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Arthur Goodfriend Papers

Oral History Transcription:

Tape IV, Side A: August 20, 1997

NOTE: AG = Arthur Goodfriend; JY = Jason Yamashita; ST = Shari Tamashiro

ST:

You ready? August 20, 1997. Arthur Goodfriend oral history. Let's talk about when you got the telegram saying that you were drafted into the war. You were in the reserve?

AG:

Yes.

ST:

So what rank were you?

AG:

Second lieutenant.

ST:

And where were you sent?

AG:

Camp Lee, Virginia.

ST:

And what was that?

AG:

Well, the interesting thing was that I was just about launched with The New York Times in a literary career writing, being a correspondent for The New York Times. And was very quite successful in that. And we were also going to work for Life magazine. So the whole world of journalism was opening up. In which particular point, the...Pearl Harbor occurred and I got the telegram from the war department assigning me to active duty. And so I went down to Camp Lee, Virginia as a second lieutenant. And almost immediately they what they do when you report for duty - they check out your background. Your, what they call the [MOS] your experience. And when they found that I was a writer and a journalist and had met Hitler and Hirohito and Mussolini and so on, this sort of immediately conferred a great deal of interest and attention on me. And I was sent over immediately to the commanding general of Camp Lee who said since you have this background would you be able to do something about instructing the soldiers here about what this whole war is all about. And again by sheer magic, by this magic thing I keep referring to - the man upstairs or whatever - the contact that I had with Life magazine came into mind. I had the managing editor of, the managing director of Life magazine. His name was C.D. Jackson...who was about to employ as a Life correspondent. And I wrote up a memorandum saying that the American soldier should know all about the German soldier, you should know about the Japanese soldier, you should know about Adolf Hitler and Mein Kampf - the basic theory on which fascism was founded, and so on. And that all of this should be done in a way with pictures that would inform the American soldier, keep him interested, and tell him what the war was all about. The question was what to do with this idea; and the answer to that was to go back to Life magazine and see C.D. Jackson and see whether I could get him to help me by providing the man power and the pictures that only Life magazine had. And the wonderful thing that happened was that Jackson said, Yes. By all means. We will help you. And immediately, within one week I was sent to New York to see him. Within one week he had pulled together a most remarkable group of experts in each of these fields. Some of the best known writers in the United States were immediately pulled in...who wrote the basic scripts on Mein Kampf, on Hitler, on the Japanese soldier, on the German soldier, on the, all the other things that we felt the American soldier needed to know. And then we pulled all the photographs from Life's picture log to illustrate this. And within two weeks we had seven big picture portfolios that related to this subject matter. All of it magnificently illustrated and such a large size that it could be shown to platoon or to a company or to a squad of soldiers, and it required no expertise - it was all right there on the, in these graphic portfolios. And that became the basic instructional medium of the United States Army as it related to what the world was all about. But it would not pass the inspection of the, of the...final review board, who said, very interesting, they said, This takes instruction down to the level of the most illiterate soldier because it relies on pictures and things of that sort. We want...we want to lift instruction to theWest Point level. Which meant going right back to the complicated language - the exalted, theoretical material of West Point. And so I, we were defeated on that whole thing, except it came to the attention of another Colonel who said, that this is something that could be used, the method could be used to teach other things likes rifle marksmanship, map reading, and so on. The basic training requirements of the Army. And...I was taken over to the Pentagon which was just opened...the Pentagon was just barely completed and introduced to the general who was in charge of military basic training. And he sent me down to, to...camp, Ft. Benning, Georgia which was the instructional area of the facility of the infantry to learn how to shoot the the [ ] rifle. And so in two weeks down there I learned how to shoot the rifle. I, who incidentally, had know background whatsoever in marksmanship and never really fired a gun or any in that sort. But we worked out a method of marksmanship which then became standard. Again using pictures, again using, uh, allusions, and metaphors, and so on. You had to handle a rifle exactly the way you would a beautiful girl. You had to get to know the rifle, and you had to sort of cuddle up to the rifle, and so on and so forth. All of these, you had to squeeze the trigger instead of jerking the trigger; you had to squeeze the girl rather that jerking the girl. In that case we used a tube of toothpaste. If you...squeeze the tube... roughly it'll squirt out. You had no control over it. But it you squeeze the tube gently, the toothpaste comes out in a usable way on your toothbrush. Using these allusions, using these comparisons, and so on, we turned out books on, uh, marksmanship, on map reading, on chemical warfare, on first aid for the soldiers, on scouting and patrolling. All of them using the Life magazine pictures. I...also we took pictures down to...all of these, of all of these points that was being made right there in Ft. Benning and at Ft. [ ] and the other places where I was sent. And as a result of this I got a marvelous letter from the commanding general of the...of basic training who's...who was sent to Europe to command the First Infantry Division. He wrote a letter saying that nobody had done more to train the American soldier than me. Which was so odd because really I was not all that, I started out without having any basic expertise of any of these but by acquiring it myself I was able to transfer this expertise to the army (as a) whole. So out of that came out all of these books. The...they were picked up, the method was picked up by the Infantry Journal. This is the one on rifle marksmanship.

