25 May 1944
War at Sea
German submarine U-476 sunk off Trondheim
German submarine U-990 sunk off Bodo
Troops from Anzio and troops from the 5th Army meet at Terracina
Randolph Churchill and Tito escape from a German attack on the Partisan's headquarters.
Japanese troops break into the Chindit strongpoint at "Blackpool".
The Fundamentalist controversy concerning the Baptist Theological College of Scotland: on October 25, 1944, May Hossack wrote to her husband, George, who was on active service in the war, describing the events that took place in Charlotte Baptist Chapel during the assembly of the Baptist Union of Scotland.
Following a report of the Sunday School Committee, John Shearer, president of the Baptist Union in 1936, criticized the material used by teachers. He "shouted that it was full of Modernistic teaching--it denied the Miracles of Christ. There were jeers and cat-calls, and calls of supports too, from all over the meeting . the row and hubbub was terrific." A motion was presented to the assembly that the Baptist Theological College should be incorporated into the Union because of what Shearer called "the cancerous growth of Modernism." "The College," he said, "denies that this Book is the Word of God. It is robbing us of our evangelical faith. The College is an evil thing and unclean. I have proof that . two of the present tutors are Unitarians." Following a lively debate, Holms Coats, principal of the college, was asked to speak, and challenged Shearer "to name the two leaders of the College who are Unitarians." Shearer "stood up and yelled at Holms Coats `The Two, are yourself and Dr. Miller.'" May Hossack commented that "the meeting went quite -wild at this point." (1)
The debate was the culmination of a controversy that began in the 1930s, following the discovery that Eric James Roberts, a fellow student with Shearer in the early days of the Scottish college, and a close friend of Holms Coats, was a Unitarian. (2) Shearer was convinced that the dangers of Modernism had affected the Scottish college from the beginning of its existence, through its close ties with the University of Glasgow, and that men like Roberts and Holms Coats who had studied at Mansfield College, Oxford, and Marburg in Germany had accepted the theological perspectives of German Rationalism. (3)
Shearer was born in Glasgow on August 20, 1874, the great, great grandson of Flora MacDonald, the companion of Bonnie Prince Charlie in the '45 rebellion. Shearer was converted and baptized in 1890, eventually becoming a member of John Street Baptist Church in Glasgow, where his grandfather had been one of the pastors. (4) Shortly afterwards, Shearer and his parents moved their membership to Queens Park Baptist Church. In 1892, his father, William Shearer, became the pastor of Kelso Baptist Church in the Scottish Borders. (5) Although John Shearer accompanied his parents to Kelso, lack of employment opportunities led him to return to Glasgow to stay with an aunt in Cowcaddens and join the South Side Baptist Church (6) in the Gorbals, (7) where John McLean, a great friend of the family, was pastor. (8)
McLean was a strong influence in Shearer's life and ministry, inducting him into his pastoral charges in Galashiels and Stirling. Brought up in the Free Church in Argyllshire, McLean moved to Stifling, was converted, and became a Coast Missionary in Eyemouth in 1879. Two years later, he changed his views on baptism, returned to Stifling and was baptized through the ministry of George Yuille. (9) In 1883, he received a call to the pastorate in Dumbarton. During the next six years, he not only attended classes at Glasgow University and the Free Church College, but he also founded congregations in Alexandria and Clydebank. In 1889, he moved to South Side Baptist Church where, for the next twenty-nine years, he exercised a strong evangelistic ministry. The church grew from 150 members in 1889 to 432 in 1922. He became the convener of the evangelistic committee in 1904 and then president of the Baptist Union of Scotland in 1906. He preached
McLean encouraged Shearer to enter the newly formed Baptist Theological College. In 1895, he matriculated at Glasgow University, where he graduated with an M.A. in 1900. During this time, he met Holms Coats and Eric Roberts, and both Roberts and Shearer attended the moral philosophy classes of Henry Jones. Jones's teaching led Roberts to believe that "the deity of Jesus" was a "later theological accretion (due in large part to Paul) extraneous, unnecessary, undesirable and illusory." (11) Later in his life, Shearer commented that "the Arts course [at the university] displaced the Theological and we were urged [by the college] above all to secure our degree in Arts. It was a false preparation for the ministry and showed the growing baleful influence of Modernism." (12)
Shearer had three ministries in Scotland: Stirling Street, Galashiels (1900-13), Stifling (1913-21) and Rattray Street, Dundee (1921-41). He retired to Glasgow, to join Adelaide Place Baptist Church, where he remained until his death in 1961. His ministries were characterized by expository preaching and evangelistic passion, faithfully preaching "the old gospel." (13) When he received the call from Stirling, Shearer commented on the desire that he had "to preach among you the grand old verities of that old yet ever flesh Theology which are the very life of our life and which were never more needed than they are today." (14) Throughout his ministries, he conducted evangelistic missions in other congregations. Every year, he held a week of evangelistic meetings in his own congregation. During his time in Dundee, the evangelist Gypsy Smith (15) visited the city in 1924. This resulted in fifteen converts attending the Rattray Street church. It came as no surprise to his friends when he was appointed the evangelism convener of the Baptist Union of Scofiand in 1926.
One of the most formative experiences of Shearer's life was his visit to the scene of the Welsh Revival in 1905. In April 1905, he commented on his visit in the Scottish Baptist Magazine, speaking of the "great waves of unseen power" which evoked "prayer like a torrent. God is felt to be very near, and hot tears tell of deep repentance and reawakened love. Strong men [are] broken down in an agony of remorse." He returned to the Scottish Borders "with a new heart and a new bible," (16) and "much blessing followed" as the church held nightly meetings from April 3 to July 8, 1905, with many conversions. (17)
Shearer made wider contact with Baptists in Europe and America by attending meetings of the Baptist World Alliance in London in 1905, Berlin in 1908, Philadelphia in 1911, and Stockholm in 1923. He also made a six-week visit to the Holy Land in 1925. These visits exposed Shearer to the wider Baptist world and to the changes taking place within evangelicalism on both sides of the Atlantic. For example, he would have been aware of the condemnation by the Northern General Baptist Convention in 1920 of liberal tendencies among Baptists. (18)
The influence of the Welsh Revival, with its "conservative evangelical ethos," (19) and the North America Baptist evangelical constituency brought an awareness of the controversy surrounding American Fundamentalism. In his presidential address in 1936, Shearer spoke of the "danger [that] threatens us at the present moment. The new Rationalism that has invaded the Church has taken our feet from the firm ground of our faith and made us to flounder miserably in a quagmire of doubt." He maintained the need to hold on to the fundamentals of Baptist faith such as belief in the Bible as "the Word of the Living God" and "our Lord's Deity" which will oppose the "insidious Unitarianism that . is deep seated in the churches of our land." Thirdly, he spoke of the "atoning death" of Christ as a "perfect substitution." This, he contended, was "the central truth of Christianity" and "we must thank God for Karl Barth who takes his place in the noble line of the great Evangelical Theologians who has recalled the Church to the long-neglected Doctrines of Grace." He concluded by mentioning the Lord's resurrection, the fact of the new birth which opposed the "New Rationalism" with its "system of psychology," and also the blessed hope of the church which he identified as the imminent return of Christ. (20)
Fundamentalism, Modernism, and Conservative Evangelicals
The history of Fundamentalism, and its relationship to Evangelicalism, has been well documented in the twentieth century. (21) Fundamentalism among evangelicals (22) arose from the doctrinal controversies that embroiled American churches at the turn of the twentieth century when theological Modernism began to take root in seminaries, Bible colleges, and in leadership positions in various denominations. (23) Harriet Harris described it as an "awkward coalition of diverse movements and groups who represented a range of theological opinion" but whose "foe was theological modernism." (24) Though Fundamentalism began as a North American church phenomenon, it was a reaction to theological developments that had their origin in Europe, particularly in Germany, in the nineteenth century. A central tenet of Modernism was the historical-critical approach to Bible interpretation.
Modernism quickly increased in influence, especially from the middle to the end of the nineteenth century, and by the early years of the twentieth century it had became an influential theology among theologians in Germany, Europe, the United Kingdom, and America. British and American evangelicals shared a general concern over the issues being discussed. Although David Bebbington argued that Fundamentalism did not make serious inroads among British Baptists, (25) many people among the churches of the denomination echoed Shearer's concern in Scotland. (26)
The name "Fundamentalist" was popularized by a series of books that were published over a five-year period from 1910-15. The series, titled The Fundamentals, was composed of ninety articles written by sixty-four authors. (27) Hundreds of thousands of copies of The Fundamentals were distributed to Christian workers in the United States and twenty-one foreign countries. The articles defended the inspiration of the Bible justification by faith the new birth and the deity, virgin birth, miracles, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. By the 1930s, when
Although Shearer did not separate himself from the Baptist Union of Scotland, he adopted an isolationist approach in setting up an alternative Evangelical Baptist Bible College in Glasgow.
W. Holms Coats was a fellow student with Shearer in the early days of the Scottish College. He graduated with an honors degree from Glasgow University. He moved to Oxford, graduating with a B.A. in theology in 1906. During his time in Oxford, Coats was undoubtedly influenced by the principal of Mansfield College, A. M. Fairbairn. (29) Fairbairn entered the ministry of the Evangelical Union in Scotland. He had been educated at James Morison's Theological Academy in Glasgow. He left Scotland to become a Congregationalist. From 1886 to 1909, he was principal of Mansfield College, Oxford. Fairbairn was the "father of Liberal Evangelicalism among Congregationalists" and believed that the gospel message was encapsulated, not in the Church's creeds and traditions, (30) but in the "Fatherhood of God,"(31) especially as understood "through the consciousness of Christ's relationship to God as Son of the Father." (32)
However, by the turn of the century, Fairbairn's influence among Mansfield students began to decline as the students "felt that he had not kept abreast of newer theological thinking and was unable to guide them through the new exploration of the current German theology." (33) Fairbairn maintained his indebtedness to Hegel and "disappointed his students by maintaining silence in the theology of Albrecht Ritschl," (34) a deficit which Holms Coats would rectify during his studies in Germany. This did not diminish the overall influence of Fairbairn who instilled within Coats a conviction that "theology . must engage with the thought of the age." (35) This desire to contextualize his theology distinguished Holms Coats from Shearer who was more content with maintaining a theological system from the halcyon days of evangelical awakenings.
Following his time in Oxford, Coats traveled to Marburg, having successfully won the first Baptist Union Scholarship under the Twentieth Century Fund. (36) Reflecting on his time in Marburg in 1907, he spoke of "the prevailing feeling in Scotland . that in the sphere of religion Germany is the home of rationalism and a hotbed of heresy." He spoke of his appreciation of Professor Herrmann's "emphasis on the individual character of religious experience" along with his "openness of mind" in theological enquiry which made his students "indebted to him for a new view of old truth."
Willibold Herrmann was professor of dogmatic theology in Marburg. He was a proponent of the views of Albrecht Ritschl, "probably the most influential continental Protestant theologian between Schleiermacher and Barth . the heyday of liberal Protestantism," (37) who dismissed the concept of Gospel miracles, including the resurrection, maintaining that "redemption has as much to do with the life as with the death of Jesus." (38) Coats believed that "Higher Criticism" if "rightly used, can only help Christianity." (39) Following ministries in Pitlochry (1909-14), South Shields (1914-21), and Marshall Street Church, Edinburgh (1921-28), he became pastor of Queens Park Church in Glasgow (1928-35). (40) He began to teach New Testament studies at the college in 1923 (41) and was appointed the new principal of the college in 1935. (42) In 1939, the University of Glasgow conferred on him the degree of doctor of philosophy. The 1930s and 1940s were some of the most difficult and controversial periods in the history of the college. Coats led the college through the period of war with Germany, serving as president of the union in 1938-39 and in the assembly of 1949, appreciation was expressed for his "able scholarship, his wide pastoral experience, his counsel and leadership." (43)
The antipathy which Shearer demonstrated toward Holms Coats did not became apparent until the 1940s. In 1921, Holms Coats inducted Shearer into Rattray Street in Dundee, speaking of "his personal acquaintance with Mr. Shearer as student and Pastor, and said he was a true servant of the living God." (44) During the summer session of 1921, Shearer had led one of the devotional classes and had spoken at the annual meeting held in Glasgow on October 19, 1921. During that address, he "expressed his gratitude to the College for the help it had been to him in fitting him for the great work of the ministry" and he highlighted "its doctrine, its discipline, and its devotion." He maintained that" a useful ministry can only grow out of a clear and vital appreciation of the great Christian verities. The value of a College training is inestimable." (45)
As late as 1938, Holms Coats preached at the Diamond Jubilee services in Rattray Street. (46) However, it became clear that Coats's advocacy of retaining Eric Roberts on the ministerial list during his 1933 trial for Unitarianism led Shearer to suspect that Coats himself was Unitarian. This is undoubtedly a misrepresentation of Coats's theological position. Roberts wrote an obituary of Holms Coats in the Mansfield College Magazine and stated very clearly that "although not agreeing with my modernist convictions he stood by me, nobly true to friendship, and said what he could for me at the Assembly, in complete disregard of his own interests." (47) However, in 1938, Coats delivered his presidential address in which many people detected a strong influence of modern biblical criticism. Shearer condemned Coats's address as one which "eulogized the leaders of Modernist Infidelity and spoke of the Bible as an erroneous book." (48)
Coats was anxious that the church desperately needed to "preach it [the gospel] in the language of our own day" and although it "cannot accommodate its central message to the spirit of the age . it must speak that unchanging gospel in terms that will be intelligible to men." He believed that far from destroying the church's faith, the "modern critical study of the Bible has been of inestimable service" in taking some of "the great evangelical words--Incarnation, justification, sanctification, atonement" which "sound remote and archaic to many people and need to be re-minted into current coinage."
Coats defended the "modern approach to Scripture" demonstrated by men like Wheeler Robinson and T. R. Glover (49) "who have taught us to see in the Bible, not a book dictated by God, nor even one kept free from errors in fact and varying levels of moral value and authority" so that people need no longer be "disconcerted that there are discrepancies and contradictions in its pages."
He challenged the assembly to dismiss "charges of rationalism and infidelity against men whose consecrated labours have done so much to disarm skepticism and to save thinking men from the alternatives of sheer literalism on the one hand and infidelity on the other." (50)
The differences that began to emerge in the modernist controversy between Shearer and Coats had as much to do with family as with educational background. Following his graduation in Glasgow, Shearer immersed himself in the ministry of evangelism he had seen exemplified in the life of his own pastor, John McLean. This was bolstered by his experiences of the Welsh revival. For Shearer, the only hope of the church was to be found in a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a concentration on issues relating to evangelism. (51)
At the same time, Coats continued his education in Oxford and Marburg, immersing himself in the culture of these cities. Prior to his settlement in Pitlochry in 1909, he acted as subwarden of the Mansfield House Settlement in Canning Town, immersing himself in the current social problems of his culture. (52)
Shearer's Booklets on Modernism
Stewart Cole's The History of Fundamentalism, published in 1931, argued that Fundamentalism contended that modern theological thought attacked five foundational doctrines: the deity and virgin birth of Christ, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and the second coming. (53) Although recent writers have argued for a less homogeneous understanding of Fundamentalism, (54) Shearer's booklets on Modernism (55) focused on these very doctrines, arguing that at each point Modernism was undermining the evangelical message which for many years had been faithfully preached from Scottish Baptist pulpits.
In his early ministry, Shearer agreed that Baptist churches did not have any
However, in light of Eric Roberts's appeal to this principle in 1933 to maintain his modernistic beliefs and remain a Baptist minister, (57) Shearer expressed his concern that "the time has come for a clear statement of our Baptist Faith." "We must," he contended, "have a Baptist Confession of Faith, for a faith that cannot be confessed is a faith not worth confessing." (58)
Shearer was convinced that Modernism which he described as "the Menace of the Evangelical Faith" was "preached in so many of our pulpits and so craftily couched in Evangelical language that multitudes are being deceived by it." (59) Writing shortly after the war, he made good use of the analogy of Modernism which was creeping "stealthily into our life like a poison gas and for long we have been breathing it unconsciously." (60) He expressed a concern that "the Evangelical Faith is dying in our midst" and that the Baptist Theological College of Scotland which he believed was "deeply imbued with this German Rationalism" has "imparted it to its students." This had led several Baptist ministers to leave the denomination, some of them entering the Church of Scotland ministry, often perceived by some as an abandonment of their evangelical heritage.
During the 1944 debate with the assembly, Shearer used the example of the Marshall Street congregation in Edinburgh, where Holms Coats had ministered from 1921 to 1928. He spoke of how a once "flourishing church" had called a "succession of Modernistic preachers [and] it is what it is today." (61) It was a direct attack on students and lecturers of the college. From 1918 until 1936, the ministers of the church included Thomas Stewart, (62) Holms Coats, R. J. McCracken, (63) and Douglas Stewart. (64)
In his later booklets on Modernism, Shearer developed the theme he had mentioned in his presidential address in 1936. He stressed the importance of biblical inspiration, the reality of sin, the deity of Christ, the work of atonement, the bodily resurrection, the personal return of Christ, and the necessity of the new birth. He argued that each of these fundamental doctrines of the faith was being denied by the Modernism advocated in the Scottish College.
The Bible As the Word of God
Shearer asserted his conviction that the problem with Modernism lay primarily in its belief that "the Bible is not the Word of God" and that although "it may contain it, it is not [in and of itself] the Word of God." (65) He argued that a loss of conviction in the inspiration and infallible nature of Scripture led "Modernist Ministers" to find "little pleasure in preaching from it and [they] prefer to draw their texts from current literature, the sensational topic of the hour, or even songs that are sung in our streets." (66) He believed that "the doctrine of verbal inspiration . is plain common sense, inevitable truth." (67)
In June 1944, Principal Coats, James Hair, (68) and A. B. Miller (69) sent out a leaflet defending the teaching of the college. It began by maintaining the "inspiration of the Bible" without adopting any particular understanding of the nature of that inspiration. (70) This was not necessarily unusual, for even a staunch evangelical like Graham Scroggie stated that "subscription to a particular definition of biblical inspiration was not, in his view, a test of doctrinal orthodoxy" and maintained that "if you demand that I subscribe to your theory of inspiration, I shall decline, but I am not on that account a Modernist." (71)
For Shearer, Modernism accepted the theory of evolution and rejected the biblical doctrine of the fall of humankind. "Evolutionary Philosophy is today the most potent ally of modernism" (72) because it leads to the doctrine of original sin being "scoffed at by Modernists" thereby undermining the need of salvation. Once again the college statement affirmed "the story of Genesis 1-11" as one which "embodies an eternal truth--that man is a sinner, needing to be saved by grace through faith" and that "sin" is "an inherited corruption of human nature." (73)
The debacle over Eric Roberts, condemned as a Unitarian and removed from the accredited list of ministers in Scotland, had not been supported by all Baptists in Scotland. According to Shearer, when the issue was debated within the Council of the Baptist Union of Scotland, the college's "most popular lecturer plead[ed] ardently for this Unitarian . asserting that he was `true to the heart of the Gospel.'" (74) During the assembly of 1933, seventy-three delegates opposed the motion to depose Roberts. Shearer believed that this was the "blackest day in the history of Scottish Baptists." (75) He condemned the way in which the "whole tutorial staff of the college warmly supported" Roberts, implying that they had all adopted Roberts's Unitarian views, suggesting that Christ "is Divine only in the same sense as we ourselves are Divine." (76) More likely, those who voted against his deposition were opposing the manner of his discipline rather than agreeing with his theological position.
