This interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society is being recorded
on August 30, 1999, and it’s part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society
Oral History Project. The interview is being recorded at 59 S. Gould Road. My
name is Dave Graham and I am interviewing Mr. Sam Broidy. This is David Graham
interviewing Sam Broidy here at his residence. Sam, why don’t we begin with
just a little touch on the background of your family history, the origin of the
family name, where your parents came from, that sort of thing, and then we’ll
get into the rest of it.

Broidy: Shall I talk into this right here?

Interviewer: That’s fine, now just talk . . . .

Broidy: My father and my mother both came from the Ukraine in Russia, though
they came from different parts of the Ukraine and didn’t know each other until
they came to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. And my dad was a young man, came
by himself.

Interviewer: Excuse me Sam. Is it possible, had a little bit of noise here
from . . . . history back in Ukraine. What part of the Ukraine?


Interviewer: Put this back over there.

Broidy: I know a little bit about the Ukraine. The capital is Kiev.

Interviewer: Right. I got that backwards.

Broidy: Well my Dad came from a small town someplace in the area of Kiev. But
my Mother came from the . . . . part of the Ukraine, probably closer east.
Somewhere, I remember when they . . . . I mean, I’ve got the names marked down
but I can’t right this minute, I can’t remember.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: And he came over by himself and he had a cousin in Pittsburgh and
that’s how he happened to come to Pittsburgh. Whereas, my mother’s side,
they were from what they called the Serbin Family, S-e-r-b-i-n, which is a
tremendously large family. It’s scattered all over the country now. And one of
the women back in the 18– something or other, they had a farm in Russia, came
over, and she gradually brought all the other people over, little by little and
. . . .

Interviewer: To here in Columbus?

Broidy: No, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.

Interviewer: Oh, Pittsburgh.

Broidy: I was born in Natrona, Pennsylvania.

Interviewer: Okay.

Broidy: 83 1/2 years ago. (Laughter) So I think her father had a combined
bakery and grocery and they happened to meet because my father . . . . became a
salesman for, bread salesman. But in those days, not only sold bread. They sold
whatever, whatever the customers wanted with shoes and clothes and things like
that. After they got married, then the boom times in West Virginia and he and a
partner. Since they had been in the baking business in there, in Pennsylvania,
they bought a small bakery in Fairmount, West Virginia and the partner went into
something else and that’s how my parents came to Fairmount, West Virginia. And
it was a small town; my dad’s not a baker but he operated the bakery. He had
bakers working for him. And my dad liked the small town atmosphere. He grew up
in a small town. And he liked it and that’s where I grew up until World War

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: And then World War II, that’s when, heh, heh, the Army grabbed me
and sent me first here to Columbus. Well, I’d never been in Columbus, ever. We
always went to Pittsburgh or that area. And they put me in a pharmacy. I was
already a pharmacist. And I had not only taken the West Virginia license but the
Pennsylvania license. I was a pharmacist on boats. See, West Virginia had
everything rigged in those days. They wanted to keep out the Pennsylvania and
Ohio pharmacists so they made it so that you had to have experience outside of
school years. Well I had a cousin in the Pittsburgh area, Trentham, who had a,
who was a manager of one of the small chain pharmacies. That’s how I was able
to get some experience that way. But I was still shy experience so I was a
pharmacist in Pennsylania before I was a pharmacist in West Virginia. And there
was a chain out of Pittsburgh that had drug stores in Morgantown, where the
University is, and so they hired me to be a pharmacist in Pennsylvania, which I
was until I had the extra experience to become also in West Virginia. And then I
came back to West Virginia when the war clouds were on the horizon.

Intervviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: And worked in a neighboring town.

Interviewer: Let me ask you this about the family, too . . . . place to work
if you had any language skill. Now being from the Ukraine, did your parents
speak Russian?

Broidy: Well of course, my parents spoke Russian and Polish both.

Interviewer: They, they did . . . .

Broidy: That is my dad did. My dad, he was well respected by the Russian and
Polish and Italian immigrants.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: He worked in the mines, in, that was a big mining area in those days.

Interviewer: Did you learn Russian and Polish?

Broidy: No, I never did . . . .

Interviewer: Did they speak it at the dinner table? Or, . . . .

Broidy: No, they spoke Yiddish.

Interviewer: Yiddish!

Broidy: No, they, well they spoke Yiddish when they didn’t want us to know
something, let’s say.

Interviewer: Did you learn Yiddish?

Broidy: But they spoke English. English but Yiddish a lot of times. So I
basically had a background in Yiddish.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: When I went to Ohio State, I got a degree in Linguistics. When, after
I retired.

Interviewer: And that’s how you . . . .

Broidy: I minored in Yiddish since, but if you don’t use it, you forget it
and . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: I, some of the words, let’s say, but that’s not, it’s not so
much in, let’s say, in pharmacy, huh?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Broidy: But when I hear the words, I probably understand them.

Interviewer: Now you pretty well documented on paper how you met your wife.

Broidy: That was a tremendous thing as far as I’m concerned. That’s the
best thing that ever happened out of the war. Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh. You met her in California and that’s, that’s . . . .

Broidy: No, no, I met her here in Columbus.

Interviewer: Oh, okay.

Broidy: Because she was the boss in the pharmacy that they put me in. But we
were there only long enough for me to take the Ohio State Board Exam, which I
did, and they just, so I had. It was similar to the other board exams and then
the Army shipped me out to Newport News, Virginia, which is near Norfolk, and
that’s where we trained. And formed the 539th Medical Platoon.

Interviewer: 539th Medical Platoon?

Broidy: Medical Platoon, yes.

Interviewer: It was actually formed in California?

Broidy: It was formed, yeah in Newport News. Now I think the government must
have had maybe a dozen such outfits. Some of them stayed in the United States
and some they shipped overseas. We know of a couple others, but we didn’t know
of any couple others like that.

Interviewer: . . . . were you drafted or did you volunteer?

Broidy: Oh, I was drafted.

Interviewer: You were drafted?

Broidy: I’ll tell you. There was a friend of mine who volunteered. He was
killed in six months. So we didn’t volunteer. We were drafted.

Interviewer: Uh hum.

Broidy: When my number came up, there was the other thing too. See at first,
they wanted to put pharmacists, put them in the officer corps and there was an,
a drug topics magazine which I got all the time. Well and then they finally
decided that no, they wouldn’t make them officers, but they would make them
sargeants for example. And so about that time, the Army drafted me.

Interviewer: . . . . How did they know . . . .

Broidy: Well you draw numbers. See if your numbers. . . .

Interviewer: But how did you manage to become into pharmacy though? They
could have . . .


Broidy: How did I become a pharmacist?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Broidy: Well, I’ll tell you, when I was a kid . . . .

Interviewer: They could have given you a rifle once you’re in the Army.

Broidy: No, I became a pharmacist and my dad wanted me to be a doctor. I was
always smart in school. Always the top grades and salutorians and victorians, or
whatever they call ’em. And very active in all the high school things. Well he
wanted me to be a doctor and I didn’t want to have daily diseases to handle. I
didn’t like that at all. ‘Course, now I’m older, all kind of, all kind of
doctors, you know. And I wanted to be a economist, go to Wharton School of
Finance over in Philadelphia. But I turned that down because too far from home.
I was home, I got homesick when I went to find out about it. And so I started to
go to Med School. They admitted me . . . . they had the quota system in those
days. But I got into the Anatomy Building and it smelled like the holy
whatchamacallit and I said, “Dad, I’m not going to Med School.”

Interviewer: Let me ask you this. The “quota system”. Did that have
something to do with your being Jewish? Any impact of your . . . .

