Schottenstein: Yeah, so anyway, I saw this soldier, I mean this Japanese guy
as we were disarming and we were standing there and I saw he had this beautiful
saber, you know. So I walked up and he was standing like at attention, and I
reached over and I took the saber and he never moved. I mean, he just stood
there. In fact, my son has it hanging up in his house.

Interviewer: He does?

Schottenstein: But . . . .

Interviewer: Isn’t that something?

Schottenstein: I had a hell of a time bringing it back. It was long and . . .

Interviewer: Did it have the scabbard that it went into?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: That’s quite a . . . .

Schottenstein: I can show it to you if you want to see it.

Interviewer: Oh I’d love to see it, yeah. That’s very special, like you
said, hundreds of years in the family.

Schottenstein: At least I think it is.

Interviewer: Yeah. That’s given up there.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: The Samurai tradition.

Schottenstein: Yeah. And they had to give it up. I wasn’t the only one that
took, I mean . . . .

Interviewer: Well no. They had, I’ve seen photographs of piles of them
because every officer had one.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: So you have piles of these things. But you actually didn’t go
to a pile to pick one up. You took it from the man himself?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Well I saw it.

Interviewer: It was still attached to him on his belt or something?

Schottenstein: Yeah. He never said anything. He probably figured that if he
said, if he started with me, the other soldiers, the American soldiers, would
have . . . .

Interviewer: I assume the . . . .

Schottenstein: would have chopped him.

Interviewer: They had the weapons, the other soldiers had weapons . . . .

Schottenstein: They were disarming them.

Interviewer: I think that was . . . .

Schottenstein: The other thing is that a lot of the Japanese carried a box in
front of them with a string over it, over their neck, you know, and the box was
there. They were taking the remains home of a lot of them that had, they had
burned them . . . .

Interviewer: Were they what, fellow soldiers, of their unit?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Uh huh.

Interviewer: Oh and they were the cremated remains?

Schottenstein: Yeah. They were taking them home.

Interviewer: It’s different, isn’t it?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You saw that?

Schottenstein: Yeah. They were on aboard ship or prison or in the place they’re
at. . . . and they carried that thing around them like kids in school . . . .

Interviewer: Hmmm. Taking the remains of a buddy or a friend . . . .

Schottenstein: A buddy and I guess gave it to the family if they got it that
far, or whatever they did. I don’t know. But they were pretty…actually once
they became prisoners, and they were disarmed, they was almost very polite.

Interviewer: You didn’t speak any Japanese did you?

Schottenstein: But they (Would you like another glass of coffee?)…

Interviewer: No, I just got a little tickle in my throat. Well, we really
touched on a lot of topics here. I don’t know anything else. I guess we might
just cover the trail of the 749th. You moved on to Korea?

Schottenstein: And went home on board ship. We left on Christmas day, we left
. . . .

Interviewer: 1946?

Schottenstein: Yeah. We left.

Interviewer: Oh wait a minute. Was it ’46? Were you in Korea for a year?

Schottenstein: Well I think I was in Korea a little over a year.

Interviewer: All right, so it would have been 1946?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: You didn’t come right home when the war was over then?

Schottenstein: No.

Interviewer: You went on to Korea for a year?

Schottenstein: Yeah. For seven, eight months or something. And then we left
from Seattle, Washington and came back to Seattle, Washington.

Interviewer: Let me ask you this, were you on Okinawa when the war ended? Do
you remember where you were and what happened?

Schottenstein: Uh . . . .

Interviewer: When the war ended?

Schottenstein: Yeah, I was on Okinawa.

Interviewer: Do you remember the day?

Schottenstein: Well there was a lot of celebrating and so on.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And I don’t know how they got it but all at once, half these
guys were . . . . had liquor and they were . . . .

Interviewer: Oh yeah? There was a lot of drinking?

Schottenstein: A lot of drinking.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: Most of them had been over there most of the time and yet
there were some real young recruits that came in but not many. They went to some
of the other islands. And so forth. I remember when General Buckner was killed.
And we stood at attention as they buried him.

Interviewer: Wow. There on the island?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And I imagine he was picked up later and taken in.

Interviewer: Reburied?

Schottenstein: Uh huh. He was a good person.

Interviewer: So you knew about him?

Schottenstein: Yeah. He came over and he was the general in charge of, I don’t
know if it was the 103rd or 104th Division, something like that.

Interviewer: Did you see any other famous personalities like MacArthur,
Stillwell, or . . . .