In giving his own interpretation on these events, Shearer was able to cast serious doubts on the integrity, as well as the theological orthodoxy, of the college. Without referring to the events of 1933, the college statement simply reaffirmed the fact that "the teaching of the College regards Christ, not merely as a Good Man (as do the Unitarians) nor as a demi-god (as Arius maintained), but as the Son of God Incarnate, the Word made flesh, in whom God and man are perfectly united." (77) Shearer refused to accept this statement and said that the college "may issue a thousand statements: it will never remove the deep general conviction implanted that day, that it is an out and out Modernist institution." (78)
Shearer maintained that the only evangelical model for understanding Christ's death was to view it as "sacrificial and expiatory, a real substitution of the Sinless One for the guilty sons of men." (79) He opposed the "Modernist" understanding of the work of Christ as a "subjective atonement" that brought about a "change in man's feeling towards God" rather than seeing the necessity of there being "a barrier [of sin] on God's side . which must be removed." (80) He dismissed the "parade of Theories of the Atonement" believing that the penal theory of atonement was the only valid interpretation of biblical material. It was this aspect of theological reflection that finally divided modernists from evangelicals. (81)
The college statement argued for an objective and subjective understanding of the atonement. It spoke of the "Cross of Jesus Christ [as] the ground of man's redemption" because "in the Cross God judged our sins." However, it went on to argue that the "Cross is the manifestation of God's pardoning and redeeming love, the means by which that love is made available for us all through faith, and God's supreme appeal to the heart and conscience of mankind." (82)
The Second Coming of Christ
Shearer rejected any concept of "the slow age-long coming of the Kingdom the gradual betterment of the world." That idea, he argued, "is strongly refuted by the Bible and by the grim facts of history." (83) Although many evangelicals had been attracted by similar postmillennial views, Shearer believed that Modernism had so stressed the moral and social improvement of society as the great goal of the church and the kingdom of God that the church was now failing to give "her whole energy . to evangelistic ministry." (84)
Shearer also felt that the ecumenical movement, "largely inspired and guided by Modernist leaders," would lead Christians "in the direction of that great Apostate Church . in which our own distinctive principles as Baptists will be completely obliterated." (85)
That open membership, the practice of allowing profession of faith without believer's baptism, was showing a "steady increase" among Baptist churches was, for him, "another clear indication of the growing strength of this movement." (86)
In response, the college lecturers affirmed their belief in the "final consummation" of history without referring to the personal return of Christ, suggesting that "as to the time and manner of this consummation there are various views . but as to the fact itself there is no uncertainty or dubiety." (87) It went on to declare that the work of the church was to "make disciples of all nations, to seek the unity of all Christians and to play the part of the Good Samaritan in the conditions of modern life." (88) Their breadth of vision, lost by many evangelicals through the twentieth century, would be recovered by the last quarter of the century. (89)
The Scottish college was not the only institution Shearer condemned. He also attacked the Baptist Missionary Society, in which two of his own daughters served as missionaries. He accused the colleges where missionaries were sent for training of being "deeply tainted with the new Rationalism." (90) Havelock Hall, a Baptist Union institution for the training of deaconesses, (91) came under special criticism. Their principal, Miss E. Webb Samuel, (92) was accused of stating that the "Bible was quite unnecessary on the Mission Field. [A]s for conversion, she said that she did not believe in it nor had she herself ever experienced it." (93) In an unpublished letter to the Baptist Times, H. H. Rowley, professor of Old Testament at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, expressed his conviction that Shearer's accusations were "a travesty . a pernicious slander" and suggested that he had taken "Dr. Goebbels as the model of his attack, and contempt for truth as the weapon of his armoury." (94)
Shearer used the Commission of Enquiry, set up in 1939, to examine the state of the union, to launch his attacks on the college. (95) Concern had been expressed at the number of ministers who had left the denomination for the Church of Scotland over the previous thirty-year period. (96) In October 1941, Holms Coats presented the commission's report, encouraging the union to a fresh examination of "the foundation of Baptist principles" and suggested that potential candidates for the ministry undergo a more thorough examination of their understanding of Baptist identity. (97) The assembly accepted the document as an "interim report" and asked the commission to probe more deeply "into the fundamental issue at stake, namely, the Baptist interpretation of the Church and Ministry." (98) Holms Coats and James Hair were named as joint conveners of the Commission. (99)
When a more comprehensive statement was presented to the 1943 assembly, a resolution by the Edinburgh association to "remit the Report to the churches and Associations for further consideration" was approved "by a large majority." (100) The financial aspects of the report found general acceptance and the members of the assembly expressed their desire to raise a large capital sum. (101)
The churches and associations discussed the report seriously. Queens Park Church in Glasgow purchased a copy of the report for every household, (102) and the Rattray Street Church in Dundee ordered fifty copies. (103) The Glasgow Association discussed the report in the Govan Church on May 15, 1944, the Lanarkshire Association held a day conference in Bellshillon on May 20, 1944, (104) while the Edinburgh Association discussed the report at four meetings in 1943 and 1944. (105)
The Dundee Church, where Shearer had ministered until his retirement, decided to "dissent absolutely from the finding of the Committee report." (106) J. Sidlow Baxter, minister of Charlotte Chapel, stated that "the Report failed to take cognisance of what he thought was the root cause of the present defection from the Baptist ministry, namely--a defective attitude to the inspiration and authority of the Bible" and raised the "whole question of the training of our ministry" casting doubt on the college and called for a "careful investigation . into its teaching." (107) Baxter's views were mirrored among the deacons of Charlotte Chapel, and the Chapel published Shearer's Modernism pamphlets in the Chapel Record for June and July 1944. As Holms Coats anticipated the 1944 debate, he expressed his concern that the report, "though the matter is in some respects controversial," would be discussed "in a spirit of mutual tolerance in accord with their declared [Baptist] principle of religious liberty and freedom of conscience." (108)
The assembly in 1944 did not discuss the recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry in detail. (109) However, it accepted the main recommendations by 245 votes to 173, regarding central approval of ministerial candidates, the inclusion of an "impressive service of Ordination" at the beginning of ministerial service, a scheme of Probationary studies and a way of promoting a "better knowledge of Baptist principles and practice" among congregations, (110) Immediately after the vote was announced, the college representative's report was submitted and Shearer began his attack on the college.
The outcome of these events was the formation of the Evangelical Baptist Fellowship on June 27, 1944, and the beginning of evening classes in the Christian Institute in Bothwell Street, Glasgow, in January 1945. Both Shearer and T. J. Harvey lectured. In October 1946, the Evangelical Baptist Fellowship Bible College met at 153 West Regents Street and then moved to Queen's Drive in 1949. (111) Henry Curr, a former student of the College, a professor of McMaster University in Toronto, and principal of All Nation's Bible College became principal, (112) After a few years, with the number of students only totalling ten, with difficulties of settlement in Scotland, and a cooling of tempers, the college dosed and its former secretary and treasurer, D. S. K. Mcleay and J. D. Taylor, were elected presidents of the Union, in 1959 and 1965, respectively.
Reactions to the Controversy
In May 1945, the office bearers of the Baptist Union discussed the third Shearer booklet on Modernism. They expressed their opinion that it "contained several statements which were regarded as inaccurate." (113) They were concerned that the "circulation of these booklets had created trouble in several churches, and had proved a hindrance to the Thirty Thousand Guineas Fund appeal." (114)
During the next meeting of council, Matthew Wright, on behalf of the evangelistic committee, expressed his concern at the booldet's circulation in which "the majority of the [union's] conveners were accused of Modernism" and moved a motion "that this Council invites the Rev John Shearer to come forward and substantiate the charges made in the booklet." (115) Stanley Andrews, convener of the Young People's Committee, quoted from a letter he had received from the Edinburgh Youth Fellowship, where the "booklets were destroying fellowship and confusing the minds of young people" and "urged the council to dissociate itself from the charges made in the booklet." The council "resolved nem com to dissociate itself from the charges made and to put on record its disapproval of the procedure adopted in making the charges and to reaffirm its complete confidence in its conveners." (116)
Among the students, Holms Coats received great support from all the former and current members of the college. David Hicks, who attended from 1940 to 1946, recalls only one student, from Harper Memorial Baptist Church, who was sometimes "rather truculent" and tried to "catch out the Principal on some point of orthodoxy." (117) Hicks remembers Coats as being "a perfect gentleman." "I remember," he commented, "a student once making a point about `Shearer' and Dr. Coats retorting `Mr. Shearer to you, please.'"
Matthew McLachlan recalls the "exceedingly narrow orthodoxy, hard ultra-conservative" nature of Shearer's theology in comparison to that of Coats. He not only remembered "his teaching but also the quality of Christian life and devotion which he demonstrated. He was an upright, godly man, loving, caring and loveable and we students held him in the highest esteem, (118) . Dr Coats' teaching was solidly based on a Trinitarian theology and partook of the depth and width of the Gospel . and encouraged his students to explore the loving depths and wide-embracing nature of our message. (119) Sadly, many students of the college discovered that the Scottish scene was too stifling and several moved south of the border where they "found the English churches more tolerant" (120)
The failure of the Shearer's new college to find widespread support among the denomination was a great disappointment to Shearer's ministry. The concern expressed by Shearer at what he perceived to be the influence of Modernism, although widely shared by many within the denomination, did not attract the necessary support to maintain an alternative theological college. The reason for this does not lie in the smallness of the denomination but in the very real feelings of affection toward the work of the Baptist Theological College and in particular for Holm Coats.
The spirit Shearer demonstrated in debate and his actions in publishing his attacks and promoting a separate college did not win a wide approval within the denomination. (121) Even Sidlow Baxter did not vote to support the founding of a new college, and this may have had as much to do with the way Shearer "shouted" and "yelled" at Holms Coats as anything else. Indeed, a few years later, Sidlow Baxter would encourage Andrew MacRae and Peter Barbour, two students for the ministry, to study at New College and at the Baptist Theological College of Scotland. May Hossack expressed a shared concern of many people when she wrote to her husband George that "to split the Church would be a tragedy . and I felt so sorry for Holms Coats . maybe he is very wrong, but I do rather like him . to form another College, well, where would we be? . Mr. Shearer had a lot of supporters, but not for starting a new College!" (122)
Paradoxically, at a later session of the 1944 assembly, following the vigorous debate initiated by Shearer, the college was offered the "sincere congratulations" of the assembly "on the attaining of the Jubilee of the College, and of the growing place it now occupies in the life of the denomination." (123) Although constitutionally the college was an independent institution, not a member body of the Baptist Union of Scotland, the denomination as a whole valued its ministry and appreciated the character and commitment of its tutors.
(1.) Letter dated October 25, 1944, in the possession of the author.
(2.) See Kenneth B. E. Roxburgh, "Eric Roberts and Orthodoxy among Scottish Baptists," Baptist Quarterly, forthcoming in 2001.
(3.) See Eric Roberts, "Life at Mansfield," Scottish Baptist Magazine (April 1907): 72-73 and Holms Coats, "Life at Marburg," Scottish Baptist Magazine (September 1907): 162-63.
(4.) Minutes, Stifling Street Baptist Church, Galashiels, Scotland, November 6, 1904. Located in Galashiels Baptist Church.
(5.) William Shearer resigned from the ministry in 1896 Kelso was his own pastoral charge.
(6.) McLean was transferred to Southside by letter from Kelso on October 1, 1893. See roll of members of Southside Baptist Church, Glasgow, Baptist Union of Scotland Archives 17/5.
(8.) South Side would become Victoria Place Baptist Church. McLean had conducted Shearer's father's induction services at Kelso.
(9.) Yuille was minister of Stirling Baptist Church (1870-1913) and then became secretary of the Baptist Union of Scotland. He edited History of Baptists in Scotland (Glasgow: Baptist Union of Scotland, 1926).
(10.) See "In Memoriam" for John Maclean in Scottish Baptist Magazine (February 1923): 20-21.
(11.) Letter of E. J. Roberts to M. E. Aubrey on April 18, 1931, BUGB Council Minute Book, July 1934-June 1935, 374. Writing in 1931, he commented: "I held these views in College days and have retained them . throughout the twenty-two years of my ministry." Ibid.
(12.) Material from John Shearer's personal memorandum notebook in the possession of his daughter, Flora Shearer, St. Andrews. I am grateful to Miss Shearer for access to this material and for her own personal reflections on her father's ministry.
(13.) Minutes, Stifling Street Baptist Church, Galashiels, September 2, 1913. When a report was given to the Vacancy Committee at Stifling, it stated that his "evening text was taken from John 3 . and contained a strong evangelistic appeal." Minutes, Stifling Baptist Church, 1911-1918, PD154.6, May 1913. The minutes are lodged in the Stifling District Archives, Stifling.
(14.) Minutes, Stifling Baptist Church, 1911-18, for July 1, 1913.
(15.) Rodney "Gypsy" Smith was born in 1860. He was converted in 1876, and the following year he accepted an invitation from William Booth to be an evangelist with his mission, which later became the Salvation Army. For six years, from 1877 to 1882, he preached on street corners and mission halls and saw 23,000 people converted. Throughout the years, he conducted evangelistic campaigns in different parts of the world, traveling to America on thirty occasions. He died in 1947 at eighty-seven. He was one of the bestloved evangelists of his time.
(16.) Comment in memorandum notebook.
(17.) Shearer reported in the Scottish Baptist Magazine, June 1905, that 120 people had been converted. Stifling Street had thirty-seven baptisms in 1905. The revival affected other Baptist churches in Scotland with John Harper, minister of Paisley Road, Glasgow (later Harper Memorial) reporting 700 conversions and over 100 added to their membership. See Scottish Baptist Magazine, April, May, and June 1905.
(18.) George M. Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth-Century Evangelicalism: 1870-1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 157-61.
(19.) Ian S. Rennie, "Fundamentalism and the Varieties of North Atlantic Evangelicalism," Evangelicalism: Comparative Studies of Popular Protestantism in North America, the British Isles, and Beyond 1700-1990, ed. Mark A. Noll, David W. Bebbington, and George A. Rawlyk (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 342.
(20.) John Shearer, "Forward: The Call to a Great Advance," Scottish Baptist Year Book (1937): 153-57.
(21.) See Harriet A. Harris, Fundamentalism and Evangelicals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) David W Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 89-91, 217-20, 275-76 Ian S. Rennie, "Fundamentalism and the Varieties of North Atlantic Evangelicalism," Evangelicalism, ed. Mark A. Noll, David W. Bebbington, and George A. Rawlyk (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 333-50 Bill J. Leonard, "The Origin and Character of Fundamentalism," Review and Expositor 79, no. 1 (Winter 1982): 5-17 David W. Bebbington, "Baptists and Fundamentalism in Inter-War Britain," in K. Robbins, ed, Protestant Evangelicalism, Studies in Church History, Subsidia 7, (Oxford: Blackwells, 1990), 297-326.
(22.) It is clear, however, that evangelicals cannot be simply classified as fundamentalists. See Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain, 275.
(23.) According to historian David O. Beale, "The editor of the Baptist periodical Watchman-Examiner coined the term Fundamentalist in 1920 to describe a group of concerned Baptists who had just met at the Delaware Avenue Baptist Church in Buffalo, New York, to discuss the problem of Modernism in the Northern Baptist Convention," David O. Beale, Southern Baptist Convention: House on the Sand (Greenville, S.C.: Bob Jones University Press, 1985), 195.
(24.) Harris, Fundamentalism, 20.
(25.) Bebbington, "Baptists and Fundamentalism," 320, 326.
(26.) For example, J. Sidlow Baxter, minister of Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh, published one of Shearer's booklets on Modernism in the Charlotte Chapel Record for June and July 1944.
(27.) These included British evangelicals as well as Americans, although the latter contributed the majority of material. See Bebbington, "Baptists and Fundamentalism," 297.
(28.) George Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism (Grand Rapids: W. B. Eerdmans, 1987), 7.
(29.) R. Tudor Jones maintains that Fairbairn's "students All but worshipped him" and that he had an "overpowering personality" that "made a deeper impression upon the intellectual life of Congregationalism than any other teacher of his generation." Congregationalism in England 1662-1962 (London: Independent Press, 1962), 267, 309. R. W. Macan described him as "the most accomplished and profound exponent of systematic theology in the University [of Oxford] since Mozley." R. W. Macan, Religious Changes in Oxford During the Last Fifty Years, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1917), 14. See also Elaine Kaye, For the Work of Ministry: A History of Northern College and Its Predecessors (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1999), 114-19. A. E E Sell, "An Englishman, An Irishman and a Scotsman . " in Scottish Journal of Theology 38 (1985): 41-83.
(30.) Kaye, For the Work of the Ministry, 115.
(31.) Jones, Congregationalism, 268-69. Sell speaks of how Fairbairn understood "Fatherhood as being of the essence of God" although he believed that God's "Fatherhood is sovereign" and would "not allow that emphasis upon God's Fatherhood" to become unduly sentimental. Sell, "An Englishman," 67. 32. Kaye, For the Work of the Ministry, 115.
(33.) Elaine Kaye, Mansfield College, Oxford: Its Origin, History and Significance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 129.
(36.) R. H. Coats, a relative, had studied at Glasgow, Oxford, and Leipzig prior to settling in Birmingham in 1899. In 1919, he contributed an article in the Baptist Times in which he claimed that "the first chapter of the Bible was one of the last to be written, and it gives a priestly lawyer's account of the origin of all things." Baptist Handbook, 1920, 166. He was "noted for fine culture of spirit as well as of intellect." His pastorate closed in 1921 however, he continued as a member of the congregation. See Arthur S. Langley, Birmingham Baptists: Past and Present (London, 1939), 119.
(37.) P. N. Hillyer, "Albert Ritschl," New Dictionary of Theology (Leicester, Inter Varsity Press, 1988), 595-96.
(38.) Alan P. F. Sell, Defending and Declaring the Faith (Exeter: Paternoster, 1987), 186.
(39.) Coats, "Life at Marburg," 162-63. Coats specialized in studies in dogmatic theology and the New Testament.
(40.) During the first World War, Coats spent two years with the YMCA in France.
(41.) Minutes, Annual Business Meeting, Adelaide Place Baptist Church, 1949 Minutes of Baptist Theological College of Scotland, 506. He also lectured in Old Testament studies and in pastoral theology and homiletics.
(42.) He was inducted into the office of principal by Wheeler Robinson, Oxford. Shortly after this, James Hair and A. B. Miller were appointed lecturers.
(43.) Scottish Baptist Year Book (1950), 127.
(44.) Scottish Baptist Magazine, October 1921.
(45.) Report, Baptist Theological College of Scotland (1921), 7.
(46.) Minutes, Rattray Street Baptist Church, Dundee, 1928-45, CD/CH/B/2/1/3, June 14, 1938. The Minutes are held at the Dundee City Archives.
(47.) Cited in Derek Murray, Scottish Baptist College Centenary History (Glasgow: 1994), 45.
(48.) John Shearer, The Menace of Modernism with Reply to Criticism (n.p., 1944), 4.
(49.) For fuller discussion of T. R. Glover and the controversy among Baptists that surrounded his publications, see Bebbington, "Baptists and Fundamentalists," 320 Ian Randall, Evangelical Experiences (Exeter: Paternoster, 1999), 177 Keith W. Clements, Lovers of Discord: Twentieth-Century Theological Controversies in England (London: SPCK, 1988), 107-29.
(50.) Scottish Baptist Year Book (1939), 171-72.
(51.) See John Shearer, Old Time Revivals: How the Fire of God Spread in Days Now Past and Gone (London: Private Publications, n.d.).
(52.) See "In Memoriam," Scottish Baptist Year Book (1955), 110.
(53.) Stewart Cole, The History of Fundamentalism (Hamden, Conn.: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1963), 34.
(54.) See Leonard, "The Origin and Character of Fundamentalism," 5ff. Harris stated that "the socalled five points of fundamentalism did not provide a blueprint for fundamentalists as many scholars have assumed." Fundamentalism, 25.
(55.) See John Shearer, The Baptist Confession of Faith (Stirling, n.d.) Who are the Baptists (Dundee, n.d.) Modernism: The Enemy of the Evangelical Faith (n.p, n.d.) The Evangelical Faith (Glasgow, 1946), 2nd ed. Modernism: The Enemy of the Evangelical Church (n.p., 1946) 3rd ed. 56. Statement included in the Annual Report, Stirling Street Baptist Church, Galashiels, January 29, 1913.
(57.) See Roxburgh, Eric Roberts.
(58.) The Baptist Confession of Faith, 14.
(59.) See Forward to The Evangelical Faith, 5.
(60.) Modernism: The Enemy of the Evangelical Faith, 1st ed., 3.