Broidy: It had all to do with being Jewish. So many Jews allowed, so many . .
. . some- thing else and that’s the way they did it. Don’t forget in those
days, the Nazis had spent a lot of money on the German propaganda here in the
United States.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: And you had to be pretty respected kind of Jewish man in your town to
be, have any respect from the people.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: And my dad had that respect. And what happened was that there were
miners, I think they were Polish or maybe Russian miners, one of the two. Anyway
. . . . they knew him because they came to town to get bread and stuff. And he
had their respect. So when one of them died and he didn’t have any relatives,
he put all in his will that whatever he had was to go to my dad so my dad would
have a monument for him or, and make sure that he was buried properly. That’s
how much respect my dad had.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: . . . . he was a member of the Elks. Not very many Jewish people were
members of the Elks. So . . . .

Interviewer: These men, these miners were not Jewish?

Broidy: No, they were . . . .

Interviewer: They were giving . . . .

Broidy: Russian or Polish or thereabouts . . . . And of course we lived in,
there were Italian families all around us where we lived on Maple Avenue. And
now of course, it’s changed, whatever it is, they moved out of there too, you
see. So . . . .

Interviewer: But . . . .

Broidy: That’s changed.

Interviewer: . . . . was that, there was a selective . . . .


Interviewer: . . . . which prevented you from going to, into that. How did
that, how did that impact you, the quota system?

Broidy: Well if somebody who wasn’t, let’s say “medical
material” could, I had good grades and I was active in a lot of different
things. But supposing somebody wasn’t. Maybe he wouldn’t be in the quota.

Interviewer: Oh okay. How did Jewishness come to anything . . . .

Broidy: Do what, now?

Interviewer: The fact that you were a Jew. How did that have any impact?

Broidy: No, no, that had all to do with it.

Interviewer: Oh would you describe that?

Broidy: Well those, the Nazi Germany was the number one country in arms and .
. . . and their influence had spread to a great deal of the United States in
those days, you see. And of course, in those days they didn’t know about the
Holocaust or anything like that. And so, and the money they spent on propaganda,
there was always — ever hear of Father Coughlin?

Interviewer: Um, yes.

Broidy: Well, that was, that’s what you heard on the radio all the time.
Didn’t have TV. You had radios.

Interviewer: How did this have an impact on you?

Broidy: Oh what?

Interviewer: How did it have any effect on you?

Broidy: Well the effect was that they had quota system and if I wanted to go
to Med School, you had to be in, chosen in the quota and I was. But I didn’t
want to go to Med School.

Interviewer: Oh, I see.

Broidy: So we compromised, my dad and I, on pharmacy.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: And so I went to pharmacy school and I was top man in the pharmacy
school. But then, and I worked for, I worked for the small chain that had the
store in Morgan- town called Rand Drug Company. Two fellows out of Cleveland had
relocated in Pittsburgh and one of them was a real estate man and the other was
a pharmacist. Very good men. Very good men, both of ’em. And what they’d do
is they would buy up where a drug store was, they’d buy the buildings up and
put their own drug store, chain, in. But that’s a long time ago. Let’s – I
was wondering . . .

Interviewer: How old were you? 16? 18?

Broidy: I think I graduated high school at 16. So that’s what? A long, long
time ago. 80 years or thereabouts.

Interviewer: Let me step forward then to World War II. You were drafted. You
came into the Army. How is it that in the Army you became a pharmacist?

Broidy: Oh, I was a pharmacist already before I came in the Army.

Interviewer: They made you a rifleman, though? That’s my question.

Broidy: No, they didn’t make pharmacists into riflemen. They put them into
the poison gas section, chemical warfare . . . . If you wanted to be an officer,
you went into the chemical warfare. They didn’t put on a rifle. They put a,
the reason, one of the fellows at Fort Hayes and I became very good buddies was
he was the guy who supervised the tests that they gave you. They gave you tests
when you first came in. I made one of those real good grades on the test. I made
a lot of tests.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: So he and I, he was a Swiss guy, Swiss heritage. He and I became very
good buddies, before we left Fort Hayes. And the, when the Army finds I’m a
pharmacist, that you put down on your experience, that’s what they classified
me as.

Interviewer: Ohhhhh.

Broidy: A pharmacist. So then they’re making out these outfits over in
Newport News for the 539th Medical, I’m not sure what they called it, Medical
Platoons or Hospital Platoons, whatever they called them.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: And then, so he’s a pharmacist from this, from this group, this
area, they assign, you get a number you know, it, whatever the pharmacist is,
and that’s what they assign you to.

Interviewer: Now I understand. Now what was your job, what work were you
assigned to do then, as . . . .

Broidy: Ahhhh.

Interviewer: . . . . that platoon.

Broidy: Well in that platoon, we had, our job basically was do whatever they
wanted, the captain wanted, done. That’s all. Whatever the captain wanted
done, now at Newport News there, there wasn’t much basic, well, let’s say.
In Fort Hayes, and when Rose was my boss, I made APC capsules and elixir of
turpin hydrate was legal alcohol. That’s what I did day in and day out until
they shipped me.

Interviewer: Did you, could you tell me what the end product of that . . . .

Broidy: APC is aspirin, phenacctin and caffein.

Interviewer: What’s the . . . .

Broidy: Phenacctin?

Interviewer: I’m sorry?

Broidy: Is that, that’s the name of the product that, it was the end
product and they use that for colds, for headaches, for flu, for everything.
That’s the standard Army remedy in those days. And elixir of turpin hydrate
made with real alcohol.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: Was the same way. Was the standard remedy.

Interviewer: Uh huh. What did you do in Italy?

Broidy: Ahhhhh. In Italy, a little different.

Interviewer: Okay.

Broidy: In Italy, I was the . . . . sergeant. The, we started off with the
first aid, first aid stations. I and two othere were assigned to this particular
aid station. So you’d give hypos, and you’d check the men, and whatever
wounded and you’d send them to the big hospital.

Interviewer: What is a hypo?

Broidy: Hypodermics.

Interviewer: Oh, you’re sticking a needle?

Broidy: Yeah, you have to give a lot of hypodermics. And . . . .

Interviewer: Now is that similar to being a nurse?

Broidy: Very similar, yes. Very similar. In modern day things, yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: In modern days. Now when we got to Rome . . . . right after we
captured Rome, then they, one of the trips, they sent us there, the race track
in Rome was the staging area.

Interviewer: I see.

Broidy: Where new fellows came in and by the next day, ship out. Well, we
were the medical platoon in charge of that and the captain would run the . . . .

Interviewer: Stop right here.

Broidy: We were the first aid men in the first aid station. And they had
different first aid sta—- Like in the morning, you have medical check.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: Anybody who’s, the tents, there are all kind of tents. And anybody
who’s feeling sick or wanted some medical . . . . they’d come to the tents
and we’re the ones that took care of them.

Interviewer: Did you treat battlefield wounded, combat wounded?

Broidy: Let’s see. In Rome, no. But in the Naples area, from there, from
Palermo up to there, yes, yes. But it, not like, not like a formal kind of
hospital. Mostly first aid sections.

Intewrviewer: Did they come in with bandages already in place or did you
adminster bandages, place bandages?

Broidy: Both. Both kind of things.

Interviewer: You did?

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: You placed bandages on wounds?

Broidy: Both kind of things. Right. . . . yeah.

Interviewer: Hmmmmm.

Broidy: Whatever . . . . whatever had to be done, we did. That’s . . . .

Interviewer: How long did the wounded men stay in your . . . .

Broidy: Not very long. Not very long. You would get them out of there as soon
as you could.

Interviewer: Was that a day or two, or . . . .

Broidy: Oh not even a day. If there was a possible to send them to the bigger
hospital out, or out just as soon as you got them bandaged up and ready. And the
same way with the, the planes came, small flying planes that would take them to
the bigger field hospitals. They had these big open wards so you could put . . .
. you know, the beds in them.

Interviewer: Huh.

Broidy: Beds. The plane with a half of its side open. That’s, they would
land in a field and then if you’d, on some cases, you put them in there, in
the . . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: What it was.

