Kurt Piehler: This begins an interview with Dr. Lloyd Kalugin on March 22, 1996 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, with Kurt Piehler and ...
Jason Riley: Jason Riley.
KP: I'd like to begin by talking about your parents, beginning with your father, who came from Russia.
Dr. Lloyd Kalugin: My father came from Russia in the early 1900s, as an immigrant, and my mother joined him around 1923 and they were married in 1924. ... I was born in 1926, shortly after that. They came, as many of the early immigrants, for better opportunities and a better life. ... Although they struggled in the early years, and we all struggled through the Depression, we did manage to have a very comfortable life, a happy life. ... I'll tell ya, we enjoyed our childhood and we enjoyed our growing up years.
KP: Your parents came relatively late in the great immigration from Russia. Do you know the circumstances of what pushed them? Were there very specific or very general circumstances that drove them from Russia?
LK: Well, for a better lifestyle and, I guess, my father had family here who kept encouraging him to come, again, for better opportunities, and he came. ... When he sent for my mother, my mother was unfortunately caught up in World War I and spent three years going from Russia to the United States, ... spending, like, two years in Poland. Because of the war, she couldn't come to the United States. But, eventually, as I said, in ... 1923, she came.
KP: In a sense, your mother just barely got out.
LK: She barely got out. That's about right.
KP: Your father, in other words, came over to the United States before World War I.
LK: Yes, before World War I. He ... came over before World War I.
KP: And then, he apparently liked it, and sent for your mother, but the war interrupted.
LK: That's right. ... Yeah, that's exactly what happened.
KP: Was your father a furrier in Russia?
LK: No, on the contrary, he was a carpenter. ... I guess, something happened when he came here and he may have found the fur trade a little more lucrative than being a carpenter. So, he became a furrier.
KP: Did he go into a family business?
LK: No, no, no. He worked for companies, and his last job ... was ... what they called a fur-buyer, where he used to go to Canada and pick skins that were eventually made into fur coats.
KP: How did the Great Depression affect your family?
LK: Well, there were periods of time when my father was unemployed and he went to work for the WPA. Fortunately, he was able to continue working until World War II, when the job opportunities started to increase, and he was able to find work outside of the WPA during World War II. And, he continued on, after the war, in the fur trade.
KP: So, the Depression really battered the fur trade.
LK: Oh yes, oh yes. It battered that ... like most other businesses. People just didn't have the money. But, I'll tell you, very honestly, that I, as a child, never really felt the effects of it. We always had food on the table. We always had a little bit of money, not much. We always had clothing. ... I, as a child, really didn't realize how bad the Depression was until I grew up and started reading about it. [laughter]
KP: Really? While your family didn't have a lot of money, you never worried about, for example, losing your apartment?
LK: No, well, nobody had money in those days. We were all poor, and none of us felt that we were disadvantaged, because we were all in the same boat. None of us had cars in those days. We traveled the subways, which was only a nickel at that time. ... We managed.
KP: What projects did your father work on in the WPA?
LK: ... We lived in the Bronx at the time and he worked on ... a beach called Orchard Beach and Pelham Bay Park. For those of you that have never seen Orchard Beach and Pelham Bay Park, they were beautiful, but they were not back in the '30s, when they started working on it.
LK: Yeah, it was a marsh land. But, the WPA did build it up. They also built the Belt Parkway, which nobody's too proud of today, but, in those days, it was the superhighway of New York. [laughter]
KP: So, it sounds like your father had pride in his work. He could point to these things he actually built with others.
LK: Oh yeah, ... he could. I did, too. I mean, I used to tell people when I was very young, "Yep, my father built Orchard Beach." [laughter]
KP: Your father sounds like he was a New Deal man. The New Deal was something that was really important to him.
LK: Oh yes, he was a New Deal man. ... He was a democrat. He was a very strong fan of President Roosevelt and, to him, Roosevelt could do nothing wrong.
KP: How observant was your family growing up? Did they belong to a synagogue?
LK: Yes, yes. We belonged to a store-front synagogue. While we didn't go too often, we did go periodically, during the holidays, but we were not a very religious family.
KP: So, did you keep a kosher household?
LK: No, we did not and, as I said, we were not a very religious family.
KP: You mentioned you had lived, at one point, in the Bronx. How often did your family move when you were growing up?
LK: Well, I was born in Jersey City and, when I was very, very young, I must have been about a year old, we moved to the Bronx. And, we lived in the Bronx for quite a long time. As a matter of fact, I was brought up in the Bronx and I did not move out of the Bronx until after I got married. So, I was ... one of these tough kids from the Bronx.
KP: What neighborhood did you grow up in, in the Bronx?
LK: Southern Boulevard, Tremont Avenue. About eight blocks from the Bronx Zoo, which became my playground.
KP: So, you went to the zoo quite a bit.
LK: Matter of fact, my first job was in the Bronx Zoo. I used to help the children ride around the pony ring, guiding the ponies. [laughter]
KP: Your mother was a tailor.
LK: Yes, yes.
KP: Did she work after she got married?
LK: My mother did not work for a company, but she worked for individual people. She did, how should I say it, ... work to help people out. She was not employed ... but she did make some money by doing tailoring for people in the neighborhood. But, she never worked, ... for a company.
KP: How did your parents feel about education? Did they want you to go to college?
LK: Well, they encouraged me to go to college. Unfortunately, money was a problem and I was not that good a student where I could have qualified for City College in New York, which, in those days, was a very difficult school to get into. So, I decided that I didn't think I'd be able to go to college, and I went to a technical school, Manhattan High School of Aviation, where, upon graduation, I became an aviation mechanic. ... That was going to be my career until Uncle Sam changed it. [laughter]
KP: Why did you pick Manhattan High School of Aviation? Were you intrigued by aviation?
LK: Yes, yes, I was. And, it was a ... difficult school to get into. You had to pass an examination to get in and I liked working with my hands. ... To me, that seemed the ideal school, so, that's why I went there.
KP: And, it seems like it was a good school.
LK: Oh, it was a good school. As I said, the students that graduated from there ... had the opportunity, during our senior year, to take the Aircraft and Engine Licensing Exam, and those of us that passed were able to work as mechanics. As a matter of fact, my first job, after I graduated from high school, was as an apprentice mechanic for a Bendix facility in the Bronx. So, I had an opportunity to ... practice what I was taught in school.
KP: Jason, do you have any questions?
JR: Getting back to your community, as you were saying, your father worked for the WPA. I was wondering if that was common in your neighborhood, among your neighbors.
LK: Yes, that was one of the ways that people were able to derive some income. ... Today, we may call it a make-work project, but, in those days, they built things. I mean, they accomplished things. As I said, they built roads, parks, they even developed music programs. They did a tremendous amount of work to help people that needed help and that were out of work. ... In those days, there was really no such thing as the kind of welfare that we have today. Most of the people participated in some kind of a work program, ... for which we were thankful. At least it helped pay the rent and ... food. ...
JR: So, then, your community was all pro-F.D.R. democrats?
LK: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. We lived in what today would be called a poor neighborhood, but, I'll be very frank with you, I don't think we had the crime then that we have today. We were able to walk the streets at two, three o'clock in the morning and feel safe. So, it was a different world.
KP: But, the Bronx is a tough place. There might not be as many guns in the 1930s as there are now, but still.
LK: It was a tough place. You had to hold your own and you had to be able to take care of yourself. Yes, it was a tough place. But, if you survived there, you were okay. [laughter]
KP: I could imagine a few brawls, every now and then.
LK: Oh, yes, yes. We did have brawls. We had our share of "street gangs" but, there were no weapons, strictly fists. So, you had to learn to fight.
KP: From my knowledge of that area around the zoo, I think there's still an Italian neighborhood, if I remember. I don't know the Bronx as well as my wife. What was the ethnic makeup of your neighborhood growing up?
LK: My neighborhood was, basically, Italian and Jewish, primarily Jewish, about eighty percent Jewish and about twenty percent Italian. The Italian neighborhood, the hundred percent Italian neighborhood, was about eight blocks north of us in an area called Arthur Avenue and, from my knowledge, today, it's still a predominately Italian neighborhood, with Italian restaurants and good places to eat.
KP: Growing up, you said your family had the attitude that Roosevelt could do no wrong.
KP: What about the approach of World War II? How much did you know of what was going on? Your attitudes on say, Lend-Lease, the fall of France, the plight of Jews in Germany?
LK: Oh yeah. I think, I, as a youngster growing up-I was ... in high school at the time-and ... knew what was going on. We knew about Hitler, about what he was doing, and we were very supportive of Roosevelt, what he did. I think the nation, as a whole, supported him. ... And, certainly, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, I mean, then, we were ... all supportive of entering into the war and fighting Japan and Germany.
KP: What about the plight of German Jews? How aware were you, either in your synagogue or neighborhood organizations.
LK: ... We were not very aware. Now, maybe, I was old enough to have known things. We heard things. We heard the story about the ship that [was] supposed ... [to] have landed in Cuba and the administration, the State Department, wouldn't let it land, and it had to go back to Germany. And, we read the papers. But, there was not that much said about what we call the Holocaust today. And, we were really not aware of the extent of what was happening.
KP: So, in other words, while you were aware of it, you were not aware of the gravity of it.
LK: No, no, we were not aware of the enormity of it ... at least in my area we weren't.
KP: What about support for Zionism in your community? Was there any interest in Zionism?
LK: There was some, but my particular family, ... we were not that strong as Zionists. We had no desire to return to Israel. We were very happy where we were in the United States.
KP: Did you ever go away to camp in the summer?
LK: The only camp I went [to] was the school yard and the Bronx Zoo. [laughter] I was not fortunate enough to be able to go to camp. ...
KP: Yeah, it sounds like you have a lot of memories of the zoo.
LK: Yeah. ...
KP: Your father eventually would go up to Canada quite a bit, but, did you ever travel much before the war?
KP: How far north would you travel?
LK: The furthest I traveled was Jersey City, where my cousins and uncle and aunt lived. That was the extent of my traveling, from the Bronx to Jersey City and back. [laughter]
KP: Really? So, the subway took you pretty much everywhere.
LK: The subway, the bus, the trolley car, those were our methods of transportation. Every once in a while, my uncle would take us on a trip in his car up to Spring Valley, New York, where, occasionally, we used to spend some time at one of the farms. But, that was for a very short period of time and I was very young then. ...
KP: So, before the war, you had a really limited world view.
LK: Very limited.
KP: What year did you graduate high school?
LK: I graduated high school in January, 1944. ... What did I write down?
KP: Well, you didn't. That's partly why I'm asking.
LK: I'm trying to remember. I went into the service ...
KP: You went into the service in May of 1944.
LK: '44, then I graduated high school in January of '44.
KP: So, you were in an accelerated program.
LK: No, the school system in New York, at the time, was graduating students twice a year. ... At the end of the spring semester, and at the end of the fall semester. And, ... I had graduated in January, and I worked for four months, and then, I was called into the service in May.
KP: In between graduation and being called into the service, you worked for a few months.
LK: Yeah, I worked for about three or four months at Bendix.
KP: And, how did you enjoy that?
LK: I liked it, I liked it. ... First thing, I had no idea that I might even be called into the service, because, ... when I was a senior in high school, I applied for Air Force training and they were taking them, then, at seventeen. And, I was rejected for a punctured ear drum, so, I honestly felt that I wouldn't be going into the service and I think it was on that basis that this company hired me and had some plans for me. And then, when I was called for my physical to be drafted, for some reason, my punctured ear drum healed up and they drafted me.
KP: You were given your training at the aviation school. You, logically, should have been an Air Force mechanic.
LK: That's another story! [laughter]
KP: Yeah, I'm very curious at the Army's infinite wisdom.
LK: Okay. When I was drafted, I was sent to Camp Upton in New York for testing and placement. And, at the end of a week of testing and placement, my papers were stamped Air Corps. I was supposedly going to the Air Corps as a mechanic. Then, D-Day happened in June, and the Army suddenly found itself short of infantrymen and they did not need Air Corps people. So, everybody in camp, no matter where you were assigned, ... was sent to an infantry replacement center. And, that's where I took my basic training as an infantryman. That's how I got into the infantry. [laughter]
KP: Just backing up a little bit, because you were in high school during much of the war, where were you when you heard the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor?
LK: I was ... at my cousin's house and we were listening to the Dodger-Giant football game. ... That's something I really won't forget, ... it was on a Sunday and they interrupted the program to tell us about the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor. ... The next day, when we got to school on Monday, they had special programs advising the students of what had happened. And so, we were kind of brought up to date as much as we could be and we knew we were in a war. And, starting with that period, part of the focus of the school curriculum started to change. ... We were given extra classes in radio identification, and we were building models for the Air Corps that they were able to use for identification. So, we did have some war related courses introduced into our curriculum.
KP: So, your models were actually used by the Air Corps.