(61.) Letter of May Hossack to George Hossack, October 25, 1944, 3. Holms Coats succeeded Thomas Stewart. The church closed in 1942, following the ministry of Thomas N. Tattershall, trained at Manchester, due to inner-city depopulation. John Barclay, "Edinburgh and Lothian," The Baptists in Scotland, ed. David W. Bebbington (Glasgow: Baptist Union of Scotland, 1988), 104.
(62.) Stewart became general secretary of the Baptist Union of Scotland from 1920-30 and lectured in the college from 1918-32 in church history.
(63.) Lecturer from 1932-37. He moved to Dennistoun, Glasgow in 1931 and then was appointed professor of systematic theology at McMaster University in 1937. He then moved to the Riverside Church in New York to succeed H. E. Fosdick.
(64.) Douglas Stewart was a student in the college from 1924 to 1931. He moved from Marshall Street to Hampstead.
(65.) Modernism: The Enemy of the Evangelical Faith, 1st ed., 9.
(67.) The Evangelical Faith, 8.
(68.) Hair had been one of the first students at the college when it began in 1894 and a fellow student of Shearer, He joined the college staff in 1936 to teach philosophy of religion, Christian ethics, and comparative religion, He acted as convener of the Social Service Committee and was president of the union in 1930-31. He died November 26, 1948, aged seventy-three years.
(69.) A. B. Miller was appointed lecturer in church history and systematic theology in 1938, a former student of Rawdon College, Leeds He had settled in Hopeman in 1927. He was awarded a Ph.D. by Edinburgh University in t939 for a thesis "The Growth of the Idea of Religious Toleration in England." When he was appointed to the college, he moved to minister in the St Andrews church. He moved to Helensburgh in 1943 and in 1950 was appointed principal of the college, retiring in 1967.
(70.) Statement by Principal and Lecturers (Glasgow: Baptist Theological College of Scotland, June 1944), 3.
(71.) Cited by Ian Randall, "Graham Scroggie and Evangelical Spirituality," Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology, 18, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 75.
(72.) The Evangelical Faith, 12.
(73.) Statement by Principal and Lecturers, ibid.
(74.) Menace of Modernism, 11.
(76.) The Evangelical Faith, 15.
(78.) Menace of Modernism, 12.
(79.) Baptist Confession of Faith, 6.
(80.) Evangelical Faith, 17-18.
(82.) Statement by Principal and Lecturers, 4.
(83.) Baptist Confession of Faith, 7. Brian Stanley has recently stated that "the first World War rocked the foundations of the postmillennial confidence that societies permeated by Christian influence were not far from the kingdom of God." Brian Stanley, "The Future in the Past: Eschatological Vision in British and American Protestant Missionary History," Tyndale Bulletin, 51, no. 1 (2000): 110.
(84.) Modernism: The Enemy of the Evangelical Faith, 16.
(85.) Ibid., 17. Stanley demonstrated that several evangelicals, like E B. Meyer, stopped stressing the importance of social involvement because of the way in which the Social Gospel became linked to more liberal theological stances. Stanley, "The Future in the Past," 114.
(86.) Ibid., 18. In January 1944, Adelaide Place Baptist Church, where Shearer was a member, raised the question of open membership. The minister encouraged the church to implement an earlier decision, taken in 1938, to change the basis of church membership. The debate in the church was contentious and led to much ill-feeling. One member expressed her conviction that the open membership was "in some way connected with the errors of modernism" and suggested "the formation of a True Bible Believers' Church." John Stewart, Adelaide Place Baptist Church During World War II (Privately Printed, 1983), 8 and Kenneth B. E. Roxburgh, "Open and Closed Membership Amongst Scottish Baptists," Baptism, the New Testament, and the Church, ed. Stanley E Porter and Anthony R Cross (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 441.
(87.) Statement by Principal and Lecturers, 4.
(89.) Stanley, "The Future in the Past," 116-20.
(90.) Modernism: The Enemy of the Evangelical Faith, 20.
(91.) See Brian Stanley, The History of the Baptist Missionary Society (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1992), 374.
(92.) Baptist Handbook, 1940, 322.
(93.) Menace of Modernism, 3rd ed., 18.
(94.) Copy of letter dated September 16, 1944, in the possession of the author. I am grateful to David Coats for access to this letter, which had been sent by Rowley to David's father, Holms Coats.
(95.) Shearer had been a member of the commission.
(96.) Thirty-five ministers left--twelve of them from the college and twenty-three non-collegiate men.
(97.) Scottish Baptist Year Book (1942) 149.
(98.) Ibid., 150. The report was referred back to the ministerial recognition committee with the council being given powers to co-opt new members on the committee.
(99.) A. B. Miller chaired a group examining "Independency," James Hair studied "The Ordinances," Holms Coats probed issues relating to "The Ministry," and Alexander Clark was asked to look at the "Ecumenical Movement." Later in the 1941 assembly, the report of the college representative referred to the "hearty spirit of co-operation which existed between the representatives and the College Committee. It was felt that the denomination and the College were becoming more united." Scottish Baptist Year Book (1942), 152-53.
(100.) Scottish Baptist Year Book (1944), 48. The motion was seconded by John Shearer. Coats commented in the Scottish Baptist Magazine that "no great harm may be done--indeed there may be advantages in having the report as a whole discussed in the churches . provided no serious cleavage of opinion develops." Scottish Baptist Magazine, November 1943, 1. One letter to the magazine spoke of the "acrimonious discussion which took place on the Commission of Enquiry's Report." Letter of an "Old Disciple," ibid., 5.
(101.) 30,000 was initially suggested. This became the 30,000 guineas fund to keep stipends in line with inflation.
(102.) Minutes, Queen's Park Baptist Church, January 4, 1944, 136.
(103.) Minutes, Rattray Street Baptist Church, Dundee, 1928-45, GD/ch/b/2/1/3, 410.
(104.) W. Wallace Muir and Matthew Wright, the chairman and a member of the commission spoke at Bellshill. Minutes, Lanarkshire Baptist Association, January 1930 to March 1952, 183. Minutes are located in the Baptist Union of Scotland Archives.
(105.) Meetings of September 21, 1943 February 15, 1944 May 16, 1944 and September 11, 1944.
(106.) Minutes, Rattray Street Baptist Church, 416, 422.
(107.) Meeting of the Edinburgh Association on September 11, 1944. Baxter's motion was carried by seventeen votes to six, with seven abstentions. I am grateful to Christine Lumsden, secretary of the Edinburgh Association, for photocopies of the relevant minutes.
(108.) Scottish Baptist Magazine (October 1944), 1.
(109.) Coats said this was "a pity" as "discussion in a calm and reasonable temper would have given an opportunity of clearing up misunderstandings. If as Christian men and women we cannot thrash out our differences in a spirit of goodwill and kindliness, but have to resort to violent language and threats of splitting the Union, what hope is there for the future and what becomes of our vaunted liberty of conscience?" Ibid.
(110.) Report of the Commission of Enquiry 1941-1943, 8-9.
(111.) Among the students were Tom Houston, Hugh Robinson, T. C. Anderson, John Johnston, Jim Findlay. Material from Shearer's memorandum book and personal conversation with Hugh Robinson.
(112.) Curr and Coats worshiped in Queen's Park church during this period.
(113.) Minutes, Baptist Union of Scotland, 1945, 667.
(116.) Scottish Baptist Magazine, July 1945.
(117.) Communication from Hicks to author by e-mail. The student left college to go into business.
(118.) William Buchan speaks of Coats's attitude which was "more gracious" than that of Shearer. Letter to author dated March 2, 2000. In his "In Memoriam," Alexander Clark said that "in Council and Assembly" Coats "spoke with wisdom and restraint. In debate he stood firm for truth and liberty and showed magnanimity equalled by few." Scottish Baptist Year Book (1955), 110.
(119.) Letter to author from Matthew McLachlan dated March 3, 2000.
(121.) May Hossack indicated that even Sidlow Baxter did not vote to disown the college.
(122.) Letter of October 25, 1944.
(123.) Scottish Baptist Year Book (1945), 52-53.
Kenneth B. E. Roxburgh is principal, the Scottish Baptist College, Glasgow, Scotland.
Sweetwater Reporter (Sweetwater, Tex.), Vol. 47, No. 125, Ed. 1 Sunday, May 28, 1944
Daily newspaper from Sweetwater, Texas that includes local, state and national news along with advertising.
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Joe Wade joined Arsenal 25 May
Joe Wade was born 7 July 1921 in Shoreditch and joined Arsenal as an amateur in 1944 – while Britain was still at war.
He was in the RAF at the time and based near Hereford, and also played for them during the war years. He is also listed as playing for Hoxton. He played at left back and had only one near complete season as a player after six years of playing mostly reserve football – as the chart shows:
He made his début in an FA Cup match against West Ham United on 5 January 1946 Arsenal lost 6-0. This was the year in which the FA was played played, but there was no Football League.
Joe made his league début in a 4-2 victory over Leeds on 16 November 1946, but with Walley Barnes, George Male, and Bernard Joy all able to play at number 3, he had little chance. Worse for Joe, Laurie Scott could play left or right back, giving Joe even less chance of getting a game.
He got his chance in 1952/3 due to injuries elsewhere – and amazingly in his one complete season he played 40 league games and got a league winner’s medal. It was the last trophy for Arsenal before the entry into the Years of Darkness – there were no more trophies until Bertie Mee appeared.
However that season gave Joe an extra credibility in the team and he began to work as a youth team coach, while continuing to fill in, with reserve matches. He was also coach of the football team at Hackney Downs Grammar School.
In 1956 he returned to Hereford (then in the Southern League) as player-manager, having played 91 league and cup games for Arsenal.
At Hereford he picked up some notable cup victories against league side and won the Southern League and Cup double. He left in 1962 to develop his sports shop business, but returned briefly in 1971 after John Charles left the club in 1971. He died on 12 November 2005, at the age of 84.
- – Arsenal’s early years – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910 – crowd behaviour at the early matches
- Coming soon: Royal Arsenal
Other sites from the same team…
3 comments to Joe Wade joined Arsenal 25 May
A few years ago someone asked me a question about reserve team appearances. I’m pretty sure that I worked out that Joe has made more appearances for Arsenal’s reserves than any other player. He played 275 games in the Football Combination and 11 in the London FA Challenge Cup.
I met Joe Wade when I was a schoolboy in the late 1970s. I’d got very interested in pre-war Arsenal and my Dad thought I’d enjoy talking to an ex-player from years gone by. At that time he was running a sports shop in Widemarsh St in Hereford. It said “Ex-Arsenal FC” under his name over the door. He was a lovely bloke, very eager to share his stories and my Dad and I spent the evening at his house. I’d been sent some old press photos by Molly Allsop, daughter of Herbert Chapman. We went through them together and they jogged his memory. One showed Alec James turning out for a Hereford Utd side in a wartime friendly. Another was from the famous Moscow Dynamo game. He told the story, almost in confidential tones, of how the then Arsenal captain Jimmy Logie, refused to shake the referee’s hand – and how the Arsenal board immediately stripped him of the captaincy as punishment. He showed us his 1953 league championship medal and his love for the club was obvious in all that he said. He’d grown up just to the south of Islington, then a very tough district, where he played football in the streets and learnt to box to look after himself. As a boy he went to Highbury regularly to watch the team and he grew up to play for them. A dream that rarely comes true for local lads in this day and age. His one regret? The freak collision he was involved in which broke Joe Mercer’s leg. He said everyone knew instinctively, as he was carried off on the stretcher, that he’d never appear in an Arsenal shirt again. I remember him saying he felt close to tears – and I think he told us the noise of the crowd prevented he or Mercer hearing the other “putting their name” on the ball. He was hugely proud of having played for Arsenal though. His home had a plaque by the front door with its name on it. Yup you’ve guessed it. “Highbury”.
Red Cross and Vatican helped thousands of Nazis to escape
SS officers at Auschwitz in 1944. From left: Richard Baer, who became the commandant of Auschwitz in May 1944, Josef Mengele, commandant of Birkenau Josef Kramer, hidden, and the former commandant of Auschwitz Rudolf Höss, foreground the man on the right is unidentified. Photograph: AP
SS officers at Auschwitz in 1944. From left: Richard Baer, who became the commandant of Auschwitz in May 1944, Josef Mengele, commandant of Birkenau Josef Kramer, hidden, and the former commandant of Auschwitz Rudolf Höss, foreground the man on the right is unidentified. Photograph: AP
The Red Cross and the Vatican both helped thousands of Nazi war criminals and collaborators to escape after the second world war, according to a book that pulls together evidence from unpublished documents.
The Red Cross has previously acknowledged that its efforts to help refugees were used by Nazis because administrators were overwhelmed, but the research suggests the numbers were much higher than thought.
Gerald Steinacher, a research fellow at Harvard University, was given access to thousands of internal documents in the archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The documents include Red Cross travel documents issued mistakenly to Nazis in the postwar chaos.
They throw light on how and why mass murderers such as Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele and Klaus Barbie and thousands of others evaded capture by the allies.
By comparing lists of wanted war criminals to travel documents, Steinacher says Britain and Canada alone inadvertently took in around 8,000 former Waffen-SS members in 1947, many on the basis of valid documents issued mistakenly.
The documents – which are discussed in Steinacher's book Nazis on the Run: How Hitler's henchmen fled justice – offer a significant insight into Vatican thinking, particularly, because its own archives beyond 1939 are still closed. The Vatican has consistently refused to comment.
Steinacher believes the Vatican's help was based on a hoped-for revival of European Christianity and dread of the Soviet Union. But through the Vatican Refugee Commission, war criminals were knowingly provided with false identities.
The Red Cross, overwhelmed by millions of refugees, relied substantially on Vatican references and the often cursory Allied military checks in issuing travel papers, known as 10.100s.
It believed it was primarily helping innocent refugees although correspondence between Red Cross delegations in Genoa, Rome and Geneva shows it was aware Nazis were getting through.
"Although the ICRC has publicly apologised, its action went well beyond helping a few people," said Steinacher.
Steinacher says the documents indicate that the Red Cross, mostly in Rome or Genoa, issued at least 120,000 of the 10.100s, and that 90% of ex-Nazis fled via Italy, mostly to Spain, and North and South America – notably Argentina.
Former SS members often mixed with genuine refugees and presented themselves as stateless ethnic Germans to gain transit papers. Jews trying to get to Palestine via Italy were sometimes smuggled over the border with escaping Nazis.
Steinacher says that individual Red Cross delegations issued war criminals with 10.100s "out of sympathy for individuals … political attitude, or simply because they were overburdened". Stolen documents were also used to whisk Nazis to safety. He said: "They were really in a dilemma. It was difficult. It wanted to get rid of the job. Nobody wanted to do it."
The Red Cross refused to comment directly on Steinacher's findings but the organisation says on its website: "The ICRC has previously deplored the fact that Eichmann and other Nazi criminals misused its travel documents to cover their tracks."
Why D-Day Was So Important to Allied Victory
The invasion of northern France in 1944 was the most significant victory of the Western Allies in the Second World War. American, British and Canadian forces established a foothold on the shores of Normandy, and, after a protracted and costly campaign to reinforce their gains, broke out into the French interior and began a headlong advance. The German Army suffered a catastrophe greater than that of Stalingrad, the defeat in North Africa or even the massive Soviet summer offensive of 1944.
D-Day was born in the immediate aftermath of America’s entry into the war, and agreement on a 'Germany first' strategy. From the outset the Americans pushed for a cross-Channel invasion of north-west Europe (later code-named Operation 'Overlord') as the most direct way to engage German forces. The British argued against a premature attack, choosing a Mediterranean strategy which involved campaigns in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
With the bulk of the German Army engaged in Russia, and the Allied bomber offensive to some extent placating Soviet demands for immediate action in the west, many British senior commanders hoped that a confrontation in France could be deferred until Allied material supremacy was overwhelming, or even avoided altogether in the event of a sudden German collapse. The Americans reluctantly agreed for their early drafts of troops to be used to support the British in North Africa, rather than be launched across the Channel.
US involvement in the Mediterranean effectively put back the invasion of France to 1944. But this delay worked to the Allies' advantage. The disastrous large-scale raid on the port of Dieppe in 1942 had shown what could be expected from a direct assault on Hitler’s 'Atlantic Wall' with insufficient resources. D-Day would need prodigious aerial and naval firepower to soften the beach defences, air superiority to allow forces to assemble and deploy without hindrance and a host of specialised armoured vehicles to tackle obstacles on the beaches.
Lessons would be learned too from amphibious assaults in Sicily and Italy, where Allied forces put in lacklustre performances against enemy troops of lower quality than might be expected in France.
The fear of heavy losses in a direct confrontation with elite German formations in north-west Europe was always in the minds of Churchill and his generals. Many were attracted to the idea of expanding the Allied thrust into the 'soft underbelly' of Europe, perhaps even opening a new theatre of operations in the Balkans.
Meanwhile, the commanders of the US and RAF bomber forces saw no need to deviate from their own aerial offensive against German war industry, which they believed could force a collapse of Germany on its own. Only reluctantly did they hand over control of the heavy bombers to the Allied Supreme Commander, Dwight D Eisenhower, for the duration of the invasion campaign.
But one tangible contribution to the success of D-Day had already been achieved. The decimation of the German fighter force by US escort fighters in the spring of 1944 was a key factor in the Luftwaffe’s poor showing over Normandy.
The very threat of invasion had a major impact on German strategy. Divisions were transferred from Russia and other theatres to France. Huge resources were poured into the Atlantic Wall defences. Hitler announced that he would quickly throw the Allies back into the sea and then divert all his armies to force a decision on the Eastern Front.
But the German response to D-Day, when it came, was slow and confused thanks to a complex command structure and the successful Allied deception plan, which held open the threat of a landing in the Pas de Calais even into July.
The key objective for D-Day - beyond establishing a firm foothold ashore - was the capture of the city of Caen, which lay south of the British assault area. Caen was a strategically important road junction, beyond which lay open country suitable for the deployment of armoured formations and the construction of airfields. In the event, the city was not fully occupied until mid-July.
General Montgomery’s strategy in the weeks after D-Day focused on taking Caen in the east of the lodgement area, around which the bulk of the German armour was concentrated, and facilitating the build-up and breakout of American forces in the west. But success in getting and staying ashore was tempered by an inability to capture ground inland. The Normandy campaign became a costly slogging match against a tenacious and often more experienced enemy who had the advantage of terrain well-suited to defence.
As attacks inevitably bogged down, the Allies relied increasingly on their artillery and air support. For its part, the German High Command was never able to gather sufficient resources for a concentrated counter-offensive. Instead, armoured divisions were fed into the line piecemeal to shore up depleted infantry formations. It was a battle of attrition, which the Allies with their vast superiority in men and materiel were bound to win.
The Allied plan for a broad, phased advance was overtaken by events, and the final breakout was dramatic. Hitler's refusal to allow his commanders freedom to give up ground, and insistence on reinforcing failure, gave the Allies a more complete victory than they could have hoped for, as enemy units were sucked in to the maelstrom and destroyed.
Most of the divisions committed to the defence of France were either wiped out or reduced to remnants. Some 400,000 German troops were lost. Allied numbers and material support clearly had an impact, but it was significant that the fighting forces had defeated even the most fanatical German formations in the field. The battle for Normandy was an impressive feat of arms as well as an exposition of Allied logistical and industrial muscle.
The Allied advance in north-west Europe would slow dramatically that autumn as German resistance stiffened on the borders of the Reich. The war would not be over by Christmas. But D-Day had opened another major front, where the bulk of America's rapidly expanding army could at last be brought to bear. It led to the liberation of France, denying Germany any further exploitation of that country’s economic and manpower resources. The U-boat ports, V-weapon sites and a large section of Germany’s air defence network were captured or rendered useless. And it convinced the German High Command - other than a few ardent Nazi generals - that total defeat was now inevitable.
