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Janoff, Russ

Kurt Piehler: This begins an interview with Russ Janoff on July 27, 1994 at Cherry Hill, New Jersey with Kurt Piehler and

Robert Lipschitz: Robert Lipschitz.

KP: I guess I would like to begin with your parents. Your parents came over to this country from Russia. Why did they 
leave Russia?

Russ Janoff: Well, I think as so many of the refugees of that era at the turn of the century they were looking for land with a

golden path, [what] was available to them. My father had finished military service and decided to come as a young man at

the time [to this country]. He had a brother who had previously come and probably described what a wonderful land it 
was and they were generally seeking greater opportunity. My mother came with her family and settled on a farm down in 
South Jersey at the time.

KP: Where was the farm?

RJ: The farm was in a place called Elmer, New Jersey which is not far from Vineland, New Jersey. At the time the Baron 
Rothschild foundation had settled a number of Jewish families who were immigrants from Eastern Europe on farmland 
down through Woodbine and the whole area. My grandfather ... had come and [had] gotten a farm in Elmer, New Jersey. 
  
 

KP: So your mother came over and she grew up on a farm?

RJ: Well, she didn't really grow up. She came over in her late teens and I guess left the farm pretty quickly to work in a 
factory as a sewing operator which is such a common thing to Eastern European girls [to do].

KP: So she did not like agricultural work?

RJ: No. She opted for ... better activity in the big city. She went into Philadelphia to work and then later went into New 
York to work as a seamstress in a factory.

KP: And your father had done military service in the Czarist army.

RJ: I'm guessing. I'm not sure, but I think it was conscription. He was forced into the military, but then ... served his term, 
was released and then came to this country.

KP: Did he ever tell you about his experiences in the army?

RJ: Like so many of the people of that era they didn't like to discuss the past. They were so attuned with the future and 
the wonderful opportunities that the free world offered them that they didn't want to talk about the past. So though we 
heard a few stories, we never really got an in-depth interview such as this.

KP: How did your family decide to settle in the Camden area?

RJ: What happened in those days, I think, was that they went where relatives went. ... Well my father met my mother in 
New York and I guess the romance started there. But a couple of my mother's brothers had opened grocery stores on 
corners in Camden and got an opportunity to earn a living. My mother and father decided to do the same thing. Her 
brothers found a location that they thought was worth going into. My parents came and opened a grocery store with no 
background and no experience. These were very small businesses and [in] those days I guess it wasn't too hard to do 
that.

KP: Your father originally had been in what field before opening the grocery store?

RJ: ... He came over, I guess, in an effort to make a living and survive in the New York city area. He became a house 
painter and probably [had] a common type laboring job. ... He painted houses for a few years and then met my mother. 
... As I said, they came to Camden and opened a grocery store. That must have been about 1912-1913. ...

KP: Was their store always in the same location?

RJ: Yes. They stayed in the same location for about 30 years. In fact, my father died in the living quarters behind the 
store. That was the only store they ever had.

KP: Do you remember where the store was located?

RJ: Oh very much so. It was 701 Carmen Street which was down near central Camden. I grew up in ... that house. We 
lived with the business and I have very fond memories of growing up. It was a typical factory-industrial neighborhood and 
people lived in row homes who were the customers of the store. I have a lot of memories of those days.

KP: So you remember growing up in the store and working the store when you were young.

RJ: In fact, they had the store when I went off to Rutgers. ... I grew up there and the first time I left that area was to go to 
Rutgers.

KP: Did your father extend credit to people in the neighborhood?

RJ: Very much so. As a matter of fact, the customers, who in those days, I'm talking about the Depression years, ... he 
had widowed customers who owed him as much as 400 dollars "on the book" which in those days was an astronomical 
amount. They used to promise that they were going to leave some insurance money to him to pay off the debt which never

happened. But it was strictly a case of good intentions. I would say that probably 75 percent of their volume was done on

credit. Incredibly so, you know. Everybody trusted each other and people had a lot more faith in those days then they 
have today.

KP: Are there any other memories you have of the store?

RJ: Well, all of my growing up memories as a child. My father's store was on a little corner. There was a railroad wall, an 
elevated railroad track across from the store, and the four corners as a result were not heavily trafficked corners. So the 
kids used to play there every night all through the summer months. We would play kick the wicket or we played bat ball 
or we played something else and I grew up playing in the neighborhood and most of the friends I had were friends from 
the neighborhood. We walked [along the] ... railroad tracks which were adjacent to where we lived and went down to 
the nearest lot to play baseball. Fond memories of walking with the sour pickles and soft pretzels ... to get to the baseball 
field. Those were care free days when you have those kinds of memories.

KP: So how did the Great Depression affect your family's business?

RJ: It was a terrible hardship for my family. They never did do extremely well in the store, but in those years they couldn't 
even eke out a living. The result was that my father used to leave my mother in the store and he would go out and buy 
wholesale quantities of mustard and ketchup and salad oils and things like that and make the rounds with his car peddling 
cases of this type of thing to other ... merchants that he knew in the grocery business to supplement the income so that he 
could last. ... I'm very much a Depression child. I can remember my mother darning holes in socks and mending torn 
underwear. You made do [with] what you had in those days. We grew up with those memories. I'm living in affluence by 
comparison today.

KP: You are not alone. Most people sort of described it this way.

RJ: It's amazing the memories you do have of those Depression years. You know, I was a kid, I guess, of 12 or 13 years 
old through those years and I have very vivid memories of those years. But we never wanted. We never knew we were 
poor, you know. We always had food ... [and] clothes to wear.

KP: And your father always had a business. There was always work?

RJ: Yes. It was second nature to be in the store and help out and wait on customers. We never sat down to a meal 
without somebody having to run into the store and take care of a customer who came in. There was no such thing as 
closing the doors.

KP: How long would the store be open?

RJ: Because it was an industrial neighborhood, they would open the store at 5:30 in the morning. People would come in to

buy lunch meats for that day's lunch pail. And frequently they wouldn't close the store till 10 o'clock-10:30. It was a long 
hard day and it took its toll on both my parents unfortunately.

KP: You said it was a working class neighborhood. How many people were first generation?

RJ: I guess most of the people there were first generation. There were a number of immigrants, Irish immigrants, Polish 
immigrants. Most of the people who lived in that neighborhood, because it was central Camden, worked at Campbell's 
Soup or RCA Victor or the New York Shipbuilding Corporation. And these were factory workers and they lived a very 
modest style of life, but ... I would say that the bulk of them were first generation Americans.

KP: Sons or even ...

RJ: Right.

KP: You went through the Camden School system. How important was education to your parents?