Interviewer: Did you treat German wounded also, the enemy?

Broidy: Nope, we didn’t treat any German wounded. The first time we saw
German wounded was when we went on boats to go back to the United States. They
don’t say “boats”, they say “ships”.

Broidy: Yeah.

(Dog barks)

Broidy: He’s in, he’s in Stella’s room. He’s in Stella’s room right

(Voice off to the side)

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: Now did the Germans ever bomb your facility?

Broidy: Oh yeah. Now what happened was in French Africa, when we were in . .
. . , we weren’t in the city. We were 20 miles out. And there was artillery
here and artillery here and we were in back of them. See? And every night, the
Jerry would send over planes for intelligence. And I think, this one would, this
artillery bunch would send red shells up and this artillery . . . . would send
green shells up. That’s how they posit the colors. Like a Fourth of July
parade, you know.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: And in other trips, we were on ships. They had the guns in the
forward and we were on the deck right below where in case there was, they got
wounded where we could get, they could bring them down to us right away. We were
on different kind of transport ships. It was later in the war when they armed
them. I think we were once, one time on a navy ship and the Navy, boy the Navy
ate better, they had stainless steel equipment, they had, Navy best of all in
those days . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: Right. Now I think it’s the Air Force.

Interviewer: So that was the time in Africa? Then we talked about Italy . . .

Broidy: Italy. That was the real war ’cause my buddy was killed. The
children – I can still hear them say, “Mama mia, mama mia”. Crying for
their mothers, you know.

Interviewer: Can you describe that? Is that the mine incident?

Broidy: Yeah, that’s a mine. With, where we were.

Interviewer: What happened there?

Broidy: Well . . . . the field, the larger field hospital was beyond; we were
in that general area, see? And I think we, and they called us to come because we’re
the medics, and we went to the, and they needed more medics for this field
hospital. And so we went there to see what we could do. Nothing we could do ’cause
children, their chests were crushed by the, by the mine.

Interviewer: What had happened?

Broidy: Well I guess they wanted, as far as we know, they were playing with
the mine or maybe they stepped on it. I don’t know. We don’t know. But all
that area was mined.


Broidy: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: How many children?

Broidy: Well, all we had were the three children there but there were more
children in other parts of the tent. So I don’t know. But those three chldren
I remember

’cause of the,’cause of the chest, bleeding from the chest and “Mama
mia, mama mia.”

Interviewer: Were there other incidents like that? You say you had . . . .

Broidy: Well, when that, keep in mind that our basic thing was not as combat
first aid men. Our basic thing was to take the GIs from the United States
overseas and then when they got a shipload of the wounded, to take care of the
wounded on the way back. And that’s exactly what we did. Let’s say it’d
take a week, you know, to travel the ocean. So we were the wounded, we were the
ones taking care of the wounded on the way back. On the way going, it’d depend
where. We were on the Queen Mary one time, out of New York. And the Queen Mary,
now they had given us a pass on the day before ’cause we were veterans and
all. And I had cousins in New York so I went to see them. And then they told me
that their cousin, that my cousin Solly, that was their boy, had written them
that he’s in New York State someplace. And had written them that he expected
to be shipped out soon. Okay . . . . Well, when I get on board, when we were
assigned then to the, this boat that turned out to be the Queen Mary, then our,
where we stayed was the bottom of the boat. Okay. But we all had Red Cross arm
bands on that boat. The Queen Mary could outrun any of the subs, zig zag and
outrun any of the subs. And that’s why they loaded it full but it’s a
British ship, a Limey ship. And it turned out that my cousin Sol had been
assigned as the lodger up in where used to be their bar, up on the top.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: And he had seen these fellows with the arm bands and they’d said
that, pass the word that if my cousin Sam is on it, I’d like to meet him, tell
me who he is. Turned out that he was living in luxury because they had a Limey
boat, guy who’s in charge of the bar and by bribing him with cigarettes, Camel
cigarettes was the big bribe in those days, and cigarettes and candy that we
got, Life Savers (coughs) he could, he kept the Limey boy to get him, to bring
him food. Whereas us guys, a mile long on board that boat, we stood in line. And
you got pickle and cheese before you got any of the meal. That’s the way Limey
boats are so you don’t get scurvy. That’s the way they, did it in those
days. And a lot of the first, no. Oh, on board a Navy ship one time that we were
on, this . . . . ship . . . . well we got breakfast, had potatoes for, and eggs
for breakfast. I had never before had potatoes for breakfast and boy I sure
enjoyed that ’cause potatoes are my favorite food now. Yeah, in West Virginia
you never had like that, see.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Well, the, that was. Oh, in Africa when we were, we had a big truck
was assigned to us. And all of us were in that trruck. That’s how we loaded
all of our stuff and we got around. And . . . . going to . . . . from in Oran, I
remember seeing a great big wagon with four horses belonged to some Arab and . .
. . by the road ’cause there had been artillery fire before we’re, before we
ever got there. But we were back-up in case the artillery guys, anybody got
hurt, see.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So when you crossed on the Queen Mary, it’s probably
with a large number of combat troops being . . . .

Broidy: Oh yes. Oh they must have had thousands of troops on that.

Interviewer: You know what date that would have been or . . . .

Broidy: No, but . . . .

Interviewer: What . . . .

Broidy: Yeah, I’d have to look and see and try to figure out from the . . .

Interviewer: . . . . been before the invasion of Normandy?

Broidy: It was before the invasion. Yeah, at the time. But before the
invasion. Oh yeah. And we were, when we landed in the south part of England.

Interviewer: . . . . Let’s talk some more about the troops back and forth.
How about . . . .

Broidy: Well. . . .

Interviewer: After the invasion and . . . .

Broidy: Oh.

Interviewer: You came back and with . . . . How was that?

Broidy: Well, now before, let me, when we went on one of the other trips
going over to England, I think we went to England maybe three times or something
like that. When on the other trips, we didn’t, it was transport ship in that
case. And you’d come down the gangplank to what they called a tender, which
then takes you to shore. Well, when I was getting from the gangplank to the
tender, . . . . you had a big duffel bag carrying, and I was strong in those
days, I was pretty strong, but not that, and the big waves, the North Atlantic
waves, they’d cut like this. Well I had one foot on the tender and one foot on
the gangplank and a big wave hit, jarred my back out and I’ve, I sti.–, I’ve
had backache for years, came from that.

Interviewer: Yeah. Oh my goodness.

Broidy: Yeah. It . . . .

Interviewer: Going . . . . from one boat to the other?

Broidy: Yeah, that’s the way, no what, is this, oh yeah. Then in England,
now . . . . we were in, well let me tell you what’s in my mind first though.
To, one time I got a pass that we were supposed to be or to go, friends who
lived, who were in London. They were refugees from Czechoslovakia. But I’d
heard from my mother in West Virginia that they had sent two sisters at . . . .
sister . . . . one of the friends and in Fairmount had come to a town . . . . in
London or part of London. And so I got permission and I got a pass and I went up
to London to see, to meet them and say hello and all that and bring them regards
from West Virginia. Well then I, then the trains, the English trains were fast,
real fast and on time exactly. And when I come back, there’s my outfit in the
truck just coming out of the gate . . . . and they had my duffel bag on it. And
boy I was lucky because that’s when they put you in the Infantry. You see? If
you miss your outfit, then you go in the Infantry.

Interviewer: Close call there in England. Let’s go back again to the . . .
. Queen Mary travel, after the invasion.

Broidy: Oh, now that was the, before the invasion.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: This was, all this happened before the invasion.

Interviewer: Well . . . .

Broidy: Now when it came to the invasion time . . . .

Interviewer: Okay.

Broidy: We were on a ship, transport ship that left port just at the time of
the invasion. And we were . . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Yeah, in England. And what we had on board were not only our wounded,
’cause it was wounded then, and also some GI prisoners, some black guys that .
. . .