Mississippi River Flood History 1543-Present
This was a rather large flood event since 1927 and was dubbed "The Great Flood of 1937". The Bonnet Carre Spillway would be tested for the first time. The spillway had 285 of the 350 bays opened for 48 days, and crested at 21.9 feet from Feb 27th-Mar 1st. Red River landing 7th highest crest of record at 58.99 feet on Feb 27th Baton Rouge 5th highest crest of record at 44.48 feet on Feb 28th Donaldsonville 6th highest crest of record at 33.29 feet on Feb 27th Reserve 3rd highest crest of record at 25.60 feet on March 5th New Orleans crested at 19.29 feet on Feb 28th. [USACE AHPS]
Historically high flows with record crest of 62.30 ft at Red River Landing on March 25th 7th highest crest at Baton Rouge with 43.79 ft on March 26th 10th highest crest at Donaldsonville with 32.20 ft on March 26th 9th highest crest at Reserve at 23.99 ft on March 20th Bonnet Carre Spillway opened 298 of the350 bays on March 17th to ease a flood threat to New Orleans. The bays were closed April 18th. [AHPS Trotter et al]
The longest known flood of record on the lower Mississippi River! The Bonnet Carre Spillway is used for the 13th time in its history, and the first time in consecutive years. At peak flow of 213,000 cubic feet per second, a total of 206 gates out of 350 were opened. Baton Rouge went above flood stage of 35.0 feet the morning of Jan 6, 2019. Red River Landing went above flood stage of 48.0 feet on Dec 28, 2018. This is the fourth time the spillway was used in a single decade - the most in its history. On May 10th, and in the first time ever in its history, the Bonnet Carre Spillway was opened a second time due do excessive rainfall upriver. On May 21st, Baton Rouge experienced its longest duration flood event, surpassing the 135 days in flood in 1927. On May 28th, Red River Landing surpassed its longest duration flood event established in 1927. On May 25th, it surpassed the latest calendar day for its operation, passing the previous mark set in 1983. For the first time in the spillway's existence, it was in operation during the tropical cyclone season, as Hurricane Barry made landfall near Atchafalaya Bay. When Barry approached the Louisiana coast, it produced a surge up the river that saw a rise of 1 foot at New Orleans, briefly rose to 16.93 feet, then settling back to around 16 feet. On July 27th, the last bays of the Bonnet Carre Spillway was closed, ending a 79 day stretch of deployment. On August 4th, Baton Rouge finally fell below flood stage, a record 211 days in flood at Baton Rouge. On the morning of August 10th, Red River Landing finally fell below flood stage - a record 226 days in flood.
AHPS E-19 - Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, Form E-19. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Weather Service Office of Hydrology web service. https://ahps.srh.noaa.gov/index.php?wfo=lix
Barry, John M., "Rising Tide: The Great Flood of 1927 and how it changed America", New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. 524 pages.
Chin, Edwin H., J. Skelton and H.P. Guy. "The 1973 Mississippi River Basin Flood: Compilation and Analysis of Meteorologic, Streamflow and Sediment Data", Geological Survey Professional Paper 937. Washington: U.S. Govt Printing Office, 1975.
Hoyt, William G. and W.B. Langbein. "Floods". New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1955. p. 422.
Hurricane references: https://www.thecajuns.com/lahurricanes.htm#Beginning_in_1519
New Orleans Times-Picayune articles posted on www.nola.com.
O'Brien, Greg. "Making the Mississippi River Over Again: The Development of River Control in Mississippi". MS Historical Society Intellectual Property, 2002.
Smith, David T. and D.B. Reed, "A Centennial Survey of American Floods: Fifteen Significant Events in the United States 1890-1990" Fort Worth, TX: NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS SR-133, 1990. pp 51-57.
Trotter, Paul S. et. al. "A Review of the Mighty Mississippi River and her Associated High Water Problem", Slidell, LA: National Weather Service Southern Region Service Enhancement Project, 1997.
Trotter, Paul S., G.A. Johnson, R.J. Ricks, D.R. Smith, D. Woods. " Floods on the Lower Mississippi: An Historical Economic Overview", Fort Worth, TX: National Weather Service Southern Region Technical Attachment SR/SSD 98-9, 1998.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers web site: https://www2.mvr.usace.army.mil/WaterControl/Districts/MVN/districtdefault.cfm
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Mississippi River Commission: "Annual Highest and Lowest Stages of the Mississippi River and its Outlets and Tributaries to 1960", Vicksburg, MS: USACOE-MRC, 1961. pp 81-109.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - New Orleans District: "Flood of ྅ Post-Flood Report, Volumes 1 & 2, New Orleans, LA: USACOE-NOD, August 1974.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - New Orleans District: "Stages and Discharges of the Mississippi River and Tributaries and Other Watersheds in the New Orleans District for 1973", New Orleans, LA: USACOE-NOD, 1974.
World Meteorological Organization - Global Water Partnership: Integrated Flood Management Case Study "USA: Flood Management - Mississippi River", January 2004. 12 pages.
Flood Duration Data (1927 - Present)
Flood Duration Rankings for Baton Rouge, LA
Federal Flood Controls were erected as a result of the Flood Control Act of 1928. Flood events prior to the Great 1927 Flood were much longer in duration, at times as long as 6 months.
Baton Rouge has had flood events 30 days or longer 22 times in 92 years - a frequency of 24% or roughly once every 4 years.
Red River landing has experienced flood events greater than 30 days 35 times in 92 years - a frequency of 34.8% or roughly once every 3 years.
1959 History - rifamycins
The rifamycins were discovered in 1957 in Italy when a soil sample from a pine forest on the French Riviera was brought for analysis to the Lepetit Pharmaceuticals research laboratory in Milan, Italy. A research group led by Professor Piero Sensi and Dr Maria Teresa Timbal then discovered a new bacterium. This new species was of considerable scientific interest as it was producing a new class of molecules with antibiotic activity. Rifampin was first used clinically in 1966.
But after the development of the rifamycins the history of TB drugs effectively came to a halt, with no new TB drugs being developed for the next fifty years.
World War II: The Dupont Mission
As there were no known Partisan groups or resistance movements in Austria with whom to ally ourselves and as information from the Vienna area was of first priority, this area was chosen for the first American mission. Three volunteer Austrian Corporal POW, who had homes or contacts in this area were selected and Operation DUPONT was planned utilizing their local knowledge. All were in their early twenties, single, in excellent physical and mental condition and eager to participate. There was no question of their integrity.
Note: OSS assigned all partisans American pseudonyms. Post-war pseudonyms were adopted to protect OSS operatives and cooperatives fearing reprisals.
Perkins' home was in St. Margarethen (50 kilos south of Vienna) where he assured us we could find haven in an emergency. It would serve as a base from which to obtain information in the Wiener Neustadt area. [Perkins' post-war pseudonym was Anton Graf. None of our documentation portrayed his complete American pseudonym.]
Fred Grant had previously worked for a butcher named Buchleitner, in Stixneusiedel (20 km south of Vienna) and was engaged to his daughter. The two grandmothers of this family, who lived alone in separate houses, were 'guaranteed' by Grant to furnish permanent headquarters and radio-location for the mission. Again, Buchleitner could be depended upon to help in an emergency. [Grant's post-war pseudonym was Felix Huppmann.]
Ed Underwood. Underwood's home was in Vienna, his father a Captain in the Signal Corps of the Luftwaffe, but it was considered too dangerous and unnecessary to send any of our party into Vienna proper. He had many contacts in Vienna for information and he spoke good English. [Note: 'Underwood's' post-war pseudonym was Ernst Ebbing.]
The fourth member, Lt. J.H. Taylor, USNR, had 15 months operational experience in the Balkans including 14 sorties into occupied territory (emphasis added) and was a qualified radio operator.
With large-scale maps, air-photos, flak overlays and excellent local knowledge, a very thorough plan was evolved allowing for all emergencies. The drop pinpoint was a flat-cultured strip about two miles long by one-half mile wide on the northeast fringe of the Neusiedler See (40 km south of Vienna near the Hungarian border). The area was sparsely settled and bordered on marshy land with tall reeds, which would serve as excellent cover.
Of necessity, it had to be a 'blind' drop, i.e. without ground reception committee or pattern lights and with absolutely no circling. Three containers, two containing duplicate radio equipment, were to be dropped in salvo followed immediately by the four bodies. The height requested was the very minimum of 400 feet so that the chutes would be exposed the minimum time to searchlight and flak batteries in the area. The dark of the moon was also a necessity. The four bodies would rendezvous by imitating the whistle of a marsh bird to guide each other to No. 1 body, and then in line with the direction of flight we would comb the area back and forth for the containers. This plan, which was entirely abnormal, due to extremely hazardous conditions, as compared with normal Partisan drops, was based on my previous personal experience as Operations Officer, Bari, and several months ground reception experience in the Balkans. In retrospect, I cannot see where the plan could be improved upon.
Due to bad weather, the operation was scrubbed throughout the September dark-of-the-moon period and while waiting, an attempt was made to see the Briefing Officer or pilot at Brindisi for a mutual understanding of the plan and to impress upon them the totally different nature of the plan. This was not made possible and the attempt was resented vehemently by the Operations Officer, Bari, and to a lesser extent by the Conducting Officer, Brindisi.
The first clear weather over the pinpoint in the new moon period was on Friday, the 13th of October. The four members of DUPONT plus Capt. John McCulloch (Chief, German-Austrian Desk), who wished to go as observer, departed from Bari for Brindisi in a broken-down truck, no other transport being made available.
After drawing our chutes and jump suits, we ate a hurried meal, the Austrians shifted into Wehrmacht uniform, and we arrived at the plane, a Liberator named 'R for Roger,' manned by a Polish crew. The pilot spoke English and I explained the plan to him hurriedly. He had, as I expected, only been given the pinpoint and time of drop. Three extra containers containing arms and ammunition for Partisans had to be removed from the bomb racks at the last moment. This was all due to the fact that no one had informed the crew who 'bomb-up' with container that it was a blind drop with no reception, or Partisans.
Take-off was on time, at 1915. During the flight, the plan was checked with the Dispatcher and to my amazement he was expecting a 'normal' drop, i.e., bodies first, followed by circling and containers then dropped on ground-signal from the bodies. This was finally straightened out over the interphone with the pilot and we more or less relaxed again. The tail was hit by light flak, causing no damage, as we crossed into occupied territory. Underwood remembered that he left his five gold pieces in his GI clothes in Brindisi. Capt. McCulloch was notified so that he could pick them up on his return.
At 2215 we were 'Running In' and being number one, I could see the lake and patches of fog beneath us while sitting on the edge of the hole. Soon patches of land were seen, then 'Action stations' at 22:30. I saw one container chute open, 'Go' was given off, I saw Perkins' chute open and as I pulled down on my risers to check a bad oscillation, I looked below and saw to my horror that I would land on a roof of a house not more than twenty feet below. As I was slipping in that direction, I released the risers in order to drop straight down and barely missed the eaves, landing instead a few feet away from the house in the front yard. In the last few seconds, I caught a glimpse of a radio mast and as I hit the ground, I remember that the air-photo showed a radio station at the upper end of our two-mile strip. This was it, I was sure, and expecting a burst of M.G. (machine gun) at any moment, I wrapped up my chute and slunk away.
In a few minutes, I heard our birdcall signal we rendezvoused according to plan, cached our chutes and jump suits and spread out for searching. To our amazement and chagrin, our plane returned and flew directly overhead in line with our previous run. In half an hour, we had found the first container, thanks to the attached luminous discs, as the white chute was invisible until practically stepping on it. We cached the container and chute in the reeds and continued searching. To our utter horror, our plane returned again, passing low directly overhead. This was practically signing our death certificates, as the German radar was so very accurate that circling over any area by a lone plane at night was bound to create suspicion and investigation. The plane circled to the left and was picked up by a searchlight followed by flak but he escaped by evasive tactics and continued on. The 'All Clear' signal was heard from Neusiedel as our plane finally returned to Italy.
I stepped in a hole in the marsh wrenching my knee badly, which made walking on uneven ground very painful, but we continued searching throughout the night and in desperation even into the dawn. From a hillock, we ventured to look out over the lake and marsh but could find no trace of the other two containers.
As dawn came, we found we had been dropped over a mile south of our pinpoint, and that the 'radio station' which I almost hit turned out to be a boat-builder's shop. A recee [reconnaissance] plane flew over low soon after but we were well hidden in the reeds. On opening the one container, we found no radio equipment whatever, and our mission seemed doomed to failure from the start. We discussed, in whispers, all the possibilities and decided that the other two containers had not been dropped. In retrospect, Perkins, who was standing behind us in the plane at the 'Go' signal, saw one chute open and in the bomb bay saw one of the crew kicking the other two containers which appeared to be stuck. This explained the circling and two extra runs. We decided to split the party, sending Grant and Perkins on to Stixneusiedel to make arrangements while Underwood and I remained for the possibility of another drop, and to continue searching in the night also my knee was not fit for walking any distance.
We stood guard all day but saw nothing but an old man at the boat-builder's shop. Cows and sheep grazed nearby. We searched a new area unsuccessfully during the night and upon awaking from my first sleep in 48 hours, I found a medium-sized marsh snake lying alongside my sleeping bag.
Early in the morning of the third day (16th) Grant returned from Stixneusiedel on a bicycle, which he had cached some distance away, and approached our hideout through the reeds. Perkins remaining behind with blistered feet. We departed at 1700 through the reeds, picked up the bicycle and set out for Stixneusiedel 35 km away. Underwood became very ill after a few minutes, but continued on for another mile at my request until he could not longer keep up. We left him with his rations and water to return and wait at the hideout and continued past Neusiedel, where thousands of foreign (slave) workers were being herded for work on the Southeast Wall, a line of defense utilizing, in this area, the natural barriers of Neusiedler See and the Leitha Gob. Continuing past Jeis, Windem, Kaisersteinbruck (a large Russian POW camp), and Wilfleinsdorf, we arrived at Buchlietner's house about 0230 on the 17th.
We ate and went to bed but were awakened in about an hour and asked to leave because German troops were arriving in the village. As it was nearly dawn and we had no place to go, we begged to stay and were allowed to hide in the hayloft. Headquarters at either of the grandmothers was impossible because one was dying and the other was so feeble minded and childish that her security could not be depended upon. We requested a cart and horse to pick up Underwood, but Buchleitner, because of his black-market activities, was being shadowed when he left the village with his wagon and it was not deemed safe under the circumstances.
I inquired about Slovakia and found that one of the daughters, Annie, had a schoolmate friend at the Ceramic Institute in Vienna, who went home every weekend to the very district where the Partisans were active. Annie, who commuted every day to Vienna, reported that the girl was willing to take a message to Lt. Holt Green's mission via the Partisans in her home area. The message was written reporting our safe landing without radio and requested that a radio be dropped to us at the specific point. Unfortunately, the 15th Air Force was bombing Vienna heavily and had switched to non-military targets at times. When Annie went to deliver the message, she found that her friend had been killed in her apartment when a whole civilian apartment district was wiped out. There was no military target within a mile of this area. We tried unsuccessfully to make other contacts.
Buchleitner and family were devout anti-Nazis, as were 80 percent of the people in this vicinity, but in spite of a token of a few gold pieces and several hundred marks, he wished us to be on our way. This was the first demonstration of fear growing into terror, which we were to see several times later.
In the meantime, Grant and Perkins had gone to St. Margarethen, returning via our hideout near Neusiedel to pick up Underwood, but they were unable to find him.
Perkins, Grant, and I departed the evening of 19 October for Hornstein (41 km) to contact a café owner friend of Buchleitner, named Lasacovitch, a Croat, who was known to be a strong anti-Nazi. Word was left for Underwood to proceed to St. Margarethen if he arrived. Due to the distance to be covered, we took a chance and used side roads instead of fields and forests, consequently passing through 'Kontrols,' which we bluffed by saying 'soldaten' and 'heil Hitler.' We knew the Kontrols to be very old villagers, and as the nights were absolutely black at this time, we were able to slip by although it was ticklish.
At dawn, after walking all night, I remained in the woods outside Hornstein while Perkins and Grant contacted Lasacovitch, who informed them that he had just returned from a prison sentence and had a Gestapo 'permanent guest' in his home. He could suggest no one else trustworthy enough for a permanent hideout. Perkins and Grant proceeded to Stinkenbrunn and another village contacting various references, but all were unwilling to keep us permanently, although they were entirely friendly and willing to be hospitable for one night. We rendezvoused in the woods at dusk and proceeded to Hornstein were we spent the night and next day at Herr Jais' home. His son, a discharged Wehrmacht man from the Russian front, was a guard at the huge Blumen ammunition works employing 40 thousand, the largest in the Reich. (During my briefing before I left Italy, the 15th Air Force assured me and 'proved' with air-photos that Blumen had been completely destroyed.) Other excellent targets although smaller were described and noted. By this time, such excellent intelligence material had been collected, including bomb damage and targets in and around Vienna, also political and economic data. Jais' sister, a middle-aged woman, wept and almost become hysterical when I was introduced to her as an American officer. She was unusually intelligent and vehemently denounced the Nazis. She begged me to send for American or British paratroops, stating that 90 percent of all Austrians would assist. Others repeated this plea many times later. Another family was sharing her home but she was eager to help us in any other way.
We departed the next evening (21st) for St. Margarethen through the Leitha Geb (hills) to avoid two severe Kontrols, one with Wehrmacht or Gestapo personnel, and arrived at Perkins' home about 0200. The house was situated across the street from an ex-theater, which housed several hundred foreign (slave) workers, mostly Ukrainians, but including Poles, Czechs, French, Italians, etc., approximately 25 percent were women. They had practically nothing to eat and were the worst specimens of humanity I had ever seen. Here I saw and photographed the first Nazis with large swastika armbands, also Organization Todt officers that were directing the work on the Southeast Wall.
As we could not remain permanently at the Perkins' home, Perkins and Grant contacted several people in various localities, endeavoring to find a permanent hideout. They returned again to Buchleitner's in Stixneusiedel during the course of their trip and found Underwood, who was awaiting his mother from Vienna. She arrived the same day and, as Perkins and Grant returned to St. Margarethen, they understood that Underwood intended to go to Vienna. He did not, however, but joined us at Perkins' house where we all hid in the hayloft.
We discussed the situation thoroughly and decided that the quality and quantity of information collected warranted taking extreme risks in getting it though to Italy. We agreed that two men would remain in the area while two would attempt to cross the border to Yugoslavia in the Maribor area and, with the aid of Partisans, would contact an Allied mission, evacuate by air to Italy where material would be turned over, followed immediately by our return to Austria with radio equipment.
We delayed the above plan until Underwood's mother could try to get permission to go to Spittal near Villach for a short vacation. While there, she would attempt to contact Lt. Milas Pavlovitch's mission through the family of Steinwander, one of the members of the mission. She would deliver a similar message to the one intended for Lt. Green's mission in Slovakia, describing our predicament and requesting a radio drop, also reporting the highest priority targets. After our four days hiding in the hayloft, the Perkins family was terror-stricken and the father was drinking heavily. They said that their homes were to be searched by the SS for food for the foreign workers. We had no place to go but in desperation went to Schutsen (8 km) on the 25th and were hidden in the hayloft of a friend of Perkins, a Mathias Kaufmann (masonry contractor), but without meeting our host. Just before dawn, Frau Kaufmann woke us and requested that we leave before Kaufmann's employees arrived. It then became clear that Perkins had told the Kaufmanns that we were four soldiers that had missed our train and wished only to sleep a few hours and be on our way. Frau Kaufmann was very perturbed but her husband agreed that we could remain until night. That evening I talked to Kaufmann and begged him to allow two of us to remain in his hayloft for one week pending our departure to Yugoslavia if Underwood's mother was unable to travel to Spittal. He agreed and hesitatingly accepted a few gold pieces. Perkins and Grant contacted other references for a hideout but were unsuccessful. Perkins returned to hide in his home while Grant hid in the house of Perkins' aunt (Wilfinger). They were to report to me in four days but were to remain hidden otherwise.
