Oral History Interview: Clarence Berbaum of Champaign
Pop Up Archive Item: “Oral History Interview: Clarence Berbaum of Champaign” : https://www.popuparchive.com/collections/3496/items/23218
Transcript for file: clarenceberbaum2007-09-05.mp3
This is an interview with Clarence were banned for the
Veterans History Project. September fifth two thousand and seven
when. conducted by Jesse Philippine Institute
Campbell Hall at the new aisleT.V. event tonight.
First question were you were you aware of.
The war that was already going on.
Overseas before Pearl Harbor. Oh yes. Very much so from the
from the from when I first got here. Their first
started into Europe. You know and we had a
lot of information and.
You know. OK and how it went. How was that was it usually in the news or.
As well as it was radio news of course itdidn’t have a television that they had that the
radio covered things quite well. You know and then we
we heard the problems.
They had over there. Of course I think our. One over the president
said that wedon’t want to get mixed up. Butwe’rewe’re left to leave it to
them. You know right until course until Pearl Harbor and they are
very much. Remember Pearl Harbor. But if.
Do memories of what you were doing when you heard about it. Well I was so
I had. I gotten out of high school
and I was.
I worked for dad. For one year summer and then I got a chance to work on
in radio at Robeson was. And I worked for a man there
for two years repairing radios. And
then I was called in at the service and drafted
in February of forty two.
Do you remember what it was the general feeling of
like among the people you knew the town.
on in terms of what was the general feeling of whether or not America should
even get involved.
In that. Well just so just like there are people today
that are saying we should get out of Iraq. And there were
people were saying no weshouldn’t be there.
And you know we were before Pearl Harbor. And then of course when
Pearl Harbor was hit. A lot of a lot of the ideas
changed. And you know we you know then
most of the country got behind. The idea that the
When when and you go into the service in.
February of eleven one thousand nine hundred forty two.
I was drafted in the fall.
And I was working for Ken the flap on. And robot
salutes. And my dad had a man
working for him and he was drafted. And so my dad needed some help for the
fall work. And so he went to the draft board and got me
off until January first. And. Then of course and they turned me
they turned him down then so I got back was called on February eleventh.
And so OK so how old were you at the time I was twenty two.
Point five and were drafted in theory to.
Hundreds of trees and.
Well that was a long time later I said that.
When I was first drafted. I went to Camp
Grant for that.
To be inducted. And then they shipped me along with a whole bunch of other
people of the you know whole group of us went down to Fort Knox to
the fourth arewe’re not to have the armored basic training.
Is that the basic training for armored force. And we had two
months there and then they shipped just to find
Camp New York to the Fourth Armored Division. And then I was in the tank at that.
All that here. And then I got a chance that fall
to go to a radio school in Fort Knox. And I had three and a half
months there and then they had. By that
time. The fourth armored was in the desert in California.
And so I went to. So then.
We got off of a nice train into a very bad desert
that if it was a different life.
So how how was it like.
Well it was in. We it was in January.
It was from January through April. And in
January when Too bad it was you know seventy or eighty in the desert but it gets cold as.
They can to fight this second course. And then.
They the snakes and the whole thing. You know will be. But then we would
go out and bring in the tanks and then either. I said in my
documentary that we went up and down those those hills in the desert
there in California and the awful lot and.
So that yeah we were always in there until I thinkit’s about March.
I got a chance to go to the division side. No. Probably because I
was in there had been a radio and I said I want to get some to get by radio.
And so I was in in the signal Company.
And then and then we we moved the date of the whole
division moved to Camp Bowie.
Texas and we were there a couple of months.
And. I had I had heard that the Air
Force Army Air Force at that time. was
looking for air airmen pilotsco- pilots
and navigators so forth. And so I luckily I
applied. And luckily I got to the Air Force cadets.
And Mount Pleasant Iowa and have five months of college.
Andthat’s where they every week. They would bring in another
another class. You know and.
We graduated on a Friday and that was in the spring.
On on Saturday. The company commander.
I guess they call him a squadron commander.They’re called us all together and said
guess what.We’re closing the school andyou’re either going back to your
outfit oryou’re going to the infantry. And.
That’sthat’s how I ended up in the eight hundred infantry division.