LK: Yeah, ID models.
KP: Your school must have felt very proud that you could contribute.
LK: Yeah, we were ... really helping and we felt very strongly about that.
KP: What about physical education? Did that change because of the war? Did you have an obstacle course that was added to your gym class?
LK: Well, you have to understand, the high school that I went to didn't have a gym. ... The physical education that we had was conducted in a makeshift auditorium and during the warm months, we went to Central Park. ... But, we had a workout. We did a lot of running and jumping and obstacle courses, yes. ... They built us up, physically. They prepared us for the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps. [laughter]
JR: Did you see a lot of your students, specifically the older students, before D-Day, because of their aviation mechanic skills, go into the Air Corps? Did recruiters come to your school looking for people?
LK: Yes, ... we used to have a lot of recruiters come to our school ... and, early on, before I graduated, most of the students that graduated from our high school did go into the Air Corps. ... As I said, the only reason I didn't go into the Air Corps is the fact that I was in a camp and the Army, at that time, needed infantry replacements more than they needed aircraft mechanics. And, that's why I ended up in the infantry.
KP: Did you, growing up, experience rationing and blackouts. Do you have any memories of these two hallmarks for people on the home front?
LK: Well, ... not very much. Except that, when I was seventeen, they recruited me to be an air raid warden, gave me a tin helmet, but that didn't last too long. [laughter] But, ... we always had enough food, there was no real problem. Somehow, my mother managed. She was a real ... constructive person who was able to manage with whatever we got. The only situation where I really experienced rationing was, one of my friends at school had an old Model-T Ford that we modified. It was working and we had to check the gasoline that we used in it. So, we modified it to do forty miles to the gallon, in those days.
KP: Which takes some mechanical talent.
LK: Well, we had a shop and, in the shop, we modified the carburetors and we did a lot of things that I think the automobile makers are starting to do today. [laughter] But, we were able to run that car on forty miles to the gallon.
KP: It sounds like, if the war hadn't come around, your life would have been very different. You would have stayed with Bendix, or in the industry.
LK: I probably would have, maybe. I also felt I probably would have eventually gone to college, anyhow, even without the war. Because, I felt, as I was working as a mechanic, that I wanted to do more. ... Before I went into the service, I also started to get somewhat frustrated in the fact that I wasn't able to do more and that I didn't know more. I wanted to know how things worked ... and so, I really ... kind of made up my mind that I would be going to college anyhow, even if I hadn't gone into the service.
KP: How did your parents feel about your being drafted, and, especially, getting assigned to the infantry? Were they worried at all?
LK: Sure, they were very worried. [laughter] Very worried, like every other parent was, I'm sure. ... Here's their son going off to war and they were concerned. ... They may not have shown it at the time, but, when I came back, my mother would tell me some of the feelings that she and my father had about my being away.
JR: How did you take the news that you were drafted?
LK: Oh, I wanted to go. You know, ... I felt very bad when I was rejected for the Air Force, so, I felt I was going to be rejected again, and when I was told ... I'm in, I was very happy. I wanted to go. ... The feeling, in that time, was, yes, you wanted to fight for your country. Maybe it sounds a little corny today, but, in those days, that's how we felt.
KP: For a while, you were expecting to be a 4-F. Was there a stigma on 4-Fs?
LK: Yes, there was a stigma. Oh, of course. ... "How come you're still here and everybody else is away fighting for your country?" ... Their was a very strong stigmatism to those people that were 4-F.
KP: Did you know anyone in your neighborhood who was 4-F?
LK: No, I didn't.
KP: But, you knew that ...
LK: That I didn't want to be a 4-F. [laughter]
KP: While you wanted to serve, you must have had mixed feelings about knowing that, because of this need for infantry, you were going to be assigned to infantry.
LK: I didn't like it! [laughter] And, I tried to do everything I could to get out of it. [laughter]
KP: What did you try to do?
LK: Well, number one, ... while I was in infantry training, I took a test for Officer Candidate School, and I passed. And, the school that I applied for was Air Corps Administration. So, I suffered through infantry basic training knowing that, at the end of my basic training, I would be going ... [to] the Air Force Administration School. The day after we finished our training, all those people that were accepted into Officer Candidate School, were called into this very large auditorium and an officer stood up and announced, "The following Officer Candidate Schools are closed." And, the first one was Air Corps Administration. At that time, they closed all the Officer Candidate Schools except infantry, and those of us that wanted to could go to Infantry Officer Candidate School. I chose not to.
LK: Well, as an infantry officer, you would have been the first one on the line, leading the troops, and I really felt I ... didn't want to do that. I didn't feel comfortable with that.
KP: Did you not feel comfortable because you would essentially be responsible for men, you know, you make an error and people get killed or did you sort of realize that second lieutenants didn't last very long?
LK: I think it was ... the first, because I really didn't feel comfortable leading people. I was only eighteen at the time. ... I didn't feel that comfortable, particularly in a combat situation. Were it a desk job, or an administrative job, yes, I would have been okay. But, I just didn't feel comfortable with that. So, ... I rejected it. As a matter of fact, most of us did. [laughter]
KP: You did your infantry training at Camp Croft?
LK: Camp Croft, South Carolina.
KP: I guess, even before we get to infantry training, you took a long trip. For somebody who hadn't really left New York State or Jersey City, you were now taking a long train trip. What do you remember of your first long trip?
LK: Hot and dusty, and very uncomfortable, and sleeping up in the baggage rack. It was ... a long, hot ride, and when we got to South Carolina, ... actually, the end of May, beginning of June, it was hot. ... All our training was done in very hot weather. But, you don't realize what you can do until you go through it. But, I remember, we used to get up early in the morning, like four, four-thirty in the morning and our training, our field training, was completed by about one, two o'clock in the afternoon. ... Then, we would attend classes, so, we were not exposed to the enormous heat during the day. ... So, I would say the army took care of us in that sense. They kept us alive and healthy and well.
KP: How good was your infantry training? I mean, especially when you look back on your experiences in combat, what was good about it, what was bad about it?
LK: Well, it was ... tough training, but it built me up physically. I didn't realize that I could do the kinds of things that I did. I didn't realize that I could hike twenty miles with a full field pack. Being a little guy, ... I give the army credit for building us up physically, and mentally, too. ... We really became tough. I remember, some of the training we took, in terms of hand to hand combat, where the sergeant would get up and tell us, ... "Look, you have to forget about fighting fair." And, he showed us various techniques we could use. ... At the beginning, I was gun-shy at participating, because I had never had to do these kinds of things. But, you learn to do them. Fortunately, I never had to use the skills that I developed in training in terms of hand to hand combat. That's always a question mark.
KP: What about your drill instructors and your sergeants? Were there any regular army left? Were they people who had rotated back or were they cadre?
LK: ... Most of the non-coms and officers were recycled from combat and they had spent time in combat and had come back to help us prepare for combat. ... I must say, they were good, well trained, and we got along fine.
KP: So, in other words, they told you some of the practical aspects of the task?
LK: Yes, yes. I remember one instance where we were doing bayonet training and the sergeant told us, ... "Look, it's great to have a bayonet on your rifle, but it's also good to have a knife in your boot." ... He showed us how to do that. As a matter of fact, the first piece of equipment they gave us, when we came off the boat, was a knife that we strapped to our boots and kept as an extra kind of weapon.
KP: Why did he say that the knife in the boot was so valuable? Did he give you an example?
LK: Yes, he did. "What if you lose your rifle? ... There goes your bayonet and there goes your rifle. You have no weapon." Slip it right out, and they really showed you how to do all these things. So, again, fortunately, I never had to do that. Matter of fact, that knife is now in my fishing kit. [laughter]
KP: What did you dislike about training? There must have been things that, at the time at least, were particularly irritating and annoying.
LK: Yeah, all the running and all the physical work were ... very tiring, particularly for people who were not used to this ... and, also, the heat, you know. But, again, toward the end, we were all physically fit and we accepted it.
KP: What about the people in your unit, where were they from, in your training?
LK: Well, most of the people in basic training were from the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area. So, we got along fairly well as a group.
KP: So, you didn't have a mixture of, say, westerners, southerners, or mid-westerners.
LK: No, that didn't come until I was assigned to the division and that's where I, as a New Yorker, was a minority. [laughter]
KP: I'll get to that. So, basically, the people you trained with were from what we would term the Tri-State area.
LK: Yes, they were.
KP: What about the sergeants and the non-coms, were they from different parts of the country?
LK: They were from different parts of the country. The sergeant in my outfit, from what I remember, was from the mid-west. One of the lieutenants was, as a matter of fact, ... from New York. ... But, they were more of a mixed group.
JR: As far as the sergeants that put you through training, the ones with combat experience, did you realize, at the time, the advantage you would have from having combat experienced officers instructing you?
LK: Yeah, we did. We appreciated the fact because we knew that what they were teaching us came from experience and, in many instances, it could save our lives. So, we listened very closely to what they told us. Like I said, the knife on the boot and all these little tricks. One of the sergeants even showed us how to use a belt as a weapon. I mean, ... this is not in an army training manual. So, you know, we did appreciate those kinds of things ... but, they were tough, they really ... worked our butts off. I mean, we crawled in the mud, like you see ... in most of the movies today.
KP: So, that part of movies is accurate.
LK: Yeah! Oh yeah, yeah. Where you're crawling and the machine gun is firing over your head, and, if you stand up, there you go. That was there.
KP: You had a lot of New Yorkers and New Yorkers often have a reputation for not camping, for example. [laughter] Were there guys that just hated it so much that they just couldn't take it?
LK: Well, you had no choice. ... I mean, particularly now, there was no such thing as quitting. I mean, you couldn't say, "Well, I don't want this, I'm going home." I mean, you couldn't do that. They stuck it out. Some of them, though, if they didn't measure up to the criteria, were held over for another training cycle and I don't think they really wanted to do that. [laughter] That was the motivation for you getting through.
JR: Did anybody in your unit in basic go AWOL? Did you have any deserters at that time?
LK: No, ... nobody went AWOL. I was late getting back to camp one day but it was not because of ... being AWOL. It was train connections. But, I got back a little late and I scrubbed toilets for about a week to make sure that I wouldn't do it again. [laughter]
KP: So, you were trying to visit your folks?
LK: Yeah, my folks and my girlfriend. [laughter]
KP: And, your girlfriend was in New York?
LK: She lived in New York, in the Bronx. Matter of fact, it's interesting what happened, we were able to get passes, but the passes were only for the local area and I decided to try to go to New York, and I made it. [laughter] But, coming back, the train had a problem and I was late making a connection in Washington. So, a group of us had the same experience, and we took a cab from Washington to South Carolina and we came in after reveille. [laughter]
KP: I imagine also that cab ride was a long and expensive cab ride.
LK: Yeah, it was, but there were eight of us in one cab. [laughter] So, there were some very humorous things that happened to us while we were in training.
KP: How was the food?
LK: The food was okay. I mean, ... you know, it's difficult to think back at the time that we ate that food, but ... it didn't make an impression on me. ... So, I don't think we really had a problem with the food.
KP: It sounds like you were sort of surviving infantry training with the notion that you were going to Officer Candidate School.
LK: Exactly right.
KP: And then, you get the shock that you're actually going to be using this training. ... How shocked were you and when did you get over the shock?
LK: Well, in the back of my mind, I still tried to figure out ways to get out of it. [laughter] Cause, ... I went to the commanding officer of my company and I said, "What are my alternatives?" See, what happened was, we were given a delay enroute and we would be going home, and then, reporting to our outfits. Most of the people in my company ... were going to what they called a replacement depot and were going to be shipped overseas right away. I was only eighteen at the time and there was a ruling, or a law, I don't remember, that eighteen year olds were not to be shipped overseas. So, in that sense I was fortunate, and I was assigned to a division in North Carolina. So, after my delay enroute, I reported to the division and that's why I did some additional training and that's the division I went overseas with in January.
KP: We now know, for example, that replacements also had a very limited life span. Was it important not to be a replacement at the time, or did you just really not want to go over there? How aware of it were you at the time?
LK: Oh, well, we were aware of it, you know, we were aware that it was not a very comfortable position to be in. ... We finished our training in September and there was some very heavy fighting in Europe and in Asia at the time. ... Yes, I was concerned, you know. I didn't want to be a replacement. [laughter] So, as I said, fortunately, I was assigned to a division and I stayed with them for additional training and I still tried to be assigned to other kinds of units, but that never happened. ...
KP: You were assigned to the 89th Division.
LK: 89th Infantry Division, right.
KP: It was in this division that you encountered people from different parts of the country.
LK: Yes, yes. This is the division that I was a minority in.
KP: And, what were your impressions, as a New Yorker, of different people from different parts of the country and of the south?
LK: Well ...
KP: You spent quite a bit of time in the south, admittedly on military bases, but still ...