Underwood's mother came from Vienna about 28 October and reported that it was impossible to obtain permission to go to Spittal, not because of transportation difficulty, but because all fit and capable women had to be available for drafting into war work. She had also attempted unsuccessfully to contact someone in the Vienna underground from which we might be able to find a permanent hideout. In the meantime, we had heard that the Yugoslav border in the Maribor area was heavily guarded by SS and that our only chance was through the Villach-Klagenfurt area, over 300-km away.
Underwood's mother wished to contact a friend in Vienna, Eddie Gerstenberger, an oilman, who had a summerhouse near Villach from which direct Partisan contact could be made over the border. He was thought to have underground connections or at least to have information on the underground, which we were anxious to have for intelligence material. I was anxious to be away before the snow came as it was already freezing every night but the thirst for more information drove me to request Kaufmann for another week's delay. He assented, and in the meantime, completed data on fortified hills, anti-tank ditches, barbed wire, and mines fields, pillboxes, artillery sites, etc. At this time (1 Nov.) there were 50,000 foreign workers and several hundred Hitler Youth preparing this defense line under the direction of Organization Todt and E.A.D. It was expected to be finished by the middle of January.
Additional important targets were: a locomotive factory in Viener Neustadt, turning out one a day, a powder factory in Sinsendorf, employing 2000 a Nehrmacht lager in Vienna, containing all materials of war an artillery school flak school numerous airfields and woods, where the German fighters were hidden when the American bombers came over government food storage houses in Vienna, etc. Economic information included: wages for different types of work and additional food rations, complete ration data, black market, farmers food stocks, estimated coal and petroleum storage, true value of the mark in buying other than rationed merchandise, barter, etc.
Political information showed that approximately 2% to 5% of the farmers and villagers were devout Nazis, 10% to 15% were on the fence, and 80% anti-Nazi, with 50% rabid anti-Nazi. In Vienna, estimates were difficult because of the extreme Gestapo control, but it is safe to say that not more than 20% were strong Nazis and certainly 50% were rabid anti-Nazi. Later American bombing of non-military targets, particularly pure residential districts and the beautiful art gallery and opera house reduced the Anglo-Americanophiles to nil. It was very bad psychology and positively stiffened morale. The feeling among the Austrians, particularly the Viennese, was that the Allies were making no differentiation between the Austrians and the Germans, which did more to squelch budding resistance movements than the Gestapo. In the later months, coupled with the Russian atrocity stories, it actually united Austrians and Germans as never before and made possible a real Volksturn.
Later, in prison, I learned from other agent prisoners that their own homes and families had been bombed, including clandestine radio stations, in spite of requests for immunization for that particular block in a purely residential section.
The Viennese Communists made excellent anti-Anglo-American propaganda by calling attention to the fact that the Russians were fighting a 'clean' war on the battlefield against military personnel, while the Anglo-Americans concentrated on civilians (old men, women and children), their homes, and cultural and art institutions. 'The Russians are the only ones who do not bomb us.'
Underwood's mother returned to Schutsen, stating that Gerstenberger had agreed to help and, as he was leaving for Spittal anyway, he would make arrangements and explain everything on his return within a week.
About the first week in November, Perkins introduced an Austrian soldier, Alois Unger. Unger was on leave before going to an unknown front. He wished to desert and join us but I explained that it was impossible unless we could find Partisans with whom to ally ourselves. Unger stated he had two friends who would like to do the same. About a week later, he rushed through in the night with a note written by Grant, addressed to Maj. Chapin, HQ 2677th Regiment, Caserta, stating our predicament (no radio) and mentioning our intention of proceeding to Yugoslavia. Grant signed my name. His intention was to desert at the first opportunity to the Allies and deliver the message. I hesitated to send this but as the man already knew the contents of the note and could certainly report it verbally to the nearest Gestapo or Wehrmacht officer if I did destroy it, I felt that we could at least lose nothing more by it. As I had no papers and as he was already AWOL 12 hours and was anxious to be on his way, I signed my signature in ink over the pencil signature by Grant and told him to hide it in his Wehrmacht shoulder insignia and sew it back up.
The Wulka, a small stream passing immediately behind Kaufmann's property, was being widened into an anti-tank ditch by many hundreds of foreign workers and their Nazi overseers. We observed and photographed them at close range through a crack in the roof made by sliding a tile up. Early one morning I thought I heard swearing in English and, on sliding the tile up, we saw about 11 British POWs working on the railroad with no guard except the railroad inspector. We took turns watching all day, awaiting a chance for one of them to get near enough to speak to without the inspector, but the opportunity did not present itself.
A few days later, however, they were working on a stretch of the track immediately below our hayloft and when the inspector left momentarily we caught their attention. They were so surprised that it was difficult for them to conceal their excitement. We told them we were U.S. Air Force men who had bailed out and were on our way to Yugoslavia. They offered a map and good advice. They said they were not treated badly, extra food was issued for railroad work, their Red Cross packages were coming through regularly, and from what we saw they didn't strain themselves working. They were a work party from Eisenstadt where 200 similarly employed British POWs were housed.
Organization Todt officers came every day, and occasionally Wehrmacht officers, to drink Kaufmann's white wine and sometimes had to be carried out after drinking all day. In almost every village there was a group of French POWs assigned to farmers (one to a farmer) for day work, returning to their barracks under guard every night. One such French POW worked for Kaufmann, and we narrowly escaped being seen several times when he came to the loft for hay. All French POWs could not be trusted.
During this period, two trains of 26 cars each with approximately 6000 Hungarian Jews passed through on their way to lagers in Austria. They had had no food or water for three days and, when Kaufmann's daughter, who was a Red Cross nurse, took them a pail of drinking water, the guards (SS or SA) objected and told her that the Jews didn't deserve to be treated as human beings.
We listened to BBC and ABSIE on Kaufmann's radio almost every night and heard how Nazi Germany was crumbling, their communications were absolutely paralyzed, the Luftwaffe destroyed, of the critical gasoline and coal shortages, and how the people were on the verge of starvation. Actually, there was tremendous night traffic on the railroads and in the air, no coal shortage whatsoever, ample gasoline supply for all military, government, police and Party use. There was no gasoline for private civilian use, but some cars were fitted with acetylene cylinders and others with charcoal gas generators. Town and city folk were rationed on most staples, but not severely except meat and butter, while the farmers had plenty.
Gerstenberger sent word that all arrangements had been made but hoped that we would delay until his immediate return as he was anxious to meet us and explain more. About this time, an opportunity came for two of us to go with a shipment of machinery from a ball-bearing factory in Vienna, which was being transported, to Feldkirch near the Swiss border. Underwood would go as a civilian employee, and I would be encased in a box as machinery. A special train containing nothing else but personnel and machinery had been laid on for the trip, which was to take 36 hours. However, at this stage, Perkins particularly, and Grant to some extent, began to get jitters about remaining. They felt that if the Russians overran them before we could return to Austria, it would be impossible to explain their situation to their captors, and [that] there was a strong possibility they would be transported to Russia as POWs to work for years before returning. It was, therefore, decided that all would return to Italy, but in two separate parties and routes, i.e. Perkins and Grant, with proper papers, which we made out to suit the occasion, would go to the front in Italy via Udine and attempt to infiltrate through to the American lines, while Underwood and I would go as originally planned through Yugoslavia. This would afford two chances for the information to get through.
About the middle of November, Underwood's father, a captain in the Signal Corps of the Luftwaffe, returned to Vienna from upper Silensia, where he was stationed at a replacement depot awaiting reassignment. He came to Kaufmanns' to visit his son and immediately did all he could to help. He gave additional top priority targets in Obersilesia and begged for Allied bombers to strike at that district, which was the heart of the Reich's heavy industry and also had the largest percentage of fanatical Nazi civilians. He could not understand why such huge war industrial districts as Gleiwitz, Oppeln and Breslau were left untouched. I could only guess that it was out of range for Anglo-American fighter cover. He was a very intelligent and fine man as was his son and, I believe, a fanatical Nazi-hater. He was an attorney in civilian life and a member of the Christian Social Party. He wished to know why the Allies had not helped the Polish Partisans in Warsaw when they made their desperate but unsuccessful attempt to recapture their capitol in August. He was pleased to hear that the western Allies had sent 10 to 15 supply planes a night. I told him that any serious Austrian Partisan movement could expect the same assistance.
Gerstenberger phoned from Villach to Underwood's mother in Vienna telling her that he was returning immediately and begged us to wait a few more days. As the weather now was quite cold and snow had begun to fall in the mountains, we decided to take one extreme but short risk and go by freight train to Klagenfurt, which was on the main line to Italy. This, rather than walking over land which would require three weeks and entail numerous contacts with strange and untried people for food and shelter. Accordingly, I sent Grant to a former friend, Herr Baudisch, a train-dispatcher in Viener Neustadt, to make arrangements to hide us for a few hours until the proper train came along.
Grant returned the next night, reporting that Mrs. Baudisch and daughter, Erika, agreed, in the absence of her husband, to hide us temporarily. He gave us the address and a hazy description of the apartment house but intended to accompany us also. All due respect to Grant, he was terribly optimistic and inclined to over-estimate people's willingness to cooperate and, on occasion, told a few more or less harmless untruths to make our position look better. Consequently, when Underwood's father visited us a few days later and asked what he could do, I suggested he return to Vienna by way of Viener Neustadt to check the arrangements and if possible see Baudisch himself about the freight-train details. He wrote a note from Vienna, saying all arrange-ments were made but that Grant had positively not been to the Baudisch home. Grant's description of the dwelling was not accurate, and Mrs. Baudisch and Erika said they had not seen Grant since we passed through on the way to the Italian front almost a year before. I had not doubted that Grant had been to the home, but when confronted with this information the next evening, he did not deny it nor had anything to say in defense. As he had done a marvelous job otherwise, having done twice the work of anyone else, I did not press him. He had planned to leave in two more nights regardless of any further requests to delay from Gerstenberger.
We still had no permanent hideout to return to if we were fortunate enough to get through to Italy and come back with a radio, so I sent Grant and Perkins into the Hornstein area for one last search on the following day. They were to return on the following evening and we three (Grant, Underwood and me) were to walk all night the next night, arriving at Baudisch's home in Viener Neustadt just before dawn, intending to hide out during the day and catch the first freight out that evening. Grant and Perkins were to board the first passenger train for Udine and, with their Marsahbefehl for the Italian front, they were expecting no trouble.
On the day that Grant and Perkins went to Hornstein (30th Nov) I recovered my money-belt, camera, cipher pads, signal plan and crystals, which I had cached near the eaves and covered with hay some distance from our 'burrows' and packed them in a small kit bag. In retrospect, it is easy to blame myself for keeping the cipher pads, signal plan and crystals when no radio was dropped, but we were forever hopeful of receiving a drop or having one brought in by courier. By keeping these most secret appendages, the new radio, if captured in transit or on the drop, would be useless to the enemy.
The temperature was well below freezing every night and, as we had only one thin blanket, we slept in all the clothes we could find and burrowed deep in the hay. I had borrowed an old coat and trousers and wore them over my OD trousers and shirt with my field jacket over the coat however, my collar insignia and black tie was plainly visible.
We climbed down from the loft about 1900 as usual for supper in a tiny room next to the manger. I had just finished shaving and unfortunately had shirt, tie and coat on, but not my field jacket. The watchdog barked we snapped the light off as usual (Kaufmann had many visitors) and remained quiet. We heard the front gate open, followed by the door to the house. In a few minutes we heard someone come to our door, but as it was usual for one of the family to come and tell us when the 'coast was clear,' we thought nothing of it. Suddenly, the door was thrown open and eight plain-clothes men rushed in. We grappled for a few seconds, but I was forced back in the corner, beat over the head with a blackjack and while groggy had my arms pinioned behind my back. My left arm was then twisted backwards until the elbow joint was torn loose such as you would the joint of a chicken leg. Four men were on each of us, and I realized the futility of further struggle. Blackjack taps on my head continued while my wrists were chained together behind my back, painfully tight, and locked with a padlock. The same had been done to Underwood who was held down under the table. He was bleeding profusely from several cuts on his head. Outside were two more men with Tommy-guns.
Capture, Gestapo, and Vienna Prison
As soon as we ceased to struggle and our captors had a good look at us, one of them said to me, 'Ah, ein offizier,' as he saw my collar insignia. As I mentioned, after shaving I did not have time to put on my field jacket before being captured and was unfortunately caught in the old coat and trousers although my OD's were underneath. It was with great difficulty that I was permitted to bring along my jacket.
We were lead to the Burgermeister's office in Schutzen and, with our arms still chained behind us, we were slapped and kicked while being questioned. Although in opposite corners of a large room with our backs turned to each other, we could hear what was happening to the other. Kriminalrat Sanitzer, who directed the raid, did the questioning and intimidation. He pointed to my collar insignia and inquired what it was. 'Hauptmann,' (Captain) I answered, and received a heavy slap in the face coincident with the word: 'falsch' (false). This was repeated several times including kicking but each time I was questioned, I repeated the same. As I learned later, they were trying to make me admit that I was a civilian in uniform as they said the British used frequently. When Underwood was asked his name, he replied 'Underwood,' but after the same treatment for some time he gave his true name, and the Kriminalrat immediately stopped, saying 'that's better' or words to that effect, apparently knowing both our names beforehand.
While being intimidated and cursorily questioned, I noticed Herr Josef Preiler standing in an adjacent room. He was Kaufmann's best friend and we had had many interesting discussions. He was a very intelligent man working on administrative duties for that area of Burgenland and, like Kaufmann, had lost one son in the war and had one remaining still in the service. Both were listed by NSDAP as 'politically unreliable.' Preiler was ashen and struck dumb by what he saw and I was afraid he would give himself away. I heard later that he had committed suicide.
We were driven in separate sedans to Eisenstadt jail a few miles away and, while still chained, I was questioned by a woman interpreter. I gave name, rank, and serial number, but they paid no attention whatever and refused to write down my serial number off my dog tags. They wanted to know where the radio was, and when told that we had no radio, the 'intimidation' started again. Finally, they apparently believed our story but asked for the cipher pads, and described them in detail down to the waterproof cover that I had them encased in. I stated that they had been destroyed, but they said I had them two nights before and that I might as well tell the truth as they had picked up one of my boys in Wiener-Neustadt that day. What he was doing in Wiener-Neustadt when he was supposed to be in Hornstein four kilometers away in another direction, I could only imagine. When asked how many were in the party I answered, 'three' hoping to cover the last man.
Soon, the Kaufmann family was brought in weeping except for Frau Kaufmann also our kit, which they had picked up from our hayloft quarters. Our arms were shifted from back to front and re-chained while we waited for the questioning of the Kaufmann family. After an hour or so, we were taken still chained to Wiener-Neustadt Gestapo Headquarters in two sedans with a Gestapo man sitting on my lap.
At Gestapo Headquarters in Wiener-Neustadt, we were stripped and given a very minute examination. All of the gold coins that I had sewn in my trouser seams were found and of course my money belt. Our clothes were taken away and civilian clothes substituted, which I refused to put on, because I expected them to photograph me as evidence to show that I had been captured in them. My left arm was so swollen and painful at this time that I had very great difficulty in getting my coat off. They asked me if I wished a doctor and said one would be provided when I was taken to Vienna in a few hours, but none was.
They asked many questions through Underwood about America, and it was clear that they had swallowed Goebel's propaganda whole. They were particularly bitter about American bombings and asked 'why' as long as they (Germans) had not bombed us. I explained that it was only because we were out of range and reminded them of their destruction in England. They also asked why were at war with each other at all, and I reminded them again that they had declared war on us, but tactfully added that
of course it was only because they were abiding by their treaty with Japan. When asked how long I thought the war would last, I guessed six months and they agreed, but when asked which side would win they laughed and ridiculed my answer. 'Did I not know that the Americans were retreatingfrom Aachen due to V-2' The Wehrmacht would soon show who was in control in the west.'
In underwear only, because I would not put on the civilian clothes, and with clumsy wooden shoes I was taken to Mortzinplatz IV Gestapo Headquarters in Vienna and placed in cell No. 5 on the mezzanine at 0500 on the first of December, even my shoe strings being removed so that I could not hang myself. I was not allowed to lie down, not to sleep, nor was any food or water allowed. Very strict guard control was exercised.
Later in the day, I was brought to the 3rd floor to Kriminalrat Sanitizer's office for interrogation but I refused to answer any questions until they returned my uniform. They threatened to 'give me the works,' but aside from twisting my already painful left arm and slapping me around, no real torture was instigated. Sanitizer's assistants, none of whose names I ever heard, although I will positively remember their faces, did the intimidation. The only other man whose name I heard was the 'assistant Kriminalrat' Anderle, who took no active part. After about three hours, they returned me to the cell and I had a pan of watery beet-soup, the first 'food' in 24 hours. At this time, I never expected to live another day and consequently slept very little.
The next morning I was again brought to Sanitizer's office and after a few minute's verbal sparring, they brought me my uniform, dog tags and shoes, which were heel-less from searching for a secret cipher or poison. I put the uniform on immediately and their whole attitude changed. They inquired about my arm and said they would have a doctor see to it but they never did. They offered cigarettes and brandy, both of which I declined, and tried to be friendly. I asked to be reported to the International Red Cross but they said it would have to 'wait a little.'
The interrogation lasted most of the day with a few hours lost due to an American air raid during which time we were chained in our cells. They showed a remarkable knowledge of OSS including names and had a diagrammatic relationship of OSS Theater headquarters to Washington. They were particularly interested in northern Italy and told me several things about the organization, which I didn't know, such as the establishment of a detachment at Cannes. Communications questions were mainly on procedure as they were very familiar with one-time pads and I had destroyed my 99 D.T. They brought out a 99 D.T. and asked me how it worked but I denied all knowledge of it and questioned their claim that it was American. I noticed, however that it had 'HOUSEBOAT' (the name of the mission) printed at the top, and I remembered that we had such a mission but couldn't place it geographically. They then proceeded to correctly explain the principal of the 99 D.T. In fact, they seemed eager to show me how much they knew. During this interrogation, I suffered no intimidation or torture although threatened several times. I requested better food and told them I expected to be treated the same as a captured German officer. They promised better food.
Mortzinplatz IV Gestapo Headquarters was located in the old Hotel Metropole in the center of Vienna near the canal. On the mezzanine floor were twelve cells, six on each side of the building with their windows cemented up to within a foot of the top and with bars well embedded. These 'windows' opened on an inner court but one could not tell day from night because they were painted over and a light burned in the cell 24 hours a day. The cells were soundproof rooms about 12 feet long by 7 feet wide with typical cell and door about 4 feet in from the outer door, thus limiting the actual 'living space' to 8 by 7 feet. The outer door had a peephole so that occupants could be observed unknowingly. Neckties, shoestrings, belts, razors (even safety), cigarettes, etc. were forbidden as were all reading matter and writing materials. One could write a note (pencil and slip furnished on request) between 0700 and 0730 to your 'Referent,' who would then determine whether to bother your Kriminalrat about it.
Prisoners arose at 0500 and after washing and making one's 'bed,' waited until 0800 for breakfast, which consisted of hot water (very diluted unsweetened ersatz coffee) and a thin slice of black bread. One must then sit on a stool but not sleep and must jump to attention whenever the 'Kontrol' made the rounds, usually about four times daily. Lunch consisted of very weak erpsin (beet) soup (no meat-broth, bone or other vegetable), about four tablespoons of vegetable stew such as erpsin, carrots or potatoes, and one thin slice of bread. For supper, one had the same stew and similar slice of bread. For Saturday supper, a small cube of cheese was substituted for the stew and for Sunday a small slice of wurst the size of a silver dollar was substituted. One was permitted to go to the toilet only at three specified times daily when there were two guards on duty and no prisoner ever saw any of the others. One guard paced the hall on which the cells faced and 'observed' at least twice a minute. The hall itself was also closed off with bars and door. None of the guards spoke a word of English but most were sympathetic especially when no S.S. or Gestapo was around. They were old Vienna police and had to carry out their orders or be sentenced to a concentration camp. On the orders of the Gestapo, certain prisoners were chained backwards to the bars in the cell with their toes barely touching the floor, others were permitted no 'food' for several days while others had their wrists chained together at night, etc. During air raids, all cell prisoners had their wrists chained and remained in their cells while the Gestapo personnel went in the basement air raid shelter.