Before we went overseas. And.
So you said you were working for like a
Repair. Ohyou’re doing the repair.
For the UK And this is a man I had.
A little shop in Robeson was at that time it was a Robeson. This is a
department store in the basement and I went down and asked him I says I
all I know is farming. AndI’d like to know some more about radio.
And so that sliver of look this is all I can afford to hire you know
I saidI’ll work for nothing. So I did that I worked for a week for nothing.
And fine and then he said well you can afford to come in here for nothing. So he gave
me five dollars a week. And that and that was my
pay for about a year in a nice raise to seven fifteen. And then
finally before I retire for quite there. I was making ten dollars a week
with a look at it.
And so you were working while you were in.
The lowest that was I was this before the Army if I had gotten out of school.
I graduated in one nine hundred thirty eight and then from Champagne high.
And so I. So Idon’t.
want to be something else. And I honestlyI’m getting offered me the job.
And so I work I did radio repair for two years and learned a lot
about the basics of radio.
And so on.
And it was it was it was. AndI’m glad I did because as I said to
my wife and some other people probably that saved my life.
Just talking about radio I was able to get into the radio
repair of overseas.
Opera and I could tell some stories about that too. But I will
say thatthat’sthat’s another story. But I was able.
To leave by.That’s my battalion and go to the
regimental deep area they were collecting all the radio
repairman and putting them in. One unit
and then in the regimental headquarters and wethat’s what we did radio repair.
We were anywhere from mild to three miles behind the lines.
And then usually with the big big guns one hundred five so that
they were shooting all the.
Time. So thatthat’s how I.
Got through there. And then after the war. We occupied from May
until January second when I got on the boat.
To come home and that.
You know that was kind ofthat’s a very quick story of my Army
career. If if if if. And.
So. When and where the andyou’ve
probably said this is somewhat what
worry me. Like dates that you served.
From when you started and ended in the Army.
Well when I started the army. Yeah. Well of course that was. That is when
you’ve first giving the army. The first thing you find out is do
whatyou’re told in this and we see an officer slew and. Those
are the things you learn real quick. And so I was very careful whatever they
said to do. I did it.
I as I say went to Ft to Fort Knox where we had our two
months of basic training. And by the way my first
couple of months I was paid nothing but an entire sum of
twenty one dollars a month. Minus my laundry
and minus my by insurance which.
We got about seventeen dollars a month with and then they then they would
raise it up. And we got fifty dollars a month. That was that was something.
That’s And then I made fifty dollars a month all the time until I went overseas. And
I got overseas pay was seventy eight dollars. I got to be a first class
atP.F.C. it. Andthat’s as far as ever going.
Well when and when was it again that you
were there. You were like released from the army when youdon’t
like the end of.
The war and at the end of the war or. You know like when you got home.
And well that was. Yeah.
When I got off I got home. I help
my dad and my brother was farming at that. By that time
and I helped him move. And then I repaired radios.
And I wired houses and so forth. In one nine hundred forty six.
OK. Wired houses and.
Now that just picked up.
My I just saidI’ll have to get some time off and then out in
January of forty seven. I went to American
television in Chicago. Technical School. And I was there. And so
through through April of forty eight.
And at that time.
All Engineers for end of broadcast service had to have a first class
ticket. And so I I got my flag up and you know and
I got my first class ticket. And in the end when I was up in Chicago
in the school and I came down and applied for a job
at a station called W K I D. It was in Urbana off of
final road and I was there for two years.
The first year and a half. I was an engineer and.
There was some engineer equipment a few other people. And so I got to be chief engineer. I
really was not too well acquainted with it all. But I was the chief
engineer for six months. And I went to.
W I L L. And I. Had such a chance to
get in there with the and the recording service. And
then I went to television and came back as chief engineer. I was his chief.
And over there. And I was there for twenty nine years.
It was a good experience. I certainlydidn’t care for
the Army and my eye is.
That I took a lot of movies. When I was a service. My wife says How does your a
good bond with a thing like that. I took pictures of of us marching and so forth.
And then but I made a documentary.
For my documentary of. my Army career
and my and my sister last saw and she
afterwards she was at our house. She said.