ST:

What is the Infantry Journal?

AG:

The Infantry Journal is a magazine, the professional magazine of the...United States Army Infantry. And the...professional organization similar...I guess an analogy would be the American Medical Association. That was the army's professional magazine. They saw the portfolios that I had done and they realized that this could be...they could be put into manuals of this sort and sold in the PXs throughout the army. That it would be a very useful thing to do. And so all of these things that I did in the graphic portfolio, of the one that could be used in basic training, was then transferred into these books and sold in PXs - and millions of them...

ST:

Oh, they were sold in PXs.

AG:

Sold in PXs...And that became the, these became the basic methods of instruction. I don't see...A very important one was the the one on map reading. Something's gone wrong here in my collection. But anyway, I think we have enough to ask...at least answer...

ST:

So actually the first project that you did with Life, that...nothing came out that because it was rejected at the top?

AG:

Nothing came out of it except that it was transferred over to basic training, but, but later on when I became a captain and a major and had more authority, and so on, and went to Europe, then all the material that we had done with Life magazine was brought back into play, and we were able to use it. And it became the basis of all the basic instruction that we gave the troops in Europe before D-day. All of these things about Mein Kampf, and the German soldier, and so on and so forth. These ideological this ideological material was then used in the European theater. So nothing was wasted. It all came out. And again I think it's all really providential.

ST:

So, like Shooting A Rifle, you also did Scouting and Patrolling?

AG:

Yes.

ST:

Did you, did you also, I guess, research it...

AG:

Well yes.

ST:

...and try to find the easiest way to...

AG:

Yes. In every case what they would do would be to be to send me down to the to the... the army installation that specialized in that subject. In other words, if it was rifle marksmanship that would be the infantry school in Ft. Benning. For map reading it would be Ft. [ ]. And so in each of these places I had to go down there and learn what it was that I had to teach. And so I was given all the instruction. Then my job was to transfer what I was taught into into a methodology - into pictures, into allusions, into comparisons, into analogies that made it understandable to a soldier who did not have the professional competence that that the army assumed. And so, all of it was brought down to very simple language, very and very graphic, and very graphic [pictures]. I, myself, posed for all the all of the mistakes that were made. I would demonstrate...with my own [] in the...I became Private Joe Jerk. Here, incidentally, is an example of the, of how the analogy between rifle, the rifle and the pretty girl. Let's see if I can find the...the picture of me making all the mistakes. Here is the...the toothpaste analogy. Let's see now... (long pause, as Arthur looks through papers...)

ST:

When you get to books like, um, the Jap soldier, the German soldier, where did you get the information on all of these? Was it based on your past experiences or...