On the 2nd or 3rd of December while in the Kriminalrat's office, I saw Underwood and Perkins in an adjoining room and later through the open doors of several rooms I had a glimpse of Grant. This was the last time I saw any of them although I kept tract as best I could through one of the more friendly guards. I also saw Underwood's mother and father but we didn't 'recognize' each other.
During the interrogation, I was asked how honest Grant and Perkins were, and replied that I had never known them to lie. The Gestapo said that Grant and Perkins had pleaded that they joined the OSS only as a means of getting back to Austria and the Wehrmacht and asked if I believed that was true. In an effort to cover Grant and Perkins, I told them that it was entirely possible that they had had this idea at first but had become fond of me after our landing and hated to turn me in. The Gestapo replied that they did not believe it and that Underwood was the only honorable one when he stated frankly that he did not approve of the National Socialist Party. They asked me if I knew that Perkins was a former SS man.
After about three days in the cell, I was taken to the top floor (5th stock) to a room with bars over the windows, which was occupied by a Hungarian General Anton Wattay (Tabornok Wattay Anton). He was Regent Horthy's War Minister and had been snatched by the Gestapo with Horthy in Budapest. He was preparing to surrender Hungary to the Russians. We were mutually suspicious of each other but we gradually became staunch friends and I began to learn some German although he spoke no English. During air raids, like the other prisoners on the top floor, we were taken to the air raid shelter in the basement to avoid being chained up, but I had to give my word of honor that I wouldn't try to escape during an alarm. We were under heavy guard always anyway. Here I met several occupants of other rooms on the top floor including a Bavarian Count, Graf Halter Von Birach who had 'donated' his castle to Ribbentrop an Austrian deserter-volunteer from ISLD named Paul Pomerl, and a German deserter-volunteer from the French. The ten prisoners from other rooms on this floor were kept separated from us in the air-raid shelter, but in time I met and talked with them clandestinely. During December we experienced an average of three raids a week, not all on Vienna proper. The food was definitely better both in quality and quantity to that in the cells but it was still poor and meager. We received a thin slice of some kind of meat once a week and the ersatz coffee usually had a little sugar in it. All except Wattay and I (the only foreigners) had extra weekly rations of wurst, margarine and bread. Most of these prisoners also had relatives or friends in Vienna, who were allowed to bring them extra food once a week. We were fortunate to get their old stale black bread that we wrapped in a damp cloth to soften it enough to cut and then toasted it on our heater.
I slept very little the first two weeks, expecting to be executed every day, and my unattended arm was still very painful. In spite of the fact that my arm was green and blue and terribly swollen, neither doctor nor X-ray ever came although promised innumerable times. It was five weeks before I could use it to button my pants or tie my tie. I finally became resigned to my death and with the aid of Wattay, who was very religious, I prayed twice a day for my comrades and myself.
Count Von Sirach was released the day before Christmas and left a small wreath with candles to us. On Christmas Eve we lit it and tried to be happy but Wattay was so worried and nervous about his family in Budapest during the siege that he couldn't control himself. In trying to comfort him, I broke down myself, which was the only time during all my captivity.
During the raids, I was chafed about being bombed by my own people and when bombs would strike nearby the Gestapo became very serious and said, 'And those are your own bombs,' as if I'd made them with my own hands. I was resigned to my fate but not so the Gestapo to theirs. We followed the course of the bombers by radio as broadcast from a special air-raid station, the regular Vienna station normally signing off when the squadron approached within 100 km. There was also the 'flak-sender' (anti-aircraft radio station), which directed the ack-ack.
A map covering the area within a radius of 200 km of Vienna was divided into concentric circles with radii of multiples of 35 KM up to 200 KM. These circles were then cut into sections by 8 equally spaced radii and each section numbered.
These Luftshutzkarte were printed in the newspaper and also distributed as cards. The listener could, by listening to the radio and referring to the map number tell exactly where the flight was at 30-second intervals.
A sample bombing as it appeared to one on the receiving end went about as follows: at 1030 the radio was interrupted with a Coo Coo (Cuck-Cuck alarm) followed by a announcement that enemy bombers were over Carinthia and Stier provinces (the German radar functioned up to 400 km) in 15 minutes when the flight approached to within 200 km, sirens all over the city sounded the 'Before Alarm' (Voralarm) characterized by the top pitch being broken twice during a 15-second period, thus: (A wavy line was drawn to visually depict the tone.)
This was the signal to prepare to leave for the air raid shelter (Luftschutzraum) giving approximately 40 minutes until the bombers were overhead. In approximately 20 minutes the 'Air Alarm' (Fliegeralarm) announced the flights at the 100 km mark characterized by an undulating siren: thus: (A long line was drawn to visually depict the siren.)
This was the signal to leave immediately for the air raid shelter as bombers could be expected overhead in 20 minutes. Radio VIEN went off the air with the warning 'Acute air danger for Vienna,' and the air raid station took over as mentioned. The groups usually rendezvoused outside the ack-ack zone, the first groups circling until joined by later flights, sometimes as much as an hour, and then lined up for the bomb-run. On the run in over the periphery of Vienna, intense heavy ack-ack was thrown up and when overhead, the motors could be plainly heard. Bomb detonations in rapid succession were heard as dull thuds or terrific jarring blasts depending on the vicinity. (During the heavy 15 January 1945 raid, one bomb hit the foundation of our building and blew in the next room killing two and injuring many. We were all thrown to the floor and covered with plaster). Similar intense heavy flak was heard as the group passed over the periphery on the way out. This was repeated as group after group passed over, sometimes as many as 15 participating. Listeners were kept informed almost constantly as to the exact position of the groups. When the last group passed over the 100 km mark going home, the 'Before end of the warning' (Vorentwarnung) siren was sounded which was characterized by the same pattern as the 'Before alarm', thus: (A wavy line was drawn to visually depict the alarm.)
Approximately 20 minutes later as they passed over the 200-km periphery, the 'End of the warning' (Entwarnung) siren was sounded which was characterized by a continuous top pitch for 30 seconds, thus: (A line was drawn to show the siren.)
The Viennese were very disturbed and the Gestapo was so bitter about the Vienna bombings particularly the pure civilian districts, opera house, etc., that I felt we might capitalize on their fear and anxiety. I reasoned that the policy of residential district and non-military target bombing was not popular, particularly in Austria, with the US Air Force and if even a slight reason could be shown why it was detrimental, I felt they might cease. I do not refer to the civilian destruction due to near misses around a target area, but to the deliberate concentrated bombing in pure residential districts and cultural institutions such as the opera house, museum, etc.) Consequently, I made the Gestapo a proposition to spare the lives of my three Austrian comrades in trade for a guarantee from the 15th Air Force that they would limit themselves to military targets in the Vienna area. Near misses around such targets were agreed to be unavoidable. Inasmuch as they had proven to me during the interrogation that they were familiar with our one-time pads and procedure I saw no security violation in proposing to get in contact by radio with Bari explaining that we were captured and offering the proposition. The Gestapo turned it down as preposterous and said I only wanted to inform my people that we were captured so they could warn other groups.
About 17th of January, General Wattay was suddenly taken away from Vienna and another prisoner, Paul Pomerl (an Austrian ISLD agent captured in northern Slovenia) was moved in with me bringing his radio. The short-wave band did not function so we could only listen to local stations. All Allied stations were 'hashed' by German interference on this standard band but after a few days, I enjoyed Pomerl's confidence enough to work on the radio while he listened at the door. The changeover switch was fixed 'haywire' and with a small piece of magnet wire for an antenna, we tuned in on short waves.
The very first station had Vice-President Wallace giving the oath of office to Truman, and a moment later the President was heard being sworn in by a Chief Justice. It was a real thrill. For the next few days we took turns listening at the door while the other listened to news from BBC, ABSIE, Moscow, and several American stations. The best of the old police guards, Herr Meister Egger, came to the door several times while on duty to hear the program 'Americka sprecht mit Oesterreich' (America speaks with Austria) from New York. He would have come more often but he could not trust the other prisoners for reasons explained later. He and one other Meister were outspoken (to me) anti-Nazis and when no one was looking he would give me a 'regular' (non-Nazi) salute.
According to Egger, only three of the twenty police were regular Vienna police, most having 20 to 30 years service, and not S.S. or Wehrmacht. With the exception of the above-mentioned three, they were all kind and sympathetic when alone with us, however, very strict Gestapo control was exercised over them. Two of the Meisters had sons who were POWs in America and showed me letters from them saying they were well treated and had good food, etc. Pomerl spoke good English and I first learned about the other 'top-floor' prisoners from him. Unfortunately, he was taken away after about 10 days but I gradually collected bits of information about them over a period of three months.
They were all captured Russian agent radio operators except one who was British SOE. Most were Viennese Communists, one Stuttgart two were Russian (man and wife) and the British agent from Graz. There were five women and four men and the longest captured was 28 months. They had all parachuted into various sections of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Austria, and had worked from one day to almost one year before being captured. To save their lives, they operated their radios in daily contact with Moscow also ciphering and deciphering all messages.
A radio room on the top floor was in charge of a Gestapo operator who supervised and monitored each transmission. They used their own Russian or British 'field' sets. Mr. Lander, a Wehrmaht Feldwebel in civilian clothes, handled all double-agent correspondence, and attempted to lure couriers from Russia into his traps. He was a young, intelligent, well-educated, Viennese engineer who designed underground shelters, etc. before becoming associated with the Gestapo. His wife was a Parisian dentist and they had lived in Paris until just a few days before the American occupation. After the 15 January raid, when the basement was hit, all Gestapo and 'top-floor' prisoners except a few Meisters and me were taken to the regular air raid shelter on the catacombs under the city during the raids.
For the next two months I was in absolute solitary confinement, only seeing and speaking to other people during the air raids. I had severe dysentery and much loss of blood the last two weeks of January, and although medical attention or medicine was promised daily, neither was ever forthcoming.
One day during February, a very small man from Berlin with crooked teeth interrogated me, and accused me of being an Englishman by the name of Major Taylor, whom they believed to be the head of the Hungarian desk in some British organization. They had captured a Canadian agent, in Hungary presumably who said that an American Captain Taylor had briefed him and later, they had apparently captured part of a Hungarian-British mission, but a Major Taylor had escaped. The fact that my name was the same, and I had jumped near the Hungarian border, led them to surmise that I was the same man. When asked how I could prove I was an American, I could only think of checking my name and serial number through the International Red Cross and my American accent.
By the middle of February I had lost so much weight and had long ago stopped exercising because it made me too hungry. About this time I succumbed to pneumonia with very high fever. At least twice a day for four days I asked for a doctor and medicine and was assured that one would come 'sofort,' but none ever came. Through a friendly guard I was able to get a package of sulphanilimide from one of the other prisoners, who had stolen it from my confiscated medical kit, and I have no doubt that this medicine helped to save my life.
One of the women prisoners Louisa Souchek, was allowed to come into my room at intervals and change the cold towels on my head. She was a wonderful nurse and made me feel much better. We became good friends and when she decided to trust me, I learned many interesting points about the Gestapo, Russian agents, Viennese moral, etc.
About the first of March, during one of the daily raids, a heavy bomb destroyed one side of our building including the Kriminalrats' offices. We were immediately moved out to a villa near Turkestein (sp) Park, as our undamaged rooms were the only ones available. This villa was formerly owned by Herr Messner, head of the Saperfit Rubber Co. (Austrian-American Rubber Co.) and had been confiscated from him while he was a Gestapo prisoner. I was to have been returned to the cells on the mezzanine, but because I was still quite sick, they allowed me to go with the 'special' prisoners.
The radio station was set up in the villa and everything proceeded as before. Here I was able to see the Russian field sets and learn a little about their cipher. Louisa informed me that she was sure that Moscow knew that five of the 'stations' including hers were operating under Gestapo supervision. At the direction of the Gestapo, she had sent me messages requesting a courier and Moscow had replied affirmatively giving the time and place of arrival. The Gestapo had set an elaborate trap but nothing happened and they were frantically trying to get an explanation from Moscow. It was very amusing and she kept me informed on the correspondence.
None of the other operators knew what was going on, and I have often wondered why she trusted me with such dangerous (for herself) information. She had been an active Viennese communist for 10 years before the war and her husband had last been heard of with the Russian Partisans. She believed all operators would be executed at the last moment before the Russians arrived and, when I tried to comfort her, she explained, 'I have no fear, I am a Communist.' She felt that I might have a chance because I was captured in uniform but the Gestapo had previously told me that it made no difference because I was a spy and the leader of a group of traitors. Our case was being tried in Berlin and the verdict was expected soon. I memorized her code name and sister's name and address so I could renew the contact after the war if we were fortunate enough to live. She would be an excellent source. Louisa stated that Kriminalrat Sanitzer had asked her to work with him underground after the new government was formed. 'After all,' he said, 'Communism is the practical application of the National Socialist ideological theory.' 'We will see,' she said.
We went under S.S. guard through the park to a private air raid shelter during the daily air raid but thousands of people used the railroad tunnel under the park. When well enough, I sawed and split firewood and pruned trees around the Messner villa under SS guard but they were entirely different from the old police at Mortzinplatz. It was the first time I'd seen the sun in five months and the 'special' prisoner food was far superior to anything previous, although meager.
On 15 March after one week at the villa, I was awakened in the night and told to get ready to leave. This was the end, I thought, but no one would tell me anything. I was returned to the cells in Mortinzplatz and assigned to cell No. 6 with two others. As usual, we were mutually suspicious and they were especially so when during the daily raids I was taken to the air raid shelter in the basement while they were chained up as I had been before. I was asked no questions and they gradually thawed. Erich Bitterman, 35 years, tall, dark and handsome, Rumanian, former 1st Lt., in the King's Guard, married to a Hungarian baroness, owner of a large estate outside Bucharest which supplied big shot Nazis in Berlin with the finest food. Erich, a Volksdeutsch SS Untersturmfuhrer was kept busy shuttling back and forth from Berlin by special transport plane, supplying food and luxuries.
He was later taken by the Gestapo during an anti-Nazi putsch and in an SS officers' prison near Kustrin where he was treated very well in comparison to Mortzinplatz. As the Russians neared, he understood that they were all to be executed and successfully escaped by lowering himself from a third story window with blankets tied together. Speaking perfect German, he had managed to get to his home in Vienna only to be picked up with false papers a few days later. His address was Wien IV, Argentinastrasse 29, Palais Toscana.
Otto Schmeisser, 30 years, medium height, light kinky hair, husky, part Jewish, former Customs official before the war and Oberfeldwechel in charge of searchlight crews in the Vienna area. In October 1944 he arranged with a sergeant friend of his to witness his 'drowning' in the Danube while he crawled out on the bank some distance below. Here he dressed in railway inspector's uniform and with proper papers disappeared into the underground unknown to his wife. He worked for several months on propaganda leaflets, small sabotage operations, etc. and was in the act of getting arms, ammunition, 3000 ration books, etc. distributed to an underground Partisan movement who in conjunction with volunteers from the Wehrmacht, Vienna police and Volksturm intended to carry out an anti-Nazi putsch which they had good reason to believe would be joined by the Wehrmacht. The Gestapo took several high-ranking Wehrmacht officer accomplices at the same time. As was the case in all Viennese resistance movements, Gestapo agents made themselves integral parts of these organizations and did excellent work for them sometimes for several months, as in Schmeisser's case, before turning them in. His movement was not a 'party' affair but a patriotic Austrian anti-Nazi interest. His home was in Bablitxbel Vien, No. 201.
I learned that a newly captured Wehrmacht lieutenant Russian agent and I had changed places, he going to the Villa to work Moscow and I coming to cell 6. In a few days, we were joined by a new prisoner, Engineer Wilhelm Modess, a naval architect, and one of the finest men I've ever known. He was married to a Jewess who escaped with her father to Buenos Aries just before the Nazis took over and both left large interests in Modess' name. In six years, the Nazis had systematically stripped him of every piece of property and business by keeping him in Gestapo custody at intervals, which were simultaneous with court actions confiscating his property. He was not allowed to appear in court or have representation because he was a Gestapo prisoner. At the conclusion of the 'legal' confiscation he was released and would be free to go about his normal business until another piece of his property was wanted. He was working against the Nazis but he was so careful, that they could never pin anything definite on him.
Toward the end of March, a woman doctor (M.D.) was brought into Cell 3 and as was the custom, every personal article including eyeglasses was withheld. After several days, another woman prisoner was placed in her cell that had better eyes and discovered that the doctor had lice. The doctor was horrified and begged for her glasses so that she could pick them from her garments, but her pleadings were unheeded. There was no opportunity to bathe or wash clothes. About the same time, another woman, Martha Russ, was brought in and had to have her wrists chained behind her back to the bars so high that she could barely touch the floor. In the night, through exhaustion, her feet slipped out from under and she was left hanging. Her screams were horrible. Later, I got possession of the order for the mistreatment of Martha Russ signed by her Kriminalrat (not Sanitzer). Toilet paper was non-existent and we were rationed to three small pieces of newspaper or scrap paper. I always read the scrap paper first and to my surprise found the above order torn in two. It had been written on the back of a useless mimeographed sheet to save paper and when the Meister handed it to me, he saw only the one original mimeographed side. The order directed the Meister to hang Martha Russ by her wrists every night, no food for three days, and not to bother the Referrent with any requests.
The Russians were 50 km away and moving fast and we had hopes of being overrun before we could be evacuated or executed. At 0300 on 31 March we were awakened and told to prepare to leave immediately. Thirty-eight of us were moved under heavy SS guard (10 guards with Tommy guns and rifles) from Vienna to Enns (Near Linz) by train. I was terribly surprised to see the West railroad station absolutely untouched by bombs and everything functioning normally, also the yards were full of coal cars. Farther out, in the yards there were evidence of heavy bombing but all tracks were intact and functioning.
The train was filled with refugees and we stopped twice enroute during air raids once in a tunnel and once in a cut where all the passengers and train crew except us, fled into the woods. Schmeisser and I planned to jump out the window at night while two of the taller men stood up in the doorway of the compartment to conceal our movement. At the last moment Schmeisser backed out saying his wife and child would be murdered if he escaped. I had the window partially open and blamed myself a thousand times later for not going ahead alone, but due to American bombings, the entire civilian attitude towards Americans had changed so that it was questionable whether anyone would take one in alone. With an Austrian speaking that particular dialect it was a 50-50 chance. On the train I met Dr. Hans Becker, whom I had spoken to once in the cells but never seen before. As we talked, Becker had served a sentence in Mauthausen around 1941 and warned us of the conditions, saying it was definitely worse than Dachau, which he also attended. We arrived at Enns at 0400 and marched 8 km to Mauthausen, crossing the Danube by ferry just past dawn. We could see, on the hill, the lights of the most terrible Lager in all Germany, which was to become our last home until execution.
Concentration Camp Mauthausen
(Konzentrations' Lager Mauthausen)
At dawn on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1945, our 10 SS guards and we 36 prisoners crossed the Danube ferry at Mauthausen, and climbed the hill past the rock-quarry. Several prisoner work parties (Arbeit Kommandos) under heavy SS guard passed by on their way to the quarries. They were the most terrible looking half-dead creatures in filthy ragged stripes and heavy wooden shoes and as they clanked and shuffled along the cobblestones, they reminded of a group of Frankenstein's. We kidded ourselves saying we would look the same in a few days, but we were all struck with cold dread terror.
Above us we could see the high stone wall with electric fence on top and to our left below the regular camp were a group of low windowless buildings, which were originally barns for horses, later for Russian POWs and at this time serving as a 'hospital' (Krankenlager, Sanitateskager or Russian lager. We arrived at a group of buildings just outside the main entrance and were turned over to the Mauthausen SS who didn't waste any time intimidating us. SS Unterscharfuhrer Hans Prellberg was particularly brutal as he slapped, punched, kicked and beat most of us over the head with a cane belonging to a crippled Slovak in our group. Two young Russians and a Hungarian were unmercifully beaten because they did not understand German. All commands were given in German and I had to keep extremely alert to save myself similar beatings. We were told certain rules and regulations, the penalty being instant death on all except one, which was merely hanging the victim by his wrists chained behind his back. This slight penalty was for failure to stand at attention and remove one's cap whenever an SS man, regardless of rank, passed or when speaking to an SS man. When the next group of new prisoners, following us, were having the same rules and regulations announced to them, the speaker said: 'and if you attempt to escape and are recaptured, and you will be shot immediately, like this,' and simultaneously pulled his pistol and shot an old prisoner standing near, who had just been recaptured after an attempted escape.
