03 August, 2012

03 August 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
3 August, 1945      0925
Wilma darling –

Another day and I want to remind you, dear, that I love you dearly and tenderly and in every way I know how. And all of the time. I don’t know how I can describe to you adequately just how empty this existence is over here, how wasteful in time, how lonesome it is despite all attempts to break up the monotony. I go to a movie or play Bridge or visit a French family, but dammit, it’s all so temporary – and when I get back to my room – I feel so all alone. I want to talk with someone who means something to me, to exchange ideas with someone for mutual benefit. I want you, sweetheart, and it’s damned hard not having you, that’s all.

Oh no, darling. I’m not blue or down-in-the-mouth. That doesn’t help. I’m just introspective enough to realize what’s going on – and I wish this recent state were over with and the next phase started.

I’ve met a few rather nice families – and one in particular has been very friendly. They talk very good English and as a result I’m able to learn quite a bit of French that you don’t pick up in books – idioms etc. I’ll say something that they don’t understand and I’ll explain it. Then I found out how it’s said in French – and so on. Last night I went to a French Concert and found it most interesting. I’m enclosing the program. This concert produced some excellent (in my opinion) singing – but I found it interesting in other ways. The French are very demonstrative when they like a certain selection and in addition to applauding vigorously – they stamp their feet until the number is re-sung. Another thing – in between each selection – the leader gives a long talk – too long I thought – explaining the next number on the program. It stretches out the concert too much – but in all, I enjoyed it because the boys sang beautifully.

One hour later
Hello darling –

I went to a French class held here in conjunction with our I&E program. I thought I’d see what it’s like. It was given by a French school teacher and this was the advanced class – and quite advanced. She read a page out of Rheime’s “Le Songe D’Attalia”, had us write down what she read and then corrected our spelling etc. She assumed we knew the translation. I got most of it – but I think it’s a bit too advanced for me and the others. I’ll try one more class and see if she has another approach. Hell – when I get back I ought to be able to take over the French section of Salem without any trouble at all.

Well – darling, I’ve got to run up town and see the district Surgeon – so I’ll wind up for now. Remember always, sweetheart – that all this is is just temporary; that I miss you always and that I’m making time until the day I can come back, love you, marry you and make you mine in every sense of the word.

Love to the folks – and
All my deepest love


about The Harrison Report

Earl G. Harrison, 1945

From the United States Holocaust Museum comes this:
The Harrison Report, which sharply criticized the Army for its treatment of Jewish survivors, was the work of Earl G. Harrison, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, former Commissioner of Immigration, and American envoy to the Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees. At the urging of Treasury Secretary Henry J. Morgenthau and other Jewish leaders, Harrison was commissioned by President Truman to investigate charges of maltreatment of "unrepatriable" Displaced Persons (DPs) by the U.S. Army. After inspecting thirty Jewish DP camps, Harrison submitted a preliminary report on 3 August 1945, that set the basis for American policy toward Jewish DPs.

The report called for the creation of all-Jewish camps and the evacuation of Jews from Germany, but also mentioned that Jews were being kept under American armed guard, behind barbed wire, and in former concentration camps. The Harrison Report became the single most significant document of the DP era and had repercussions that reverberated throughout the American government and Army for months after its publication. It prompted the War Department to issue an order to General Eisenhower to investigate and improve the situation. With its public embarrassment of the Army and widespread attention in the American media (it was released to newspapers on September 30, 1945), the Harrison Report caused a groundswell in the government.

Here is an excerpt:
As matters now stand, we appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them except that we do not exterminate them. They are in concentration camps in large numbers under our military guard instead of S.S. troops. One is led to wonder whether the German people, seeing this, are not supposing that we are following or at least condoning Nazi policy.
And another:
But speaking more broadly, there is an opportunity here to give some real meaning to the policy agreed upon at Potsdam. If it be true, as seems to be widely conceded, that the German people at large do not have any sense of guilt with respect to the war and its causes and results, and if the policy is to be "To convince the German people that they have suffered a total military defeat and that they cannot escape responsibility for what they have brought upon themselves," then it is difficult to understand why so many displaced persons, particularly those who have so long been persecuted and whose repatriation or resettlement is likely to be delayed, should be compelled to live in crude, over-crowded camps while the German people, in rural areas, continue undisturbed in their homes.
Policy changes were swiftly accomplished during the remaining months of 1945, when conditions in the camps improved with the opening of all-Jewish camps, the closing of concentration camps, and transfer of the care of DPs to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). However, several of Harrison's other suggestions, most notably that Palestine and the United States admit considerable numbers of Jewish DPs, were not implemented until several years after the report was released.
CLICK HERE to read the final version of the Harrison Report.

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