RJ: It was indeed very important. I think most of the immigrant population, particularly the Jewish immigrant population, 
always had a goal to make things better for the next generation. So education was a vital thing to my parents and to 
everybody else's parents of the Jewish community in those times. ... It was a goal to see that your children were educated 
so that life could be better for them particularly since the opportunity existed (-----------?) Much of that's been 
documented much better than I can tell you, but education has always been a priority.

KP: Your parents had the expectation that you would go to college?

RJ: Well, ... they would do whatever they could to get us to college. My brother didn't choose to go. I did and they were 
helpful to me. ... Even with the low tuition of Rutgers in those years, they probably could not have afforded to send me, 
but I was fortunate enough to get a state scholarship and then I supplemented my years in college with work. I worked 
each summer at Campbell's Soup Company during the tomato season when work was available on a part-time basis. And

at Rutgers, I worked at various jobs at Sun Ray Drugs in New Brunswick on weekends. I did things. I was a campus 
reporter for a couple newspapers in Philadelphia to supplement income. So I always managed to eek out some extra 
dough and that's how I got through Rutgers. You might say I worked my way through with my parents' help.

KP: But the state scholarship was the probably the crucial thing?

RJ: ... Without that I would never have been able to go.

KP: Was Rutgers the only school that you had applied to?

RJ: Yes, that was the only place that I even saw an opportunity to be able to go to. Just going away to college was a 
major accomplishment for most people of my generation, of my income level, let's put it that way.

KP: So Rutgers was far away, Rutgers-New Brunswick?

RJ: Oh yeah. ... Even though it was only 60 miles from home it was quite a distance and getting there ... was ... an effort 
because I didn't have a car the first few years I went to Rutgers. I did get a jalopy in my junior year.

KP: Would you take the train up?

RJ: Either a train or a bus or friends that had vehicles or families that were taking them. People pooled transportation in 
those days. Getting up and back, ... though it was an effort, you always managed some way to do it. It is a hell of a lot 
easier today then it was then.

KP: What was your intention when you first got to college? What did you think that you would major in and what career 
did you have in mind?

RJ: Well ... I entered Rutgers in 1938 and the Depression was just coming to an end at that time. I was very cognizant of 
the need to take something that would provide me with an opportunity to earn a living. So I decided that I would go into 
education and major in education. I felt that when I was finished that I would able to at least be able to get a teaching job. 
So that's what happened. I majored in education with liberal arts courses. When I finished Rutgers, I decided that I would

like to try to go into the retail field in a management capacity. At that time Rutgers had a working arrangement with the 
Macy-Bambergers Junior Executive Training Program. So I opted for that, actually I was afforded an opportunity to go to

work at Bambergers after I was graduated from Rutgers. But it was a case of where I stood in the draft status and I 
ended up enlisting to find out where I would end up and I ended up in the service rather than at Bambergers. I did go 
back to that field when I got out of the service.

KP: But you could have gone into Macy-Bambergers training right in after graduating?

RJ: I could have gone to Bambergers after the war, but I had gotten married during the war. ... Just before discharge I 
wrote to the NRDGA, which was the National Retail Dry Goods Association, and I asked them if they knew of any other

programs similar to the executive training program at Macy-Bambergers. They informed me that Lit Brothers in 
Philadelphia was planning a similar program postwar. So I contacted Lit Brothers while I was still in the service and they 
actually told me that I was the first person that had called them about their junior executive program. I figured it would be 
a lot easier to live at home compared with the expense structure of living in Newark if I went to Bambergers.

KP: You would have been based in Newark if joined Macy-Bambergers?

RJ: Well I would have had to live in Newark. ... So knowing that I was coming back to the Philadelphia area in Camden 
after the war, I decided to go into the Lit Brothers program when I was accepted for it and that's what I did. I became a 
junior executive trainee in Philadelphia after my career in the service.

KP: You had mentioned that your favorite professor was Houston Peterson in Philosophy. What do you remember about 
him?

RJ: ... He was just a dynamic guy who had a tremendous capacity to get people to learn and challenge you to put forth an 
extra effort to understand and to think. He was just an entertaining kind of a professor. I think in those years he probably 
rated as one of the top professors with many of his students. So I wasn't unique in selecting him. There were a number of 
professors that I had that left impressions, Reager in public speaking, and Burns in history and politics.

KP: So you had Arthur Burns?

RJ: Yeah. He was a dry, but [a] wonderful professor.

KP: I've heard. Lew Bloom spoke very highly of him.

RJ: Oh that's right you're in the history department ....

KP: What did you think about Dean Metzger?

RJ: ... To a young man of those eras, he was a very staid and proper individual. But I always found in my dealings with 
Metzger that he was fair. It so happens that I got into some very deep discussions with Metzger. There is something that 
happened at Rutgers. I was the editor of the Targum at the time the United States went to war. And when the war was 
declared, one of the members of our staff, who was at that time the managing editor, ... wrote an article in the newspaper 
that was ... somewhat derogatory to Rutgers and it got into the paper without my knowledge.

KP: In fact he went downtown to change the story.

RJ: That's right, are you familiar with that story?

KP: Yes, you had written to Tom Kindre about it several years ago.

RJ: ... Rutgers had a history over the years of a lot of exchange students from Japan. So ... this particular article made it 
sound like Rutgers was very friendly towards Japan to the extent that the declaration of war against Japan was something 
that Rutgers didn't think was, you know, so bad. ... They were friendly with Japan. Anyhow, it created quite an uproar on

campus when that newspaper appeared right after the declaration of war. And we had a session with Dean Metzger, who

called all the Targum staff. ... As I said, he was very fair in dealing with it, and he understood that it was done almost 
behind my back at that time. But I always found him to be a very proper, staid individual.

KP: Did you attend chapel?

RJ: Yes. We all did. It was compulsory in my day.

KP: People have sort of commented of his Calvinistic approach to religion, very stern.

RJ: ... He was ... stern. He was a typical taskmaster, you know. ... Of course, ... I think that if you relate the kind of 
student body that was at Rutgers in those years when he was there to the student bodies that are there today, it was a 
totally different scene. The students were far more respectful and recognized authority to a much greater degree. They 
didn't challenge the same way that challenging goes on today. And he would have never survived today, that's what I'm 
trying to say. But in that time and place, he was accepted for what he was. He was an authoritarian. But I think generally 
people respected him for the job that he did in those years.

KP: You decided not to stay in ROTC?

RJ: ... Well I was not militarily oriented and ... that didn't appeal to me. I had no interest in becoming an officer in the 
service. Little did I know that I was going to end up in the service anyway. But I didn't choose to join.

KP: Did you think war was coming for the United States?

RJ: I guess ... we thought that eventually it was going to enmesh us. ... But at the end of my sophomore year I sort of 
expected it.

KP: When did you think that we would likely enter the war? Or were you just so busy that you could not ...