Why was it so depressing. I says becausethat’s what it was I was
depressed for forty years. But it yeah. I try to give a
history of my Army career.
Where. And where in his her. Brother Where did you serve in.
All I served in theA.T.L. and European theater in theology. That night
when we were we. We hit the battle
lines in thevoters’ mountains. That was in the
late fall and well although we got over there in November.
And we had hit the line around after that. And.
As a sideline to this story are this my
Army career. I.
Have I. From what I heard of the vote. His Mountains had never been
conquered in all of militant military.
History and we were the first ones that went through and
and we you know we will flee the Division I certainly was
behind the lines. I think. You know on some of that. And they
they kept at the Citadel and.
Beach France. And.
Sothat’s our moniker on the hundred Division. We call it the
loyal sons of.
Beach and we always we always said it. He
said We always enjoy the saying that. Yeah. So then we went to
we went and it finally.
broke through the eyes of the nation a line
was of tremendous fortifications even yet. And
then we went into Germany went through. Manheim.
And now and then where. And we were we went to high caliber
on in there and then they made another stand there and killed a lot of the fellows.
And finally that we the division.
conquered or you have got to be.They’ve got higher ground.
And we were then we were circling Stuttgart or Stuttgart. So when the war ended.
We were we were going nowhere around. But halfway in our division was
when you know when the war ended in May What was it the eighth or ninth thing that
you think the tenth. I stillcan’t remember. This year is around there. You know.
And we were we were in.
Occupation from there onwe’re in a little town colony on Bear.
And then we moved into Stuttgart. And bad time step which is a suburb which
is due to start and then we were we were very
fortunate. Then course it was still the war was on or near over and over in
Asia and. We were getting ready they were still training us
to go overseas over there. And then the Japan surrendered.
So then I got a couple of very good leaves
one to the Riviera which I never could have afforded.It’s thatit’s
beautiful. I spent a week there and I went to spend spent a week in London.
So we were very lucky once. Once thewar’s
ended. We were. They were so that the these services were.
Very just congenial with us. And. So I did get to see a lot of
areas over there that.
Did you justI’m curious did it and.
Were you involved in any of like freeing any
concentration camps or any of that.
After the war.
When we were in the first part of the occupation. And
I had a very good friend Eli
as he was you know and you know. He was he was Jewish.
And we ran around we saw some of the
concentration camps. From the outside and how it must have been
bad. You know and this. was
and I was sayingI’m going back.I’m stuck for a while then I was
transferred to Camp time winter Tech which is
a town about halfway between
Stuttgart. And. That city with wheels round all.
And then it was gone. And we went to. Ican’t say the
name now but.
I have to stop and think you know what is that.
Stuttgart old Munich meaning to it.
Man one more one Sunday and this was after the after
the war ended. And.
I decidedI’m going to get out of here today. So I put a kit wrench in my pocket
and went on about a bond and started going why am I right. And
an officer and two.
Soldiers were in in in the in the
jeep and they saw whereyou’ve gone so dress is undaunted going
downtown Airways places where wellwe’re goingwe’re going to Munich.
So butwe’re stopping and Dakar. And
that was a real experience. It was only a short time afterward and
being cleaned. I mean weeks then and I got to
see the crematory and. Where their people were home when I got
pictures of all this and that was that was revealing.
And as I understand from myBrother-In law who has been over there
recently to see if we just left about the same. It has never been change.
But yeah I mean it was that was quite depressing. And that was quite a
Sunday outing and then I did get to. to Munich.
And I saw the bear perp walk. And I learned that sort of thing. And then I got home and.
That was this is quite a Sunday. It was like yesthat’s the only thing
I can really say that I saw pretty much first thing.
In. And you.
Tell me about.
Like the chaos of the war but
how did that affect you.
I mean. Well I had some experiences
we had some. You know or had
some rough times. And and I came home and Idon’t talk about it for a
long time. And we never got married was
thewife’s of the times that I would. Roll around in bed and have dreams.
You know yeah you know if it is in effect. Itdidn’t affect me nearly as
much. As a lot of the fellas that
have it much worse than that now. But yes it
it is. It is a term radical and dramatic experience.
Where where there are times in the war. Where.
I think Idon’t know.
There was so much confusion going on. I think was where did you.