We were marched through the main gate and lined up outside the shower room where we were individually questioned, slapped, slugged, and beaten with a stick by three SS men in relays for approximately three hours in addition, some were spat upon. The worst to me was SS Unterscharfuhrer Hans Bruckner who screamed 'you American swine' every time he struck me. He also beat unmercifully a Lt. Glauber, an ISLD agent (Viennese-born, British citizen) mainly because he was a Jew. I had not seen Glauber since the night he was captured in February when I was called to Kriminalrat Sanitizer's office and introduced to him. We were told to talk to each other, which we did without saying 'anything'. Now, he had lost much weight and remarked the same about me.
We were marched to the bath, stripped, and all our belongings confiscated, except three wristwatches and a wedding ring which we were able to slip to a Polish Kapo. (Kapos were head prisoners of a work detail). All hair was shaved from our bodies, lice inspected, etc., and after a hot shower we were given only an old suit of ragged underwear. We never saw our clothes again and were led out into the cold barefooted where we stood at attention and shivered for over an hour before being marched to our barracks, Block 13. This S.O.P. was not changed even during the most severe part of the winter when men stood barefooted in the snow. LT. Glauber and three others, who were badly in need of medical treatment, went to the hospital. Glauber told me that when the Czech doctor found out that he was a British officer, he winked at him and said he would put him in the hospital for a couple of months where he would not have to work. Glauber was very happy and we said goodbye warmly. One of the other three was a small Sudetan German who was a mass of bruises from head to foot and also had several festering sores from Gestapo cigarette butt burns.
We received our first food in 48 hours and later were assigned our prison numbers, two of which were stamped on cloth with the appropriate colored triangle indicating political or criminal prisoner and citizenship and one stamped in metal for a wrist bracelet. The cloth numbers were sewn on the left breast of the coat and the outer side of the left trouser half way to the knee. All three numbers had to check before the food would be issued. In addition, if the prisoner was not wearing stripes, he had a rectangular hole cut in the middle of the back of his coat and also just below the number on his trouser leg these spaces were filled in with a rectangular piece of 'stripes' so that if an escaped prisoner cut off his stripes, he still had the tell-tale rectangular holes.
Nationalities were not segregated and in Block 13 we had all nations in Europe and the Balkans represented except Albania and Turkey. Approximately one-fourth were Russian POWs. All non-German prisoners had a stripe (strasse) shaved down the center of their head leaving short bristles on each side.
After two days, we began by devious means to get wooden shoes and old trousers or shirts until then we walked around in the cold and mud barefooted and clad only in ragged underwear. Within a week I had, though friends, collected a full compliment of assorted rags for clothes.
There were 25 prisoner barracks each normally designed for 220 men, i.e., 70 triple-decker single bunks plus 5 double-decker singles, but at this time holding nearly 400 each. This was increased to almost 600, which made it necessary for three to 'sleep' in each single bunk. Toilet and hygienic facilities were proportionately inadequate.
When the camp was first established, many German criminal prisoners were inmates and from these murderers, thieves, forgers, etc., the SS chose the barracks heads (Blockeldesters). It was their duty to rule with a ruthless and heavy hand all fellow prisoners in their barrack. Criminal pugs that used their fists, blackjacks, sticks, rubber hoses and razor straps to maintain 'order' assisted them. During the assembly for roll call twice a day, these degenerates demonstrated their professional ability to the SS and Deutsch Kultur to their fellow prisoners.
Stealing was practiced on a scale, which cannot be imagined, and one had to carry with him at all times his total belongings. The net result from all stealing 'organisiert' was food, as one could not support life on the regular prison 'food.' Stealing was therefore a matter of life and death for most and practiced almost unanimously.
We slept in our clothes not for warmth but to keep them from being stolen. Prisoners who could 'organize' a topcoat or raincoat and at night slept on it for a pillow would invariably wake to find it missing and rarely were able to recover it. I had two pair of 'shoes' stolen from under my mattress at different times while sleeping and recovered one pair. Modess, my bunkmate slept in his boots and actually caught a man trying to pull them off. On unusually cold nights, there was heavy nocturnal traffic in blankets. The blankets, incidentally, were collected each morning and redistributed at random each night, thereby spreading lice and fleas from a few to all.
Modess and I bunked together and were later joined by a Russian. Beneath us were two French lieutenants, Maurice and Albert (Poupee) and Vojtechkrajcovic, governor of National Bank Bratislava, head of the Economic Institute Bratislava and a continentally renowned economist. This trio was captured in Yugoslavia, enroute from Bratislava to the Allies in Italy, bearing important documents from the Slovakian Government. Above us were two Germans and one Russian. During the first week, I heard of a number of Americans in the camp but on running down the rumors found that most were Europeans who had spent some time in America and returned. There were however three other Americans:
Miss Isabella (or Carlotta) Dien or (Dean) captured in France, interned in Ravensbruck, and evacuated to Mauthausen in February 1945 on the approach of the Russians. Through friendly Czechs, she was assigned to the laundry where she was able to get some extra 'organisiert' food but her health broke and she was placed in the Viener Graben women's 'hospital' outside the camp. It was impossible to slip her any extra food and she grew steadily worse.
Sgt. Louis Biagioni, ASN 12185480, OSS SI agent captured in northern Italy in summer 1944 and held for some months by Gestapo in Italy, then transferred to Mauthausen. On December 26th, he was taken to Linz, tried, condemned to death and returned to Mauthausen. He split wood in the garage while awaiting his execution.
Lionel Romney, Negro fireman, U.S. Merchant Marine, 'S.S. Makis' sunk off Pantelleria 17 June 1940, captured by Italians and interned eventually in Mauthausen. He did lumberjack work in the forest for which he received extra food.
There were two British officers Captain John Starr, SOE, captured in France 1943 and through a series of remarkable circumstances eventually arrived at Mauthausen. 1st Lt. Toni Speare, RAF fighter pilot, downed in France, spring 1944, and captured in civilian clothes while trying to escape through the French underground. He was suffering from boils and temporary loss of sight and voice. Neither was forced to work. Both were fine types.
Food consisted of flavored hot water (very dilute unsweetened ersatz coffee) at five for breakfast. Lunch was one liter of erpsin (beet) soup, much thicker but less palatable than in Vienna. Supper was 1/10 to 1/17 kilo of black bread. The bread was composed of wheat flour, ground potato peelings, sawdust and straw. On Sunday, in addition we received a slice of margarine or a tablespoon of cottage cheese.
Until 1945, a camp brothel was run for the convenience of the prisoners, who were rationed to one experience weekly. All the women were diseased. The SS had their own private brothel and the officers their 'kept' girl friends.
As mentioned before, during my four moths in Vienna, I had lost much weight and vitality (estimated weight 130 lbs.) and was therefore in much worse condition for manual labor than the other 37, who were comparatively new prisoners. In Mauthausen we were all forced to work as soon as we got something approaching shoes and many of our group were assigned to the Kommendo repairing the railroad and highway around Enns. This was heavy and continuous pick and shovel work for 12 hours with 1/2 hour off for lunch (1-liter arpsin soup) and included a 16-km round-trip march to end from work. Most of our groups were high-class professional men and the strain of misery of this type of work at first, can be imagined. All 'outside' Kommandos such as this one had a minimum of one guard for every four prisoners, three-quarters of the guards carrying machine pistols (Tommy guns) and one-quarter rifles.
I was not eligible for work outside the outer chain of guards because, as I learned later, of my execution sentence. I was assigned to work in the new crematorium where I carried sand, cement and water and mixed cement for the Spanish tile layers. The Spanish Kapo Jacinto was kind to me and we were protected from the rain and cold, consequently I tried to get my friends on with me. I succeeded in getting Modess (my bunk-mate) and Garaf (Count) Orsic with us for a few days but a Yugoslav partisan working with us took particular delight in hounding Orsic who was a Croat. This same animosity was demonstrated frequently between Yugoslav Partisans and Royal Yugoslav Army members and, towards the end, when a few former Spanish 'Blue Division' members were interned, the Spanish Loyalists (oldest prisoners in the camp) vehemently denounced them and did their best to taunt them into committing suicide on the electric fence.
We dawdled at our work to delay completion of the crematorium because we knew that the number of executions would double when cremation facilities were available (No gassed or shot bodies could be buried because of evidence) but one Saturday morning, Prellberg and S.S. Hauptscharfuhrer Martin Roth (head of the crematorium) belabored Kapo Jacinto for his failure to finish the work quickly and informed him that it must be finished and ready for operation on the following day or we (workers) would be the first occupants of the new ovens. Needless to say, we finished the job in the allotted time. The next day, Sunday April 10th, 367 new Czech prisoners, including 40 women, arrived from Czechoslovakia and were marched through the gate straight to the gas chamber and christened the new ovens. Black oily smoke and flames shot out the top of the stacks as healthy flesh and fat was burned as compared to the normal pale yellow smoke from old emaciated prisoners. This yellow smoke and heavy sickening smell of flesh and hair was blown over our barrack 24 hours a day and as hungry as we were, we could not always eat.
I had terrible dysentery and innumerable small sores on my legs and back but I continued to work as best I could to prevent being put on the sick-list and transferred to the 'hospital' (Sanitatslager) where, believe it or not, five sick people were assigned to each single bunk, rations were half 'normal' and infinitesimal amounts of medicine were supplied. Very few ever returned alive from this 'hospital' and the daily death toll at this time from pure starvation was 400 to 500.
These were dumped in a huge mass grave on the hill already containing 15,000.
My next job was carrying large soup kettles (110 lbs. each) about 1/2 mile to the neighboring Hungarian Jew Camp (Zeltlager) but still inside the outer cordon of guard posts and barbed wire. Each kettle was carried by its side handles by two men, and I received several bad beatings because I could not support the weight on my injured left arm. We were beaten severely and often with sticks by the SS and camp firemen while staggering along under the weight.
When afforded an opportunity, we dipped our ever-handy spoons under the lids and managed several mouthfuls of extra soup in this manner. These Jews were not regular prisoners as we their only crime being that they were Jews. There were between 15 and 18,000 who managed to walk 8 days without food but after arriving none were strong enough to transport their own soup. (See enclosed list, 'Jews in the Tent Camp,' over 3,000 by name.) All those who dropped out enroute were disposed of immediately.
About the middle of April, I was transferred to Block 10, which was occupied mainly by Czechs and Poles with a few Russians, Germans and Austrians. We slept only two to a single bed and my job was changed to gardening just inside the electric fence. Most of the Block 10 prisoners were old-timers, and consequently had good positions through which by devious means they obtained extra food. Bread, margarine, potatoes and occasionally horsemeat, cereal and schnapps were obtainable through the black market. Czechs, Austrians and Hungarians were allowed a few packages from home until March. The two French Lieutenants (Maurice and Albert), Krajcovic and I had received bread and margarine for our watches and ring at the rate of two loaves of bread and 1/2 kilo margarine for each Swiss watch. Divided four ways, this food lasted a week. In Block 10, I collected and boiled potatoes peelings and scraps from the more fortunate prisoners but our bread ration was reduced daily.
I had, in the meantime, met many fine men: Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Yugoslavs, Hungarians, Austrians, French, Belgians, Dutch, Spaniards and even a few Germans. To get some idea of the caliber of some of the men, the situations may be likened to a hypothetical purge of the leading Republicans in the U.S. by the Democrats. Not only were there leading members of Congress, and the military but also of art, culture and science. Many of these men said to me, 'We're sorry you're here, but, IF you live, it will be a very fortunate thing for you can tell Americans and they will believe you, but if we try to tell them, they will say it is propaganda.' Every nationality trusted me because I was an American where they couldn't trust their own people entirely due to stool-pigeons. Consequently, I was the recipient of hundreds of eyewitness atrocity accounts with first hand evidence in many cases. It was too dangerous to take notes, but I tried to keep mental account of the teller and enough of the story to remind him later when and if the opportunity came to set down the details and get them sworn to. I had seen only a small percentage of the torture, but brutality and murder that these men had seen and suffered, but on this basis I was prepared to believe their stories 100%, in mostcases. After all, the acts were themselves so terrible that anything worse could hardly be imagined.
The following examples taken from the enclosed sworn statements are in addition to the normal methods of execution, i.e., gassing, shooting, hanging, etc. Clubbing to death with wooden or/iron sticks, shovels, pick-axes, hammer, etc tearing to pieces by dogs trained especially for this purpose injection into the heart or veins of magnesium-chlorate, bezine, etc. exposure naked in sub-zero weather after a hot shower scalding-water shower followed by cow-tail whipping to break blisters and tear flesh away mashing in a concrete mixer drowning beating men over a 150 foot cliff to the rocks below beating and driving men into the electric fence or guarded limits where they are shot forcing to drink a great quantity of water then jumping on the stomach while the prisoner is lying on his back freezing half-naked in sub-zero, buried alive eyes gouged out with a stick, teeth knocked out and kicked in the genitals red hot poker down the throat, etc., etc., etc.
According to Dr. Podlaha, the head prisoner doctor, prisoners were also executed for some unusual pathological lesion or specimen such as deformities, tattoo, etc. A hunchback and a dwarf, who had come to the notice of one of the SS doctors, were executed and their skeletons cleaned and mounted for specimens. Pathological lesions were collected as specimens, which involved the death of the patient in most cases. Tattoo marks were practically a death certificate as one of the SS doctors had a hobby of collecting, tanning, and binding them in book form while his wife made lampshades and book-covers from them.
Research was carried on in which healthy prisoners were used as guinea pigs. These experiences mainly concerned typhus and the minimum food requirements to sustain life. The former used infected lice with a celluloid cover taped over them to the patient's leg. The latter consisted of a strictly controlled diet in which the results were measured in the number of deaths.
Executions were carried out on orders from one of three sources:
1. Berlin Tribunal, which was the only official source.
2. Local Gestapo agency where the prisoner was interrogated.
3. Lager Commandant. Ziereis in this case was also the Chief of the Oberdonau (Upper Danube) Tribunal.
The normal methods of executions were gassing, shooting and hanging which were all carried out in the Death House. This block long structure had approximately 50 jail cells on the first floor known as Bunker or Arrest in charge of Hauptscharfuhrer Josef Niedermayer. Underneath was the gas chamber, hanging beam, shooting 'gallery' and crematorium in charge of Hauptscharfuhrer Martin Roth. The gas chamber was approximately 15 feet square and fitted as a shower room with tile wainscoting and overhead shower nozzles. The victims were told that they were going to take a shower all were undressed in the back courtyard and led into the chamber the heavy air-tight door was slammed and locked and the gas introduced through the shower nozzles. Normal operation was twice daily at 9 AM and 5 PM, 120 victims at each time. Once 220 were packed in and the SS fought each other to look through the small plate glass window in the door and watch them struggle in their agony.
They were thrilled with this mass spectacle. Frau Ziereis, the Commandant's wife, came once to see the sight.
The gas used was Cyclone B cyanide a granular powder, contained in pint-sized cans and the same used for infection of clothing. In a small room, adjacent to the gas chamber, was a steel box connected immediately to a blower, which was in turn connected to the shower system. While wearing a gas mask, the operator bashed in the ends of two cans of powder (one can will kill 100 people) with a hammer and after placing them in the box, clamped the lid on hermetically tight and started the blower. (In winter, when the gas would not evaporate fast enough from the powder, steam was introduced into the box from the other end.) After two hours, the intake blower was stopped and the larger exhaust blower was turned on for about two hours. Wearing gas masks, the prisoner operators removed the bodies to the cold room (capacity 500) where they were stacked like cordwood awaiting cremation. See enclosure 'Instructions for the service of Pourric Acid Delousing Chambers in K.L.M', by the Chief doctor. It is worded for delousing but the instructions were especially for gas chamber operators. The blowers and gas receptacle were removed by the SS and attempts made to destroy them. In March 1945, Ziereis and Bachmayer (see protocol) ordered all ventilation sealed in the police wagon and a small trap door installed. A group of 30 to 40 prisoners were told that they were being transported to Gusen, a subsidiary camp about 8 km away, were crammed into the wagon, the door locked and a bottle of poison gas dropped through the trap door on an angle iron specially placed to break the bottle. The 'police wagon' was immediately driven to Gusen and after parking for an hour the prisoners were delivered to the crematorium. The same numbers of Gusen prisoners were then loaded into the 'police wagon' for transport to Mauthausen with identical results. From March to October 1945 the car circulated 47 times with an average of 35 victims each way on the round trip, making a total of approximately 3,300. In October, ventilation was installed again, and the police-wagon resumed its original function.
Until 1943, daily executions by rifle or tommy-gun were done openly back of Block 15 where those waiting to be executed were forced to watch their comrades, three at a time, being mowed down. When gas and injection deaths practically replaced shooting, all shooting was done individually in another small room adjacent to the gas chamber. The victim was told that he was to have his picture taken and was led into their room where a camera was set up on a tripod. He was told to face the corner with his back to the camera and immediately he assumed this position, [when] he was shot in the back of the neck with a small carbine by a SS man standing to his left and slightly behind. Prisoner operators stood behind a door looking through a peephole as to know when to drag the body out. SS Standartenfuhrer Siereis, Commandant of Mauthausen, personally executed 300 to 400 men here in the above-mentioned manner during 10 shooting 'expeditions' over a period of four months.
In the same room as above, where a stairway led down from the street, an 'I' beam was stretched across about 10 feet high with ends embedded in the concrete on either side. From this beam, nooses were suspended which accommodated six strangling victims at a time. Before departing, the SS cut out the beam but the embedded ends are clearly seen.
The crematoriums were large brick structures containing a firebox for burning wood and coal and over this were the ovens fitted with rounded supports at intervals for the bodies. The bodies were carried into the ovens on steel stretchers and with a quarter turn were rolled out. The new crematorium with two ovens could handle twelve bodies at a time, 160 a day and with the old ovens a total of 250 a day. Insufficient cremating facilities held down the number of executions as all bodies showing signs of violent death could not be buried. Gassed bodies were often disfigured from clawing, biting, etc. and chemical analysis of the tissues would show cyanide. All 'violent-death' bodies had this stamp on their paper: 'Die leiche muss aus hygienischen grunden gefert verbreannt werden' (Sic) which says, 'The corpse must for hygienic reasons be cremated.'
Note: an exact imprint of this stamp was with the manuscript, but too faded to scan.
As mentioned, an electric fence surrounded the camp charged with a maximum of 380 volts AC, 3-phase and when any uninsulated object came in contact with one or more wires, current flowed and was registered at a central control panel by buzzer and red light. Complete constructional details, blueprints and operational data are enclosed. Also see enclosed protocols regarding prisoners being driven into the electric fence.
'Official' deaths were listed in Death Books giving cause of death, etc., from which death certificates were issued to: (1) The SS Police Court where the prisoner had been tried. (2) The political department at Mauthausen. (3) The head SS doctor at Mauthausen. (4) A Berlin agency from which reports were sent to next of kin and insurance agencies. From 1939 to April 1942, the causes of death as entered in the Death Book, from which the certificates were prepared, were all absolutely false as they were assigned to a body from a prepared list of 50 causes by a SS soldier, who was not even a medic. Not until 1942, when a few prisoners were allowed to work, were autopsies begun on a few. Enclosed are examples of original death certificates bearing false causes of death and signed by the SS doctors.
Tortures and brutalities as stated in the enclosed protocols usually terminated in death but a few remained alive to tell their stories. Enclosed are prison autobiographies of Dr. Ludwig Soswinski, Vienna Communist Dr. Hans Von Becker, publicity minister for the Schussmig regime Karl Dieth, lone survivor of the Wels-Linz Communists Bernard Cechonski, Polish patriot, Ernst Martin, gas works director, Innsbruck Josef Ulbrecht, bank director Prague Georg Havelka, electrical and television engineer Prague. The last three named did a spectacular job of withholding valuable documents and obtaining evidence, which will surely hang some of our murderers.