LK: Well, ... you have to understand that the people that I had contact with in North Carolina were mostly young women, you know, for ... social reasons. I had no contact with the townspeople or anything like that. As far as the people in my division, they were mostly from Oklahoma and Arkansas. Real ... southern, mid-westerners, so to speak, and I was a novelty to them. I was also ... the youngest one in my particular company. So, ... one of the sergeants from Texas kind of took me under his wing and ... protected me, more or less. Not that I needed it, ... but he ... said "I like you, I'll take care of you". So, I had no real problems in terms of getting along with the people. I mean, I did what I was supposed to do. I didn't create any hard feelings or anything like that. Again, you survive.
KP: When you say you were a novelty, what did they teach you about Texas and Oklahoma, you know, places which you saw on a map and may have had visions of, and what did you teach them about New York?
LK: Well, they didn't know what a Jew was. I'll tell you right now, they did not know. Matter of fact, when, in a conversation, I said to one of the people in the company that I'm Jewish, ... he started examining my head. I said, "What are you looking for?" He said, "I'm looking for your horns." I said, "I don't have any horns." He says, "Well, ... I think my preacher lied to me. He says all Jews have horns and that's how you can tell them."How's that one? [laughter]
KP: How much of this was a revelation to him? I mean, this sounds like he was being very serious.
LK: Yes! Yes! It was. He was very serious about that and he said, ... "Man ... you're okay, you don't have horns." And, I think there were only two ... Jewish people in the outfit and I think we were both fairly well accepted. ... There was no overt discrimination. There might have been some undercurrent of it, but we really didn't experience too much.
KP: Well, it almost sounds like you dispelled, for these guys from Arkansas and Oklahoma, a lot of myths. I mean, you're also not the first person who told me that story.
LK: About the horns?
KP: About the horns, yeah.
LK: Oh yeah, it happened. But, as I said, we were all interested in getting along. We knew we had to rely on each other and that's what we did.
KP: The sergeant of your unit, was he cadre? Had he been in combat?
LK: No, but he had been with the division since its inception. I think the division was activated in 1941 or 1942 and they had spent a lot of time in the States doing various training missions and now they were finally built up to strength where they could go overseas and contribute and he had been with them all along. ... He really knew his way around and I was pleased to, frankly, consider him a friend.
KP: Did you stay in touch with him after the war?
LK: No. No, because, what happened ... after the war, most of those people went home and I had to stay, because I didn't have enough, what they called, points, in those days. So, we kind of lost contact. ... But that's another story.
KP: You remembered your captain, which is rare. A lot of people don't remember their captain.
LK: Yeah, I remember my captain.
KP: What was he like and what was his background?
LK: Let's see. Captain Fortney was a newspaper person, I think. ... From Akron, Ohio, ... and he was not an inspiring leader, let's put it that way. [laughter] He was there and I think he came out ... of the National Guard and his feeling was, and I liked him for that, that where there's action, we'll go the other way. He kind of avoided any real dangerous situations, and that was fine. You know, ... as a matter of fact, when he found out that I spoke a little German, he made me his bodyguard. ... He gave me a Thompson submachine gun. Not that I was much of a bodyguard, but, at least, I helped him with the language, and this is what he really needed. So, I became his bodyguard, "runner."
KP: Really? We'll get to that. Where did you and your unit ship out from?
LK: ... We shipped out ... of Boston. I'm trying to remember the name of the camp.
JR: Miles Standish.
LK: Camp Miles Standish, out of Boston.
KP: Not only had you seen the South, but now you were going overseas, admittedly, not under the most pleasant circumstances. But, how was your voyage and what kind of vessel did you ship out on?
LK: Okay. I shipped out on a Victory ship for ten days. Five of those days, I was sick, so seasick [laughing] that I wanted to commit suicide. [laughter] And, you know, it's interesting, ... the ship had English rations, mutton. To this day, if I smell mutton, I get nauseous. But, for five days, and this was in the beginning of January, ... I didn't come up on deck and I was really sick. Finally, my buddies took pity on me, put me in a blanket, dragged me up on deck, even though it was cold. ... When that happened, I was okay. I started to eat again. They fed me. [laughter] ... So, you know, we did take care of each other and I guess that's how we got along.
KP: So, it sounds like you had a particularly close company.
LK: Yeah, it was, it was. ... As I said, I still remember many of the instances and they were all mostly good, you know, as far as relationships between the people are concerned.
KP: What about on your voyage over but also, in general, training and so forth, how much ...
-----------------END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE ONE------------------
KP: On the voyage over, and in general, what did you do for diversions?
LK: Well, we played cards. I read a lot. We had a lot of books to read and we b.s.-ed a lot. Otherwise, there was nothing much else to do. We stripped our weapons down six or seven times as part of our "training exercise." But, otherwise, there wasn't that much to do.
KP: And, a lot of seasickness, especially on the ship.
LK: Yeah, for me. [laughter]
KP: How comfortable were your berths, as they say?
LK: Well, they weren't very comfortable. We were like ... three or four, up and down, and it wasn't very comfortable. But, look, that's what you had to do to survive, so that's what we did.
JR: How cramped was the ship?
LK: It was pretty cramped. I don't remember the exact number of people on it, but I remember four bunks and it was cramped. It wasn't that big a ship. It was one of the, what they called a Victory ship. Came back on one, too. [laughter]
KP: Where did your division land?
LK: We landed in Le Havre and that's another interesting event. When we landed in Le Havre, our heavy equipment and food landed in Southampton, England, a typical Army SNAFU. So, here we are in Le Havre with no food, no nothing. They put us in these large semi-trailer trucks, bitter cold, snow, and they take us out to an abandoned French airfield and they tell us, "Okay, this is your camp, put up your tents." We looked around, there were no tents. So, we spent the night in our blankets, in the cold, shivering. The next day, the tents came and each company, actually each squad within a company, built their own tent. We were supposed to be ready for combat and sent to the line. At that time, it was just about the end of the Battle of the Bulge, and one of our missions was to assist and relieve some of the troops that were in the Bulge. Well, what happened was, ... because we didn't have our food rations, we were limited to two meals a day and many of us would go into the closest French town and trade cigarettes for these very large French breads, which kind of kept us going a little bit. We were in camp about two weeks. The snow started to melt and many of the people developed what they called trench foot. So, as far as this division was concerned, and my company was one example, ... we were not ready for combat. So, ... we were there about three weeks in this "camp," by the way, which is called Lucky Strike, one of the cigarette camps.
KP: I've heard people usually go to Lucky Strike on the way out.
LK: Well, we built Lucky Strike on the way in [laughter] and they sent us to a small French village called Mers Le Bain for rest and recuperation. We hadn't been to combat yet, ... and that's exactly what we did. We were there for two weeks. They fattened us up with food. We did some very vigorous training, which we couldn't do in Camp Lucky Strike, and they shipped us off ... to combat.
KP: It sounds like your division had the classic SNAFU.
LK: Oh, yeah.
KP: This division that should have been able to go right up to the front, because they didn't have the tents there, they put you in a muddy field, when the snow melted, and you didn't have enough food.
LK: That's right, exactly right. ... We couldn't go. [laughter] But, we eventually did go.
KP: But, it also sounds like it was a miserable experience those several weeks.
LK: Yeah, it was. We were very uncomfortable because of the cold. ... We had one, small, coal stove in the tent and we were rationed to a helmet full of coal a day. So, we were cold. I mean it was ... a very unpleasant experience. But, we survived.
JR: Did you have down sleeping bags or just blankets?
LK: No, we had blankets. Blankets and what they called a shelter half. Down sleeping bags came later. ... The reason for that is, you had to carry it with you and a down sleeping bag would have been just too heavy to carry. ... As an infantryman, whatever you needed, you carried. ... That's why they limited us to, I think it was, two blankets and what they called a shelter half, which was half of a pup tent. So, two people were supposed to get together and build a pup tent and the sleeping material goes in the pup tent. But, you had to carry it with you.
JR: Were you much of a smoker before you went into the service?
LK: I ... never smoked.
JR: You never started in combat?
LK: Never smoked. Matter of fact, that's another humorous story. ... We used to get cigarette rations and I didn't smoke. So, I used to trade my cigarettes for Milky Ways and I was nicknamed [laughter] the Milky Way Kid. Cause, ... these guys would be walking and smoking and I'd be walking and eating my Milky Ways.
KP: So, trading your cigarettes for bread with the French was an easy trade for you.
LK: Oh yeah, they needed the cigarettes and we needed the bread.
KP: You had some contact, limited maybe, with French civilians.
KP: What did you think of Europe and the towns you were able to get into?
LK: Well, they were fine. There was a language problem, but we managed. ... I found them very helpful, very nice, whatever they could have done. They were also limited in the kind of food that they had. But, bread, they had ... plenty of bread. So, we traded cigarettes for bread and that kind of supplemented the two meals a day that we had.
JR: I was just curious, you mentioned a lot of men in your unit came down with trench foot. How severe was that? How widespread was that in the first few weeks in France?
LK: It was pretty widespread. When you get trench foot, you can't walk. Your foot swells up. It becomes infected and, for an infantryman, ... you just can't ... walk. So, they had to clear that up. ... One of the causes of trench foot is you can't take your shoes off to dry your feet. Your feet are constantly wet from ... the melting snow. So, they ... had a program where ... every time we went to bed, we had to take our shoes off and change our socks. ... We had dry socks, which, at first, we didn't have, because there was nothing there.
JR: Did you participate in the "buddy system"? I read somewhere that, at night, tent-mates or bunkmates were supposed to massage each other's feet.
LK: Yeah, we didn't do that. [laughter] My feet were fine, because I did what I was supposed to do. ... I changed my socks, I rinsed 'em out in the morning and hung 'em up. So, I was okay, I didn't have trench foot and we didn't have buddies at that stage of the training. We didn't have a buddy system then.
KP: When you were sent up to the front, how did you go? Were you put in trucks?
LK: Okay, what they did, first thing, ... we were on a railroad for a little bit and then we dismounted and went on trucks. Our first ... combat mission was the town of Trier, which was on the Moselle River in Germany, actually. We went through Luxembourg and this was in Germany and just before we got to Trier, the trucks unloaded the troops and dropped out what they called our baggage bags ... out of the trucks. So, one of my first assignments was to guard the duffel bags. ... And, where did we guard the duffel bags? They found, in this town, there was ... an abandoned garage and they put all the duffel bags in there. ... This fellow and I were assigned to guard them. ... Everybody else left. They went up to Trier and they left us some food and here we are for two days, not knowing what's happening. We didn't know where to go, ... we didn't know where the Germans were or anything. ... I mean, it was a terrible feeling. There were a couple of civilians that ... I was able to communicate with. ... They didn't know anything and, after two days, two trucks came back, picked up the duffel bags and this fellow and I, and brought us back to our companies and, by then, they had more or less left Trier and they were ready to cross the Moselle River and that's when I rejoined ... my company. And, my captain came over and started talking to me, you know, "What happened?" and this and that, and the other fellow that was with me said to the captain, "You know, Lloyd can talk to the civilians." He says, "Why didn't you tell me?""You never asked me." He says, "Well from now on ... you're sticking close to me." He hands me a Thompson submachine gun and says, "You're my bodyguard." [laughter]
KP: There seems to be a pattern in which you really saw some real Snafus. Do you think it was endemic to your division, to the leadership in your division or do you think it was just coincidence?
LK: No, I think ... it was the uncertainty and the unknown of what was happening. Even though ... you plan, but when it comes down, it's up to the individual unit and the individual soldier to carry out the mission and a lot of times, it's not what it seems to be and as I said, ... in many instances, our objectives weren't where they were supposed to be. The opposition wasn't where it was supposed to be. So, you had to really ... use your head. You had to survive.
JR: How was morale in your unit at this point in time when you just crossed from Luxembourg into Germany?
LK: Morale was fine. We ... were a unit, we fought as a unit and we supported each other. You had a couple of little incidents, ... not that I can remember any particular problems. You know, ... I know in some instances, ... you may have heard of people going AWOL. ... We didn't have anything like that. We had a lot of funny instances and, if I can repeat one, I think you'd be interested in this. We were riding, at some point, ... in trucks, going place to place. And, many of the fellas had diarrhea. I mean, this was symptomatic of the water and everything else and when you're in a truck and you have to relieve yourself, where do you go? So, what we used to do, the guy would hang his butt over the tailgate and we would hold him and he would go, okay. In one instance, we stopped the trucks ... for a break, and this one guy gets out and he says, "I have to go." And, he took off in the woods. ... Ten minutes later, the trucks are ready to go, he's gone. Nobody knew where he was. So, ... we went.
KP: You just left him?