OK Did you know where you were mostly time like where the enemy was where your
objective was and.
truly thankful that Ididn’t know where I was and wedon’t we.
We get in the truck and that little trailer which picks up and we
move to another place. And I know I know this is a big
Gross. Readers showing it in those those little towns. And Iwouldn’t know where they were that
day and by my hand the same bread a lot. His wife went over and looked at and
found those places. And he told me the story is more of a war. We know
what they are today and horses.It’s altogether different now. And oncethey’re.
You said that you have and you have.
Stories about your experiences with you know.
doing radio prepare for the media.
That is another side.
light of that week that we did get the radios.
You know from the front lines and that most of it was just a wet messy
year. You knowit’s all just perils. The snow and wet snow. And of course
the guys there with.
Theyou’d have these radios andthey’d get a mall way out. And so we have a lot of work
to clean them out and dry them out. And courses. Some
on with buttons blown out. And we have to do some repairing and
yetwe’re always getting those things in and our communication.
The little hand radios they had in those days. People
today would we would recognize them.
And theyweren’t much good. They go maybe a mile. Ifyou’re lucky you know and
they want to sit at their radios that would go a longer view.
They were a big pack is a big pack. With the battery. I would say would be
oh probably eight or ten pounds. Just for the.
Battery. And that was what went with this radio and of course
the officer would try to have a radio man with them when they could
do to communicate with others. But a lot of what was in
my opinion for what I get from some of the fellows. It was
a lot of myth confusion and maybe even chaos that it
isn’t. But yeah we got a lot of it. A lot of radios
repaired to repair like.
They’re into. And and so you said that you were.
We usually like to further back. With the radio.
Yeah we were we usually are about a mile behind the lines maybe two miles where you
know after all of us. There was there was definitely you know.
There were definitely lines. I mean you knew where the Germans were you
know where the Americans were. And you know once or we have
somebody. German kind of wander up in our area and they find out that he was in the
wrong way before. Gary and scramble you know and our guys would
one of our alignment. And I saw we were talking
about this years laterI’m in Michigan and he said that they they were
doing a lot of wiring in the dates that they ran a lot of wire in those days
it was you knowthat’s their communication. And he said they were
told go to one house and put up a telephone. It was night. And it was
dark and they had to field or wait for it to get through in the next
house theydidn’t know it butwe’re all Germans.
And so it was that close in the house. You know when they were in these small towns.
And he had some funny stories about that. Butthat’s
not the the things they would do for them and know that they see somebody in the
unit. You just you just fall down and be quiet. And honest with you. You
knowthere’s. Those are those stories. You know you hear
it’s interesting too. To hear Sean Ididn’t get into that are always usually.
This foreigner back then. And when I was I was lucky on
And I was just when they were running. Communication lines.
Yes You know when they they tried to run. Communication lines and. Then of course
when the battle would move them. And then the guys would go on and they
take the jeeps and so forth. Or a take.They’d take a little.
Or a reel or some try to reel up. All the wire they could reel
signals so they could use it. The next time because it was mainly wire. Wire
communication radio was just not not that. They are
reliable. And in certain cases it was. And of course we go back
farther where they had the more powerful radios.
They had that was much more reliable
than the R S. but that we had on the front lines.
And. Some progress and I was in Moscow for those
most inwhat’s called another.
Kind way to learn the Morse code. But they were using much Morse code. And it was just boys
those boys over. Lionel saying Oh I see. You know we live in when I was in school and.
She in and Fort Knox. And we were
we had to go through my learned Morse code often.
And they said.
So but you know there are there are certain places. I think the Navy
and different places they used Morse code. And then you know weigh
in weigh different ways. And of course it was all coded and peoplewouldn’t
couldn’t catch what it was and.
You know you.
One during the war. What. And.
What did you believe or did you have any beliefs about. What was at
stake in the war.
And specifically you know as you. Well the.
I think my feeling was just about what all the the soldiers were.
And then this get this thing over with and go home but here.
We we knew what and Ididn’t knowX.L. put
it this way. Ididn’t know how bad.
The situation was in Germany with the Jewish
Until after the war. When I went through Dhaka. And
The stories that some of those people that those people told.
