|255th Infantry Rangers after a mission and chowing down. Somewhere in Germany.
Not sure but Jim Russell I/255th Infantry thinks the man on the right in the rear is
Emilio Zanfagna. Jim is the fourth man from the right in back row.
|Article sent home by ConanV. Hamilton, Hq Btry, Division
Artillery, 3 April 1945. Author unknown
Yesterday one of the batteries stopped at a small village for a few hours to await
further instructions for moving. What happened in those few hours, few men will
ever forget. Out of all the memories that war has brought, even fewer men will want
to forget what happened at this side road, someplace in a dirty German village. A man
once wrote that he could not really feel sorry for the millions of people the Nazis have
killed because the figure was too staggering, too immense, but when he came face to
face with a single human tragedy of Nazism he was overwhelmed with anger and
sorrow and so it is with each of us.
As Artillerymen we rarely experience that hatred that the Infantryman knows when he
sees his buddy go down in final silence. Yesterday some men came against the
human wreckage of the enemy's plan, some men yesterday discovered why they
were 5000 miles from home. The slave workers in a German brick factory were free,
liberated, in many cases after five (5) years of slavery of 12 hours of back breaking
labor every day for 1825 days on a diet of soup and potatoes and a bit of bread, facing
a future that only death could brighten. There were Poles, Italians, French, Russian,
Yugoslavs, Hollanders, and every other conquered nation had it's representative in this
League of the Disposessed and for every language there was a story and for every
story there was an American soldier who could translate the tale for another soldier,
for we "the mongrel race" have citizens with roots in all countries of the world.
There was dancing and singing and roasted "liberated" goose and chickens and wine
and cigarettes in the brickyard yesterday. There were embraces and handshakes.
There was free air to breathe again, there were questions--was Rotterdam liberated?
Where was the Red Army? Had we crossed the Rhine all over? Could they have arms
to fight the Germans?
There was one old Serb who walked toward the brick factory, he was going to work
as he had done for five (5) years. "But you are Free" he was told. His dazed eyes just
stared and he asked "Can I go back to Sleep?" That was all. He couldn't understand
that this was Easter and the living dead had been resurrected, that the Messengers
were clad in olive drab and spoke many tongues and kept different faiths. Easter
came in a ugly brickyard in a dirty German village yesterday- The end.