Interviewer: Two, three, four, five, six . . . .

Broidy: They put them, they were sending them back to the U.S. And Jerry
prisoners and in the bottom also . . . . (coughs) So we were part of a squadron
that was leaving England then. And there were German boats, subs all around. And
the captain of our ship came down to the, where we were. I was taking care of
the GI prisoners right then, they had locked up and jailed, and he checked to
make sure that in case we got sunk or anything that they didn’t cause trouble,
anything. And then we landed back in New York. I think there was . . . . we
heard on the, in the, where we ate in the tables of the kitchen, they had all
the radios so that the news com- mentaries . . . . with the Army news guys
talking all about this, how the invasion was. It was right at the time of the

Interviewer: Now you say a German, was it Jap, German submarines out there?

Broidy: Oh yeah that was . . . . our squadron was attacked by Germans.

Interviewer: Can you describe . . . .

Broidy: . . . . All we knew was of afterwards. (laughter) All we knew was
afterwards. That’s all. ‘Cause we were down in the maybe one of the third
decks or something like that, where the jail was, you know. We’re way down
there so all we knew was . . . . all we know was afterwards, our outfit got a,
some kind of a citation for that particular attack. Yeah. But we heard that our
destroyers had sunk some of the subs.

Interviewer: Do you know how many trips you made from, let’s say the one
way then back after the invasion, how many times you came back with wounded from

Broidy: Well, I know it was another trip (pause), I’m not sure if it was
one or two trips. I can’t remember.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: Tell me about . . . .

Broidy: Well it must have been two trips. Because one time we came back to
New York in the evening and we shipped out again the next morning. So it must
have been at least two, maybe three, trips. I think that’s what it was. Yeah.

Interviewer: So would that be accurate then? You, the ship docked and within
one day, it’s going back?

Broidy: Not that ship. It was a different ship.

Interviewer: Oh, you might . . . .

Broidy: Oh a different ship. Yeah. We were on . . . . we were on a number of
different ships.

Interviewer: Oh, now I understand.

Broidy: We were, huh . . . .

Interviewer: So you went to another ship the next day?

Broidy: Our group. Yeah.

Interviewer: The next day . . . . back across?

Broidy: Yeah. Yeah, it . . . . it was the time of the invasion, that I know.
Time around that, yeah. ‘Cause they were going to get all the men they could
out, back over in, into Eng—., England . . . .

Interviewer: Am I correct . . . . then, you had assignments to help take care
of the health of the men as they went over?

Broidy: Yeah. That’s what we did going over. We were the medics going over.
That was our basic thing, and then taking care of the wounded on the way back.
Well, then we went to the Philippines. Oh, the last trip we didn’t know but
when they sent us back this time, the captain said, “You got a week leave .
. . . and then you’re going to be reassigned to a different outfit in the
Pacific.” Well all I knew is I had orders to report to Camp Stockton, I
think it was called, in California. And the Army had decided they were going to
use our kind of outfit because we had so much exper- ience on traveling, taking
care of wounded and all that on boats, that they would use over there. Well we
thought that we were going to be on land the same way after we got over there.
See? But turned out that we weren’t on land very long because basically what
we did was to, they ass—, first of all, in Camp Stockton, they assigned us to
a different outfit. And I knew I’d never remember the number of, name of that
one. So that’s where I had, when I got discharged out in Seattle, that to have
them put that on. ‘Cause 539th I’d never forget.

Interviewer: Um.

Broidy: As far as I’m concerned, my life was before the World War — after
the World War. That’s the big dividing point.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah. So the 539th then, was that the end of the 539th
when you went to the Pacific?

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Yeah, it was, they probably deactivated us.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: When we hit New York, and gave us a week trip. Week, a week to go to
Camp Stockton. Well, during that week, I was able to, by the train, get to West
Virginia and to Chicago and then fly from Chicago to Camp Stockton in
California. So at least I got to see my folks. And my Dad said, “Yes, I had
matured.” So that’s what he told me, “Yes, I had matured.”

Interviewer: Well you had said in your notes there that you had matured and
you had made some good, quick decisions. Could you describe what . . . .

Broidy: Well, you react to the moment’s notice.

Interviewer: Can you give me some examples of that in . . . .

Broidy: Yes. In Italy, we were in this big truck and I was sitting by the
end, by the door. Well we’re traveling on rough road, you know, it’s field
road that we’re traveling on. Not on paved roads or anything like that. And we
hit a bump and I’m thrown out of the truck. But while sitting by the side of
the, it was covered by canvas or, and there’s a rope that we had used . . . .
In that split second, I grabbed the rope and as we kept on going, by the rope, I
swung back in.

Interviewer: Oh, that was pretty quick.

Broidy: Yeah . . . . I mean is you react to the moment in, after you. That’s
exactly what it is.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: Yeah. You know, I don’t think, I don’t have much thinking mind
anyway unless just subconscious mostly that, for years afterwards, several
years, when I slept at night, I was very, very alert. Any sound would wake me up
. . . .

Interviewer: Well that’s an interesting topic about after-effects of the
war. Did you . . . .

Broidy: Oh I . . . .

Interviewer: Did you have what they call today “flashbacks”? Did
you have nightmares? Did you dream about . . . .

Broidy: I didn’t have any nightmares. But I dreamt about some of the

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: Yeah. For example, I wondered when . . . . dreaming, should I have
married one of those girls in, the Czech girls. They were so, when I was coming
back ov–, leaving England. Because a lot of GIs married British girls for
example, and their, and they had a big, powerful effect on me. They were pretty
and courteous and entirely different kind of manners and, you see, manners. And
I’m from the South, I’m from West Virginia.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: I like the Southern manners. Well, then I didn’t think about that
any more after I met Rose, you see.

Interviewer: Ahhhhh.

Broidy: (laughs)

Interviewer: A big change. What, you had mentioned in your notes also about
religious services in Casablanca . . . . we talked about the religious services
in . . . .

Broidy: Yeah. All right. Now first of all, were the religious services in
Italy. No, let’s start back with, with French West Africa.

Interviewer: Okay.

Broidy: In Oran. Now there was a synagogue in Oran. Because the Jews had
lived there many, many years. And they were Sephardic, you know, different than
the Ashkenazi, which my family is. Well, after we went to these services, the
Army services, you know, then came one of the holidays, maybe it was Rosh
Hashonah. I don’t remember which holiday it was at the time. Might have been
Rosh Hashonah. Well so I was able to get, have a jeep take me into Oran ’cause
they had a synagogue there. And then this synagogue was on the outside, the
dirtiest you ever saw. All the Arab, everything was full of dirt. Yeah.

Interviewer: Side B, now describing the attendance at religious services.

Broidy: Yeah, and of course, the women are all up in the balconies on the
side. The, that’s the way it was. And yeah, I would contrast in my mind
because when I had left New York, I think before that trip, I’d gone to Temple
Emanuel and it’s a tremendous Temple. But nowhere near as beau—, and it’s
supposed to be one of the most beautiful there was in the country. But nowhere
near as beautiful as this old synagogue in Oran. And then of course, the Army
for Yom Kippur sent us to Casablanca. I can’t remember how we got there or
what. All I remember is the cantors for the services were the best there must
have been in the world, I think. They were, must have been from New York. Their
singing was . . . . I thought it was the most terrific kind of singing I’ve
ever, chanting I’ve ever heard.

Interviewer: Were these Army personnel?

Broidy: Yeah, they were Army personnel but they must have been, chaplains
from New York that they had made, cantors that they had made into chaplains.
That’s what they must have been.

Interviewer: Huh.

Broidy: Oh yeah. They were all, everything was Army. And then a family took
us to their house for the Seder, either, I can’t remember, after Seder, or
before Seder. Whatever, those parts are . . . . But the French family,
French-Jewish family . . . . .