AG:

Well...as I said, the basic instruction came from the experts in each of these areas. And I would be sent to the place where the, where all of the basic doctrine was established and where they were teaching this. But they were teaching it in the old fashioned method - at the very, very high level. My job was to get all that information from these experts and then translate it into simpler statements, all visualized in specially...in pictures that showed the correct way and the incorrect way of shooting or map reading - whatever it may be. So, that was the...I had to I had to become a simple soldier learning from them, and then, then finding a way to transfer what they were teaching me into something that was more understandable by soldiers who did not have the literacy, who did not have the educational confidence to understand the West Point level of instruction. It was [bringing], from West Point down to the level of the ordinary man who had no military experience or background. Simplification, identification with him...the utilization of analogies so that a rifle became a girl and...a trigger became a tube of toothpaste, and so on. Those are the things that sort of took a very mysterious thing and made it commonplace.

ST:

Can you talk a little about how you...what method you chose, the invented of teaching the soldiers of how to read a map?

AG:

Well, the again it was the it was...it was something that happened again very fortuitously. There I was sent down to Ft. [ ] to learn how to how to read a map. And I was with a squad of soldiers lost somewhere in the [Shanendoah] Valley looking at my map and not being able to understand what I was looking at. And the soldier along side of me pulled out a copy of a newspaper. And in this newspaper there's a picture of Betty Grable. And he said, Gee, what a beautiful girl. And I looked at this and I realized that he was not looking at a beautiful girl; he was looking at a picture of a beautiful girl. And that...I don't have...we have to find these things. Something's really missing. I can't find my map reading book. The, uh...What I did then was to get a picture of Betty Grable and to...get a picture of Betty Grable and immediately you could...transfer this into a map by drawing these grid, these coordinates. Again, you don't see this very well here. But, her head is north and her feet are south. East, east...and west. She is oriented. The scale...she is five feet tall, but on the map she's reduced down to six inches. So that gives you the ratio of the map to the, to reality, so on. So you get orientation and you...get the scale. And then by drawing these coordinates, and so on, with numbers here. If you give the number 48-62, that would give you where her navel is. Or if the other coordinates would be 79- 83, and you would get her left eye, or whatever it might be. So immediately you could pick out so-called targets on the map by giving these mysterious numbers - 62-73 - you could immediately related that to where is was on Betty Grable's body. And then if it were a map, if it were a piece of terrain, you'd be able to see exactly where it was on the...train. In other words it could be a farm house or it could be a pillbox or it could be a piece of artillery or whatever the target might be. So almost immediately by looking, by relating Betty Grable to land and orienting her and scaling her and coordinating her, you had an analogy, again, between the girl and the...and terrain, land, which enabled the soldier to transfer a piece of paper is his hand to the confirmation of the terrain that he was... concerned with. So, again, by simplification and by the utilization of, I would say, uh... humani...humaniza(tion)...humanizing the thing - taking the mystery out of it. And, uh... making it interesting and comprehensible. Because immediately when the soldiers saw this he said, By, by-golly I cannot...I'm interested in Betty Grable. That meant to be we were able to transfer that interest from Betty Grable to interest in a map. And so that way we were successful in teaching a very, very...And map reading was the most difficult subject we had to teach the soldier. And that was the method that was adopted by the army, and it was very successful. So...

ST:

This was criticized later on, wasn't it?

AG:

Yes. Norman Mailer used it as a...an example of army...you know the crazy way that the army had of instructing people. He was very critical of it. But on the other hand, I don't think that his criticism stands up because the method was as effective as it was. But the big problem would be today, this did not happed then, but today this method would be criticized as somehow utilizing women in in a way that reduced their dignity, reduced their esteem, and so on. It would be, it would go, it would be offensive in the contemporary situation we're in where women do not want to be used as objects of that sort. And, uh, but at that time the there was a much greater acceptance of it. And especially in the army, among among soldiers, there's simply was no disputing the fact that the...There were only two things that the soldier was interested in. Number one was women and the other one was survival. And if you combined his interest in women with that of survival you had a combination going for you that psychologically was effective. And I think it would justify it. But today, it's interesting that mores change, and today I don't think this could be...probably it was acceptable in 1997 as it was in 1942.