Schottenstein: General Stillwell.

Interviewer: Stillwell, huh?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And then we did see Bob Hope.

Interviewer: Oh you did?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: A USO show?

Schottenstein: In a USO show. Francis Langford was with him. And several
others. I can’t remember.

Interviewer: Huh.

Schottenstein: But we saw several shows. But they were back from combat.
Right near the . . . . They were even behind us. But they were good morale

Interviewer: So you left Okinawa and went to Korea. The unit moved there

Schottenstein: Yeah. The funny part of it is, since we were headquarters and
our colonel was made like the military head of that city, it was Pusan, and they
had changed some of the names but I remember that we called it Pusan. They gave
us the name of it. . . . And our colonel was, our battalion which was probably
60 men, 70, 80, somewhere in there, he put us in charge of the geisha district.

Interviewer: Huh.

Schottenstein: They all wanted the geisha district and we got it.

Interviewer: What was special about that place?

Schottenstein: Just what you see.

Interviewer: In geisha, we think of Japanese geisha girls. I don’t know
what . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: in Korean?

Schottenstein: In Korea too.

Interviewer: Are these, are these sort of places for men to go?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And army officers. And it got pretty cold. I mean, it
was cold in some areas. You would be doing patrol in a jeep and as you’d look
up at this house so they had things around an area and that was the geisha
district. They had it marked.

Interviewer: It was marked off?

Schottenstein: Marked off. And that didn’t stop any of us that it was
marked off. And you’d see a pair of shoes. So what we used to do, rather than
bother some of them, we’d go up and take the shoes. They were outside. And
here it is like zero or below and the guy’s got no shoes and he’s got to get
back. And most of them believe it or not, were navy guys. Because if they were
on ship, so they went into the town and where they went, ZOOM – right over to
the . . . .

Interviewer: Was this a place that was called “off limits?” I mean,
they were not supposed to go there?

Schottenstein: Yeah, you were supposed to bring them in but . . . .

Interviewer: Oh you were supposed to arrest them?

Schottenstein: Yeah. But they didn’t do too much of that. But I remember
one guy, he was a little guy and he was a naval officer, and I and two other
guys were walking down the hall of this particular geisha house, and there’s a
pair of shoes, you know. So we just took them. They’re sliding doors. They don’t
have like patio doors. Only they’re made of wood and woven and so on. So we
opened up the door and there he is so the fellow in charge of it, I think it was
a lieutenant or a first sergeant, he asked him to leave. He didn’t want to go.
And he actually put up an argument. So this officer in charge, the next morning,
he went down to the Military Police and turned this guy in. And I don’t
remember what happened to him but would you believe on the way home when we left
Okinawa and we were going home, the army officer or naval officer in charge of
the group was the guy that he turned in.

Interviewer: Ohhhhhhh.

Schottenstein: And I mean to tell you that they chipped every bit of that
boat all the way to Seattle.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Schottenstein: You know how they chip away.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: My god, he really got back . . . .

Interviewer: He got revenge, huh (laughter) for being turned in. That’s one
of those army-navy stories that just . . . . So the human side of . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: I guess, experience.

Schottenstein: Of all people – he – the officer in charge of the make-ship
company that . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: they were real quick to . . . .

Interviewer: Of all the ships or boats you could go back on . . . .

Schottenstein: He was the officer. . . . he was going back too.

Interviewer: That’s what makes interesting stories away from all the combat
and things. Well we got a little bit of tape left here. I guess we’re really
not quite back in the United States. You came back to Seattle and you came home.
Did you just kind of get right back into starting your life over again?

Schottenstein: Yep. I was, just yesterday, I was coming where they got the
Union Station sort of a monument . . . .

Interviewer: The arch?

Schottenstein: The arch.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: And we were coming that way and it was pouring rain and I
looked up and I saw this long ridge that comes into the Union Station where the
passenger trains used to come in and I looked and I thought to myself,
especially since I was going to talk with you, that there’s the bridge that I
came back on. Because when we got here, we must have sat out there for an hour
and a half before they pulled into the . . . .

Interviewer: Into the train station?

Schottenstein: and we looked at the city and . . . .

Interviewer: You’re finally back from the war and you’re sitting on the
train looking out?

Schottenstein: And waiting.

Interviewer: In that bridge and the bridge is still there in downtown?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Isn’t that something?

Schottenstein: It’s that long, black steel bridge that comes from the west
side of Columbus.

Interviewer: Somewhere around where the penitentiary building was?