Interviewer: They were residents of . . . .

Broidy: Oh, they were residents of Casablanca.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: Yeah, and there were of course maybe a half a dozen of us GIs as
their guests. And what got me is the different kind of wines. You don’t drink
the water in Africa. That poisoned us. The water will kill you. But the wine, I
had anisette wine. First time I ever had anisette wine. And the, and that’s
what appetizer-like, to begin. And then you had the different kind of wines. And
maybe there must have been half a dozen different kind of wine. And everybody
talking about, and the . . . . I remember the French lady asking, “Well if
your wife’s in California,” asking one of the fellows, “and you’re
stationed in New York before you got here, how do you ever get together?”
“Oh, we manage.” (laughter)

Interviewer: . . . .


Broidy: Well, in our outfit, there was a French-Canadian boy and he was a
young man, must have been 18 or something like that. And this French-Canadian
guy he romanced every place we went. Africa – he romanced the French girls.
Italy – he romanced the Italian girls. In Africa, all the women carried little
scimitars they called them, curved little swords that they keep in their purses,
see. They, you don’t fool with them unless they want you to, you know. And
then in Italy, they have their traditions but in Rome, we got time to go see the
Vatican. And I was at the Vatican, just beautiful, I mean wonderful. And I also
saw that, those caves. I forget the name of, seems to me . . . . something,
where the Jerries had shot the Italian Rabbis, and Italian generals too who
opposed them. Because they knew that they were going to have to leave, you know,
since we . . . . we had just captured Rome and they were still, the caves still
hadn’t been emptied.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: The, you could see all the hundred of coffins with the Jewish star on
them. It’s in the cave. And what the Jerries did was then run a tractor and
shoot them in the back of the head.

Interviewer: How did you know about this? Was this organized violence. . . .

Broidy: Well, you hear scuttlebutt all the time. Or what. But I didn’t go
by myself. There was always somebody, there’s always maybe some group of other
GIs that pass the word along. Things like that.

Interviewer: I see . . . .

Broidy: Ever hear of Bill Mauldin? He was an author . . . .

Interviewer: Yes.

Broidy: Well that’s about the kind of way . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah. Bill Mauldin wrote “Willy and Joe” . . . .

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Broidy: He was, he was . . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: That’s right. The Army Times. He wrote . . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: And things like that.

Interviewer: Now you told me earlier here before we began taping, Seventh Day
Adventist, the Seventh Day Adventist?

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: They were arranging services?

Broidy: Well, I think he was a Seventh Day Adventist or maybe it’s
something else. Wherever they had Sat—, their services are on Saturday also,
just like the Jewish services on Saturday.

Interviewer: Well did you attend with him? What was that experience?

Broidy: Oh, well we rode in the jeep there and we come to the barracks. Then
he goes to this side which is where the Seventh Day Adventists had their, and I
go to the Jewish side. The barracks was cut in half. I mean, they had it in

Interviewer: Where was this?

Broidy: . . . . someplace near Oran.

Interviewer: Oh that was . . . .

Broidy: Yeah, near Oran. Yeah. Someplace near Oran. Yeah. It was in, I don’t
think it was very far away from where we were.

Interviewer: You think the war experience had any effect on your religious

Broidy: No, I don’t think that had a great deal of . . . . I remember, we
were brought up in traditional kind of way. And I remember when we were on this
S.S. Parita. That’s the boat that took us from San Francisco to the
Philippines. And that, somehow the, I forget what it was, came on that time and
of course, I was in charge of the medics in those days. I was Sergeant Tech by
that time. And there were some other Jewish fellows on the ship. And we
conducted out own little service in the kitchen of the . . . . I read the
English and part of the Hebrew that I had learned by that time and that’s the
way we did it. And somebody else sang and . . . .

Interviewer: It sounds like you organized your own service?

Broidy: Yeah. We did.

Interviewer: Without any Rabbi or . . . .

Broidy: Oh no, no. Of course not. No, not on board, not on board ships you
don’t have, you don’t have enough, huh . . . . no . . . . You don’t. But
the most I wrote, I did write to you about how I overcome all my fears. See.
That was, that’s one of the big things that’s because, when little children
get afraid of something, that lasts them many years. And when I got on that,
that boat, and it was a rickety old boat, believe me. Not a gun on board but all
unarmed medics. And come out into where the sunshine, the peaceful, beautiful
clouds, wonderful. Physically, all my fears went up.

Interviewer: You’re referring to your first boat trip? Is that correct?

Broidy: My first boat trip. Yes. Out of . . . .

Interviewer: Could you just touch on that a little bit? That’s from where
and . . . .

Broidy: Well Newport News and Norfolk and Hampton Roads was all in the same

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: And Hampton Roads is a graveyard for old sailing ships, that is,
there was always storms and hurricanes. This great big storm was coming into
North Carolina all this now. It comes up the coast of that area, see. And that
was some like that we sailed out in.

Interviewer: Your first trip . . . .

Broidy: Our first trip. Yeah. I thought that was a first trip to West Africa.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: To French West Africa.

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Broidy: We sailed out of Hampton Roads and Norfolk. That’s where that is.
And . . . .

Interviewer: So why were you afraid?

Broidy: From childhood.

Interviewer: Why? What had happened? Can you tell?

Broidy: I can’t remember exactly.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: But it always seemed to me that I’d somehow fallen off a boat into
the river. That’s what stuck in my mind.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Maybe it’s so and maybe it isn’t. Who knows? I can’t remember
that far back. But that fear was a fear like my wife, for example. She can’t
go in an airplane. Same kind of fear.

Interviewer: Same kind of fear?

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did you have other fears that . . . .

Broidy: No just fear of water.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: And always was ironic to us that I get on the water and my brother
gets on land.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: (laughs)

Interviewer: War experience took care of that, . . . .

Broidy: Yeah. And you mature quick. We used to trade. I didn’t smoke. I,
before college, I smoked pipes. After college, I didn’t smoke. Well, I traded
in Africa. I traded my cigarettes, Camels the only kind the French guys wanted,
French . . . . I think they called it, soldiers. And if it wasn’t Camels, they
wouldn’t trade. I traded one, I traded a number for a Senegal, Senegal, I
think the French Colonial Senegal. Tall men, black . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: with big kind of hats. I traded a carton of cigarettes, I think one
time, for one of them. And that was on one of their hats and I think I brought
that back. I’m not sure if that was lost or, I think it got lost. But I traded
him on that. But on in Italy, if it wasn’t Camels, the French guys didn’t
want it.

Interviewer: They didn’t want it?

Broidy: Yeah. But in Italy, you got a sample. . . . Oh I remember going to a
shop. These are small little shops like family lives upstairs. And then buying a
wallet to send home to my dad. See.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: Well I paid U.S. money, three dollars. When I went to the Philippines
and I was r—., I had command of the jeep ’cause the place where the major
sent me was moved to someplace else. See you move by the hour or by the day

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: Well there was a souvenir stand on the road a little Philippino guy
had. So I stopped to buy Rose a Philippine ring. Three dollars. Same, they knew
what the GIs could buy there. Three dollars. Huh. (laughs)

Interviewer: . . . . what money you had?

Broidy: Yeah. (laughs)

Interviewer: . . . . . well you were getting souvenirs. Now you said you had
souvenirs that were stolen. What all, what all did you collect? . . . .

Broidy: Well I had spent . . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Well whatever, whatever there was . . . .

Interviewer: Do you remember what was in the bag that was stolen?

Broidy: No, I can’t remember.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: All I remember, I had a stuffed, a whole stuffed bag because anyplace
I went. Oh, we were not too far from Naples. So I got a pass to go to the Naples
Opera. See? And I saw the red, the real red, what they call the curtains that
they have . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: The, some theaters have red curtains the same way they, but not like
that wine red. And I heard a little boy sing, 12 years old and sing like Caruso.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Wonderful s—, I’ll tell you that. And the Italian sky in those,
in that area, romantic, boy it’s, it’s the softest, prettiest sky, just
romance-like. Oh, well this, one of the GIs and I, we got a couple of hours’
pass and we went to Pompeii.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: That’s a . . . .