Religious faiths also suffered the same atrocities as witness the report by three Jehovah's Witnesses of the Watch-Tower Bible and Tract Society, wherein they were pressed to renounce Jehovah. They were visited often by the SS for sport saying, 'Behold, I am Jehovah I have come to you am I not Jehovah'' They were then beaten and kicked unmercifully. They were made to scramble upon tables, then under, then sing, etc all these indignities being in addition to their regular punitive company (strafkompanie) stone breaking and very heavy stone carrying. For months they were crowded into small cubicles only 3 feet wide, 6 feet long and 6 feet high for two men. Out of 150 Jehovah's Witnesses brought to Mauthausen from Dauchau in 1939, 19 have survived.
In some cases, the Gestapo and German criminal police authorized the release of certain prisoners but the Mauthausen Commandant (Ziereis) prevented most of the discharges on the grounds that the prisoner was guilty of misconduct, poor work, subversive political tendencies, etc., while in reality he was retained for his indispensable position in the camp. See enclosure 'Retention of prisoners officially released.'
Mauthausen was established in 1939 as a subsidiary extermination camp for Dauchau. Not long after, it outshone its parent in its grisly business to the extent that it became a full-fledged Class III Concentration Camp, i.e., extermination camp. For sheer numbers alone, it does not rank with Auschwitz (Obersilesia), where over 4 million Jews were exterminated, but for all other nationalities it was the worst for brutality, torture, sadism, and murder. The figures on Spanish prisoners are typical of those of the western nations: out of 7184 arriving in 1940, 2000 remain alive today in Mauthausen and its subsidiary Gusen. For Russians, Poles and Czechs, the percentage is even worse.
Mauthausen and its 26 subsidiary work camps, mostly war industries, had over 91,000 prisoners who were administered and guarded by specially selected Deaths Head (Totenkopf) SS totaling 45 officers headed by Strandartenfuhrer Franz Ziereis, 1069 NCOs and 5528 men. These subsidiary war industry slave camps were spread out as far as Klagenfurt and located in the following areas:
1. Gusen with 24,000 prisoners.
2. Ibensee (Solvay-Kaltsteinbergwerke) with 10,000.
3. Melk (Quartz) with 8000.
4. Linz 1 no prisoners in 1945 due to destruction from bombing.
5. Linz II with 2130.
6. Linz III with 5,000.
7. Vienna-Vienereudorf with 2,500.
8. Vienna-Schwechat-Floridsdorf with 3,000.
9. Vienna-Saurerwerke with 1,500.
10. St. Valentin (Panzererzengung Nibelungenwerke) with 1,000
11. Amstetten with 2,500.
12. Wels with 1,000.
13. Gunskirchen-Wels 400.
14. Steyr-Munichhold (Steyr-Werke A.G.) with 1,200.
15. Passan I with 36.
16. Passan II (Walswerke) with '
17. Schlier (Vocklabruck) with 500.
18. Wiener-Neustadt (Rax Werke) with 500.
19. St. Lambrecht with Schloss Lind with 100
20. Loiblpass (Tunnel and Strassenan) with 1,000.
21. Leibnitz bei Graz (Kaltsteinwerke) with 500.
22. Peggan bei Graz with 900.
23. ST. AEGYD (Kraptfahrtechnische Versuchanstalt der Waffen SS) with 300.
24. Klagenfurt with 80.
25. Hertenberg with 400.
26. Lenzing (Lensinger Zellwelle A.G.) with 600.
Eisenerz (300 prisoners transferred to Peggau in December 1944). See enclosure for type of product produced at each plant.
A list containing the names, ranks and positions held of 354 Mauthausen SS personnel is enclosed including approximately 100 Rogues Gallery pictures, 41 of which are identified. See list of equivalent ranks of SS, Wehrmacht and U.S. Army. Also included are the names and signatures of 13 Mauthausen women 'overseers' who were directly in charge of the women inmates.
Enclosed is a report, 'The Assignment of Prisoners to Forced Labor,' listing the various types of work and the administration of this slave labor. The prisoner received no pay until early 1944 when the maximum weekly sum was 50 pfenning, the balance going to the Mauthausen management for their own use. Other prisoners were assigned free of charge to firms and private persons in order to gain special concessions in food and supplies for the SS at Mauthausen. The Commandant (Ziereis) formed his own company at Gusen (Deutsche Erd-und Steinwerke) with prison labor to further increase his income. Profit exclusively from prison labor slave amounted to between 5,000,000 and 6,000,000 R.M. per month.
As mentioned, new prisoners were stripped and never saw their clothes again being issued ragged underwear instead. The best clothes went to the SS for black-market resale or for their own and families' use, in which case prisoner tailors did the refitting. See protocol stating that 5000 suits of clothes of average value of 1500 Czech crowns (pre-war) were turned over to the SS over a period of five years.
One of the remunerative of the rackets was the extraction of all gold from the mouths of the dead. All bodies were stamped 'Examined by dental surgeon' before cremation or burial. Large amounts of gold were thus accumulated supposedly for the SS in Berlin but actually large quantities were stolen and resold in the black-market by hospital and crematorium SS personnel. See reports 'The Removal of Dental Gold from Deceased Prisoners', and 'SS Dentists and dealings with gold teeth'. A list of degenerate SS dentists and doctors from Mauthausen and some of their infamous acts are enclosed. See also a protocol stating that a prisoner had his gold teeth knocked out with a brick by a guard, only to get the gold.
About the middle of April, a request was made to the prisoners for volunteers for the Waffen SS (Infantry). It was limited to Germans (Austrians included) and about 1000 volunteered, as they understood that the other alternative was execution (this was later disproved). Some also sought a chance to escape in this way. About 300 were selected from those volunteers, given regular SS rations, including cigarettes, outfitted in old Africa Corps light khaki, drilled and trained for combat and assigned to minor policing tasks inside the camp. It was a very clear demonstration of the inherent German love for authority and the ruthlessness with which they automatically operate. From fellow prisoners, they overnight became our masters and did not spare the rod.
Terribly optimistic rumors had been circulated regarding the position of the Russians and we had expected to be over-run by 20 April but, either the Russians turned north from Vienna to Czechoslovakia or they were stopped by superior German forces at the mouth of the Danube valley at St. Polten about 60 km away. About this time the first contact with the International Red Cross was made and all women from the western nations including the American Miss Dien were evacuated to Switzerland. These times became very dangerous as certain streets were walled off with barbed wire and we feared a mass execution. At certain unpredictable times, all prisoners were isolated in their blocks and a general tenseness gripped the whole camp, SS included. We heard rumors that the Commandant and other high ranking officers were discussing our futures as a mass wherein we would all be executed or transported to another area, or left in the lager which would be defended using us for hostages.
Our daily 'bread' was cut to practically nothing and men in prominent positions who had not eaten 'prisoner food' for two years were at this time forced to. In the Sanitatteslager (hospital) the starving were cannibalizing their own dead comrades, cutting out the heart, liver and muscles. Jews in the tent camp (Zelt lager) were paying a $20 gold piece for two loaves of bread and half kilo of margarine and two wagonloads of dead were hauled away each day to the mass grave on the hill. Gold, diamonds and jewelry were being accumulated by the SS from the Jews and our bread was being used for this purpose. One night a lone plane came over and dropped one bomb (some said up to 3 bombs) in the adjacent Jew tent camp. We all then expected a mass bombing of the whole lager but it never materialized. In the morning, I saw the upper half of a body, which had been blown from the Jew camp 200 yards and landed on the eaves of one of the bar barracks. About 15 were killed and 47 injured most of whom probably eventually died.
About 25 April, the International Red Cross returned and started the evacuation of Frenchmen, Dutch and Belgians. Representatives of the Red Cross were not allowed inside the guard limits and therefore saw nothing as SS drivers drove the busses in and out of the lager. The Frenchmen departed singing the Marsellaise and many were overcome with tears. Captain John Star, one of two British prisoners, spoke French so fluently that he was able, with some inside help, to pose as a Frenchman and was apparently successfully evacuated with the others. About this same time, the Jews in the Jew Camp were evacuated on foot to the vicinity of Wels.
We heard that Churchill or some other prominent British statesman, on viewing the conditions at Buchenwald had made the statement that if similar conditions were found in other lagers, the Germans would never forget it. Whether or not, there immediately began the gassing of those of the sick who might not die before the Allies arrived and would present evidence of starvation, mistreatment, etc.
American bombers made their last raid on Linz towards the end of April and we saw two bombers shot down. Seven parachutes opened and the fliers unfortunately landed within a few kilometers of Mauthausen. I saw SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Bachmayer ride out on his horse in their general direction and several hours later I heard that he had picked up two men, tied their wrists together, and attached them to the back of a car with a few feet of rope the airmen then had to run behind the car while Bachmayer galloped alongside and whipped them. I was told that six American airmen were lined up inside the gate by the laundry and that they were being mistreated by the SS. It was extremely dangerous to be seen noticing such things particularly for an American but, by visiting the prisoner-secretary's office (Schreibstuber) on business and continuing on around the block, I was able to see Bachmayer and an NCO slapping and hitting them with a stick just as they had done to us in the same spot. Later the airmen were placed in the jail and three days later when I passed by whistling Yankee Doodle two of them climbed up and stuck their heads against the bars. It was too dangerous to talk and I passed on quickly. Apparently, they were not executed and it is thought that they were transferred to a POW camp near Linz as others had been before.
I was so sick with dysentery and fever that I could hardly walk to the dispensary for 'cement' and weighed at this time 58 kilos (114 lbs.), my normal weight being 165 lbs. I was so weak that I could not stand at attention at the Apelplatz for roll call for any length of time without fainting. I was allowed to stay in bed by the Czech Blockeldester (chief of the barrack) of Block 10 and only arose and marched to the roll call. The Pole Kapo of the gardening detail was very sympathetic.
In six years existence, no Red Cross packages had ever been distributed but one day, SS troops were noticed eating bars of chocolate and smoking American cigarettes. Several empty cartons were picked up by prisoners and brought to me. This was our first evidence that Red Cross parcels had arrived and as we found later, all American Red Cross parcels had been stolen by the SS for themselves and their families. All French parcels had been opened and all cigarettes and all but one bar of chocolate removed these were then distributed one to each Frenchman. I received a Hungarian package, which contained Ovaltine, cheese, and sugar, but my system was so deteriorated that I could not 'keep down' this real food. My Czech and Pole friends did everything they could to help me and with the aid of some opium, I was able to get started again on the cheese and later the Ovaltine and sugar.
American P-38's came over at about 100 feet and really gave us a thrill. Every M.G. [Machine Gun] in the camp opened up on them but nothing happened fortunately. We never dreamed that Americans would ever be near but we heard rumors that they were in Regensburg and coming fast. The SS departed about the first of May, were replaced with Vienna fire-police on the 4th when we could hear the American guns. No more executions or brutalities took place after the SS departed. On Saturday 5 May the guns were much louder but still some distance away, and I had not hoped that they would arrive before Sunday. Late in the afternoon, however, I heard rumors that an American jeep and half-track were at the entrance, and staggering through the frenzied crowd, I found Sgt. Albert Kosiek, Troop D, 41st Cav. RCN, Sqd. Macz. 11th Amd Div, 3rd U.S. Army. I could only say 'God Bless America' and hold out my dog tags with a quavering hand.
SSgt. Kosiek and the seven soldiers were entirely unaware of the two large concentration camps (Mauthausen and Gusen) in this area and were on routine reconnaissance for roadblocks, bridges out, etc. They disarmed over 2000 Vienna fire-police in Mauthausen and Gusen and sent them back towards Gallenkirchen. Sgt. Biagioni, Lionel Rommney, and I rode back with Sgt. Kosiek past Gusen where the released prisoners were murdering with fence-posts German prisoners, who had been brutal Blockeldesters or Kapos. Sgt Kosiek had given me a can of C-Rations at Mauthausen, but I decided to save it until it could be heated. For four hours I resisted temptation but finally gave in and ate it all cold. After a cold six-hour ride in the rain in low gear because of the roads clogged with German prisoners, we arrived at Gallenskirchen. Here I had real hot coffee but the C-Ration was like a chunk of lead and I could eat nothing else. After a sleepless night I could still eat nothing for breakfast except coffee. It took practically 24 hours to digest the C-Ration and after this I ate soup and crackers almost continuously.
In the morning, I met Colonel Yale, Lt. Colonel R.R. Seibel, Lt. Colonel Keach and other heads of the 11th Amd. Div., and requested notification to my family and OSS. They wanted to evacuate me immediately to Regensburg for hospitalization, but I explained that much valuable testimony, documents, etc, were available at Mauthausen, and I should return and collect it. I hated to go back, and it was one of the hardest decisions of my life to stick to, but it was an opportunity, which would not long be available.
We returned to Mauthausen and found the camp in charge of the Communist prisoners led by a Russian Major. They were having trials and dealing out death sentences and already about a dozen German Blockeldesters, Kapos, and others had been murdered. The next day, Colonel Seibel took command, disarmed the prisoners, and restored order. The Army doctors took over the tremendous job of trying to save thousands of lives most of which were too far-gone. After three weeks of good care and nourishing food, prisoners were still dying at the rate of over 50 a day.
I worked for three weeks collecting testimony, documents, liaison to Colonel Seibel and running down SS men hiding in the area. In the first two weeks I gained over 30 pounds.
One of the most important documents was a collection of 15 Death books (Totenbuch) giving names of 'official' deaths for 6 years. These books are labeled 'Mauthausen', 'Gusen' and 'Executions,' and were withheld at the risk of their lives by Ulbrecht and Martin, the prisoner secretaries assigned to this registration. These approximately 3,600 pages have been microfilmed and the books are in the custody of OSS, SALZBURG. Ulbrecht and Martin by means of tiny secret hieroglyphics were able to put down in many cases the true cause of death (gas, injection, etc.) at the same time as the official (false) death cause, i.e., in the '40 '42 book, all those from number 229 on with 'spr' means 'injection death' (injection of foreign material into the heart) and those with 'COIC' means violent exercise to death. In the '42-43 book, all numbers after 3725 with a dot after the place of birth were by injection. Other small notes in relation to the 'official' death cause can be deciphered by Martin and Ulbrecht. After 18 April 1945, all prisoners who have in the 4th column the remark 'Zellenbau' (prison bldg.) were gassed. On April 26 April 1945, 1157 prisoners died at Mauthausen through starvation, gas, shooting, and clubbing. Martin and Ulbrecht's addresses are as follows [Both addresses expunged by BLAST Staff.]:
After the Americans had liberated us, I discovered that I should have been executed on 28 April 1945, along with 27 other prisoners from Block 13. A friendly Czech, Mylos, who worked in the political department had, unknown to me, removed my paper and destroyed it so that I was not included with the 27. A statement explaining this in enclosed.
USA - Poliseihiftling (Police Prisoner)
Taylor, Jack Hedryck, [Jack's middle name was Hedrick] born 9.10.1908 at Manhattan, USA, married, last domicile Hollywood, La Brea Terrace 2008, California, USA, Captain of American Secret Service.
At the order of Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolizei und des Hicherheitsdiestes in Wien from 30.4.1945 - FS 2005 taken to Concentration Camp Mauthausen as police-prisoner and under the same number was proposed his execution (Antrag zue Sonderbehandlung) to the Reichsicherheitshauptamt at Berlin.
Execution ordered by Kommandeur der Sicherheitspolizei und des Hicherheitsdiestes in Wien based on martial law for 27 police-prisoners, many of the transport from 1.4.1945 took place t 28.4.1945 at Mauthausen afternoon. The execution of the Captain Taylor has not been carried out, because 3 days before I burnt his documents.
I declare upon my word of honour that this my testimony is based on truth.
Written and witnessed by
//S// Doctor Stransky Milos, Czechoslovak Citizen,
Former Prisoner Employed at Polivisohe
Abteilung of Concentration Camp Mauthausen
On 11 March court-martial proceedings were held and Grant, Perkins, and Underwood were all sentenced to death. On 3 April they were taken from Wehrmachtgefaengnis, along with about 350 other prisoners, of whom about 125 had been condemned to death. They were marched to Mauerbach, where they were confined for the night in a bowling alley building. The same night Grant, Perkins, Underwood and two or three other prisoners dug their way out and made their escape. Grant and Underwood made it back to the American lines or stayed hidden until the German surrender. Nothing in our source documentation tells the fate of Perkins. Lieutenant Jack Taylor was later promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, and testified against his captors.
Our documentation also contains an extensive debriefing of Ed Underwood and Fred Grant. These are quite interesting, yet difficult to read and follow in context thus, they will not be printed in the BLAST. The information in these debriefs confirm the detail in the exceptional narrative of LT Jack Taylor, and repeating the supporting narratives would simply be superfluous. There was no debrief of Perkins. By all accounts, a primary reason for capture of the four men was Perkin's womanizing.
Sources: UDT-SEAL Association's, "BLAST" magazine
36th Infantry Division The "Texas" Division
The 36th Infantry Division was organized at Camp Bowie (Fort Worth), Texas, 18 July 1917, from units of the Texas and Oklahoma National Guard during World War I. The Division left Newport News, Virginia, in July and August of 1918, for France. The 71st Brigade of the Division saw combat at St. Etiennes-Arnes and on 10 October 1918, the entire division relieved the 2nd Infantry Division and pushed the Germans to the Aisne River.
When the war was over, the Division saw occupation duty, then returned to Camp Bowie and were released from active duty on 20 June 1919. By that time, the Division had adopted a shoulder patch consisting of an Infantry Blue Arrowhead with a green "T" superimposed over it. The arrowhead stood for Oklahoma and the "T," for Texas. After the war, the 36th was reorganized and became an "all Texas" division, and the Oklahoma units became part of the 45th Infantry Division.
Between World Wars I and II, the Division conducted drills at home stations and annual training periods at Camp Hulen at Palacios, Texas.
On 25 November 1940, the Division was mobilized for World War II, with active duty station at Camp Bowie, in Brownwood. It took part in the Louisiana Maneuvers in 1941, trained at Camp Blanding, Florida, and Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, and in April 1943 began its move overseas. It landed in North Africa, conducted amphibious training and on 9 September 1943, landed in Italy at Paestum in the Gulf of Salerno. The 36th was the first American combat division to land on the continent of Europe.
The Division fought in the Italian Campaign as part of the 5th United States Army in such notable actions as Mt. Lungo, San Pietro and the Rapido River. In the Rapido River action, the Division lost the better part of two of its three regiments - 141st and 143d - in unsuccessful attempts to cross the river. The attempted crossing was made to divert German troops from the landing of allied troops at Anzio. On 25 May 1944, the Division landed at Anzio and led the breakout toward Rome. The Division captured Velletri on 1 June 1944, and opened the gates of Rome for the 5th Army. The Division was then pulled out of Italy and landed on the beaches of Southern France on 15 August. Driving up through Southern France, the 36th was attacking and breaking the Siegfried Line when the war in Europe ended. The 36th had spent 400 days in combat, accepted the surrender of Field Marshal Hermann Goering, won seven campaign streamers for its colors, taken part in two assault landings and 14 of its members had won the Medal of Honor. The Division had the ninth highest casualty rate of any Army Division in World War II.
The 36th Infantry Division was organized as part of the Texas National Guard following World War II. It went through various reorganizations including a major reorganization in 1959. At that time, regiments were replaced by battle groups. In 1963, brigades took the place of battle groups.
In 1968, both the 36th and 49th Divisions were deactivated and replaced by three separate brigades. In 1973, the 49th Armored Division was reactivated, with the lineage and honors of the 36th Infantry Division inherited by the 36th Brigade of the 49th Armored Division.
On 1 May 2004 the 49th Armored Division was reorganized as the 36th Infantry Division.
During WWII 14 members of the 36th Infantry Division were awarded the Medal of Honor.