They hit their head because they had there was one fellow that could speak
just fairly good English. And he told some stories that well I
would would hate to repeat it just you know so
wedidn’t realize how bad it was. And I do remember
one point one place one little town.
In in France whenwe’re in that winter
we were there. And when one of my
Nancan’t comes came to me and said bear. You want to
see you. know what what the Germans do
have done to some of the people. And I thought about it
about it a little bit. And I said no because it was it was in a
building there. And they he had seen it. And he showed what what had
you know some people went through and
it was bad enough but yeah.
So you just wanted to maintain it in.
Atlanta but I just wonder for you.
Now and then I mean do you have any strong beliefs about
what you were fighting for more than.
The young who are fighting to keep Hitler from going any
farther because of course he had their alliance with.
Italy and Japan. And why did we. Why was
Japan. Why did Japan strike. Pearl Harbor and
there was an alliance they wanted to. Well they all wanted to take
over this. The United States and they want to take a piece of it. And they they
were with him there was going to take. He was the way taken
France and he wanted to take England. And we know how bad
that was and how probably the English were treated before we got into
it. And so yes it was. It was it was
we we felt that it was worthwhile to do what we knew what we needed to do
But OK And did did that view of the war.
change at all at all though did it change at all when you got.
Overseas and started fighting or any time.
There is not much you know that wedidn’t. Idon’t think any of us thought that way. Or.
It was we were in the service. We had a job to do it.
And you know.
And soshe’s realized more and once you finally got to the concentration camp then.
Well yeah I was a stay at the concentration camp. But alas wedidn’t wedidn’t realize
at all. After the war and occupation. Andit’s a good story there. And I only
saw one doctor I understand the other ones were the other concentration camps
were just as bad or worse than.
You’ve kind of already answered this but.
How did you feel about.
The the specific the specific and the meetings that you were fighting that
sometimes. Idon’t know if you ever find Italians.
You know I am. Ididn’t get into that. OK Well I know some friends and people that they had
they started in Africa. And they came up through Sicily and Italy and all of them
so mum had it pretty rough for a long time. And now Ididn’t go
out at all. I always faced where the Germans and. When they
got to be where some of the war. Were the officers were.
Already fanatic. And the latest. They just pushed their of the
soldiers into into our lives. Andthat’s what I
The little we that we would hear him come in and.
So you kind of feel that there are soldiers more as fanatics or were
just our soldiers. They have been the enemy soldiers.
The German soldiers. So I think. Well a lot of men got killed
because they just but. Idon’t know. I have I have no
idea. And we met a few of the German soldiers after the
war or during the occupation and they were glad to have a go.
And they were happy that they were back home and. Could do their their thing
again. And yet you know you know ordinary living you know.
Well I remember when I did that night. My cousin picked me out
to take me to the draft. You know to to the bus and then I
told my dad.S.. Idon’t expect to be there. And Ididn’t know a lot of
fellows weredidn’t come back but I was very lucky to be in.
There. And how did that feel when you before you got on the bus
with the family and.
What do you do in the event that there is a point
where this is it drafted. Ican’t do anything about it then
I’m going to do what whatI’m told. And. Idon’t know
where or whereI’m going to go. But you know I had no idea mania. MaybeI’m
like Ididn’t have any idea where I would be the next day.
Or you know.
Because when we left for Fort Knox. We
didn’t know where we were going. And what outfit. We were going to be going. And
finally I have to move east of me. And of us in the train. If I only
found out that we were going east. And so finally we went up to
northern New York State in Pine Key in Watertown and find camp.
And then we found out.We’re going to fourth armored division. You know andthere’s no way theywouldn’t tell me
if there was no real information like that. In the Second World War very
very tight. And in the news media.
Very tight. And I you know even for our soldiers. Itdidn’t
mean that much of anything. We stillweren’t told and.
I’m sure the officers knew they had more of an indication that
we still were just as a private the
P.R.C.. If youdon’t hear that.That’s just part of life. You have to look
into your own.
What kinds of things. Did
to do your resume in the videos that you can walk
With Because a lot of issues. And I of course I when I got our
C.D.‘s they. Icouldn’t take anything out of the military. And
that is one thing. See we had I think five dollars
and a warrant officer and a warrant officer will part with us day and night. You know they would.We’re all
together. And then he said one thing youdon’t think verbal is what are the
guns or anything like we are. We had pictures of.