Interviewer: I know. I saw it.

Broidy: Yeah, it’s. . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Yeah we went to Pempeii. And this was, and I looked at all the . . .
. they built all that. Tremendous. Yeah.

Interviewer: During the war in Italy, there was a volcano that erupted. Did
you see that?

Broidy: Well the ground that we dug our tents in was all volcanic. We didn’t
see a volcanic thing. It might have been but I don’t think we ever had time
with, to notice anything like that. Maybe there was ’cause that’s all that
volcanic area. But the ground itself was full of volcanic ash. It’s very hard
to dig into.

Interviewer: So you were in . . . .

Broidy: Oh one of the things I remember you asked me about was in . . . .
The, let’s see, I had a hatchet that I had put in my duffle bag. ‘Course
they don’t check duffle bags or anything like that when you go over. So I put
my, in the bottom of my duffle bag. When we got to Italy, then, all the guys
wanted to borrow it, see, because you had to pound all the pegs, you know, into
the ground. And that hatchet had the hammer; boy that was the right thing.

Interviewer: You had a good tool for . . . .

Broidy: Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: . . . . tent . . . .

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: tent stakes?

Broidy: That was good.

Interviewer: Well wasn’t that uncomfortable though, was it comfortable, not
uncomfortable, being out in the tents . . . .

Broidy: Well . . . .

Interviewer: Sleeping in a tent?

Broidy: the, I’ll tell you, the air was plenty, plenty warm in Italy.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: But in England, I froze. We learned to put our winter underwear on
top of our regular underwear in order to stay at least decent. And it
raiiinnnneeeedddd all the time that we were there practically in the Midlands.
Rain and rain and rain. Oh, watercress. They served us sometime watercress
salad. The watercress in England–delicious. Wonderful. And you know when I came
back to the United States, I would go to the grocery stores and see if they had
any watercress and we tried. And when we got married, my wife and I tried
watercress several different times. Nothing like the flavor that England has.
Oh, in . . . . in Wales, we quite often ate fish and chips. See, they’d have
the fish and chips and they wrap it in the newspaper that . . . . Oh one of the
English ladies down at the cancer hospital where I volunteer, she said,
“That’s sort of phased out now.”

Interviewer: All right.

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: So you have some fond memories about eating . . . .

Broidy: Oh, oh. . . .

Interviewer: . . . . was told that you were staying out . . . .

Broidy: Oh, the holidays.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: The holidays . . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Oh, when we were in Italy and . . . . you, out of the tin cans, you

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Yeah, all them. But on holidays, Thanksgiving especially . . . .

Interviewer: Oh.

Broidy: . . . . we were someplace in that they served, that’s the big
eating day.

Interviewer: Huh?

Broidy: Thanksgiving Day. That’s the big. Christmas too. But not like
Thanksgiving. That’s a real American holiday.

Interviewer: How often . . . . even in England?

Broidy: Yeah. And the Navy, the Navy ate good all the time. Oh in England,
the guys that were already stationed there, they had learned to get steaks and
they had built the heat, the stoves in their group tents, that they could cook
on and those, they were all right. (laughs)

Interviewer: Let’s see now in England, the bombing was over, I mean the . .
. .

Broidy: No, no.

Interviewer: British?

Broidy: No, no, the bombing was not over when we, on our trips there.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: The bombing was over by the time of the invasion. But the trips
before then, they bombed in London, for example.

Interviewer: Did you . . . .

Broidy: Oh . . . .

Interviewer: . . . . any of that?

Broidy: No ’cause when I got into London, on that particular trip, when I
got into London, I went into a pub, they call it. And the pub, there was, and
you have the British beer, ale is what it is, and they throw darts. Well there
was a fellow there, a British Limey, who could tell from the other soldiers’
language, what town they came from, almost what street they came from.

Interviewer: Huh.

Broidy: Linguistic. And that stuck in my mind ’cause it, that was amazing
to me that he could tell so much from all, ‘course the British have the best
spy intelligence in the world, the British do. Well when I got retired from
full-time pharmacy and I went back to Ohio State to go to school, they said,
“What do you want to take up?” So I thought, “Well, I’ll take
up Jewish studies and then I switched over to and you, one of the things you got
to take is Linguistics in order to get a degree. And I remembered about that
particular, and so I switched over to Linguistics as my major.

Interviewer: Interesting.

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: Because of that?

Broidy: Yeah, because.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Yeah, because I remembered.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: On that, that was . . . . yeah, ’cause I remember, it’s amazing.
See and when I was running our business, pharmacy, people would come in and just
say a few words about what ailed them and like a dictionary in my mind, I could
tell from that, from those words they used, what it was that their ailment was
and what was the right remedy for them. I just happened to have it. Well, for
example, little children may have, like a dictionary up in their head that they
can absorb all these different languages and everything so quick.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: . . . . must have it when they’re younger. Let’s go back to
England one more time and ask about, let’s say the B-l rockets. Those were
starting to be fired. Did you see any of them?

Broidy: No, one I saw in London was where the rockets had hit.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: They hit a lot of the buildings that. But that’s already over by
the time I got into London. See?

Interviewer: What was your last month in London? Was it in 1944?

Broidy: Oh no.

Interviewer: ’45?

Broidy: 1945. The . . . .

Interviewer: Oh.

Broidy: last time we were in England was 1945. Because, one of our, right
after the invasion is when our last trip, I think the trip after that was we
came back to New York and then they shipped us to Camp Stockton. And all those
who wanted to be out, who had enough, they got out on points.

Interviewer: Oh I see. Based on the photographs you showed me before we began
taping, there was snow on the ground in England. So you must have been there in
. . . . .

Broidy: We . . . .

Interviewer: January of 1945?

Broidy: We were there during the first years, first part of the year and also
during the summer when the invasion was.

Interviewer: Oh perhaps January of ’45.

Broidy: Yeah, well . . . . No, it was January of 1945. I’m quite sure. We
were, ’cause one of the trips we came back around Christmas time to New York.
And that I think was from, I think that was from Italy.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: But one of the trips we made . . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: We made about three trips during the . . . .

Interviewer: . . . . sure of that because you were in Italy until Rome was

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Right after Rome was captured.

Interviewer: Rome was captured June 7.

Broidy: Well and we were there maybe . . . .

Interviewer: 1944.

Broidy: We were there maybe another month . . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: or so. Two months. Maybe a couple months.

Interviewer: Then you went to England?

Broidy: No, then we went, we took a load back to the . . . .

Interviewer: Back to the United States?

Broidy: United States.

Interviewer: And then from the United States . . . .

Broidy: Then we went to England.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: That would be in the Fall of 1944?

Broidy: Well, I’m not sure if it was, maybe we, it was late in the Fall.
‘Cause we were in Italy until it got cool. I know that.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: We were in Italy ’till it got cool.

Interviewer: Yeah. So the first part of ’45, you were in England?

Broidy: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: And then you departed England with a load of wounded? Is that

Broidy: . . . . several times. I think three times.

Interviewer: The last time . . . .

Broidy: Was when . . . . right after the invasion. Another trip. Yeah we made
another trip.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: And so, then your . . . .

Broidy: Then they sent us to Camp Stockton and to the Pacific.

Interviewer: Wow. What did you think about? You were finished with that half
of the war . . . . . . .

Broidy: We were . . . .

Interviewer: In Europe. What did you think about having to go to the Pacific?
How did, what did you think about that?