RJ: No, no. I think that ... by the time we were seniors we began to feel that we were going to be pulled in [because] we 
were doing so much to help the Allies. It was almost inevitable that we were going to get involved in the war.

KP: Now as editor of the Targum where were you when the attack on Pearl Harbor came?

RJ: Well as so many other people can recall where they were at the time of Pearl Harbor, I was sitting in a Winants dorm 
room studying for an exam. Listening to the radio to a Giants game in New York when the announcement came that we 
had been bombed at Pearl Harbor. But I was actually studying in the dorm, on a Sunday.

KP: You lived in dorms your entire college years?

RJ: No, the first two years I lived in places off campus. One notorious place called the Zoo House was right across from 
Winants Campus. But then I moved into Winants and stayed there for the last two years. ... I was not a fraternity person. 
Though after I got to be editor of the Targum and a member of student council, I was offered an opportunity to pledge to 
a fraternity. I just elected out of respect to the non-fraternity guys to stay a barb and I was a Scarlet Barb through the four

years.

KP: What was the Scarlet Barb?

RJ: Well the Scarlet Barb actually was a council of the commuters and the non-fraternity people. It was their organization 
and they got involved politically and put up candidates for various elected offices on campus. I was active in that and as a 
matter of fact, as I recall, I think that Tom Kindre was a non-fraternity man.

KP: Yes.

RJ: He was active with me in the Barb.

KP: What was the split on campus? Was it the fraternity, non-fraternity, commuter?

RJ: ... I presume that the majority were not fraternity people, but there was a very heavy population of fraternity members.

... I'm not sure that I know for certain, but I would guess that it was probably a 60-40 ratio with non-fraternity people 
being the 60 percent.

KP: So you were contesting the fraternities' control over the campus?

RJ: Well when it came to elections, student officers, and student council members, there was always a contest. The 
fraternities with their inter-fraternity council were much better organized, and, of course, most of the "powerhouses" on the

campus were fraternity members. So they had far more clout collectively then non-fraternity people. But we used to try to

mount campaigns. We learned a lot of good politics from that experience.

KP: I came across a letter that you had written to a Earl Reed Silvers? After you graduated you noted that you could not 
find a job at first and you even wrote that you were tired of the "slacker" look and then you decided to enlist.

RJ: Say that again.

KP: You said you were tired of the "slacker" look, you wrote in the letter. Then you enlisted in the army and ended up in 
Lowry Field in Colorado. Did you have a hard time after graduation until Bambergers chose you?

RJ: Well I don't honestly remember the letter, but I remember Silver. He was the son of a Dean, Earl Reed Silver Jr. and 
he was in charge of the placement service. I don't know why I would have written him a letter unless he sent me a 
questionnaire. ... What happened when I finished college and I was accepted after 22 hours of interviews at Bambergers. 
... I was accepted for their program subject to where I stood with the draft. I was wanted in the draft. So first while I was

waiting for some determination of my draft situation, I decided to take a training course for two months or three months in 
emissions control and mechanical inspection at the local vocational school down here in Camden County. I figured if I'm 
going into the service I might as well have some skills that might help me. I had spent about four months between 
graduation and doing this training. There was no place you could get a job if you were 1-A in the draft. Nobody would 
take you.

KP: So you would go and you would apply for things and ...

RJ: I would try to get a job here or a job there. So I must have written that letter at that time. Finally in July of '42 I just 
decided that I would go down and enlist and that would either solve the problem if they don't accept me-- I get to work. 
If they do accept me, I got a career. So I ended up with a career.

KP: You had written then to Dean Metzger and you liked the army a great deal once you were there.

RJ: Yeah, well I was very fortunate in ending up, like I think I indicated in my questionnaire, I ended up in a pretty healthy 
situation. Number one relatively out of danger for three and a half years which was unexpected, I never thought of it.

KP: When you enlisted you thought ...

RJ: ... First when I enlisted, I expected to end up, because of the background that I had in the retail field, I figured I was 
going to end up in the quartermaster corps or with the mechanical inspection training, perhaps they would send me to an 
ordnance unit. But when I went through basic training at Fort Dix, they sent me down to Atlantic City where they were 
starting the air corps replacement training group and took over the entire Atlantic City town virtually. From there they sent

me to Lowry Field for photography training so I never expected to end up where I ended up. Not only didn't I expect to 
end up in the outfit I ended up in, I never expected to end up in the kind of training they selected to give me. It just 
worked out that [way].

KP: So you did not apply for it. They just gave it to you.

RJ: No. In the army, you know, you took tests, various qualifying tests and they decided what was best for them and 
where you had the potential educationally, your intelligence wise to succeed. So they sent me off to photography school, 
aerial photography.

KP: Had you ever applied for it?

RJ: Never applied for it and I had no background for it.

KP: You had never even been an amateur photographer?

RJ: ... I didn't even have the hobby of photography, but that was the army. ... You know, they did what they had to do. 
Wherever they needed people that's where they sent the recruits.

KP: You went through basic training where?

RJ: I actually went through Peterson Field, Colorado Springs for basic training after I had completed all of the 
photography. I first was sent to Lowry Field for aerial photography training, then they kept me there for an advanced 
course in camera repair work, aerial camera repair work. When I finished all of that then they shipped me down to 
Colorado Springs which is where Peterson Field is located. And that was basic training. I completed ... thirteen weeks or 
whatever the length of time was. I was actually assigned to a unit. In fact I was very upset about it. I was assigned to the 
first motion picture unit in Culver City, California which was at the Hal Roach Film Company studio. You know, I saw all 
of the glamour of going out to Hollywood and being trained in a Hollywood studio and all that. What I didn't realize at the 
time was that when the guys ran up on the beaches of the South Pacific with guns, you ran up with a movie camera. 
[laughter]

... Anyhow they formed this new photographic unit that I described to you at Peterson Field at that particular time. I was 
all packed up. My bags were packed. I was ready to ship out to go to Culver City, California when they scratched my 
orders. I remember I went in and complained bitterly. Why the hell are you scratching me. You've assigned me. I've got 
my stuff all packed up and I'm ready to go. I had no way to get out of it. So they ended up putting me in this photographic

outfit that they were forming because they had just made a requisite. Anyone on that base at the time that had 
photographic training at Lowry Field and two years of college education they recruited for this new unit figuring that it 
would be easier to train them in a new map making process. That's how it happened. So by sheer chance I ended up in 
this relatively elite company and never left the states because of it. Because of the type of work we did.

KP: In fact you were really based for the duration of the war in Colorado.