I have one of them. And one little town. At that time how they would
wash their clothes. They had a there was a. tank in the
middle of town and people would bring their clothes andthey’d dump in the water and then scrub them off. And
that’s how it works close. You know I have pictures of that now and
people walking around you know. who are trying to get
food. But this is you know so they can eat so forth.
And I do have some pictures of like half tracks from.
All right. going down the road. And I do have one picture.
If you want a movie of us going
over the plan to bridge at Manheim. And
we there waswe’re in a smoke screen. Itisn’t very good but it does we can see
thatit’s just there and we are going to have this part where
we have pictures of I have some pictures of the bridges that.
were knocked out. Andthat’s what made them.
foxhole. So that.
If you would care to seeI’d be glad to show he is not
very good. But you know Larry. Whenyou’re probably think. You
don’t scare me like I have some water with this thing.
And then talk a little bit.
If I am bringing back a lot of memories. A heck of a lot. And for years. You know.
It’s going to you know in that.
It was an experience has been a long long time ago. When.
Any particular good memories of the
Yes You know I when I was in the desert. I got
athree-day pass to to Los Angeles.
And that was more than that.
And it was I got to know it was several days past. You knowwe’ve got one
weekend and as.
You said it was as you said before
over here if you. Do like that you get.
When I was we went to we got toL.A. and there and
I heard someone say that if you want to see a movie studio. Why sign
up here. And so I signed up and then they said you
meet at a certain door. The next morning. Well it was seveno’clock. And I think about
sixo’clock I was there I would rise from of the line. And
luckily that day. They were only tape. They only took seven of us.
To a place called mano a mano gram studios.
In Maine and of course I had my movie carrier. And I took.
I took some pictures of them when they were you know making movies.
And of course I took while they were doing rehearsals and so forth. And the camera
man was so wonderfully. Let me set up on a camera dolly and take pictures. doing
that. And I got all several minutes. And the people that
were there. They said that the talent that was there at that time and in.
The end it was that was quite an experience because I I like
movies at that time. You know and I thought well geeI’ve got all the kids and.
That wasthat’s part ofwhat’s in the documentary I had to show some of the heads of
it. And so yes that was an interesting
day. And then and then I got this go aroundL.A. and see the the the
beach and the few things like that. And. Yeah that was that was a good
experience and said when our.
seas were after the war. When I got to go to
to the Riviera. And they the way one in one
town one city there along you know along the ocean
along the. Mediterranean
there is to be.
One of the hotels is called the heritage. OK. Kermit
cage a bit is the heritage of the French. I guess. But we were treated
like just morally. I mean it was the only way they would you come to the door
and then they would see. You know Lester for all your meals.
And then it was that was quite an experience like that. And I
spent a week and now in the Riviera and then. That
was at. That was of course after the war and. The officers could
be there in that town. But they said youwouldn’t. Youdon’t salute offices that make
it easy. You can get by. And and so but wecouldn’t go to their town becauseit’s you
know recently and it was yeah that was that was quite an experience there. And of course
I went to London and then I got to see. The the the
sights of London. On this day in London for to Iraq. That was ten days and
then an experience that I had quite interesting. I was in
London. Walking down the street.
And I looked up. And there was my first cousin. Jack
Barrios and he was an officer and I said Jack
and I backed up and I saluted that but.
He he and I got together then and he had married a girl from
London. And I spent the day with him in his he and his wife and they
as a family. And that was quite an experience you know to walk through London
and not even realize you knew anyone. And here was my first cousin.
But it was there was something unusual. You know because. We had some time there. So I did have some
good.It’s a good experience is almost somewhere to the war
with the you know those that at least I did get to see
a lot of Europe land this United States. And.
Yeah. Yeah. I was I was favorably impressed with some of the thingsI’m.
Just lucky that I got out the way it is you.
know. What. And you talked about
how some of it. And some of it. And some of your footage you. Got to see
the I like the town life. And I guess
France and Germany and.
I’m not doing well. I washed it all. So wedidn’t see many of the.