Broidy: Whatever the Army said, that’s what we do. That’s all. Hurry up
and wait. That’s the old Army way. That’s what we do. Whenever the Army
says, to go, you go.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: We didn’t think a . . . . All of us had plenty of points but points
didn’t mean anything. The Army always got more, more trips out of you, no
matter what, anyway. And, except that I didn’t want to be in the regular Army
after the war. A lot of guys decided that they could become, second lieutenants
or officers in the chemical warfare field. Other pharmacists from the other
platoons that we talked about.

Interviewer: Did any of your buddies from the earlier years go out into . . .

Broidy: There was another fellow who had been in the Army before. And when we
got to Camp Stockton, they gave you your choide to leave if you wanted to. See?

Interviewer: Leave what?

Broidy: Yeah, you could leave the outfit because those wounded or have bad
legs like this fellow Pincus, was his name. He was a big fella and he had bad
legs. And he had enough points to get out and so he got out. And then, Bierley,
that was the old man of the outfit, he had a son who was also in another outfit.
Bierley, he left too. But us fellows, we shipped over to the Philippines.

Interviewer: Why didn’t you leave?

Broidy: I didn’t want to leave. I’m, this is the Army. I’m in the Army.

Interviewer: You wanted, you didn’t want to leave? Couldn’t you go back
to West Virginia or . . . .

Broidy: My duty is to win the war. The war wasn’t over when we were in
California. The was wasn’t over then.

Interviewer: So you’re saying you could have, you could have taken a

Broidy: Well, I don’t know if they got discharged or whether they got
shipped to some other kind of outfit.

Interviewer: I see.

Broidy: Well, who knows? I don’t know what their, but . . . .

Interviewer: Your orders, you had orders to go on to the Pacific?

Broidy: My orders were to go to . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: this particular ship and it’d go to the Philippines, go to
whatever, the Pacific someplace. We didn’t know where we’re going. They
could have sent us any place in the Pacific, you know.

Interviewer: Now how did you feel? The Pacific is a much larger ocean than
the Atlantic.

Broidy: The Pacific is not very pacific. It stormed all the time, yes.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: And the, only after did we find out that we were going to the
Philippines. See? And by that time I was just thinking of my wife more than, the
girls . . . . That was in my thoughts more than anything else, you know. So when
I came back, when I got a discharge out of Seattle, my first thought was to go
down to Oakland where my wife was and to get married there if I could.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: I fell in love – as simple as that.

Interviewer: Yeah. Do you have an interesting story about, you wanted to get
married? Was there any problem in getting married?

Broidy: Ho, ho, yeah. Her mother said, “No, he’s a soldier boy.
Soldier boy doesn’t have any money. He doesn’t have a job. Where you going
to live? No way.” So then I went out and got a job. I’m a pharmacist. I
went and took the State Board exam and I went and got a job, pharmacy, with a
good income. Twice what it was back in Ohio. In those days, California was
unionized in those days.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: And got a studio, I walked down the street to a lake; I had stayed in
Hotel Merritt, Lake Merritt, which is Lake Merritt and I stayed in there those .
. . . and then I walked down the street and there I saw apartment house, those
big houses they made into apartments, see. And there was a man sitting on a
couch, and I only had my suit on with all my medals and ribbons. I said, “I’m
looking for a little apartment. You got any?” “Yeah.” So they had
one room that made into apartments, maybe this size, the same size as this room.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: They made into studio apartments. That’s what they were. Pull down
stoves and things like that. Pull down beds. Yeah.

Interviewer: So then it was okay to, to get married?

Broidy: Well after I had the job and my apartment, my studio apartment, then
. . . . mother says, “Yes”. So we went back to Columbus to be married
. . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: so that all of my folks, I had a lot of relatives in the Pennsylvania
area, and all her folks, could, to the wedding. And that same night then, we
left on the train back to, well, we went to Los Angeles first. Because I had
relatives and cousins there and we went to, saw them. And we went to Chicago,
and I remember in Chicago there was a restaurant, a Viennese restaurant that had
Vienna, Austrian restaurant. They had dancing as well as food. And we danced and
enjoyed the food. At the same time, it was a nice way to pass the day because we
arrived, I think, early in the m—, late at night.

Interviewer: Let me ask you this. How did you keep the romance alive while
you were gone? How much time passed from when you first met Rose until you got
back together again?

Broidy: Well, you got to, remember this. Now Rose had had a number of
boyfriends before I ever met her. See. And she’s in Cali—, she liked
California tre- mendously. She lives in Oakland across the bay from San
Francisco and she worked in . . . .

Interviewer: You met her in Columbus?

Broidy: Noooooooo. Oh, I met her in Columbus.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Yeah, I met her in Columbus when I got . . . .


Broidy: She’s just another Jewish girl.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: See. Friends. Nice girl, nice boy. Nice Yiddishe girl. Nice Yiddishe
boy. That’s all. Just friends. Just like you see any other girl. See. But by
the time I arrived after the war into, the plane landed in Oakland, not in San
Francisco. It landed in Oakland in those days. That is the Army plane did and
went and in Camp Stockton is on the east bay on this side of Oakland, 20 mile
out of Oakland this way. That’s the way it was then. So by the time, I was not
only a veteran but I, my eyes had been opened. We had seen plenty of girls
overseas, all different kind of girls, you know. Plenty of girls. Well when,
when I made a date, when I called up, I found her name in the telephone book. So
I called her up and made a date. Well when I came to her apartment house and to
pick her up and then we’d go over to, then she had accumulated that San
Francisco charm, the hair, the dress, the walk. Boy my eyes opened wide, my jaw
fell down and I fell in love. Deep in love. We’ve been married 54 years now,

Interviewer: Now just to clarify for me. When did you meet her again in
California? You shipped out after that? . . . .

Broidy: Oh yeah I shipped out. I shipped out after that.

Interviewer: . . . . correspond? Were you both in love with each other after
you left?

Broidy: Oh no.

Interviewer: No?

Broidy: No. What happened is from that time on, I pursued her. Now where we
stayed in Camp Stockton, don’t forget we were veterans. We report for reveille
at 6 o’clock. Now it takes time, several months or a month, maybe a month I
think it was, before they get the ship ready and all of that. So during that
time, there was a Kaiser Steel plant right next to the camp. So I and another
fellow who was already married, just Waddell, tall guy. He and I went to work at
that steel plant after 6:30 in the morning and we would sweep up the place and
clean up the place. The steelmen, they don’t do stuff like that. See. So we’d
sweep up and then you got paid every day.

Interviewer: Paid even though you were in the miltiary?

Broidy: Yeah, they were allowed to pay. The Kaiser plant was allowed to pay
ya’ then.

Interviewer: I see.

Broidy: And so they paid us money. So they paid us money and you got paid
then. So I call up Rose and say, “Let’s go out tonight.” And so I’d
come, and come to her apartment house and we’d go over to San Francisco. The
Bay Train goes real good over there, see. And we would go to different
restaurants. And that’s how we courted. And I guess she thought I, well I
pursued her. So I was more, maybe more serious than some of the other guys . . .
. Women’s mind, who knows how womens’ minds work?

Interviewer: Did you propose before you left? . . . .

Broidy: Oh yeah. I proposed.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: Oh yes. I proposed, let’s see. Oh, seems to me that I proposed
before I left to go to the Philippines and then I would write her letters every
night. I used to, when I was in England, I wrote my folks quite often. But I, on
board ship, at nighttime, I’d write her letters saying and then, “I love
you” see. . . . Well, what happened was that, when we’d pass a ship going
the other way, that’s when mail gets transferred, see. All right. And so she
would get a whole bunch of letters at one time. And I would describe well, you
know what the places, or whatever, what things like something, like I’d
describe when I talked to my, when I’d write to my folks, or whatever I had
duties or whatever activities happened. And so she’d get a whole bunch of
letters at one time. And so she saved those and when we moved from California
here, she had a big duffle bag that she put all that stuff in. And I brought
them here and they, they got lost almost, but we found them again when we
cleaned up the basement one time. And I still have them.