LK: Left him. I mean ... one or two guys went out and looked for him, but nobody could find him, okay? We stopped about half a mile from this particular town, I don't recall the town, and we start going into it. ... Again, fortunately, the white flags were out. This town was ready to surrender as we're going in. Then, we saw a group of German prisoners walking toward us with their hands in the air waving a white flag. And, here's this fellow behind them with a rifle, marching them to us. The Germans had captured him for the express purpose of surrendering to us. [laughter] We cracked up when we heard that. I mean, it was such a humorous experience. Here they are, I still remember, here's this guy, walking down the road, they're walking with their hands in the air and he's walking with his rifle. [laughter] They captured him. They captured him, ... for the express purpose of surrendering to us. ...
KP: Took him back to the town and waited.
LK: Yeah, and says, "Okay, ... when your company comes, we're gonna surrender to you." Well, their biggest fear was that they would have to surrender to the Russians. I don't think they realized that ... there were no Russian soldiers in our area. But, they didn't want to take any chances.
KP: In terms of your experience on the line, when was the first time that you were in harm's way? I mean, when was the first time you remember coming under fire?
LK: I guess, really, the first time was crossing the Rhine River and we crossed in what they called DUKWs and the Germans ... let go a very strong barrage of 88s as we were crossing and two boats got hit. We didn't get hit. And, that's, I think, the closest I ever came to, you know, being fired on and being in danger.
KP: How close were the boats that got hit?
LK: They were pretty close. ...
KP: What about when you got to the other side? Did you encounter much resistance?
LK: No, there was nothing on the other side, but they were firing from a distance. It's interesting, the night before, I was assigned to patrol the landing area and four of us, including the lieutenant, rowed over in a rubber boat, in the pitch black. The idea was to capture a prisoner, ... talk to them, and find out what was happening, and that's why I went along-to interpret. When we got there, ... it was pitch black, and there was ... very little we could see.
KP: This is a pretty dangerous assignment, too.
LK: Yeah, it was! ... But, you had no choice, you see, you go. ... [laughter] So, there was this cliff, we crawled up the cliff and we looked around, couldn't see a thing. We were there about a half hour, still couldn't see a thing. Climbed down the cliff, back to the boat, and rowed back, and that was our patrol. ... Fortunately, there was nothing there, you know, ... we really didn't get hit with machine gun fire or mortar fire or anything like that. But, we really didn't see that much. So, that was my patrol. ... It could have been ... dangerous, but, ... it wasn't-just scary!
JR: So, the anxiety level was always there, there was always a risk?
LK: Always, always. You never knew ... what was going to happen. ... One time, we entered a town that we felt was secure. You know, patrols went out and felt it was secure. And, we were riding tanks at the time and the next thing you know, a heavy artillery barrage opened up on us. ... We dismounted the tanks and the tanks started to back into an alleyway so that they wouldn't get hit and the Air Force pin-pointed the artillery and knocked it out. Luckily, we had communications there. So, that was another instance where we were caught in this town and didn't expect anything and, all of a sudden, shells started flying all around. I crawled under the tank for shelter. [laughter]
KP: Your division made it to the line, really, as German resistance was starting to collapse.
LK: Yes, yes, yes.
KP: But, it could still be uncertain.
KP: And, in fact it was even more uncertain, whereas before you just expected resistance, here you had to really determine whether there was resistance.
LK: You really didn't know. I mean, it was a very high state of anxiety and you really didn't know ... what was gonna pop up or what was gonna happen.
KP: Were there other close calls where you came across resistance that you didn't expect?
LK: I'd have to think. [laughter]
LK: Not really, not during that period of time. No, most of it was just a question of chasing, minor skirmishes. Yes, we did have some people killed. One of my lieutenants was killed early on, around the Moselle River, but we did not suffer that many casualties because, as you indicated, by the time we got there, the major German resistance was broken and we were chasing them.
KP: You were the bodyguard/interpreter, and so, you got to know your captain better than most and he always tried to duck action if he could. Were there any instances where you were sort of wise to him?
LK: Well, ... you kind of sense it and I stuck close to him. [laughter] ... We had a good relationship. I didn't have any problems with him. ... Except ... later, not that it was a problem later, but he got ticked off at me after the war ended. Certain things happened, he tried to screw me up, but I'll tell you about that.
KP: You were interpreter. Where did you learn German?
LK: Well, from Yiddish. I was very fluent in Yiddish and Yiddish and German have ... similar ... words, and if you speak enough Yiddish and you pick up the German words, you find you're using German words instead of Yiddish words to try to communicate with the people and that's what happened.
KP: So, your family spoke a lot of Yiddish.
LK: Yes, yes.
KP: Did your family read the Forward or other Yiddish papers?
LK: Yes, they did. Matter of fact, I didn't speak English until I started school. ... I was bilingual when I started school. [laughter]
JR: You told the story about the patrol before where you crawled up the cliff. Were those types of activities common? Did you find yourself participating in a lot of those?
LK: Well, you wanna' know where you're going. ... You're crossing the river the next morning and you wanna' know what kind of opposition you have on the other side, so it was standard practice to send the patrols over. I mean, I wasn't the only patrol that went over. There were a few and you know, it's very scary going over a big, wide river in a little rubber boat. The next day, we felt a little better, we were in these DUKWs, which were like a big boat with ... a tread on it that goes right up on the bank. But, they knocked a couple of those out. So, I was lucky and, you're right, on the patrol, we didn't know what to expect.
KP: How many other patrols did you go on?
LK: That was about the only one. ...
KP: Yeah. You had a lot of contact with Germans because of your background and I sense you brokered a number of surrenders.
LK: Yes, yes.
KP: How did that go, the process of surrendering? Were the Germans who were surrendering to you and to your captain and to your unit, were they aware you were Jewish?
LK: I don't think they knew I was. ... It never came up. ... It came up later, you know, after the war, but, at that time, it didn't come up. We were too busy trying to survive, I guess, on both sides.
KP: How did the surrenders go? It was clear that the Germans were very fearful of the Russians and went to comic lengths, almost, to avoid them.
LK: You know, it's interesting. ... We had another ... very interesting event. Toward the end of the war, ... my division, we were part of Third Army, ... stopped about eight miles from the Czech border. The rest of the Third Army swung south to capture Austria. ... You know, at that time, there was a big gap between our line and the Russian line and, in that gap, was a German army. We didn't know how intact ... they were, but, ... the decision was made to close the gap. In other words, to close it between the Russians and us. The Russians were headquartered in a town called Chemnitz and it was decided to send a ... patrol to try to find them. I was on that patrol, and we had a map, and we went, about, maybe, two jeep-fulls, my captain and a few other people. And, we found the Russians in Chemnitz. We didn't see any Germans. We were lucky. We didn't see anything. ... We got to Chemnitz and I wasn't able to do anything because they spoke Russian and we had a Russian interpreter with us, so there was some conversation there. I don't know the result of the conversation, but I know when we came back, we were told that we're not closing the gap, that the Russians are going to close the gap., to stay where we were. ... So, we had outposts in this particular town and I was in one of the outposts. ... It was a farm house, and this German staff car drives up and this officer gets out. In perfect English, he says to the sergeant, who was in the house, "We wanna surrender." So, the sergeant says, "Okay," and he says, "Uh-uh, I only surrender to an officer." So, the sergeant says, ... "You'll surrender to me or you don't surrender." The German says, "I'll let you know." He gets in the car and drives back. [laughter] The next thing we know, ... there's a convoy coming toward us of German tanks and staff cars and they stopped at our ... checkpoint. The same officer gets out, speaks to the sergeant in perfect English, and he says, "My general wants to surrender to your general." Now, you have to picture this column with these brand new Tiger tanks. I mean, they were armed to the teeth. ... We didn't think ... there'd be a problem, because they wanted to get away from the Russians, too. So, my sergeant called our company headquarters, who I assume called the general's headquarters, and about a half hour later, a column of tanks comes up behind us. So, we're protected. And, one of the lieutenants who came with the tanks went up to this German officer and said, "Look, if you don't surrender, we're gonna blast you outta here.""Wait, wait, wait." The general came out, and they took him in the jeep, and he drove, I guess, to headquarters. ... About an hour later, he came back, and the whole column went in. ... They left the tanks outside, but all the troops went in. So, that was an interesting surrender. This was about ... I think, a day after the war ended. ...
KP: It's a very good story.
LK: It's interesting.
KP: You encountered a number of German civilians.
KP: What was the reaction of German civilians to the approach of your unit and other units?
LK: They were relieved. They did not want the Russians to occupy their areas. They were very much afraid of the Russians. They wanted the Americans to come and take over their areas.
KP: Did you encounter any lingering resistance?
LK: Yes, yes. We had some examples of sabotage after the war ended. They caught two young women cutting our communication wires, and they had hand grenades with them, and they were ready to commit suicide, or whatever.
KP: This was after the war?
LK: After the war.
KP: What month.
LK: This was about two weeks after the war ended, while we were still in our last combat situation. They were caught and they were sent back to headquarters. I don't know what happened to them. They were part of a group that we had heard about, called "the Werewolves," which was an ... underground resistance group made up of very young Germans. But, they kind of disappeared after a while. But, I remember we had to be on the lookout and not to be complacent, but to be on guard. ...
KP: It sounds like there was good reason and this probably made you guys a lot more anxious.
LK: Yeah, you know, after the war ... we kind of relaxed a little bit, but, the word came around, "Hey, ... there were still die-hards out there that really wanted to do you harm."
KP: In combat, did you encounter any Waffen SS, because they often were die-hard in terms of combat.
LK: Not in my particular company, but another company in the division had a battle with Waffen SS, and they killed them all, but it wasn't my company. They just, you know, didn't want to surrender and they [the Americans] just poured massive fire on them and killed them all. This I had heard.
KP: But, your particular company didn't encounter any Waffen SS?
KP: In these various towns, did you have dealings with Bergermeisters and other officials?
LK: Yes, yes. Can you shut that off a minute? I just want to go ...
KP: You said you had a story.
LK: Bergermeister story! Okay. The first real ... objective that my division had was the city of Wiesbaden. This was our first objective after we crossed the Rhine River and there was some fighting in the city, but, eventually, they surrendered. The city surrendered, and the Bergermeister came out, and wanted to surrender, and he didn't know, he couldn't speak English, ... who to surrender to. So, my captain says to me, "Go up and ask him who he wants to surrender to." So, here he is in front of this city hall. The city wasn't damaged that much, and I came up to him, and I said, "I understand you want to surrender," and he says, "Jah, Jah," and I said,"Okay, I'm gonna bring my captain over and you can give him whatever token you want to surrender." He says, "Jah, Jah." So, the captain comes over. The Bergermeister takes out a pistol, [laughter] and, instead of handing it to him butt first, he points it at him. [laughter] The captain didn't know what to do at that point. He was taken aback. But, then the Bergermeister realized what he was doing, and he turned the gun around and handed it to him, butt first. So, that's the Bergermeister story. He wasn't very smart. ...
KP: He could have gotten killed.
LK: ... He could have gotten killed. You know, he didn't realize. He was so shaky that, fortunately, [he turned the gun around] before somebody could ... do anything. So, that's the Bergermeister story.
KP: Before the war actually ended, did you ever get into a conversation with any of the Germans?
LK: Yes, yes.
KP: Were any of them Nazis?
LK: Nobody was a Nazi. "Me nix Nazi, he Nazi," [In German] and I got the feeling, ... talking to these people towards the end of the war, they all hated Hitler. Not for what he did, but because he lost the war for them. That was the feeling I had. ... [When] everything was going fine, Hitler was okay. But, once he started losing the war, Hitler was no good. So, that to me, was the impression that I got.
KP: That it was a very pragmatic hatred of Hitler?
LK: Yes, very pragmatic.
JR: You were talking about the German population, how they feared the Russians. I've read that Hitler capitalized on the Allied statement of wanting unconditional surrender from Germany, spreading fears that the Allies would pretty much destroy the German population. Did you encounter any of that fear? The German troops that you encountered, were they more likely to resist?
LK: No, no resistance. By the time ... we met most of these German troops, they were ready to surrender.
JR: Had you heard of any other units?
LK: That fought to the end? Yeah, the SS. The SS did and, as I said, one of our companies got into a fire-fight with them. We lost a few people there and the SS were wiped out. But, that's where the resistance was. As far as the average German, no, they ... wanted to surrender. As a matter of fact, if you look in one of the pictures that I gave you, you'll see some very, very young kids there. Some of them were like twelve and thirteen years old and they wanted no part of this war. ... So, I think they were ready to surrender.
KP: What about the other German soldiers you encountered who were surrendering? What did they tell you?
LK: ... Most of the soldiers that we encountered were not their first-line troops. They were older or very young. Some were even wounded. ... They were tired. They were really ready to surrender and they did. ... We found so many troops ready to surrender that we couldn't handle them. We were moving so rapidly that we just told them to go to the rear. ... We couldn't accept their surrender. So, that was toward the end of the war.
