|When the hostilities ended in May of 1945
the 78th division was put in charge of an area of Germany equaling approximately
3,600 square miles. There was still plenty of work for the men,
Guarding POW and displaced persons camps, and German supply
and ammunition depots. They seized control of all German factories
and closed them down. German civilians were restricted to the county
in which they resided, curfew hours were enforced. Civilians in about
1,350 towns were screened and checked for proper credentials.
There was also a strict rule against fraternizing with the Germans, Dad says you were not even allowed to shake hands with them and being seen with a German girl was strictly forbidden.
Division headquarters moved to Treysa on May 27th. Dad says they had a real good set up here. They set there offices up and sleeping quarters in homes in the city. Dad and 6 other men shared a 5 room apartment. Also they got plenty of German Beer, the Army furnished the ingredients and the local brewery began making the beverage again.
Dad Somewhere in Germany 1945
Dads hotel and offices in Bad Wildungen
|On June 11, Dad moved to Bad Wildungen, this
town had been a resort town before the war, the hotel in the area were all
real plush and fancy. The men set there offices and living quarters
in one of these hotels named Staatle Badehotel. It too was a nice
hotel, it had a swimming pool, tennis courts, steam and massage room,
bridle trails just about everything you could imagine.
One thing Dad recalls about the stay there was even though the no fraternizing rule was in effect, the officers were all housed in a hotel down the street, that had 40 rooms and 40 maids for the men. The enlisted men all wondered why the officers needed so many maids.
|July 3, Dad got a 3 day pass to Valkenburg,
Holland. Dad remembers Valkenburg as being a religious town, which had a
lot of religious meetings in the summer. They stayed in a hotel the army
ran as a rest center. The two things dad remembers most about Valkenburg
was it rained all three days they were there and they had good beer.
On there way back to Division HQ the truck the men were riding in broke down in Kerchrade, Holland. This turned there 3 day pass into a 14 day pass as the parts needed to fix the truck were not to be found in the area. At Kerchrade, the men stayed in a transient camp set up there, they slept in a Catholic monastery. While there the men continued there vacation, traveling to several towns nearby connected by a trolley line. They also received a weeks supply of PX rations every day which they sold on the black market and used the money to have a good time.
Inspecting ruins in Valkenburg, Holland
ED Sasnett in Kerchrade, Holland
German Kaserne (Fort), Hofgeismar, Germany
|While Dad and his buddies were on leave, the
division moved back from Germany about 150 miles. the division HQ
was set up in Hofgeismar, in a German Fort there. The men slept 6 two a
room on canvas cots. While there they began basic training all over again,
this time they trained to go to the Pacific and fight the
Despite the no fraternization rule still in effect, Dad and his buddies found them selves frauliens to fraternize with.
On August 15 16, 17, the men had days off from work, the 15th was the 78th's 3rd anniversary of being reactivated, the 16th they got the news Japan had surrendered, and on the 17 they got the day off as official surrendering day.
After Japan surrendered, the men quit army training. The men kept them selves busy in many ways, there was plenty of guard work for the men and Dad was a busy as ever transferring men in and out of the division. For Recreation Dad took a course in German taught by a teacher from Dusseldorph. He also hunted deer in the surrounding woods which he said was quite good. There was also plenty of physical activates Football and baseball teams were organized, along with plenty of passes to Paris, London, and other surrounding cities.
|On September 15, Major General
Edwin P. Parker commanding general of the 78th infantry division was
assigned duties as commanding general of 23rd Corps. He
had been the leader of the 78th since it's reactivation in August
1942. Dad always liked General Parker, he was strict but fair
with the men, and made them train hard.
For the next few months Dad stayed in Hofgeismar, there was all kinds of talk what the 78th's next mission be, would it continue occupation duty or be sent home. In late September they got the news they would remain as occupation forces.
General Parker Giving his farewell address on September 15, 1945
Little German Girl, Berlin 1945
|On November 16 the division moved again, two
regiments went to Berlin and one to Bremmen. Dad went to Berlin. Dad
remembers Berlin as really torn up, the city was in ruins, the
people were homeless and hungry too. Dad and the men were put up in
apartment buildings that did not suffer to much damage. They even had
German maids to clean there rooms.
While in Berlin Dad visited several company ran beer gardens. The clubs all had dance floors and German musicians were hired to play. The clubs served beer, cognac, and coca cola. There was always plenty of German girls waiting out side the clubs waiting for a GI to take them in for a dance.
Dad says he thinks the girls were more interested in the free sandwiches inside than dances with the men.
While in Berlin the black marketers were always present. They would show up every night at there apartments trying to sell them their goods, you could get about anything you wanted, watches, cameras, jewelry, if they did not have it they would come back the next day with it.
While in Berlin the GI's had more trouble with the Russians than with the Germans, the Russians were always stealing things from the Americans. Vehicles and gas were the biggest items. One night a Russian was caught stealing gas from the 78th's motor pool, a guard shot and killed the Russian. the 78th's HQ called up the Russian HQ and asked what they wanted them to do with the body, the Russians replied you shot him he is your problem. The mans body was loaded in a truck and drove over and dumped in front of the Russian HQ
|Dads stay in Berlin was short lived, Dad had accumulated enough
points to be shipped home, he even did the orders transferring him and
most of his buddies home.
On November 26, Dad and those heading home left the 78th division and joined the 29th Infantry Division which was heading home to the U.S. Soon. Dad left Berlin about 6:30 am in a truck convoy, there destination Bremen. The truck Dad was riding in got lost and it took them almost 4 hours longer than the rest of the convoy to get to Bremen.
When Dad reached the 29th he was assigned to division headquarters, but soon they found out there was nothing for him to do so he was transferred again to the quartermaster company. While in the quartermaster company Dad had little work to do he mainly socialized.
There living quarters were set up in a little town on the outskirts of Bremen called Grohn, they lived in another German Fort there.
He visited every night with his buddies from the 78th division and went to the local beer gardens and service clubs. One night Dad and a buddy from the 29th division met some Frauliens at the USO in Bremen. Dads date was a widow with a 3 year old boy, whose husband had been killed on the Russian Front. She told him stories of times spent in air raid shelters in Bremen, one time she was in a shelter for 3 straight days, and her feet began to swell up, her little boy kept telling her not to worry. Finally she could not take it any more and went home to her apartment during the bombing, she felt it was better to be dead than set there any longer.
Dad met another Fraulien at the "29 Lets Go Inn" a beer garden ran by the 29th division. Her name was Hilda, On Christmas Eve 1945 Dad spent the evening with her and her family. While there he saw a Christmas tree that the Germans had decorated with nothing but candles, he says they only let them burn for a few minutes then put them out as it was to dangerous to let them go.
On December 28, Dad moved to the Marine Barracks at Bremmenhaven. It was an old German Navy Base, Dad remembers it as being very run down and he was glad they were only going to be there 2 days.
Find out what happens on Dads trip home as we move on to 1946.
American Red Cross Club Bremen, 1945
29th Division Barracks, Grohn 1945
German Navy Base Bremmenhaven 1945