Interviewer: You still have them?

Broidy: For the grandkids to . . . .

Interviewer: Wonderful.

Broidy: . . . . when they get, when they’re old enough to get married. So .
. . .

Interviewer: Is it true to say that when you and this little . . . .

Broidy: Oh, wait a minute. Let’s see. When I came back, we sort of had an
understanding, you see, that, before I left, we sort of had an understanding.

Interviewer: I see.

Broidy: But when I came back, the ship was supposed to land in San Francisco
but didn’t on account of a storm, Pacific storm. It landed in Seattle and
after I got discharged, so I called her up and proposed to her over the
telephone. And I sent her a, I had given her this Philippine ring, no, I gave
her, I had mailed her the Philippine ring and I had the jeweler send her a Gruen
watch that I could afford to buy, from my Army things. And that was the
engagement thing, the ring, that’s oh, the ring that I had bought in Manila,
Philippines, and I think she, she still had, she still had it in California when
we came, then, after her mother said that it was okay to get married, then I
went to Sears and had them, got a ring, I remember it cost $260 or something
like that, which was a lot of money in those days, see. But all the money that I’d
earned, you know . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: I bought her a real nice engagement, I mean, engagement ring, and in
fact I think the diamond in it stayed until she got here and washing dishes one
day and it went down the drain. (laughs)

Interviewer: Oh my . . . . Sears. Well that covers a lot of time and . . . .

Broidy: Now do you have any questions like these questions here?

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: How did the Army U.S. treat you? Well they treated us just like any
other soldier. Just like any other soldier which was different from the
atmosphere back in West Virginia, let’s put it that way.

Interviewer: In terms of your Jewish heritage?

Broidy: Huh?

Interviewer: You mean in Jewish heritage it was no different?

Broidy: No, it was, just treated like soldier, or a private, or a sergeant,
whatever you . . . .

Interviewer: But it’s different in West Virginia? It was different in West

Broidy: In those days. In those days.

Interviewer: Well there was discrimination in West Virginia?

Broidy: In those days, yeah.

Interviewer: . . . . in those days?

Broidy: Oh yeah. Um huh.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: And, have you attended any reunions of your unit? I think about four
years later, when the captain, after the war, about four or five years later,
the captain’s wife died. And when she did, he decided to have a reunion of all
his group. He lived in Cincinnati. He was a Cincinnati baby doctor. Yeah. So we
went there. I drove down. I had a big station wagon in those days, one of those
Pontiac Safaris that we had the kids in all the time.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: So I drove down and the reunion and saw the, whatever guys were left
on it. And . . . .

Interviewer: Was that the captain from yours or the captain in the

Broidy: No, no. That’s a major in the Philippines. First of all, major . .
. .

Interviewer: Major in the Philippines?

Broidy: And no. What he did was write me a recommendation letter.

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Broidy: When I walked down the street looking for work, I see a nice-looking
drug store so I got all my medals and ribbons and all and I take this letter of
recommendation and I go in to see the man . . . .

Interviewer: Oh, I see.

Broidy: who’s in charge. Turned out to be the President of the California
Board of Pharmacy.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: And he had five stores in the Oakland area. Well one of the men in
one of the stores was going to retire, illness, you know. And so he had an
opening. And he said, he looked at my letter of recommendation that the major
had signed and all my medals. “Sure,” he said, “come to

Interviewer: And the letter of recommendation.

Broidy: Any other questions?

Interviewer: Is there anything else on the list there that might bring back a
memory? I don’t . . . .

Broidy: Well, I just want to say that the war made all the difference between
being a kid. I was a kid when I went to war, no matter how old I was, 25 or 26,
something like that. But I was a mature man when I got out of the Army.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: In every respect, yeah.

Interviewer: What was it, about four years? Would that be correct? That you
were . . . .

Broidy: Well it’s, oh three years and three quarters. Or something like
that. Yeah. Three and three quarters.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: And I always had a fond regard for the U.S. Army ever since I got to
meet Rose that way. I’d never; just figure the odds. In Rome, during one of
the tents, I ran across a fellow that I had known in Fort Hayes. He was being
sent to another outfit like ours that had some wounded.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: I think they were at Anzio, come to think of it, the other outfit.
And so he told me all the news and the news was that Rose had gone to San
Francisco. That’s how I knew she was in San Francisco. See. And all the other
news about Fort Hayes. Well so I just tuck it in my mind and the . . . . When
the Army, first of all, just think of the odds of meeting somebody like that.
Because in a few hours, they’re gone. See.

Interviewer: From your encounter in Rome?

Broidy: From the tent where we’re checking them. By the evening time, he’s
in another outfit someplace.

Interviewer: Is that what caused you to look up her phone number?

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: Without that chance encounter, you would not have known that she
was . . . .

Broidy: I would never have known that she was . . . .

Interviewer: Oh, I see. I got you.

Broidy: I would never have known that she’s in San Francisco. How would I
have known? See. But that chance encounter. And then the Army sending us to San
Francisco, that area. How would — I got control of the Army? Like fun, you

Interviewer: (Laughs)

Broidy: But that’s what they did.

Interviewer: So it’s those two things?

Broidy: So it’s bishert, like they say in Yiddish.

Interviewer: It’s what?

Broidy: Bishert. That means fate.

Interviewer: Oh . . . .

Broidy: Yeah, that’s the way it . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: . . . . word for it.

Interviewer: Certainly is.

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: Two, you know, things like that to happen.

Broidy: Yeah, uh huh.

Interviewer: And . . . .

Broidy: Yeah.

Interviewer: You had such a nice outcome from that . . . .

Broidy: Do you have any other questions?

Interviewer: Not specific questions. I think we’ve covered your experiences
in, crossing the ocean.

Broidy: Well the fact is I still feel a great deal like I did in wartime, in
the Army. Not when I got in the Army, but I feel very similar to what I did by
the time the war, the end part of the war.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: I don’t have the physical strength that I had then. But I still
like to walk and I’ve still got fairly strong legs. When my little kids were
growing up, one of my boys said, “Gee Dad, you’ve got such strong

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: . . . .

Interviewer: That was a benefit . . . .

Broidy: Yeah, weak head, strong legs. That’s the way the druggists are,
pharmacists are. Yeah.

Interviewer: Well it sounds like the people, you’ve had a good career and
the Army experience was a really good experience for you. So . . . .

Broidy: Well . . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: the one sad part was, of course, my buddy getting killed and being
killed. But I got to see him at least before he got sent to that outfit where he
got killed.

Interviewer: Uh huh. This someone you knew had been killed, huh?

Broidy: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: . . . .

Broidy: He was a buddy.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Broidy: Army buddies are buddies.

Interviewer: He was, did you train with him or what?

Broidy: Yeah, here at Fort Hayes. And we had a close friendship.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Broidy: We had a close friendship. We just “hit it off” together.
Very good.

Interviewer: But he did not stay in your group?

Broidy: Oh no. He didn’t st–, he, I left his outfit. I left Fort Hayes
long before he did.

Interviewer: He was not in medical then, was he?

Broidy: Yeah he was.

Interviewer: He was?

Broidy: He was in Fort Hayes Hospital. So he had to be some kind of medical
thing. But he was sent to Rome where, where I saw him again. And then he was
sent to one of the outfits that was further up the Italian land.

Interviewer: What happened to him?

Broidy: Well artillery. He was driving a jeep. And the Jerry artillery, they
had the high ground.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Broidy: See. And the German artillery blasted his jeep.

Interviewer: That’s sad. Well, I think that that concludes our interviewer.
I think it’s been . . . . .

Broidy: Now with this interview, what you’re going to do is then, you make
a tape and then, or what? What do you do with it?

Interviewer: Well we’ll pause now and I’ll tell you some of the