American cities have numerous World War 2 veterans that deserve to have their life stories recorded, particularly the events they encountered during their WW2 service in the US military services. Al Hutler had to deal with slave labor survivors and displaced people not in their own country at the end of WW2 in 1945.
He worried whether people carry their prejudices with them from one land to another. Listen to the 56-minute audio: Interview-with-WWII-Veteran: Anne Hart: Free Download. Or view the combination video and audio interview with Mr. Al Hutler, Video/Audio-Interview-WW2-Veteran: Anne Hart : Free Download. The video-audio combination is 1 hour, 40 minutes in running time.
In this interview, book author and social worker who worked with survivors of concentration camps, Al Hutler talks about his WW 2 military experiences and why he wrote the book, Agony of Survival. His book is about the post-Holocaust experience he encountered as a USA first lieutenant in early post-war Germany, 1945.
This author interviewed him in his home on February 8, 1991. Social worker, Al Hutler worked in repatriation. Years later he writes about how the 7th Army gave him the responsibility of helping half a million concentration camp survivors where he was stationed in Western Germany.
His book, Agony of Survival shows how soldiers in uniforms can help people in war-torn countries. His book is about making a new life among people who after the war thought their future was behind them. He worked with displaced persons and concentration camp survivors by living and working with them in the early post war years, from 1945, in the Western area of Germany.
The U.S. veteran, Al Hutler helped to find homes and repatriation for concentration camp survivors and displaced people seeking a country to go home to
His book is about WW2 concentration camp survivors and displaced persons of many faiths and nationalities making a new life. He worked also with non-Jewish German and Polish displaced persons, Jewish survivors, and others. His job also entailed dealing with survivors of different ethnic and religious groups, repatriation of Western Europeans back to their countries. There were no railroads open yet. The Army was sending 10 ton trucks with supplies to the front lines.
With all the work, he had to separate the different ethnic groups when it came to housing since, according to Al Hutler, feelings between the ethnic groups ran high. His job, which he succeeded (the 7th Army) in sending displaced people back to their countries.
He also sent people back to their own lands
He also found that some peoples didn’t want to go back to their countries. To his surprise he found among various displaced peoples as well as concentration camp survivors, that some Poles didn’t want to go back to Poland, but Greeks wanted to go back to Greece.
He talks about displaced persons camps and Russian officers that had to have an American soldier go with them to the displaced persons camps to ask the various ‘Soviet’ citizens to be sent back to their own countries, the Russian displaced persons camp in Heidelberg. When the American soldiers came, the Russians did not want to go home to various Russian countries. Men were forced into the trucks to be taken home, but some of the men jumped out of the trucks.
The men and women that didn’t want to go back to Russia talked to the American soldiers
Al Hutler said he would see that American trucks and soldiers would not be used to transport Russians back to Russia. People from the Soviet countries wanted to go anywhere but not back to Russia or in some cases, Poland. Finally, the trains began to work again. “It’s something you remember for the rest of your life,” said Hutler.
Displaced people from many countries were coming into W. Germany, thousands at a time. The American soldiers had 11,000 people in a displaced persons camp in Germany, including a nursery for children. Hutler and his military peers eventually sent the people back home to many different countries. But the Americans would not ship Russians back to where they didn’t want to go, back to Russia.
What help the survivors and displaced people asked of U.S. veterans
That job was up to the Russians. Jewish Poles were afraid of anti-semitism if they were placed with non-Jewish Poles. So Hutler’s officers decided to keep the Jewish survivors away from displaced persons camps.
The Americans set up displaced Jewish survivors from the concentration camps into homes that once housed Germans. Hutler also worked with displaced persons to help find them places to live and also helped to find homes for the slave laborers of all ethnicity. As soon as the Americans entered this part of W. Germany, Hutler’s team helped displaced persons kicked out of their former apartments got some of their apartments back again.
Other Poles were helped by the American military to help them get back to Poland
That’s part of the life stories of WW 2 veterans who worked in Social Services for the Army (as social workers) helping displaced peoples find their way back home or find a new, safe place to live.
He hunted for apartments and homes for displaced persons and their children. The problem he had to solve was where to find homes for thousands of displaced Poles for example, (and people of other ethnicity) living in a displaced persons camp in W. Germany.
U.S. Veterans had to decide how they were going to evict families in certain areas to put displaced people back in their former homes
He had to decide do Americans evict German families from their homes and put in the displaced peoples from the American displaced persons camp that the American Army set up in W. Germany right after the end of WW2 in 1945? Or do they send the people back to their countries when some may or may not have wanted to go back behind the Iron Curtain in 1945?
That was one job of a social worker in the military right after WW2. He had to decide what to do with half a million displaced persons and concentration camp survivors in W. Germany in 1945. Do the displaced persons take over apartments or return to their countries? That’s what recording turning points in peoples’ lives is about when the events become part of world history.
New officers were up against survivors who asked for better treatment
According to Al Hutler, new officers coming in from the States were up against survivors who were gaining their health and felt that they deserved to be treated better. The new officers wanted the displaced people and survivors to be more thankful and couldn’t understand why the survivors and displaced persons wanted more respect from the US Army that was overwhelmed with half a million homeless people at the end of the war.
Click here to listen to the 56- minute audio interview online. Interview-with-WWII-Veteran: Anne Hart: Free Download. Or view the combination video and audio interview with Mr. Al Hutler, with a running time of 1 hour and 40 minutes. See, Video/Audio-Interview-WW2-Veteran: Anne Hart: Free Download.