ST:

Can you talk a little bit about, I guess, how you see the difference between educating the soldier and training the soldier?

AG:

Well, the...the difference would be that education would be giving the, educating would be giving the soldier the knowledge that he needed about the origins of the war, the background of the war, why the war happened, what...the United States was fighting against and what the United States was fighting for, what was our global outlook, what was the background that we brought to the war, what did we want to preserve, and what did we want to defend, and what did we want to attack. That involved education. It involved knowledge of another people, of another culture, of politics. It meant that they had to understand what national socialism was, they had to understand what communism was, and they had to understand what capitalism was. They had to understand the concept of freedom. These are philosophical subjects that required some background educationally of philosophy and of politics and of history and of geography, and so on. That was education. Training on the other hand was utilization of knowledge in the application of martial necessities in martial arts. And they basically were rifle marksmanship. Every soldier had to know how to shoot. Every soldier had to know how to read a map. Every soldier had to know about scouting and patrolling - meaning not getting lost and be able to follow a track and to do this, incidentally, not only in the daytime but in the nighttime. Every soldier had to understand what happened if you're wounded. How to apply the necessary bandages and [ ], and so on and so forth - basic basic first aid for the soldier. Every soldier had to...know...survival, survival techniques. Which meant, not only the military power that the United States had in its army, but it had to understand what the training methods of the Germans and the Japanese were so that we could...so the soldier individually knew what he was up against. So that would be the difference between education and training. Education meant the total background historically, philosophically, geographically, economically of the war. Training had to do with the skills, the basic skills that each soldier had to master in order to, not only destroy the enemy, but for himself to survive. So I think that would be the distinction. The book that you see there you must be [ ] as an example of what I'm saying. This was the, a book that was done for the Women's Army Core - the WACs. And what was happening was the women were coming into the army and the Women's Army Core and eating army food and it was very fattening, it was very starchy, and so on. And so they were no longer able to fit into their uniforms and they were bulging in all kinds of directions, and what have you. And they had a problem. So it was interesting. They called on me, having made my reputation in the sense of these other subjects. They said, Can you help us with dealing with this? And so we did this...I teamed up with the...a lieutenant by the name of Donna Niles, who posed for many of the, many of the pictures. And Donna and I went down to the WAC training headquarters in Texas and we collaborated in doing this book. It's a book, essentially, of exercises and of diet and of other things that women needed to know to maintain their...trimness. And as a result of that, I became the only male member of the United States Army entitled to wear the WAC ribbon. So...

ST:

So during that...

AG:

And she...[ ]...and two years ago Donna Niles died. And so...As incidentally, all of these people that we're talking about now, we're talking about something that happened thirty, forty years ago - fifty years ago really. And these people just phase-out...I'm the last survivor.

ST:

So during this period, basically you were traveling around the country putting together these books?

AG:

In these various training camps learning the basics and myself experiencing what this soldier was going through and then translating that into methodology so it would be understandable.

ST:

So that was your beginning?

AG:

That was my beginning.

ST:

After you finished doing this you were sent to Morale Services. . .

AG:

Yes.

ST:

. . .was that next? Could you tell us a little bit about that?

AG:

Well, the army had a problem. They were discovering that the American soldier did not understand what the war was about. There was again an educational deficiency. You got to realize, that underlying this whole thing, we're not talking really about just the army and the war, we're talking about the fact that millions of young American men and women would be brought into the army educationally disabled. They were poorly educated by the American educational system. The public schools and the high schools had not done their job. So that you had reading problems. You had problems of understanding and there was an insufficiency of background historically. These soldiers were simply had, were inadequately educated for the job of becoming an effective army. So all of that had to be dealt with which meant, as I say, the simplification of the material and the utilization of pictures to make the material visible and interesting, and so on. So that. . .the, that all came down to one big question and that was morale. If the soldier didn't understand why he was there, why all these indignities were being inflicted on him-having to get up at four o'clock in the morning and eat bad chow and then spend his whole day suffering in the field in the sun, in the rain, crawling through the mud and going through all these horrible experiences, and so on. The end purpose of which was to kill another human being and himself exposed to being killed, and so on. This is pretty rough stuff and soldiers didn't understand what was going on. And so there were thousands of them that were deserting. And they were sent to a camp in Boston, outside of Boston, Massachusetts, called the East Coast Processing Center. And I was sent up there to find out why these deserters were deserting. And they thought that I would interview maybe one or two, and so on. But when I went up there I said, "No, I don't want to interview a few soldiers. I want to go in. I want to become a prisoner myself." And so I did. I became a private. I was a, I think I was a captain by that time, but I became a private and I was arrested in Boston as a deserter who had left his outfit that was scheduled to leave for Europe. And I was sent to the East Coast Processing Center, and I spent ten days or two weeks there as a prisoner learning what it was was going on in this stockade. And learning, in the process, that maybe half of the men there were decent guys-potentially good soldiers who didn't understand why they were there and why they were in the army and had left, and had deserted for reasons that really made some sense. One of them, for instance, said that the army was not sending my paycheck to my mother and until my mother gets my paycheck I'm not going to say in the army. And so by correcting these things it was possible to get these guys out of the stockade and back into service. So my recommendation after two weeks was that possibly ten, twenty, thirty percent maybe of these guys were absolutely incorrigible. You might just as well forget them. Discharge them from the army and get rid of them. But the other seventy percent could be salvaged. They could be restored to active duty if we understood what their problem was and if we resolved the problem, they could be, their morale would be lifted and so on. So my general said he did not understand why these men had no sense of hostility to the enemy. He said find out why. And I, when I came back, I said that the. . .nowhere in the army is the morale higher than it is here because they do have a great sense of hostility to the enemy-but the enemy happens to be the army. And that was the basic lesson that came out of this. As a result of that, thousands of these guys were released from the blockade, were re-oriented, went back to their outfits, sent overseas because the invasion was about to begin and they became useful soldiers. And I also was sent overseas at that time to deal with this morale situation as it existed in the European theater of operations.

ST:

Before we talk about that, could we talk about this team, this morale team that was assembled by Osborn. . .It says Munro Leaf and Ted Geisel. Could you talk about it?

AG:

Well, the Morale Services Division under General Osborn-a very fine general, a very fine man, a very good, very, I thought, a very good man for the job-he was searching for answers to this problem. And it was through his use of me that I was able to become as effective as I was in dealing with this. He was very good at picking people in the general society who he thought had the creative ability as writers, as artists, as creative individuals to deal with the problem of morale-not in the West Point manner, but again by utilizing their skills, their genius, so to speak, in reading the American soldiers. Now who were these people? Well among them were Munro Leaf who had done Ferdinand the Bull. That was one of the most popular little books that everybody knew Ferdinand the Bull. This suggested to Osborn that Munro Leaf might be a useful people in dealing with the subject that's delicate, as sensitive and profound as morale. Then there is another man- probably one of the most remarkable people that we're. . .certainly my generation-that was a man by the name of Ted Geisel. Ted Geisel is Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat. The, all of these picture books. These crazy picture books that are so appealing to children. They were all done by Ted Geisel, by Dr. Seuss, who became famous. He is probably one of the most honored and respected authors of not really children books, but everybody loves his material. So, Ted Geisel was a part of the Morale Services Division. And what Osborn did was to bring together as many people from education-educators, teachers, writers, illustrators, moving picture people. President Reagan was in, as a soldier, was in the Morale Services Division doing movie pictures out in Hollywood. Frankly all that directors, and men like Jimmy Stewart and so on, actors and actresses, they were all going in to deal with this problem of morale because morale essentially was a matter of people's attitude. Were you for it? Do you understand what you are doing? Or were you against it? Could we overcome your antagonism?. . .So on. It all required psychological ability manifested in good writing, understandable words, and in attractive, effective pictures. And that was the Morale Services Division. And the instruments that he had to work with outside of these people were all of the basic publications, and the publications were basically the army newspaper Stars and Stripes, the army magazine Yank, and various other publications which we will talk about, I'm sure. These all came under the Morale Services. So I became a member of this team of very interesting people. They were really, in a way, the cream of the intellectual crop. All of them dedicated to the resolution of a problem that has been recognized throughout history that an army cannot win a war unless its morale is high. It's the people, if the men are dejected, if they're unhappy, if they don't believe in what they're fighting for you don't have an army, you have a potential. . .you face defeat because you do not have the, a [ ], you do not have the determination based on understanding that morale demands. So that morale became a big issue in the American army largely because of the deficiencies in the educational system that sent men into the army without the background they needed to become effective soldiers. This was a defect that had to be repaired and it had to be repaired under very, very difficult conditions of war. And the methods that we used were those that I've just explained in the Morale Services Division. And also in the military training-in the utilization of these, again, a rather home-spun type of method, of approach rather than the elitist West Point.