You know Iwasn’t. By the time we got into the town the people in France is in. That
is a good example. They were gone. They were they were going to stay there because if
the war was going through there then. But after
after the they would. You know that the Germans were pushed back. Then. And then
a few of the people would start coming back into the town. Yeah. Yeah.
And wait. Yeah we got to meet a few of them of course French. And I just
spoke very little French. And they spoke very little English. And we got along there. And
yeah so yeah I went a bit. They were
that they were having a very hard time because they had come for several
years of. You know Germany and
taking everything from them. So you know they they were just trying
I’ve been so.
It was yeah it was a standard you know an ordinary one French
village sitting right away. And you know. You know Nancy and I we were
both. You knowwe’rewe’re fighting through the herd right here. So you saw how they were
and how they were struggling. And yes boy. Yeah. Yeah. We saw a lot of that where the
people were just struggling to get anything any food. So before they get a
And did you have to help them out
with likeit’s a zillion things like after.
Wedidn’t we were too far too much of the front line said you know itwasn’t it
wasn’t. Itwouldn’t be a part of our group we were just hoping to get through there so
we can go. So the next town.
Over. So that was more where the bulk of the population was probably.
You know they were they had they were elsewhere that some of them. We just went to the woods
and they lived in a lot of the the oceans mountains were low
mountains but there are a lot of woods there. And people just went into the woods. And for
a while until till this all is passed.
On. Did you meet with.
Curiosity. And if you met with. Some of the.
French resistance against the Germans when you went you know.
Ididn’t see any of the French resistance group of the people in our area in
the on that day. They were I think there were more of the intelligence groups
in different you know in different areas. of the islands you know
with these. Wedidn’t know maybe that they werewe’d we would have no one in the mountains or
anything. You know now you. Can But the mountains
were there there were enough mountains enough for rolling hills that if
it was it was difficult country to be you know we.Didn’t have fighting
or anything. And of course then the the. eastern
side of it between France and Germany was on my show a lion. Of course the
Siegfried Line was on the other side and then but Idon’t think we
were that the Siegfried Line did as good and much. about holding us
back. And by the time we broke through the nation a line. So
that they that the German army was pretty much in. Any
pain and chaos really. And they were running on ice. And still of
course when they went to high. Albert which is a lot about.
thirty forty miles farther east and that was along the neck a
river. And they were going to hold that point. And she a
lot of guys got their views. If wedidn’t we were bred into you know the the
division. Then they ran into this not knowing that
they were on a hold and it was pretty rough.
So they were initially like defending the mountains. And.
You know and it was it was very hilly in that area. You know.
So they have they had in the higher ground on.
That ticket. And it was a lot of a lot of manufacturing and not a place that those
people could hide them. Apparently the food that was it was it was.
How do you.
feel about the war now in retrospect
looking back on it and you.
feel both the enemy. You know at the end of the Second World War. Yeah well.
My feeling was it was either it was necessary then because what had the
Jack the Japanese did then and how that was and how vicious that
was over there.
And we needed to. To stop
it. And we need to. And I feel as though. You know. And as for
now it should have been it should have. They should have done what they did. And
because it has changed the whole global.
situation. And one of the other of the Europe and Japan and
China policies. A lot of. Politics and
political change and now.
Gone through most of my questions if.
Say or anything else. Do you think. And I think you know I just opened up
to you and I have become. I really missed on a lot of things. Welldidn’t.
You think we cover most of the ground. But I think yeah absolutely. And.
I hope that this will turn out to be. A very
As you know and in program. So yeah. Oh
It will. Will I get a copy of this to see what I mean I think so. And I
would like very much to happen. Andit’s. Just a
V.H.S. tape with me. You know and see what would be on. And I
would I would like to but. It could be done. You know
all of the fine.
Clarence Berbaum was drafted into the U.S. Army in February of 1942. He served in Europe with the 100th infantry, famous for being the only fighting unit ever to capture the Voges Mountains in France. Berbaum served as a radio repairman, usually a few miles behind the front lines. His prior experience in radio repair, he explains, saved him from having to fight in the front lines and probably saved his life. He also took video footage of day-to-day life in the Army. Berbaum talks about the overwhelming feeling of depression that affected him and many others throughout the war. He also talks about the dehumanizing effect that war has on soldiers.