RJ: Well I was there for two and a half years and then we were transferred to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri for a year. 
That's where we stayed. I think I described this in the questionnaire. We were packed up a couple of times. Our outfit 
was to ship out. What happened was the powers that be decided that if we were ever bombed and the equipment we 
used got destroyed that it would set them back so far that it didn't make sense. Instead they could fly the photographs-- 
taken by aerial photography at the location they wanted to map, and they could be back in the United States within a 
matter of hours to enable the map making work in a safe location.

KP: So they would fly everything to you rather than sending you to England?

RJ: They would fly these hundreds, literally thousands of aerial photographs back to the United States where we were 
based and we would make the maps here. And so they never shipped us out even though on a couple of occasions we 
actually had our equipment packed in oil skin and wood crates. Everybody was expecting that we would be leaving the 
United States in the next couple of days. Then things changed very quickly.

KP: Where was the army thinking of sending you?

RJ: On one occasion we were definitely supposed to be going over to China, Burma or India. At the time the crates were 
all packed and all that. ... That's when they decided that it would be so dangerous if the equipment got destroyed. We 
used a tremendous amount of stereoscopic equipment. A lot of other things that were peculiar to our work would have 
been difficult to replace. They weren't just ... the kind of supplies that you just call up a quartermaster corps and say just 
ship it out. This was high tech stuff.

KP: Was any of it classified at the time?

RJ: Yes. The work we did was very classified.

KP: And the equipment was it sort of one of a kind?

RJ: Well, I don't know whether the equipment was classified. I guess the type of equipment that was needed was specially

designed, specially made. It might have been classified, I'm not sure. I mean, stereoscopic instruments were generally 
available. But we used a lot of them.

KP: What were you working on?

RJ: We made topographical maps from aerial photography. It was a very unusual technique to be able to make a 
topographical map of an area without having anyone on the ground to do survey work and to study elevation and that 
type of thing.

KP: Which now are more commonly done through satellites?

RJ: I guess today the process would be antiquated by comparison to satellite technology.

KP: But at the time how much of this work was new? What was the history of this work? Was this something created in 
World War II?

RJ: ... The technique was developed immediately before the war by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in Washington 
in an effort to find a way to make maps ... for the military ... even though we weren't at war at that point. ... A way to 
make topographical maps without sending people into an area that you couldn't send them to because of a war or that 
type of thing. ... The army decided at the outset of the war to take over this procedure. Very early, they assigned it to the 
air corps to develop. So the cadre of the company that was formed when I was sent into it had some people who were in 
the service, but who had been at the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Most of our officers in this unit, strangely enough, 
were geologists who came out of the oil industry. We had a number of our commanding officers and several of the other 
officers who were Texans who came up from the oil fields into the service. And they taught us how to do this particular 
kind of mapping and we did some pretty, you know, important work, I think I indicated that.

KP: Yes it was very important. In terms of the mapping procedure, how much of it improved over time?

RJ: Well obviously we got better at it as three and a half years went on. And we started off doing much smaller areas then

as we got more expertise in doing it, the maps encompassed much greater geographical areas. We, for example, mapped 
the entire flight routes over the Himalayas, in China-Burma area into southern China. So that was ... quite a task to map 
that kind of an area. ... It's very easy to identify light points on an area of photography when you're dealing with flat 
terrain. When you try to find light points on an aerial photograph with mountainous terrain, it gets a lot more difficult. So 
we got better as we got more experience at doing it.

KP: Did you ever get any feedback as to how good your maps were?

RJ: ... Yes, ... we used to get compliments from various military units who were in the theaters of action for which these 
maps were produced. Obviously, they must have been serviceable to them or we wouldn't have continued to do the 
mapping.

KP: You would not get feedback saying you put mountains where they did not exist?

RJ: No, no. We never got specific comments, but they must have been ... suitable for what they were used for. ... If you 
were sending somebody into the territory and you told ... [them] to get to the top of a given mountain, our maps might not 
have been 100 percent accurate in that regard, but for flight missions, for bombing missions, for that type of thing, it was 
more than serviceable.

KP: Would you do any targeting in your map making? Would you analyze pictures and determine what was on the 
ground?

RJ: No. The way this was done, they would fly a photographic plane with three cameras mounted from horizon to 
horizon. They would fly it about a hundred miles up in one strip then it would make a U-turn and go about 20-25 miles 
adjacent and come back 100 miles and then it would do the same thing. It would cover whatever amount of land they 
wanted to map that way. And the cameras would click continuously as the flight was going through the hundred mile run. 
What we were responsible for doing was linking ... one run with the next run by finding the identical identifying points on 
the map. And once that was done, that's called tying it together and we tied together all of these various strips. Then they 
would create templates and determine by stereoscopic study what the elevations were. The templates were created to 
make the maps. It was rather a complex outfit.

KP: In terms of getting the two maps together it must have been a huge task.

RJ: Well, ... we had one large room in the building in which we operated which I would guess was 25,000 square feet. It 
had a huge wooden table on which they assembled all these templates that they would actually use to make the map. And 
I think they did the job pretty well. I know one thing, I described to you that we were doing the South China Coast when 
the war ended. When we studied those photos, that was relatively flat land. And we found many small concrete runways, 
just a very straight strip of concrete every hundred miles apart. Had we ever had to invade the South China Coast there 
would have been a slaughter for American troops. The Japs would have been able to land planes at will on these strips 
and they were obviously there for that reason. We did some pretty interesting work.

KP: Even though you had not left the United States you in a sense had a very good idea of where the war was being 
fought.

RJ: No. ... We weren't doing that totally kind of mapping. For example, there was very little that was mapped in Europe.

KP: You were mainly focused on the Pacific.

RJ: We were doing South Pacific maps and ... we were doing ... special assignment kind of work. For example, we 
mapped the Lend-lease air route into Siberia up through Alaska and into Siberia. And it was because they needed some 
kind of navigational map for the pilots who were flying planes from the United States up through that route across the 
Aleutians into Siberia. Now obviously that was a little used route before the war. So I guess we really didn't have very 
good mapping to indicate where a guy should fly his airplane to get up there. So we did that map. We did a map, for 
example, of the route through North Africa into the Middle East and the Persian Gulf area. We thought at the time that we

were doing this primarily for the purpose of getting the aircraft and supplies into southern Russia, as one of our allies. ... 
We had specific assignments. So we didn't just map the entire world.

KP: But you sort of knew where supplies were going and where campaigns were aimed at.

RJ: The work we did was secret. We had guards posted. That building was like a small pentagon building. It radiated with

crawl ways and long buildings running off of its 25,000 square foot center core that I was describing. At each of those 
entrances on each of the wings of the building I think there were maybe five wings that radiated out, there were guards 
posted and you had to identify yourself to go into the building. So the work was secret for the most part.

KP: And you were enjoined about talking about this. When you left the base you were not supposed to talk to anyone 
about what you mapped?