KP: I've been told that by the end of the war, literally, there wasn't enough chow to go around. If you took a surrender, you were responsible for feeding them and so forth. Did that ever enter into it?
LK: No, because we were just going too fast. We couldn't stop to do what we had to do, so we just told them to go to the back and ... keep going. Toward the end of the war, we were riding tanks and we were going through very rapidly, so, we couldn't stop.
KP: Before the war actually ended, was there much fraternization between German civilians and the men in your unit, particularly with women?
LK: Well, we had ... a non-fraternization policy.
KP: Yeah, I know officially that was the policy.
LK: Officially. But, whenever you have young men and young women, you're gonna have fraternization. I mean, ... nobody really enforced it. ... It was there, so, ... I can't tell you anything else.
KP: Yeah, yeah.
LK: It was there. ... [As] a matter of fact, ... I became very friendly with one of the young women that I met while I was guarding the duffel bags. [laughter] You know, she was in the house and ... you know, it was one of those things.
JR: Did you participate in, or witness, any pilfering or looting of German towns?
LK: Let me tell you what we experienced. ... When we took a town's surrender, we would insist that they all bring out their cameras, their guns, and knives, and swords. In that sense, yes, the GI's would help themselves. Matter of fact, I helped myself to a nice Leica camera and one other camera. That's how I took the pictures of the concentration camp. We called it liberated. Yes, they did. But, another interesting story that you might wanna know, ... captured a town where Zeiss had their factory. The town was called Jena, in Germany. ... They used to make very good cameras. ... And, we knew that. Boy, we were rubbing our hands, "Oh, we're gonna get our hands on these [claps his hands] nice cameras," right. We get into the town, there were two MPs right in front of the factory. To this day, we don't know how they got there before we did. [laughter] ... So, I think that made a ... very humorous kind of story.
KP: But, besides the items you listed before, those seem to be items pilfered. No artwork or anything else?
LK: No, we didn't see any.
KP: In your unit?
LK: At our level.
LK: Now, what happened later, we don't know. ... First thing, the way we were going, we couldn't carry anything with us. ... I'm sure some people may have picked up some watches along the way, and things like that, if they went into a house. ... Of course, we were billeted, in many instances, in houses, ... but, these houses had nothing in them, nothing we would want, anyhow.
KP: Your unit would liberate a concentration camp. When did you encounter the camp and did you know it was a concentration camp when you encountered it?
LK: Okay, let me go back a little and repeat the story. After we captured Wiesbaden, we were mounted on tanks and ... chasing the fleeing Germans. At some point, one of our objectives was to capture the ... V-2 underground rocket factories ... that were producing the rockets that were bombing England. ... I guess we knew pretty well where they were, and it was just a question of finding them. I was on a patrol with the Forth Armored Division. It was their tanks and ... we supplied the infantry support, and we mounted the tanks that morning, and we were going off to where we felt the factories were. We reached the top of the hill and started to smell something burning. We still didn't know what it was, and as we went further up the hill, we were able to look down. We saw smoke and the odor was overwhelming. We saw a camp and we felt we had to look at this camp. So, the tankers took off, with us on them. ... And, as we approached the camp, we started to see fires. ... The lead tank, I was on the second tank, ... broke through the gate and we all dismounted and went in right after the tank. ... We saw bodies burning on ... wooden railroad tracks and dead bodies were all over the place. One of the barracks was burning, and the lead tank sheared off the front of the building, to allow us to try to help the people out. ... We went into the building and there must have been, maybe, what I heard [and] found out later, ... seventy-five or a hundred people left still alive. Most of them were in very bad physical shape. ... We were able to put the fire out and we tried to help many of the people as much as we could. I asked one person, who was Jewish, I asked him in Yiddish, "What happened?" ... He said, "As soon as the Germans heard that the Americans were coming, they killed as many prisoners as they could." ... I found out later that this was orders from Hitler, so that there would be no evidence. But, they couldn't do it fast enough, so they locked the rest of the people in the barracks and set the barracks on fire.
KP: So, you got there just in time.
LK: We got there in time at least to save ... those people. And, it's interesting that this was not our objective. ... We didn't know it was there. I don't know if the high command knew it was there.
LK: But, we didn't know it was there. It turned out that Ohrdruf was a labor camp that supplied workers for the V-2 rocket factories. That's why we knew that the V-2 rocket factories were in that proximity.
KP: After liberating this camp?
LK: Yeah. ... Then, we went after our objective. Once the support troops started coming up, the ambulances, you know, the people that could help the inmates, we continued on our mission, which was to capture the V-2 rocket plants, which we did. We were maybe on the road another two hours, and then, we found them and they were all abandoned. There were no German soldiers or anybody around. Everything was abandoned. So, that's how we captured our first concentration camp. And, you know, ... it's interesting. It's interesting that Ohrdruf was the first concentration camp liberated by American troops. There were only two Jewish kids in my outfit, so, I might have been the first American-Jewish soldier to be involved in the liberation of a concentration camp.
KP: How shocking was it to see?
LK: Well, very shocking, because we were all in a state of shock. I mean, ... this big sergeant, that I was friendly with, started to cry. He said, "How could people be so cruel?" ... We were all wandering around, you know. "How could this happen?" I was in a state of shock for fifty years. I repressed it, and I had the pictures, but that didn't mean anything.
KP: So, if I tried to interview you twenty-five years ago, you wouldn't really talk about it?
LK: I wouldn't. I don't think I would have been able to talk about it. But, what happened last October, ... my wife and I went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington and, as soon as we got off on the fourth floor, which is where you start your tour, it was as if I was walking back into Ohrdruf, because there was the picture of Ohrdruf taken the day after I was there, with General[s] Eisenhower, Patton and Bradley and I took that same picture, with my liberated camera, the day before. If you look at it, you'll see it's the same thing. That kind of shocked me into reliving these memories, and I felt that I had to start talking about it, because there are people today, some politicians, who are saying that this never happened. Well, I'm here to tell you it did happen and I was there.
KP: Did you encounter any other concentration camps?
LK: No, this was the only one. ... I've read stories, I've heard stories from other people, about Buchenwald, which was not too far from Ohrdruf, which was really a very heavily used concentration camp. But, I never saw it.
KP: You would spend time in Germany after the war.
LK: Yes, yes.
KP: There must have been some tension there, because you could communicate with the Germans. In fact, you had a large role during the war, in being the broker ...
LK: Yes, yes.
KP: ... of surrenders. You must have had a lot of ambiguity about the Germans at best. How did you reconcile that?
LK: Very difficult. Very difficult, because, when I met most of these people on a one to one basis, they were fine. You know, there was no ... animosity there. There was no hatred, not even any hatred of the Jews. But, then ... you have to go back and say, "Well, look, could this have happened without their support?" And, my answer to that is no. If they ... had known about it, ... and I know they did, maybe if enough of them objected to it, maybe it wouldn't have happened. It's hard to say. I mean, you know, sure, we can talk about it in today's light, but, what happened years ago is difficult to react to. I did ... find that most of the Germans that I spoke to, and you have to understand, most of the conversations that I had with the Germans were very superficial and I really never conversed with any of these people in depth, so I couldn't ... really understand some of their feelings, except that they hated Hitler, because he lost the war for them and destroyed their country.
KP: I've interviewed several ...
------------------END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO----------------
KP: This continues an interview with Lloyd Kalugin on March 22, 1996 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Kurt Piehler and ...
JR: Jason Riley.
KP: I've interviewed several Jewish-American soldiers and their attitudes range, I mean, one guy was very callous. He basically looked at German women as free game and, really, it was understandable why he wanted to be exploitive. He was a captain and his attitude was to be icily correct in his dealing with the Germans. He wanted to have as little contact as possible, but was always correct. What was your reaction? You mentioned you did engage in a lot of conversation.
LK: Conversation, yeah. ... As I said, ... the only feelings I had was it was difficult for me to believe that these, "average people," could have participated in such a hideous crime. You know what's interesting? What had happened, and this I had heard, the day that General Eisenhower came, he ordered the population of the city of Ohrdruf ... to bury the people. And, ... many of these people were in a total state of shock. Again, this is all hearsay. I don't know. ... I can't visualize them not knowing about it. It's difficult. But, I had ... no positive or negative feelings, at that time, for individual Germans. Now, as a group, naturally, ... I felt that there was a lot of collective responsibility there, and as a group, I didn't like them. As a matter of fact, I hated them. But, individually, I would have to say it depended on the individual.
KP: Have you ever been back to Germany?
LK: No, no, but, it's interesting. ... After the war, I spent time in Austria and ... I did go back to Austria.
LK: Yeah, we did go back. It was fun. I took my wife to all the places that I remembered and knew, and it was fun. ... But, I have not been back to Germany.
KP: Have you ever bought a German car?
LK: No. Japanese car, not a German car.
KP: Returning to your unit, you, because of the point system, spent quite a bit of time, after the war, in Germany and Austria and, you mentioned earlier, you had a disagreement with your captain.
LK: Yeah, ... I can go into that a little bit. ... When the war ended, we were about eight miles from the Czechoslovakian border and we stayed there for about two weeks. And then, we went back, for about a week, to a town called Bad Blankenberg, where we were getting some training. And, the reason we got training there is, the rumor was, that we were gonna be shipped ... to the Pacific ... to help in the invasion of Japan. So, we had some training in this town of Bad Blankenberg, and then, we were there about two weeks, and we were pulled back to France. In France, we were cadre for the Cigarette Camps, Lucky Strike, Philip Morris, and ... I don't remember the other one. And, the way they set it up, each regiment was in a different camp. The other camp, I remember now, was Twenty Grand, and that was the camp that my regiment was in. So, we were cadre for that camp. What do I mean by cadre? Well, we did the processing of American troops that were going through the camps, shipping out of Le Havre, going to the United States, and going to Japan. That was the scenario there. Okay, what did it involve? Well, as far as my company was involved, it involved basically guarding German prisoners, who were doing a lot of the work. ... Very boring, and I'm looking for ways to get out of it. [laughter] So, ... I get a call one day to report to battalion headquarters, and the major's sitting there, and he's got my service record. And, he says, "I understand that you worked for your high school newspaper." I said, "Yeah, I did a little work there." He said, "How would you like to work on a newspaper here?" I said, "Fine." He says, "Okay, I'm detaching you. You will report to the Paris edition of Stars and Stripes." Well, ... I jumped for joy. So, I come back, and I see the sergeant, I give him the papers. He gives it to the captain, and the captain blew his top. He says, "Nobody in my outfit is gonna be on detached service." He said, "Oh, you guys are all the same," meaning, we guys, Jews from New York, probably. "You're always looking for good deals," and things like that. He really blew his top and that's where I got his feelings out. So, to me, he was a latent anti-Semite and this ... told us so. [laughter] He tried to squash it, but, fortunately, he couldn't, and I went to work for Stars and Stripes, but, that was a ... good, interesting job.
KP: When did you finally arrive at Stars and Stripes?
LK: July ... of '45, and the war in the Pacific ended in August, so, by that time, we weren't really worried about recycling back to the Pacific, but about going home. ... The Paris edition was due to close ... about the end of September 1945. ... What was happening also ... is that my division was being processed for going back to the United States, but the Army had a point system. And, if you had enough points, you were able to go. If not, you stayed in Europe as part of the Army of Occupation. I did not have enough points, okay, so I knew that I wouldn't be going home. ... So, one day, when I was in camp, I got a look at the list as to where I was going, and I was going to be assigned to the 42nd Infantry Division on guard duty in Germany. I didn't want any of that. So, I went up to the editor of Stars and Stripes, ... we became very friendly, and I told him what the situation was, and, what would he suggest I do. He said, "Well look, I'll give you a pass to go to England, and then, you're on your own." [laughter] Okay? So, he gave me a pass. ... I knew when my division was leaving, you know. I had all that information. I took a pass to England, and stayed in England for three weeks, on a one week pass. [laughter] Okay. Then, I figured, "Time for me to go home!" So, I checked into the MPs and I said, "I overstayed my pass." He says, "Don't worry about it." Well, it was after the war, nobody really cared. And, I got back to camp. Camp was deserted, all broken up, nothing, except there was a tent in the distance. ... I walked over to the tent and it happened to be the ... medic outfit, waiting to, you know, be recycled. So, I walked in and I saw the commanding officer. ... I said, "Excuse me, ... I'm here! Where do I go?" So, he took my pass, went in the back, and he had my folder. ... He said, "You know, they've got you AWOL." I said, "But, I'm not AWOL. Here's my legitimate pass." He says, "Okay." He says, "Well, what am I gonna do with you?". I said, "Well, ... can [you] send me home?" He looked at the papers and he said, "I can't do that. Even if I made out, you know, a ticket for you to go home, they'll stop you at the point of embarkation." He said, "They won't let you go." Okay. So, he said, "Well, where do you wanna go?" So, I'm thinking, I said, "Well, I don't wanna go to Germany and do occupation duty." He said, "Well, how about Vienna, sounds like a nice place." [laughter] So, he made out ... a pass for Vienna and I got a truck ride into Paris and I boarded the train that was going to Vienna. And, I took a nice train ride to Vienna. I drive in, I reported to ... the headquarters in Vienna, which happened to be called U.S. Forces in Austria, and I reported to the sergeant there, gave him my paperwork, my pass, and my folder, and he looked at the folder and he says, "You speak a little German, don't you?" I said, "Yeah." He says, "How would you like to go to school?" I said, "I volunteer." So, I ended up going to the University of Vienna for about a month. ... There's a reason for that. What the Army was trying to do was rebuild the University of Vienna and, in order to do that, they had to recruit students, and they recruited American soldiers, anybody that could speak a little bit of German. They even had Austrian soldiers, you know, who had been demobilized. English soldiers, all of them. And, I get into this class. The ... first class was college algebra. I couldn't care less about college algebra. I just wanted to get out of doing whatever I didn't wanna do. So, I get into this class, and this teacher gets up and starts speaking in very rapid German and I can't follow him. So, I raised my hand and I tell him in German, "Sprechen sie langam?" Go slow. And, he slowed down a little bit and I was able to follow a lot of the things that he was doing. At the end of the class, I went over to him to tell him, you know, "Look, I really don't understand German that well, could you speak slower?" So, he looked at me, and he said, "It's okay. ... I'm an American." [laughter] What they had done, he was in the service and they had discharged him in Vienna and gave him the job teaching at the University of Vienna. He was a math teacher. So, that was my first two months in Vienna, Austria. [laughter] But then, the fun started.