Schottenstein: Yeah, exactly, almost.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Schottenstein: It goes across on the front almost of the new stadium, the
hockey stadium.

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Schottenstein: See? It goes almost across there.

Interviewer: So that place can take you back over fifty years?

Schottenstein: That’s right.

Interviewer: Just like that. Well, how’d you meet your wife and get back in
the civilian . . . .

Schottenstein: Well that I have to blame on my sister.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? About what time did that happen?

Schottenstein: About a year and a half, two years later.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? You met your wife?

Schottenstein: She wanted to go, my sister, her name is Shirley.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And now it’s Shirley Cohen and her husband was Albert. And
they lived about a block away from us. And she wanted me to take her to Temple
on East Broad Street near Wilson to a wedding of a couple that we see every once
in a while. And I took her and while there at the wedding, which was down in the
basement so to speak, I met my wife.

Interviewer: Oh is that right?

Schottenstein: And . . . .

Interviewer: How long did you date before you got married?

Schottenstein: Probably six, seven months.

Interviewer: And your wife’s first name again, it’s . . . .

Schottenstein: It’s Ellen. Her maiden name was Schlezinger.

Interviewer: Ellen Schlezinger?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Was she from Columbus?

Schottenstein: Yeah. And she went all the way through Bexley schools.

Interviewer: Oh I see. And your present-day family is, consists of what?

Schottenstein: I’ve got a daughter that is in Rockville, Maryland. And I
have a son who is an attorney and he went to Israel and worked as a contracts
man for Israel aircraft corporations. And then went into . . . .

Interviewer: What’s his name? Sorry to interrupt.

Schottenstein: His name is Richard . . . .

Interviewer: Richard?

Schottenstein: and he was appointed by . . . .

Interviewer: . . . . place to finish up there and we’ll just let that . . .
. This is the second tape and I just need to run a little bit of time on here to
complete the names of the family. I’ll just review these again ’cause the
tape had run out on our first daughter. Daughter Susan Blair . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: And then there’s Karen Zussman . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Who is married to a cousin, Martin?

Schottenstein: Not a cousin of mine.

Interviewer: No, of the other Schottenstein family?

Schottenstein: Yeah, the Value City family.

Interviewer: Uh huh. A cousin. And you said something about Swissman was a
family name?

Schottenstein: Their real name was Zussman, Z-U-S-S-M-A-N, something like
that. And they’re from Cincinnati.

Interviewer: This now known as Swissman family was Zussman . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: from Cincinnati?

Schottenstein: And Mr. Zussman . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: and Mr. Swissman from New Jersey were brothers.

Interviewer: Ahhhh. With different last names, I take it?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Well, you know what? Some people say Schottensteen, some
people say Schottenstine.

Interviewer: Yeah, probably the German pronounciation . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: would be that.

Schottenstein: Huh! But that’s what it was.

Interviewer: The cousins. They’re cousins?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Now Deborah is a daughter. I didn’t get her last name.

Schottenstein: Yeah. Adelman, A-D-E-L-M-A-N.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Okay.

Schottenstein: And my son Rick Schottenstein is been 12 or 13 years in

Interviewer: Oh is that right?

Schottenstein: He graduated Columbia University in law and answered, he
wanted to go there, and answered an ad in the New York Times.
He was practicing law on Wall Street for one of the large law firms that dealt
mostly in stuff for Smith, Barney and . . . .

Interviewer: Oh, big firms?

Schottenstein: Yeah. Big firms.

Interviewer: Do you get to see him very often?

Schottenstein: Yeah, I’ve been to Israel about ten times. But he’ll be
here on the 12th of February. He comes to Columbus for meetings at the State.

Interviewer: He’s actually an employee of the State of Ohio?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: That’s interesting.

Schottenstein: And he has an office in Tel Aviv but he lives in Jerusalem.

Interviewer: Is he married?

Schottenstein: Yeah and they have five children.

Interviewer: Wow. So you have grandchildren. How many grandchildren in total?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Wow, wowie. That’s really neat. Ah, your son who’s in
business with you, his first name again?

Schottenstein: Howard.

Interviewer: Howard. And you, what is your current business?

Schottenstein: It’s called Mark Point Development. I used to be a partner
with my brother Irving and with Melvin and Bernie. And then we sort of on our
own, split up.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: And we have a company that builds condominiums and some

Interviewer: Mark Point is the company that does it?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: ‘Cause I had I think learned about Bernie a little bit. The
Bicentennial Plaza, is that his business, down there?