RJ: Well at the time we [were] never allowed to talk about it. You know, now in retrospect we can talk about it. ... That 
particular map at the end of the war I personally and most of my fellow compatriots there were convinced that we were 
mapping for an invasion. There was no other reason for us to be mapping the South China Coast. ... I think to this day 
that if the atom bomb hadn't been successful, if that's the word used, that we probably were going to land somewhere on 
the South China Coast and go up that route to get to Japan. ... It seems to me logically that there would be no other 
reason for a map to be made of the South China Coast.

KP: Were your maps mainly for the use of the air corps or did you also do maps for use of ground forces?

RJ: Well, I think they were primarily used by the air corps, but I think they were also made available to ground forces for 
whatever purposes they would want to use them for. Much of the war, particularly the South Pacific, much of that was 
aerial in nature. Of course, some naval, of course, some marines who went ashore on various islands, but I think that the 
bulk of what we did was bombing and that's where the maps came in.

KP: Did you do any maps of islands?

RJ: ... Not specifically as I recall. ... In most cases we were mapping larger terrain than just an island. In other words we 
would map several hundred miles at a time and I don't think too many Pacific islands would qualify to be that large.

KP: So this procedure that the Air Corps had developed was for large distances?

RJ: Yes.

KP: The men in your unit, they were an elite, where were they brought from?

RJ: Well, a number of them, as I said, came from the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey at the outset.

KP: Texas.

RJ: ... Yes, many of them were oil people or geology oriented. Many of them were commercial artists. We had one guy, 
for example, who was, I don't know if you are old enough to remember, but most of the Technicolor movies would 
feature the name of Natalie Kalmus as director of Technicolor when you saw the screen credits. The second name, her 
assistant, was James Gooch. If you look at a lot of old movies you can see the name James Gooch. He was one of our 
outfit. We had a few people from the film industry that were put into this outfit. We had a guy who was the second man to

George Gallup of the Gallup polls. His name was Emory Ruby. He was one of our fellow members. ... But we had a 
group of people who were in fields that in some way were related to the kind of work we were doing. Many of the 
commercial artists, for example, ended up doing the acts of drawings of the maps after we got all of the elevations. ... I 
mean it was very odd. One of the brothers who founded Arnold Bread was one of our outfit members. ... Generally 
speaking, as I said, most ... everybody in the outfit had at least two years of college and most of them had four years of 
college.

KP: Most had backgrounds in photography or commercial art?

RJ: Yes. I was one of the younger people in the company. Most of them were people who during the war years were ... 
in their thirties and late thirties. Some were probably in their early forties.

KP: What were your specific assignments or jobs?

RJ: I was in charge of the section called ties where we studied the photography of one strip going up as I explained 
before, and the other one coming back and we had to find on each photograph at least three identifiable like points and 
that was called the tie section. ... All day long we used stereoscopes to study the photography. It was a rather challenging 
and demanding job. Also very bad for your eyesight. ...

KP: It's almost like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

RJ: Yes, it really is, and more complicated. ... You couldn't control weather so very often you had cloud banks that came 
into the photographs and that would obliterate a whole section of your photography, but you still had to find some way to 
link those things together or you couldn't make a map.

------------------------ END OF SIDE TAPE ONE, SIDE ONE ---------

RL: I was wondering if you had ever been back to the store that you had in Camden?

RJ: ... Unfortunately the store was demolished right after the war and it was made into a parking lot. But I had gone back 
a few times. As a matter of fact when I worked at Lit Brothers after the war, that was my first job postwar, my parents 
were still in the store and I used to go down there every single day on the way to work and on the way back from work 
and put groceries on the shelves. They were rather up in years at the time and I did it to save them the labor of doing it.

RL: My grandfather had a store in Brooklyn of a similar nature. They worked long hours and I recently went back there 
with my father and the neighborhood has seriously declined.

RJ: ... It brings back fond memories when we go back there, but the place was bought and because it's not far from the 
center of town there was a demand for parking so the person who bought two or three adjacent properties demolished 
them and black topped them and made a parking lot out of it.

KP: You were in Colorado during the war. Had you traveled farther west than Philadelphia before the war and Rutgers? 
What was it like to travel to a new region of the country?

RJ: No. It was like opening up a whole new vista for me.

KP: What surprised you? You saw people from different regions of the country and you lived in a different part of the 
country. What struck you as different?

RJ: The first thing when I went to Denver, where Lowry Field was located, I spent about eight or nine months in Denver, I

just couldn't get over the friendliness of the people, the townspeople I'm talking about. We used to have a day off on 
Sunday. We would be walking down the streets in Denver and a family would pull up in an automobile to the curb and 
ask you if you wanted to go on a picnic with them. And they would take you out for the afternoon.

KP: Were you in uniforms?

RJ: Oh yeah, we were in uniforms, but I mean they were so [nice]. Denver ... had in those days, a large number of military

installations. ... Fitzgerald (?) General Hospital was a big army hospital and there were several air corps fields there. But 
anyhow, ... they had a lot of soldiers around town. It wasn't like we were a novelty. But they were just that hospitable, 
generally as western, mid-western people. And they would take you on a picnic and it would be very common for them to

take you home for dinner afterwards. And the synagogues in town and the churches would have brunches on Sunday 
morning where ... any military man was welcome to come and obviously come to services, but even if you didn't want to 
go to services you could just go and have brunch. And they had dancing afterwards with the daughters of the members of 
the church or synagogue. And they were just a wonderful hospitable people and it was so different than what we were 
used to living in the East in those years. ... That was one indelible impression I had, the ... hospitality was just 
overwhelming.

KP: What about the climate and the scenery?

RJ: Well, the scenery obviously was impressive to anyone who lived in the congested East and all of the sudden you're out

in the mountains. When we were stationed for two and a half years down at Peterson Field, Colorado, Pike's Peak Ski 
Club who had a lodge up along the side of Pike's Peak, a ski lodge, made it available to the military since there was 
wartime rationing and the members couldn't get up there. They didn't have gasoline to get up the mountain. And we would

send trucks on the weekends up to this lodge and maybe 30 or 40 guys in the outfit would go up there and the members 
had left their ski equipment so you could use their ski equipment at will. We would have box lunches that the mess hall 
had prepared for [us]. ... You know, you would spend an afternoon. I had never skied in my life. I didn't even know what

it was like. We would be up there skiing. ... The scenery was just magnificent all through that area. ... As I said to you 
earlier, I just lucked out. ...

KP: So you worked very hard during the week, but on weekends you could really have some fun?

RJ: ... We were free usually for sometime on the weekend to be able to go up. Not a whole weekend, but you would 
have Sunday off or something like that.

KP: You also mentioned once you bivouacked at a community and painted a church. How did that come about?