KP: Well, I wanna go back and ask about Stars and Stripes, but since you were in Vienna, I can't resist. What happened after this month in the University of Vienna?
LK: Okay, then, I was assigned to ... a truck outfit, quartermaster truck outfit, as a driver. That was fine. ... I went to a lot of different places. Matter of fact, what was good about that, we used to supply the American consulates behind the Iron Curtain. You know, all transportation was ... broken down and, what they did, the American government, the Army, used to ship supplies into Vienna and, from Vienna, they would break it down to be trucked to the various American consulates behind the Iron Curtain. In order to do that, we had to have the permission of the Russians. So, because of my limited German, I all of a sudden became the liaison with the Russians. [laughter] Nobody else could do it. You know, you talk about Army SNAFU, nobody ... could speak Russian! So, fortunately, ... I found a couple of Russians who could speak a little bit of German and a little bit of English, and we were able ... to work something out where I would bring in what we were carrying, where we were going, how many people were there, and they would look at it. They were very suspicious of us at the time. This was when the Cold War was just starting, and they didn't trust the Americans. And, ... it's interesting, Vienna was a four-power city and we had to go into the Russian zone to do that, but, it was fine. We had no problems there. And then, they would give us authorization to take X number of trucks behind the Iron Curtain and we had ... the appropriate paperwork, so we would show it to them. So, I ended up going to Budapest, Bucharest, and, I think, I took one trip to Warsaw. ...
KP: To go to the American consulates and embassies in those countries?
LK: But, we always did, whenever we went there, we supplied them. ...
KP: It sounds like a great assignment.
LK: It was fun, I'll tell ya. It was fun. I ... thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed Vienna. It was ... very, very nice. What the Army did in Vienna was also interesting. They requisitioned all the ... Viennese restaurants to feed the American troops and they took ... you know, the typical Army rations, and gave it to the Austrian cooks. They would be supervised by an American mess sergeant, but they would cook. ... I never realized that Army chow would taste so good. [laughter] Every meal was a gourmet meal. It was unbelievable the way they did it. So, that was fun. They also took over the ice cream parlors that they had in Vienna. So, if we wanted to have ice cream, we had ice cream. I mean, really, it was a good life. ... It was a fun life. Very little responsibility and so, it was great.
KP: And, architecturally, Vienna, even though it was damaged by the war, is a beautiful city.
LK: It wasn't really damaged that much. Certain sections were damaged. ... The American sector was ... hardly touched. And, I had a chance to see General Mark Clark. We'd go up there quite often, because we had rations to deliver to his headquarters. So, we saw him. It was a good job.
KP: You also saw a good bit of Europe by this job.
LK: Yes, by then, I did. I was able to see quite a bit of Europe. Matter of fact, ... I don't know if I told you, I told somebody this, we took a very interesting trip to Copenhagen. Why did we go to Copenhagen? Copenhagen was occupied by the British and the American consulate wanted to introduce Danish society to American troops. I mean, for political reasons, I guess, they wanted to do it. There were no American troops around. So, I guess, he called General Clark, who must have known, and told him he wanted to see American troops. You know, I heard this later. So, the order came down to the motor pool to get two trucks ready with six American troops, Class A uniforms, to report to and bring supplies to the American consulate. We didn't know what that was. So, we got on the truck. It was an overnight trip. We had to stop, you know, sleep overnight somewhere. We got to Copenhagen, and reported in, and the American consulate says, "You ought to spend a few days here." ... He says, "What I want you to do, ... we're gonna have a dance, a party, and we want you guys there." There was a sergeant with us. I was acting motor sergeant, with a big PFC stripe. But, the sergeant says, "We don't have an officer." He says, "I didn't want any officers, I want you guys." So, he introduced us to Danish society. We spent about three days there. It was fun, too. [laughter]
KP: You mentioned you had a girlfriend back home in New York, but, did you date at all when you were in Vienna?
LK: Oh yeah, I dated. I was only nineteen years old and, yes, I did date. I knew a few young women, socially, like every other GI did. As a matter of fact, it was interesting, the young lady that I knew in Vienna, I remembered the street and house that she lived in, and when my wife and I went back there about five years ago, I found the house. But, she wasn't there [laughter] and I made no attempt to find her. But, it was interesting that I was able to find it. I was able ... to maneuver around Vienna very well.
KP: There was a lot you remembered.
LK: Yes, yes. I remembered a lot. I remembered the university. I took my wife to see the university. I took pictures in the same locations, with the pictures I took umpteen years before, to see the differences there.
KP: You had a very critical attitude towards German society.
KP: And, Austrians have taken a lot of flak within the last fifteen years, particularly Kurt Waldheim, but you liked Vienna a lot, enough to go back, and have very fond memories.
LK: Yeah, ... I've heard stories that the Austrians were more Nazis than the Germans and I had one, also very interesting episode there that may be typical of some of the things that they went through. This one young lady that I was seeing, at some point in our relationship, I told her I was Jewish. And, she told me, ... "You can't be Jewish." I said, "Why not?" She said, "Well, you don't look Jewish." I said, "Well, what does a Jew look like?" She says, "Well, I'll show you my textbook." And, we went up to her place, and ... she was a high school student, [she] showed me her high school textbook and it showed the typical Jew with the big nose, typical, stereotype picture. I said, "Well, obviously ... that's not true." She says, "Well, you're the exception." I said, "No, I'm not." So, then, I showed her around ... my company, and every fellow that was in my company that was blonde-haired and blue-eyed, I told her he was Jewish, whether he was or not. [laughter] So, she got an education. But, ... those were the books that those young people were exposed to. I think she started to question it after that. At least, I hope she did.
JR: So, did you encounter a lot of ignorance as to what a Jew was?
LK: Oh yeah, ... they really didn't know. First thing, this young lady was maybe a year younger than I was, so she really had ... no contact with Jewish people. By then, the Jews were gone. So, she really had no contact and the only thing she knew about Jewish people was what she read, or what she was told. Now, I met her father. Her father was in the German army, but, [from the] brief conversations I had with him, he was drafted and ... wanted no part of it. It was on the Russian front and he went AWOL. At least that's what he told me. Now, how true it is, I don't know.
KP: Yeah. Vienna was a four-power city ...
LK: Yes, yes.
KP: ... And you mentioned you had very official dealings with the Russians. What about dealings with the different occupied troops?
LK: We ... could go where we wanted to. There was no restriction on where you could go, as long as you had ... what they call a four-power pass, and we were free to go in any district we wanted. There was no restrictions in terms of going to the Russian section, the American, the French, or the British section.
KP: Did you ever hang out with any different troops, socially, from different armies?
LK: No, just the American troops.
KP: Just the American troops.
LK: Just American troops, because that was, you know, ... close, it was convenient. ... At some functions, we did see, you know, Russians, and French, and English, but nothing really, really close.
KP: Someone I interviewed, and I can't remember now the exact story, but the Army set up a series of teams and there was competitions between different Army units, but also, I think, between other countries. Did you know of any athletic competitions?
LK: I'm sure they had them, but I didn't participate in that. I was too busy doing other things. [laughter] Going to school.
KP: You mentioned a course in college algebra. Did you take any other courses at the University of Vienna?
LK: Yes, I took one other course in trigonometry, and I was fortunate, these two courses were applicable to my college admission. So, I was okay.
KP: So, you have on your transcript two courses from the University of Vienna?
LK: It should be on there.
KP: Oh, wow. [laughter]
JR: Was the professor from the trigonometry class American as well?
LK: No, no, he was, ... I believe, an English professor, from England.
JR: Speaking German?
LK: Yeah, he spoke German, but, again, the class was in German, because of the people that were in it. But, when they spoke slowly, I was able to relate to it and I was able to do the work. ...
KP: This is a question I meant to ask earlier in terms of combat. Did you ever encounter any chaplains while you were in the military? Both when you were in the Army of Occupation and before.
LK: Yes, yes. That's another story. [laughter]
KP: Oh good.
LK: Okay, it's at one point, when I first reported to Vienna, ... I was sent to Salzburg, Austria, for about a month. While in Austria, I was assigned to a quartermaster truck outfit, and Salzburg had a displaced persons camp there as part of an old castle. ... Well, one day, I was approached by an officer who turned out to be a chaplain, ... he knew I was Jewish, I guess he looked at my service record, and he asked if I would help him with the displaced persons in the camp. I said, "Sure." You know, so, first thing he wanted me to do, he wanted me to help him distribute food, which was no problem. Then, he found out that I was taking a truck to Milan, Italy. The purpose being to pick up rations for the officers, and to do that, we went through the Brenner Pass. He says to me, "Would you like to take a passenger along?" I said, "Well," I said, "is it okay?" He said, "He will have the proper papers." So, ... on this particular trip, it was just myself. I did not take an assistant driver, and I stopped at a certain crossing in Vienna, not Vienna, I'm sorry, Salzburg, and this GI gets on the truck, and he's going with me. He doesn't talk to me. Finally, he opened up, and said he was a Jewish displaced person who's being smuggled into Italy and I never realized that I was smuggling people into Italy. [laughter] So, I dropped him where I was supposed to drop him and, after that, I think, I took one or two more trips, and then, I was shipped back to Vienna.
KP: This sounds like something that was clearly unofficial.
LK: Very unofficial.
KP: And probably illegal.
LK: Yeah, it was illegal and unofficial.
KP: It was done by this chaplain?
LK: It was arranged with, I'm sure he had ...
LK: He ... probably had support somewhere else. He couldn't have done that on his own.
KP: What denomination was he, the chaplain in the displaced person camp?
LK: He was an American.
KP: Yeah, I know ...
LK: He was a captain.
KP: But, was he Catholic, Jewish, Protestant?
LK: Jewish. Jewish chaplain. Yeah, so that was my only contact with a chaplain. ...
KP: Never in training or never on the line?
LK: No, never saw any. [laughter]
KP: It also sounds like he was your contact with displaced persons, this sort of semi-legal, or illegal but sanctioned, activity.
LK: Yeah, yeah.
KP: Smuggling. That was your only contact with them?
LK: The only contact and, as I said, ... I would, you know, help bring up food there and ... help talk to some of them. It was a limited contact. Most of them were waiting to go to Palestine, at that time, and they were waiting for some kind of transport to take them. ... But that, I'm sure, was another situation. ...
KP: I asked you earlier about not being a strong Zionist, you and your family. Did the war change your views about Palestine at all?
LK: Well, ... I felt, after seeing the concentration camp and the displaced persons, that the Jews needed a home and I totally supported Israel as a home for the Jews after that, although not from a Zionist ... point of view, but from a humanitarian point of view. ... Plus, ... I felt the Jewish people needed a homeland and, ... maybe if we'd had a homeland then, maybe, Hitler wouldn't have done what he did. You know, so these are the kinds of things that ... make me totally in support of Israel.
JR: Did you turn to religion more and get more involved in the practices at all?
LK: No. ... How can I say this? I don't go to synagogue regularly. I go on the Jewish holidays, because my wife goes. I'm pretty honest about it and I'm not involved. I don't get involved.
KP: It sounds like you really had a good time in Vienna.
LK: I did.
KP: But, you were probably eager to come home, too.