Schottenstein: He’s a partner.

Interviewer: Partner in that?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: That’s pretty neat.

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: Where does your company build?

Schottenstein: Right now we’re building right off #161 across from the
Hunan House behind Friendly’s.

Interviewer: Huh. Okay.

Schottenstein: And then we’re also building on McNaughten Road. We’re in
a development up there and we tentatively have two other areas that we’re
going to be doing developments, but I’m fading away.

Interviewer: Well, I mean, you’ve been in business a long time. That might
be something to complete our World War II story, your career. You must have gone
back to school?

Schottenstein: Yeah for a short time.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: Because I went to work for Schottenstein’s.

Interviewer: Back to Schottenstein’s, huh?

Schottenstein: And so did Irving.

Interviewer: I see.

Schottenstein: Yeah. The two of us went back to Schottenstein’s, Irving in
the Men’s Department and I in the furniture.

Interviewer: So you were in sales then?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: I see. How did you get into . . . .

Schottenstein: Like I ended up like a buyer in the . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: I was the wholesale, out of their wholesale division.

Interviewer: How did you sort of manage to strike out on your own or join
your brothers, I guess it was?

Schottenstein: Well, my father.

Interviewer: Oh yeah?

Schottenstein: And he probably was right. He says, “Look, you’re never
going to get anywhere and you just go on your own.”

Interviewer: You’re never going to get anywhere what, working for someone
else, is that it?

Schottenstein: Yeah.

Interviewer: I hate to fill that in for you but . . . .

Schottenstein: That’s okay.

Interviewer: Kind of . . . .

Schottenstein: And we’re on a very friendly basis, Irving. When I left and
my dad had a furniture store and we built another one up in Linden right off of
Hudson and Cleveland. In fact, we still own the land. We tore the building down
finally because they kept tearing it down, the people.

Interviewer: What was it called? Oh you, Leonard . . . .

Schottenstein: Leonard Furniture.

Interviewer: Was that named after you then?

Schottenstein: Yeah.


Schottenstein: I ran that one and my brother Irving ran the other one.

Interviewer: And the other one was located where, on Parsons, was it?

Schottenstein: Parsons.

Interviewer: Were you in competition with the Schottenstein store?

Schottenstein: Friendly.

Interviewer: Friendly? (laughter) Oh, I think we can talk a long time about
business but maybe that’d be another time. We’ve been talking for two hours
now and I think it’s a very good history that we have here.

Schottenstein: Well good. If you want to see that saber, you let me know.

Interviewer: Oh that would be something and take a picture of it.

Schottenstein: Yeah. He only lives about oh a mile and half, two miles from

Interviewer: Your son?

Schottenstein: On Fair Avenue.

Interviewer: Howard, is his name?

Schottenstein: Yeah. He went to Ohio U.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Okay, well, I’m going to . . . .

Schottenstein: We also owned Wyandotte Apartments.

Interviewer: I was thinking about that. Someone had mentioned Wyandotte.
Yeah, that’s . . . .

Schottenstein: Yeah we owned it and then we decided to sell it and after four
or five months or pursuing it different ways, it sold to an out-of-state outfit.

Interviewer: And where is that located?

Schottenstein: At East Main Street, 5200 East Main.

Interviewer: 5200 East Main. Okay. Well that’s a pretty good career. I
think we’ll end our tape here for this session. I think we have a wonderful
oral history.

* * *

(It appears Schottenstein is now showing Morris’ book to the interviewer.)

Schottenstein: My brother wrote it.

Interviewer: Books on the Schottenstein Family?

Schottenstein: Yeah, he’s a retired professor and he wrote these . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah?

Schottenstein: the Schottenstein Family, I’m talking about the Value City

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Schottenstein: And my brother and me and Melvin sponsored and paid for his
doing it.

Interviewer: Oh, paid for writing the book?

Schottenstein: Well yeah, and having it printed.

Interviewer: Oh yeah? So it’s, is it a sort of family history?

Schottenstein: Yeah. It goes back from Europe until there’s two versions.
One is pre-, I’d say, like pre-Wyandotte, and the other one is after
Wyandotte. But it doesn’t have, I think I’ve got them right here. They have
it at the library.

Interviewer: They do? Here, I’ll get you.

Schottenstein: Look in here.

Interviewer: There we go. Now we got it.

Schottenstein: I’m sorry.

Interviewer: I didn’t . . . . unplug you.

Tape ends abruptly