RJ: Well, to keep us ... militarily oriented, we were basically as you can understand from the description I've given you, 
we were desk clerks most of the week, doing work at drafting tables and things of that sort. Though we did have to have 
compulsory drills and things of that sort outdoors. Basically we weren't given the regimen that a typical army unit would 
get with long marches. We had calisthenic sessions and things like that. ... The officers who commanded our outfit 
decided that they would send us up on bivouacs with a certain number of people from the outfit going for a week and then

they would come back and another group would go for a week. And they would send us up into the mountains and it was

living outdoors in tents.

KP: So you would be on K-rations?

RJ: No, not K-rations. We usually cooked food. For example, we did a lot of fishing so we cooked the trout. They would

provide food that was cooked up there to make meals for us. We were never that far from the central home base. You 
know, we might have been 50 miles or so into the mountains. But it gave you a chance for outdoor living. ... I guess it was

partly R & R to get you away from this constant study of photographs and working with map making. But it was also 
mixed with military drill and military instruction and that type of thing.

KP: With the notion that you could be deployed in the field and that you should have this experience?

RJ: Well I think they were doing it for military purposes. ... When we were up there, we had time. You can't drill all day 
and ... basically there's not much to do up in the mountains. So that's when we volunteered to paint this church which 
badly needed painting in the little town we were in. I mean most of those towns at that particular time were somewhat 
deserted. Their young men had gone off to war and ... there weren't that many people in the town to start with and when 
you depleted it by the number who were sent into military service, the towns really didn't have anyone to do that kind of 
work. So ... it was a blessing for them and it was recreation for us.

KP: Did you do any other traveling during the war years besides Colorado?

RJ: Well, just furloughs to go home. ... We took side trips. We might have gone 100 miles down the road.

KP: But you really for the war based in Colorado?

RJ: And St. Louis. I got married, ... after I had been in Colorado for about a year. I married my sweetheart from home 
who is still my wife thank God. She came out to live with me and we were permitted to have off base living. So we found 
a little apartment in town and we lived in town and I used to go to the base every day.

KP: So the first year you were in the army at Colorado you lived on the base?

RJ: The first year, year and a half I was strictly living a military life. Then after that when I got married they permitted me 
to live off post. And so when we went to St. Louis the same thing existed. We could live off post.

KP: Did you have a hard time getting an apartment?

RJ: Extremely. It was almost impossible to find apartments and the ones you found you wouldn't consider living in under 
normal circumstance but you were damn happy to find a place to live. Camp Carson, was also in Colorado Springs. That 
is where the mule skinners used to train. I remember once in Colorado Springs a good friend of mine who was in the 
infantry, was an officer and he was being transferred to Carson. We got a telegram asking us to find him an apartment. 
And, you know, they sent it like it was so easy to find, but we had a hell of a time. We finally found him a room 
somewhere to stay in, but ... I think if I remember correctly, ... Colorado Springs had a population of about 20,000 
people normally. And during the war years it swelled to something like 180,000. You had Camp Carson, Second Air 
Force Headquarters, Peterson Field. All of these were located there and ... then there was a prisoner of war camp at 
Camp Carson. There was a tremendous influx of military into the area and housing was virtually impossible to obtain.

KP: So you saw the sort of congestion of the homefront?

Pause

KP: Your unit had been sent from Colorado to the St. Louis area. Why did that come about?

RJ: I really don't know why they moved. That was a military decision and I guess ... that was a year before we were 
discharged. And I guess probably they were either planning to close down sections of Peterson Field. ... Jefferson 
Barracks was virtually a deserted base when we moved there and it could have had something to do with the [space] 
available. ...

KP: So there was simply more room for you in St. Louis.

RJ: Yes, there was much more room. But it might also have been a case of pressure on the military to bring some troops 
in there or something. I really don't know why we moved, but we moved and you didn't have any choice.

KP: What did you think of St. Louis?

RJ: Well in those days St. Louis was a very hot and humid city. I guess it still is for that matter. ... By comparison with 
Colorado Springs, we were moving into a metropolitan area ... from a really semi-rural kind of a setting. We enjoyed St. 
Louis to some degree. It was back living like we lived in the Philadelphia-Camden area. The one thing about St. Louis 
was that they had culture which we lacked in Colorado Springs. There was an opera house and a symphony orchestra at 
Keil Auditorium. There were hockey teams and again they were very kind to the servicemen. We could always get either 
free tickets or discounted tickets for these events. ... We had a little more culture.

KP: You got out more.

RJ: Yes, we went out more. We had more activities to supplement the military life and again as I said we were living off 
post, so it gave us the opportunity to sometimes go to a symphony concert or go to a hockey game. In fact, the first 
hockey I ever saw was in St. Louis.

KP: In Colorado you said that there was less culture. What were your choices in Colorado?

RJ: About the only activity you could do in Colorado beyond sight seeing which we did a tremendous amount of-- and 
picnicking and that type of outdoor living. You had a movie on the post. ... You went to the movies, ... occasionally a 
social function, a dance or something that the U.S.O. would sponsor. But there really wasn't anything like good music ... 
or theater or that type of thing to take advantage of.

KP: At one point you were accepted into the air corps cadets training program and you declined because you were 
married. Why?

RJ: Well, ... I had applied just prior to my getting married and I had a weight problem. I didn't meet the minimum 
qualification of weight so I went on a strict diet and exercised for about three weeks and I finally got my weight down to 
the point of being able to be accepted for the program. But in the interim I got married and we came back and found a 
place to live. And when I thought about it, it would have meant that I had to go to Yale University because that's where 
the photography cadet training program was. ... I would have had to send my new bride back home. And I thought about 
all of this and I said the hell with it. It wasn't worth it so I turned it down at that point and stayed where I was. You had 
some options and I took advantage of the option.

KP: Had you thought of making the military a career at all?

RJ: ... It would have never entered my mind. In fact, even after the war, I didn't want to be part of the reserves. I didn't 
want to be a part of the National Guard. I just wasn't for military living.

KP: Your experience with ROTC and then in the army was enough?

RJ: ... Yeah, I did what I had to do. ... It was necessary to be in the ROTC for two years at land-grant college. It was 
necessary to be in the army by virtue of the draft. But I didn't want to elect to be there. ... Let me say this, I had nothing 
against military life per say, but it wasn't for my choice.

KP: You met a lot of people. You had written to both Dean Metzger and Silvers that you had met a number of Rutgers 
people while you were in the military.

RJ: ... Yes. Along the way, some how or other, you do meet people. ... At various installations you find other people you 
knew. I didn't realize I wrote that many letters.

KP: There were two letters, but they were long letters. They were quite detailed.

RJ: ... I was a writer. That's how I got married by the way. I used to write every single day to my wife and she to me ... 
until we got married. ... That was an important part of my career, writing letters.