LK: Yes and no. [laughter] Well, that was interesting, because when ... it was time for me to go home, they wanted to keep me, because of my contacts with the Russians, and they offered me a commission without going to the Officer Candidate School, or anything like that, and ... I questioned my captain. I said, "Well, how can you do that?" He said, "Well, you know, we can give you a field commission." I said, "Yeah, but that was during the war." He says, "It's okay." [laughter] "We need you." But, I was anxious to get home, and I turned them down.
KP: But, it sounds like you paused for a minute.
LK: I did, because I would have stayed, had my girlfriend at that time come over and we would have gotten married, but her mother said, "No." So, I came home, ... it was time for me to come home. But, I was very tempted. You know, it was good duty. I was having fun, and if she would have come over, I would have stayed for a year, and I might have been a career officer then.
KP: You went back to Austria and you must have been shocked that, when you were in Austria, chocolate bars and cigarettes went a long way, and Vienna and Austria now are very expensive.
LK: Yeah. You know what impressed me most about going back to Vienna? The amount of traffic. I remember Vienna, no traffic, a couple of Army trucks and jeeps, that's it. And here, I hit this city, and the massive amount of traffic, and the people are so wealthy looking, and everything was just so wealthy. That's the impression I got.
KP: Whereas, when you were in Vienna ...
LK: Very poor, you know. They were struggling to eat. Yeah, it was hard. As a matter of fact, many of the girls that the guys were dating, were going with the GIs because they used to take them to dinner. We were allowed to bring a guest to dinner, I think, three times a week, and for these young girls, this was a solid meal that they couldn't get at home, and it's hard for people today to picture this, but, and that's why some of them probably went with them. So, it was interesting. And, some of them did marry them. ...
KP: Backing up a little ...
LK: Go ahead.
KP: I want to just back up a little to your great assignment in Stars and Stripes.
LK: Oh yeah, yeah.
KP: What did you do, exactly?
LK: Okay, what I would do, I would go around to the various Cigarette Camps, interview people from the different outfits, and write up their exploits. In other words, if there were any Congressional Medal of Honor winners, Silver Star winners, I would write it up, and there was a column- ... I didn't write the whole column, but I participated with a couple, one or two other people, called Around the Camps, which was a feature at theStars and Stripes and I would help write that column.
KP: And what kind of stories did you hear? What did you learn? You had seen some combat, but not that much.
LK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
KP: You must have really gotten an education.
LK: Well, ... I did. I spoke to some of the people. One brings to mind a fella that was in the 106th Infantry Division, who was captured in the Bulge, and was subsequently freed by American troops and told me some of his experiences in being captured. How, when they were in the Bulge, their guns were still in cosmoline, which is oil, and they couldn't even fire the guns and, before they knew it, the Germans had surrounded them and taken them prisoner. And, he told me stories that he had heard about Americans who were killed. Prisoners of war that were killed by the Germans, who didn't wanna take them prisoner. But, ... he was the closest one I met to have experienced that ... as something being told to him. Another person ... that I spoke to was, how shall I say it? Was a buddy of Audie Murphy and, I never met Audie Murphy, I think he was gone by then, but, he told me some of his experiences with Audie Murphy. Pretty exciting, but, everyone had a story and everyone, everyone that we interviewed, we tried to write up the story. ... I interviewed people from the First Infantry Division, which had a long history of combat. I interviewed people from ... Patton's headquarters that told me some interesting things about Patton, ... how he pissed in the Rhine one time, when they were crossing the Rhine. All these kinds of stories that a lot of people ...
KP: Well, I'm also particularly intrigued by your experiences, because this is what I do, since this project centers on people telling you their stories. What did you learn about the war that, at the time, you couldn't print for various reasons? Was there anything that really surprised you that you learned?
LK: Nothing, nothing. Well, let me say that there were no real surprises, but I was enriched by the experiences that these people told me. And, there were instances where, one of the GIs told me, they also shot German prisoners, but there were various reasons for it. Maybe they had been caught in a particular combat situation where friends were killed and ... these Germans came up to surrender and they were ... just in such combat hysteria that they killed 'em and they regretted it later.
KP: But, they would express this regret to you?
LK: Yeah, they did express regret, but, at the moment, we called it combat hysteria, and, you just shot at anything you saw, whether it had a white flag or not. For me, this was difficult, because I never experienced that feeling, except when I was in Ohrdruf. I think, had there been any Germans left there, I don't think I would have had any compulsions about killing them. I really felt ... that much hatred for the people. So, and I'm sure the rest of the people that I was with felt the same way. As I said, fortunately or unfortunately, there weren't any there.
KP: You interviewed people from Patton's staff and so, given his semi-legendary proportions, what did you learn about Patton in interviewing people who had been in his staff?
LK: Well, nothing, nothing. The way they portrayed Patton in the newspapers, and on the movies, is pretty accurate. He was a real gung-ho guy, and his objective was to get the war over with, and he did what he had to do. As I said, we were members of Patton's Third Army and he mounted us on tanks as soon as we crossed the Rhine and we just took off. ... I never had the opportunity of seeing him, although he drove ... by us once in his jeep and I just never saw him. [laughter]
KP: It sounds like you would have loved this assignment too, I mean, not knowing what would await you in Vienna. You would have probably loved this assignment to continue longer, too. I mean, if you had to be in the Army.
LK: Oh, sure. Yeah, ... but ... you know, it's the same. You have to think back. I was twenty years old at the time. I was a kid. ... I was also starting to kind of focus in on some career decisions and I don't know if I would have made the Army my career. I might have stayed another year. I might have taken more advantage of the University in Vienna['s] offerings. But, I don't think I would have made the military my career.
KP: You were also exposed to several careers, like truck driving.
LK: Yeah, yeah.
KP: But, basically, you were a journalist for several months.
LK: Yeah, yeah.
KP: You'd done various jobs when you went to the University of Vienna. Had you thought of journalism as a result of the experiences with Stars and Stripes?
LK: Not really. I liked writing, but, I frankly didn't think I could make a living at it. [laughter] My ... ambition when I came out of the service was to go into engineering, because I liked being an aviation mechanic, but I wanted to go a step further. ... I did want to go to college, I mean, once I tasted the college courses, and I did make up my mind that, if I'm gonna succeed in any career, I've gotta have a college education. Plus, let's face it, the government was willing to pay for it through the GI Bill. So, that erased the problem I had prior to coming into the military, as far as money was concerned. So, my mind was pretty well made up when I came home that I was gonna go to school. That was another one of my reasons for coming home.
KP: To take advantage of the GI Bill?
LK: Yeah, to take advantage of the GI Bill.
KP: So, you knew about the GI Bill?
LK: Oh yeah, oh yeah, yeah, yeah. That got around very fast. [laughter]
JR: I guess we're moving back towards the States now, but before we do that ...
KP: Yeah, that's fine.
JR: You traveled around Europe a lot and I was just wondering, as far as the devastation of the land was concerned, did you see a lot of damage?
LK: A lot of damage. Well, let me give you an example. When I went to Warsaw, you could stand on one end of Warsaw and look to the other end, and all you saw was devastation and this was in 1945, '46. Probably early '46 is when I was there. Total devastation. Vienna was not that badly damaged. Budapest and Bucharest showed some damage, not extensive damage. France, Le Havre was pretty fairly damaged. Paris, I saw no damage. So, I think it depends on the kind of action that was taking place in a particular area. ... The only city I had been to in Italy was Milan, and that was not damaged that much. So, but some of the smaller towns were ... pretty well damaged. But, not the kind of devastation that some people may have seen.
JR: So, what would you say was the worst you might have seen in your travels?
LK: Warsaw was about the worst. I mean, that was just leveled. And, it was never built up again. Well, now I assume, it's built up, but, at that time, ... the others ... showed some damage, but not extensive.
KP: I should have asked this earlier, but it's intriguing. You mentioned that you were there during the time when the Cold War was beginning to emerge.
LK: Yes, yes.
KP: What was your attitude towards the Russians and the Cold War at the time? I mean, a lot of people who encountered Germans were told by them, basically, "You'll be fighting the Russians next," almost gleefully. I mean, what was your perspective since you had a lot of contact with the Russians?
LK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
LK: To me, ... they were friends. They were very friendly with me. ... I think the Cold War was probably essentially up at the upper levels at that time, but, I don't think it reached the average soldier. The average Russian soldier looked on the Americans as somebody that helped them, you know, get rid of the Germans. So, ... at that time, you know, I didn't see any real strong manifestations of it.
KP: In other words, having Russians on the next block over was not a source of fear.
LK: It was not a threat.
KP: They were your allies.
KP: In a sense, they were still allies.
LK: Yeah, ... they were very cooperative in whatever we wanted to do. Except that ... they wanted ... to know what we were shipping, why we were doing it, what we were doing. Yes, ... they did stop us at checkpoints, asked for our passes, and that was fine. But, from my experience, now maybe other people had other kinds of experiences, but ... I didn't see any animosity there ... at my level.
KP: You mentioned you came home on a Victory ship again.
KP: Were you as equally seasick?
LK: No, it was different. ... That was ... another interesting episode. We were ... destined to ship out of ... the city of Bremen, in Germany, and what they did, they took us, we were in groups, and there was a ship going back to the States with only a very small contingent of nurses. It was a Victory ship, ... and ... they were going back without anything else. Well, the colonel in charge of our group found out about it and went up to the, I guess, ... port commander and says, "How come this ship is going back ... empty?" Well, you know, there were nurses on there and, "We don't wanna put guys on the ship with nurses." And, he says, "Why not?" Guy says, "Well, you know, ... why don't you ask the nurses?" You know, the doctor was in charge, and, next day, he comes back and says, "Okay guys, pack your bags, we're taking off." [laughter] There were only about thirty of us in the outfit, yeah, way to go. So, about thirty of us went back on a Victory ship.
KP: With how many nurses?
LK: There must have been about twenty nurses. [laughter] They had a little clinic, so, if you got sick, you went to the clinic. Food, the food was tremendous. We had no problems. It was great.
KP: So, it sounds like you had a much more pleasant voyage going home.
LK: Yeah, I think I got sick one day, that's all. First, we knew we were going home, and that made it an entirely different ... feeling. Matter of fact, I even remember the name of the ship, it was the S.S. Bainville. I didn't remember the ship going over, but coming home, I did.
KP: You mentioned you were coming home to a girlfriend.
KP: And, that girlfriend, what happened there?
LK: She's my wife!
KP: Oh, okay. Good, I was going to ... [laughter]
LK: [laughter] You were gonna lead into it!
KP: Yeah, I wanted to make sure that I asked it somewhat delicately, in case that romance never went anywhere.
LK: Yeah, she's my wife.
KP: So, you married how soon after you got back?
LK: I got back in '46, I got married in '47.
KP: And, you also started college in '47.
LK: Yes. Yes, I was a freshman in college when I got married. My wife helped send me through college.
KP: Along with Uncle Sam.
LK: Uncle Sam, right. We had a partner.
KP: You went to Long Island University.
KP: Why Long Island University?
LK: Well, ... I was accepted in New York University School of Engineering, and I started to explore the engineering field, and I talked to some people, and I found out that, after the war, there were no jobs for engineers, and there were no jobs for aviation mechanics. So, I really did not have a career to go to. So, if I'm gonna go to college, I wanna take up a career where there are opportunities. So, while waiting to go to college, I went to work, as a ...
-------------------END SIDE ONE, TAPE TWO-------------------
LK: I went to work as a salesman. You know, that was the kind of job we could get, and I found I liked it. I liked being with people, I liked selling. So, I applied to Long Island University and I'm gonna major in marketing and retailing, and they accepted me, and that's what I did. So, I graduated from Long Island University with a major in marketing and retailing and a minor in education. Then, I'm in my senior year, and I'm looking for a job, and I'm having difficulties. So, I went into my chairman's office one day and I asked him for help and he says, "Well, ... I know so-and-so and so-and-so." So, he's giving me some people that I can network with. While we're talking, one of my teachers walks in, a young woman who was pregnant, I was ready to leave, and the chairman says, "No, sit down." ... She tells the chairman that she can't teach for the spring semester because she's pregnant and the doctor wants her to be off her feet. Now, this is a Friday and classes are starting Monday. So, the chairman looks at me and he says, "You think you got a problem, where am I gonna get a teacher for Monday?" So, I said, "I volunteer." He took one look at me, he says, "You know, I know you can do it," he says, "But, how do I justify hiring you to the board when you don't have a Master's degree?" I said,"Well, can we resolve that?" He said, "Well, let me think about it a minute." So, he says, "Okay, ... I'll tell you what. You get into a Master's program, and I'll be able to put it through the board." He says, "Meanwhile, you start teaching Monday." [laughter] Now, this you'll appreciate. ... How do you get into a Master's program? So, I said to him, ... "You have contacts at NYU, don't you?" He said, "Yeah." I said, "Write a letter to one of the professors that you know there." So, he did that. I go down to the registrar of my school and I get an unofficial transcript. I get on the subway, over to NYU, went to the admissions office, and I went up to the counter, and I said, "Excuse me, ... I'd like to apply for admission to graduate school." So, she says, "Oh, no problem." Gave me all the papers, like Rutgers, you know, papers. I said, "Wait, wait, you don't understand. I have to get in today." [laughter] I think she turned all colors. "What do you mean? Nobody ever did this before." And, I said, "Wait a minute," and I told her why I need it. I said, "What can you do to help?" And, she says, "Well, you need the approval of a committee of four professors." It's the same as here, whatever. I said, "Who are they?" So, she told me. ... One was the professor who I had the letter to. I said, "Well, look, can you do me a favor and see if Professor Tunny," which was his name, "is still here?" She picked up the phone, this is Friday, and, yeah, he was in his office, and she mentioned my chairman's name. He said, "Yeah, send him over." So, I walk over, the secretary lets me right in. Rutgers is the same way, do you see a chairman like that?
