My Life and Times

by Ivan Palmer Evilsizer

Chapter 14-Europe

 

"When we arrived in Bamberg, we were placed in replacement depot to be sent where we were needed the most. There was nothing for us to do while we were there and we could not leave the area, so I volunteered for guard duty. We walked guard around a hotel building where they had placed the DP's. (1) They were sure a disgusting lot. Our job was to make sure that none of them carried anything out of the hotel. They would steal everything not nailed down, and some things that were. They would try to steal cooking utensils, silverware, chinaware and even the bathroom fixtures to sell on the black market. There was a woman in the hotel who kept asking me to go up to her room. When I asked her why, she said she wanted to show me her new baby. I told her to bring it outside if she wanted me to see it. She came out with the baby wrapped in a blanket, walked up to me and uncovered his head.....he was black. ....[a sentence ommited] I told her she should be ashamed of herself. I understand how these things happen, especially in England and in Europe during this time. The people in these countries had seen few, if any Negroes. The Negro troops were still segregated at this time and they told the civilian population that they were really white people who were given injections to make them black to they could fight better at night. We referred to them as "night fighters". How anyone could believe such obvious lies is beyond comprehension.

One night, with the permission of the OD(2), I was serving as the Corporal of the Guard. In the middle of the night I heard the call of "Corporal of the Guard - Post No. 4". I got into a jeep with a driver that was available and sped to post number 4. As we drove up I saw one of the guards with his rifle pointed at a Negro. The Negro man was very drunk and evidently trying to get into the hotel to see his German girlfriend. As I approached, the guard lowered his rifle and turned to start walking his post, assuming I would handle the situation with the Negro. As the guard turned his back, the man pulled a bottle of Schnapps from inside his jacket and drew back his arm to hit the guard in the back of the neck. When I saw this happening, I took out my service automatic and instinctively fired at him. He fell, badly wounded. I called for the medics and they took him to the hospital. Unfortunately, he died the next morning. I was tried before a court's Marshall for this. My defense attorney, appointed by the Army, explained it was just a formality. He said it was necessary that I be tried so that no time in the future could charges be brought against me for this action. They found me guilty and I was fined a carton of cigarettes. It was not until many years later that I realize how easy I got off."

Another interesting thing overseas I was involved in was the excursion by the Second Cavalry into Czechoslovakia, the Russian zone of control, to secure the Lipisan mares that belonged to the Spanish Riding Academy at Vienna, Austria. The stallions were in Vienna but the mares had all been left behind in the press of running from the Russian troops. The Cavalry, of course, was all mechanized at this time, however we had a horse platoon that we used in parades and sometimes for patrol that were accomplished horseman. We brought back about five hundred of the mares. The Disney studios later made a movie about it.

1. Displaced persons released form concentration camps and slave labor camps that evidently had no home or family to go to.

2. Military term for Officer of the Day, person in charge.

 

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