KP: Had you thought of going into journalism as a career?

RJ: Never, you know, it's funny. ... Even though I was editor of the Targum. ...

KP: And wrote for the Philadelphia Record.

RJ: ... And I wrote for the Philadelphia Record for campus activities. But I never entertained that thought. I guess the 
stories that used to come back to me when I was at Rutgers about my predecessors who were journalism majors getting 
jobs as copy guys and making 25 dollars a week or something like that. It just never seemed like a field that had much 
opportunity, in general, I guess there were always specific guys who were able to rise above it. But the pay scales were 
such that I never, actually I never went into teaching either. So I was looking for a place where there was some 
opportunity to rise.

KP: You mentioned earlier that you decided that you were going to go into retail. What led you to that decision?

RJ: ... I think probably my upbringing, my exposure in a retail store. ... It was an insignificant kind of a store, but I still 
learned that I liked to deal with people. I liked the give and take of being a clerk or dealing with a customer and that type 
of thing. And I just felt I had an affinity for merchandising and I wanted to exploit that field so that's what I've done all of 
my adult life.

KP: You mentioned before that your unit remained quite close during the war. You had very few people leave it?

RJ: ... Yeah. Very few people actually left the outfit. ... On some occasions there were reasons that people were sent 
away from us, but I would say that ... 80 percent of the members of the unit stayed together for the three and a half years. 
  
 

KP: Which in some ways is unique for the military. A lot of people got moved around quite a bit.

RJ: Yes, but you have to understand again, ... I'm not trying to overplay the high tech feature, but in those days this was a 
very high tech outfit. I mean, today what we did as you mentioned, a satellite probably can do in a matter of minutes. But 
in those days it took a lot of training to get people capable enough to do this.

KP: The army spent a lot of time training you.

RJ: Well, that was why the prerequisites were such when they grabbed everybody that was available to put into the outfit.

KP: When the war was over did you stay in touch from the very beginning, or did the reunions come about later?

RJ: No. Everybody went home and kind of drifted apart. You know, there were certain close relationships where two or 
three people kept in touch with each other. Then a couple of the higher up non-commissioned officers, a master sergeant, 
I guess they were both master sergeants, after an interval of about ten years they started to make an effort to organize a 
veteran's association and they were successful. As a result for the last seven or eight-nine years, they have had an annual 
reunion. People travel the whole distance of the country to come to a reunion of the "Sixth Photogrammetric Squadron."

KP: Have you been to a reunion?

RJ: I've been to a couple of them.

KP: What did you think?

RJ: Well it was nice to see people. You recognize some. Most others have changed so much that it is hard to even identify

who they are. ... There is a lot of reminiscing and a lot of comradery. I mean we don't have heroic exploits to exchange 
like so many other battle troops do, but we still have a lot of memories that everybody relates to.

KP: You went into retailing after the war. How do you think the war changed retailing?

RJ: I don't know. ... From where I sit I don't know that the war changed retailing. The type of retailing experience I had 
prewar didn't give me an opportunity to judge ... [whether] retailing had changed. I think as the years have gone on, 
certainly. Technological advances ... have permeated retailing. Some of which probably came from wartime 
experimentation and things of that nature have changed retail and they are being changed every day now. ... I don't know 
if you are familiar with the electronic ordering, but the technique that Walmart uses today where when you go through the 
checkout and something is scanned that automatically goes off to the factory for inventory replenishment. You don't even 
need human beings. The store gets stocked without you being there.

KP: After the war do you think that there was a notion that returning veterans had been exposed to good pay and that 
they had higher expectations in terms of purchasing and buying?

RJ: I don't think there was an expectation. They were not exposed to higher pay, because the pay of the military was far 
from high. It was minimal really, but I think what did happen was because of the G.I. Bill making education available to so

many members of the military that everybody who wanted to got an education. The education ... made it possible for them

to be exposed to higher pay. ... Everybody did expect, first of all I guess in many instances, even though I don't think I felt

that way, the returning veterans felt that the country owed them something. After all they had taken four years in the prime 
of their lives. And most of these guys, many of them had been exposed to deadly fire repeatedly, and that they survived 
after seeing buddies being killed right next to [them]. They came home with expectations that something was owed to 
them. So, I think that plus the combination of education availability put them in a position where they expected more in the

way of earnings and opportunity.

KP: The reason I ask, I believe that it was Montgomery Ward, they had a notion that there would be a postwar 
depression, a recession, and they built up cash reserves. Whereas Sears expanded in the postwar period. You worked 
for Lit Brothers. What was their sort of philosophy?

RJ: Well, Lit Brothers, other then the local expansion which all of the stores went through in branch expansion, they never 
got to the point of national expansion. ... They remained a local institution. They opened up five or six branch stores, but 
never really got that much bigger, which is one of the reasons I left the company after about ... eight years.

KP: You saw that they were not going to expand?

RJ: Well two things happened. I realized that as a buyer in the department store or as a merchandise manager in a 
department store, the only way you could progress was if you were willing to relocate. And I wasn't looking to relocate 
that much. My wife particularly was happy being near her family and I decided if I'm not going to relocate I ought to get 
out of that field. There was an opportunity to go with a supermarket chain in the non-foods business. ... It was just the 
beginning of the non-foods advent in the supermarket. I opted for that.

KP: You worked for a supermarket chain?

RJ: I worked for a company called Penn Fruit Company. I left Lit Brothers because this was a step up for me income 
wise, management level wise.

KP: In your career you witnessed the rise and decline of the family grocery store and the rise of the supermarket.

RJ: Well, I don't think there was any association between that. I didn't go back to the supermarket field, because I had 
been in the grocery store. I think that was purely coincidence. I went with a supermarket chain, because I saw the coming

of the non-foods experience in the supermarket field. A self service growth of being able to buy housewares and 
appliances and things of that sort. I saw an opportunity that I wanted to exploit.

KP: Food stores generally just carried food. For example, your father's store had just food.

RJ: Right. In those days most of the supermarkets-- it was self service and presentation was just food. This was the 
beginning. ... I went there in 1952 and I was like a pioneer in the non-foods field actually.

KP: You had to convince them that this was the way?

RJ: I didn't have to convince them. They were already being serviced by what in those days was called rackjobbers. They

were outside people who came in and put the stuff in their stores, gave them a profit on it and they took a share of the 
profit. Penn Fruit being a very progressive company said that if somebody else can make money in our stores we would 
like to make it ourselves and decided to go into it on their own. They then had to find someone who could handle that 
activity and that was the job I found.

KP: You eventually left the chain Penn Fruit and became a manufacturer representative. Why did you do that? How did 
that come about?