JR: I don't know. I don't get to see chairmen. [laughter]
LK: And, I ... give him the letter and I tell him the story and I said, "Okay?" So, he looked at my credentials, talked to me, and said, "Well, I have no problem with admitting you to the program." I said, "What about the other three professors?" He says, "Don't worry about it. I'll take care of it." He said, "Go down and sign up for your classes, whatever you want to take, and as far as I'm concerned, you're admitted." By Wednesday, I had my official admission to the school.
KP: What program were you in at NYU?
LK: At NYU, business education. You know what that became? That became their MBA program, later on. But, they didn't have one at the time, so I had to go into ...
KP: Business education.
LK: ... business education.
KP: You taught at Long Island University?
LK: For a year.
KP: ... for a year, and you went to NYU for a year.
LK: I got my Master's.
KP: So, you were literally in the right spot at the right time.
LK: That's what I tell my students. You gotta take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, and you never know when that's gonna happen. ...
KP: Take a note. [laughter]
LK: Well, ... that's why I mentioned this.
KP: Yeah. Well, it's also such a great story because ...
LK: Because, you don't know ... you know, ... I was a little brash then, ... I admit it. But, I figure, what have I got to lose? So, but it worked. I was lucky, too. It's a lot of luck, you're right, a lot of luck.
JR: I don't think you could get into NYU in an afternoon anymore.
LK: Well, you can't say that, because ... once you know the system and once you know people in the system, you can do it. You can do it. I did it here. [laughter] How do you think I got into a doctoral program? [laughter] I won't tell you that one. ... [Pause in the tape] If I knew you were gonna bring lunch, I would have brought lunch. Okay, go ahead.
JR: You attended Rutgers from 1969 to 1975, and 1973, that was the first year that women were allowed into the school. I know you were in the doctorate program and I was just curious how active you were in campus life and if the first class of women at Rutgers College affected your attitudes or your campus life in any way?
LK: Well, you have to understand that I was in graduate school. I was in the doctoral program in 1969, and we had women in the program.
LK: So, for me to have classes with women was no surprise and ... made no difference to me. As a matter of fact, I think half my class were young women. ... So, it's different than you might have experienced, so many young people might have experienced, where women come in. However, I will say something. I did go to an all boys high school and I enjoyed the experience, being in an all boy high school, because I think it created a level of camaraderie that you can't have in a mixed group. I mean, that's just a feeling I have.
LK: And, it was entirely different, cause, you know, I had discussions with friends of mine that went to ... a boy-girl school and their feelings were a little different than mine. ... I don't know if that answers your question, but its the best I could do with it.
JR: How did you feel about the atmosphere in the late sixties and, early seventies, because it was very politically charged and being a World War II veteran attending Rutgers, which some people have called the Berkeley of the East? What were your views on the Vietnam War protests?
LK: Well, okay.
JR: And, the war activities.
LK: Let me say this, I did not support the Vietnam War. I think ... it's a war we should never have been in. ... We made a big political mistake. I think that the American boys that went over there to fight really had no business there. ... What I resented most was the fact that many youngsters actually, how should I say it? Spit on soldiers that came back, from what I had seen. I also believe, while the demonstrations were valid, ... they had a perfectly legal right to protest, however, the methods of some of these protests, I don't think were ... very good. I, as an American, supported my nation's efforts, although I did not support the war, but I did support the people that were fighting it. I don't know if this is how you want me to answer it, but that was my ...
JR: However you wanna answer it.
KP: Yeah, we don't ...
KP: We discourage predetermined answers. [laughter]
LK: Okay. That's my feeling.
JR: Were you ever involved in any verbal confrontations around campus?
JR: No, nothing like that?
KP: I have a question in terms of your coming to Rutgers. You had a sales career in the clothing industry?
KP: What led you to then switch careers? Although your first job was, in fact, teaching at the college.
LK: Yeah, well, let me say, that's a good question, because, during most of my working career, I used to teach. Matter of fact, I even taught at Rutgers-Newark, and I would teach salesmanship and marketing.
KP: As an adjunct?
LK: As an adjunct, and ... in the back of my mind, I always wanted to retire into teaching. I would make a lot of money in business and retire at forty and go into teaching, okay? This was ... my vision of the future. Well, that didn't quite happen that way. [laughter]
KP: At least, making a lot of money.
LK: Yeah, yeah, and ... I gave up the Rutgers position because the job I had at the particular time involved too much commuting and, at around 1967, Middlesex County College opened up and I felt that that was an opportunity for me to continue teaching as an adjunct and maintain my present position. So, I applied for an adjunct job at Middlesex and I was accepted and, as part of my responsibilities, I developed a sales and marketing course for them which I taught at night. A year later, they were thinking about starting a business department, and they asked me if I would be interested in becoming a faculty member and I said, "Yes, I would be interested." But, that interest quickly faded when we discussed salary. ... At that time, it was not worth my while, financially, to do that. The following year, I received a call from the dean to come down for another interview and I indicated to him, at that time, that, unless they were ready to discuss better financial arrangements, I would be wasting my time and he said, "No, come on down." I came down, we talked. We agreed on financial arrangements and I had to make a decision whether I was ready to take a big cut in salary to do what I really wanted to do at that time and I made that decision, and that's how I came to Middlesex County College.
KP: So, in a sense, you're the teacher who always wanted to be a teacher and you just finally took the plunge.
LK: Took the plunge, and, having started at Middlesex, I ... felt that I wanted to continue my education and go for a doctoral degree, and I chose Rutgers, basically, for a number of reasons. Number one, tuition in those days was reasonable, commuting was great, and the one or two professors that I spoke to were very, very good. Plus, the fact that the person in charge of Continuing Education was my former boss at Rutgers. [laughter] That's what I mean, see?
KP: This was also an exciting time for higher education. Not only at Rutgers, but also in setting up the community college society. How exciting was that to be part of a sort of new institution?
LK: It was very exciting because we were doing new things. We were doing things that nobody else was doing. We were giving young people opportunities that they never had before and I think we were benefiting a greater population with a college education that, previously, they weren't getting. So, I was very excited about it. As a matter of fact, I became chairman of the business department within two years of my being hired by Middlesex and, subsequently, when the cooperative education program became very large, I became the director of that program, which I do today. And, I do that because I feel it's important for young people to have some work experience before they go in to the real world of work, so they can see what they're getting into.
KP: You actually knew something about the subject you taught, which is often the criticism of business professors.
KP: Business professors never really worked, in a sense, outside of teaching. How did your work experiences help you as a teacher? I'd be most curious.
LK: Tremendous. I mean, ... it's different when you teach from experience than when you teach from the textbook, and I've always supplemented text information with practical experience. In other words, if we're talking about a certain principle from the textbook, I would be able to explain to the students how industry uses this principle ... how effective it is and whether it is effective. In other words, if you read a certain statement in the textbook, industry may not go along with that and there were reasons for it. So, ... I think if a young person has been exposed to a teacher who has not only had the educational background, but the business and industrial background to go with it, I think they'll be learning a lot more than just from a straight book teacher. My biases.
KP: How did your colleagues feel about that? How many people had gone into business education and business courses with your kind of background in Middlesex and how many came right out of graduate school?
LK: Most of the business teachers currently at Middlesex College have some business experience. That is one of the criteria upon which they hire them. In other words, they want to recruit teachers who have had business experience and also can teach. Research takes a back seat in the community college.
KP: Yeah, but, you did get a doctorate.
KP: Having also gotten a doctorate, I guess, how gruesome was it to write a dissertation? Especially since you had a family and you were working, you have a full-time teaching position.
LK: It was ... hard. It was very difficult because of my time constraints and the commitment that I had to make to do the dissertation and there were times when I was ready to chuck it in. But, fortunately, I had a good advisor who kept kicking me in the butt, and I got through. [laughter]
KP: I'm almost out of questions, but neither one of your kids served in the military?
KP: And, it seems like you don't mind that.
LK: No, ... it's their life. My son ... almost went into Vietnam, but, fortunately, the war ended and he was not drafted. But, no, neither one of them went into the military and ... let me say this. I have a very neutral feeling about the military right now. I'm not pro or con, so, it's very neutral, and it's their life, and whatever they choose to do, I would support.
KP: But, it sounds like you're glad they missed Vietnam.
LK: Yes, absolutely. As I said, to me, it was a terrible war. It tore the country apart and I feel that we still have a lot of healing to do as a result of that war.
JR: I'm just about out of questions myself.
KP: Yeah, no.
LK: You're running out of steam. [laughter]
KP: I remember Robert Hall stores as a kid. I bought a suit one spring in Robert Hall. You were with several different companies and why did you move between the companies and what were some of the differences? Particularly, because you're a teacher and you're looking at different companies.
LK: Well, primarily, better job opportunities and, by better job opportunities, I mean more of a challenge. ... If you work for ... a company and, make good money at these companies, ... you reach a point where it becomes stagnant and, I think if any person ever reaches that stage in their life, I think they'd better change, or do something, because you will not be a happy person. And, my reason for leaving many of these jobs was not so much for financial reasons, but for the lack of challenge, and the changing environment within a company. You know, it's interesting that you talked about Robert Hall, because I can't use my Robert Hall experiences in my classes, because, I'll be very frank with you, none of my students ever heard of the company.
KP: Yeah, I know. I'm not surprised.
JR: I had never heard of it.
LK: Of course not.
KP: No, I very distinctly remember going to a Robert Hall store.
LK: Of course you do. You were ... a little kid.
KP: Yeah, yeah, it was a while ago. It was the early seventies.
LK: Yeah, they were gone in '75.
KP: And, the Franklin Simon Department Store, I also have memories of that store.
LK: They're gone too. [laughter]
KP: Bond Clothing.
LK: They're gone.
KP: Yeah. Well, one of the things I'm struck by retail is they're very dynamic.
LK: Oh, very dynamic. I'll tell you, in retailing, ... and I tell my students this, if you're willing to put up with the hours, not so much the forty hours, but the different kinds of schedules, like working on Sunday and taking a day off during the week. If you're willing to do that, and you like what you do, you'll make a lot of money. I mean, I'll be very honest with 'em. I have people now that have graduated maybe five years ago out of retail and marketing and many of them were good for forty or fifty thousand a year, and I don't think that's a bad salary for somebody that has been out of school for five years, particularly with an Associate's degree. So, but you have to like what you do.
KP: Yeah, and the hours. My parents were in retailing and it would be crazy hours, really. You don't get weekends.
KP: It sounds like you might be doing your job for awhile. Is that a correct assumption?
LK: I hope I can do my job.
KP: You're not looking to retire in the near future?
LK: I'm not looking to retire, although I should, but, I'm not looking forward to it.
KP: So, you haven't set a date for retirement.
LK: No, no. I'm having too much fun.
KP: It sounds like you're having fun. I just get that sense that you will keep going. Jason has probably gotten some good stories now to remember about his career plans.
JR: Yes. [laughter]
KP: Is there anything we forgot to ask you?
LK: No, ... it's interesting. I was telling Jason that I have a seventeen-year-old grandson who's starting to look at colleges, and he looked at Rutgers.
KP: And, what did he think?
LK: He was overwhelmed with Rutgers. He goes to a high school with four hundred students and Rutgers is too big for him.
KP: Does he go to high school in New Jersey?
LK: No, Massachusetts.
KP: Oh yeah. [laughter] Yeah, Rutgers, even for a graduate student, it can be a bit intimidating, much less an undergraduate.
LK: Well, for me, it was a normal thing, because, you know, I came out of NYU, which was a very big school, and commuter's school, like most of this, so, it was okay.
KP: Well, thanks for taking the morning.
LK: Well, I enjoyed telling you my story. ...
KP: No, it was great.
JR: Very good.
----------------------END OF INTERVIEW----------------------
Reviewed by Shaun Illingworth 3/28/99
Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 5/17/99
Reviewed by Dr. Lloyd Kalugin 5/26/99