I was a member of the Communications Platoon, Headquarters Company, First Battalion, 394th Regiment.
The last week of April, the division was advancing south and east of Munchen. The last midsize village I remember passing through was Landshut. We were told that one of the other regiments encountered unexpected resistance and casualties. The division stopped advancing and dispersed among a number of small villages.
Our platoon established residence in a guest house in the village of Pauluszell. This guest house was owned by a couple and their two teenage daughters. We were enjoying a legitimate bed for sleeping and chairs to sit on. The daughters would make our beds and clean the rooms daily.
The wife was able to converse in limited English. She studied each soldier’s dogtag and remarked that I was German. I explained my German heritage to her and we immediately became friends. We would visit several hours a day and I felt like I was receiving a college preparatory course in Germany history. How and why Hitler was able to gain power and how it affected the everyday life of a German family.
The war was declared over and the wife asked if we could celebrate together. The German propaganda machine had told the people that we would take their food, rape their daughters and create total plunder. She said the opposite was true. She had to stand by while retreating soldiers plundered their property and abused their daughters.
The Americans came and were perfect gentlemen and even gave them food. Her comment was American can be very proud of their soldiers. She told us she had little to offer but they did own a small herd of cattle including a calf. They offered to donate the calf if someone could butcher it, as her husband was physically disabled. I butchered the calf and with the donated American food, the mother and daughters prepared a fabulous meal.
The German family did not want their pictures taken as they said they couldn’t trust anybody. If the wrong neighbors realized what they had done, they would have to suffer. To tell the complete story of this festive occasion would be boring, so I have limited the contents.
I might add the first course to the meal became a lifetime memory to me. It was liver dumpling soup.
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