RJ: Why did I do that? How did that come about? Well, when I was in this business both the ... department stores and 
supermarkets, I realized that the people who were calling on me in many instances especially the agents and 
representatives as compared to the sales employee, those people had an open end earnings opportunity. There was no 
limit on what they could earn; as bright as they were, as hard as they wanted to work, that was the opportunity for them 
to advance. And it struck me that that made a hell of a lot more sense then staying in one place on a salary. Even if you 
made more money next year, but you were still capped at a salary. And so I always thought that I would like to make that

move across the desk so to speak and be the guy selling, instead of the guy buying.

And I got to the point where I saw that Penn Fruit ... had expanded and you were asking about Lit Brothers they didn't 
expand, but Penn Fruit did expand. When I joined in 1952, they had just opened their 21st store. And when I left them in 
1963, they had 85 stores. They had expanded so rapidly that they had expanded into Staten Island, Long Island, North 
Jersey, [and] Baltimore. ... And particularly the expansion northward into the New York metropolitan area did not work 
out too well, because it was a totally different market. They got themselves into a little bit of trouble at that point and I just

sensed that they were going to have trouble, getting out of trouble. And I was 40 years old ... at that point and I got 
concerned thinking that if something happened to them and they're taken over, it's usually the takeover people that stay in 
the jobs and the others get let go. ... I figured, you know, at 40 years you start looking for a new career. So I decided to 
look for an opportunity to become a manufacturer's representative. Fortunately, I was able to talk one company into 
letting me represent them as a free agent where I knew that the earnings potential if I was bright enough and worked hard 
enough could at least keep me afloat. And that's when I made the move and it turned out to be a good move for me. ...

KP: You did take advantage of the G.I. Bill both through the mortgage, but you also entered the executive training 
program. Was that with Lit Brothers?

RJ: Well the G.I. Bill when I went to Lit Brothers under this junior executive training program which was about an eight 
month program, that was sponsored under the G.I. Bill. I got all of 12 dollars a week, I think, from Lit Brothers and about

25 from the G.I. Bill. ... I think my first job with the G.I. Bill included netted me about 45 dollars a week. After I trained 
for ... about five months. But that is where I used the G.I. Bill to take this training program.

KP: Had you thought of going back to graduate school?

RJ: I had thought about it. ... You know, once I got working in the working world I just didn't feel I wanted to take the ... 
little time that I had for freedom. Then we had children and that was another problem, so I never did.

KP: None of your children served in the military. Are you glad that they had not served in the military?

RJ: Well I'm glad that they didn't have to serve in the military. There was no reason for them to. No, I'm not sorry that my 
son is not in the military. I'd rather see him go follow the course that he followed with med school right after college ... and

all of that. ... As it worked out, the military life for me was certainly not one that I would complain about. I was very 
fortunate, I repeat, being relatively safe through the war years. Then being exposed to a way of life that I never saw 
before. Including where I was and the scenery and all the comradery. But I wouldn't suggest a military life for any of my 
family.

KP: When you say you were exposed to a different life and such, did it give you a greater self confidence? Did this 
experience of going to Colorado and meeting a whole group of people?

RJ: Yes. I think as a young man out of college who had never been outside the home area, ... it was a totally maturing 
process in the sense that you were on your own. You made most of your own decisions. Though they were governed by 
the military life, you still made your own decisions. It was growing up. It was a very definite part of maturing. Then when I 
got married and my wife came out, ... we often talk about it. It's a wonderful way to get established in marriage where you

are free of all other involvement, it's just the two of you.

KP: It was just the two of you out in Colorado? And there was no family?

RJ: ... Though I don't want my family members to be in the military, I don't have any regrets about the experience that I 
endured. I'm not enlisting again.

KP: In the two letters that you wrote it sounds like you really enjoyed how it worked out.

RJ: ... Without trying to act like a hero, I think I felt that I owed my country to go into the service. It wasn't like they 
dragged me in. ... I wanted to do something. I think especially being Jewish with the Holocaust experience and all. I went 
in fully intending to do whatever had to be done. I never expected to be given this kind of an assignment. It ended up like 
a dream assignment.

KP: It was a very important assignment. Were you all aware of the importance at the time?

RJ: Yes. ... First of all in the military you didn't have much choice. If that's where they wanted you, that's where you were.

KP: Is there anything we forgot to ask?

RJ: No, I think we have covered it pretty well. ... I hope it's useful to someone someday. ... I think the one point I told 
you about, that mapping at the end of the war. That's probably the most memorable thing that I have in military service. I 
truly believe that we were on the cutting edge of some event that we knew about and nobody else knew about except the 
very rare number of people in the higher echelon of the military at the time. But ... I am deeply convinced that we were 
planning an invasion of the South China Coast.

KP: Because of the nature of the mapping?

RJ: Because of the fact that we were doing this map and it had no other purpose. We were doing this ... in late '45. The 
atom bomb was dropped in August of '45. ... I guess we were mapping in mid- '45. Just about the time the ... atom bomb

dropped. In fact, we had the map practically finished when the atom bomb was dropped.

RL: Do you think that they were expecting that the bomb would not make them surrender? The higher-ups in the military 
do you think they believed that the atom bomb was going to end the war?

RJ: I don't think anybody knew what to expect of the atom bomb. You know, they knew how deadly a device it was, but

I don't think that they knew that it would work. ... The whole development of the atom bomb in those years was so highly 
controversial, ... secret and experimental that just because they were able to make a bomb, I don't think anybody 
expected it to be as devastating as it proved to be.

KP: In addition, almost nobody knew anything about it.

RJ: Yes, until it was dropped.

KP: What was your reaction in your unit when the bomb was dropped?

RJ: It was hard to see the number of people that were slaughtered in one fell swoop. I mean selfishly as an American and 
realizing that it was going to end the war. ... I'll tell you this point I made before when we realize what a slaughter it would 
have been for the troops to have to land in that setting that this represented in the South China Coast. We would have lost

so many troops that it would have been horrendous. So from that standpoint ... anything that would have terminated the 
war would have been welcome. ...

Mankind has a devastating way of reducing itself. It's crazy. Look at the ethnic problems we are having around the world 
today with people killing each other. ... We don't learn unfortunately. I think if anything we get worse instead of better. 
[There is] something wrong somewhere. [There is] something wrong with religion unfortunately that ... creates such ethnic 
hatreds.

... Is there anything else then? I'm glad we were able to get together.

KP: Thank you very much.

------------------------ END OF INTERVIEW ----------------------- 
 

Reviewed: 8/29/97 by G. Kurt Piehler

Edited: 8/31/97 by Tara Kraenzlin

Entered: 9/2/97 by G. Kurt Piehler

Edited: 9/10/97 by Russ Janoff

Entered 9/15/97 by Eve Snyder

Reviewed: 9/15/97 by G. Kurt Piehler 

 

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