ST:

So after Massachusetts, can we talk about your second assignment?

AG:

Well, then I was sent the, I turned in my paper on the stockade on the East Coast experience. It was very, very effective and immediately meant that I was sort of a marked man. And they said okay, you've done this now, the invasion is due to come soon, go to Europe and report to the Morale Services Division in London, which I did. And there I ran into immediately the, what was being done in the, both in the newspapers and in the, these Army Talks. Well again I should say my approach was, before I did anything else, I actually became a soldier-I became a private again. And I went to the First Infantry Division which is commanded by [ ]. . .general that I worked for in the Pentagon- that was General Clarence [ ]. He was now the Commanding General of the number one division in the American army. The First Infantry division called the Big Red One. So I became a private in the First Infantry division. And went through all the basic training that was going on there and was hanging around the soldiers to find out what they were thinking of and how they were reacting and so on. And they were all worried about what was going to happen to them in the impending invasion. Soldiers only had two things on their minds which is very, very simple. Hanging around. . .you know, this is after training, and so on, in the evening you'd sit around talking what. . .There were two things that interested the soldiers. Number one was women. They always, they were lonely guys who just were only interested in women. Women, women, women. And the other interest they had was when, my God, what's going to happen to me when I get over there? What, who are these Germans? What about their equipment? What about their methods, their tactics? What am I going to be dealing with and am I prepared to deal with this? How does my rifle compare with theirs? How does my machine gun compare with theirs? How does an American tank compare with a German tank? What kind of, what happened to us in North Africa? How do we beat Germans in North Africa? What lessons did we learn? Well immediately it became apparent to me that thing we had to do was to answer these questions. And so I turned these Army Talks around from what they were. They had very strange subject-how to meet a British wife and, a British wife at wartime. Can you imagine a subject like that? The very esoteric subjects in which a soldier had absolutely no interest. And these, hundreds of thousands of these were being distributed in the army. Every, every, one hour a week had to be given over to the soldiers discussing these, this material. And, of course, it went down like. . .

ST:

Who picked these topics? Who picked the topics?

AG:

The topics were picked by three people. One was General Lee. . .was in charge of supplies-by that I mean a man who had no direct responsibility for combat. His concern was primarily getting, getting food and other things up to the troops, and so on. The other guy was, was in the American embassy-a man by the name of Herbert Agar , who is the American Red Cross. Again, the American Red Cross had nothing to do with real combat situations, and so on. It was done by three men who had no contact whatsoever with the ordinary American soldier. So when I came back from my first, from the First Infantry division, came back and told them and told Eisenhower, that look we've got to change this material from what they're being given to things that relate to the coming invasion, and so on. Immediately the whole thing changed. And Eisenhower wrote a letter to all of the commanding generals saying you've got to change everything from what it was to this new method. You've got to tell the troops what its all about, what's going to happen to them, how they cope, and so on. So immediately in the four weeks before the invasion, we did four Army Talks that were totally related to the war. "The Enemy in You," explaining exactly about the German soldier; "How We Beat Them In Africa," we meet 'um and we beat 'um, who did we do that. The third one was: "How Do the Russians...," who were then very successful in, on the eastern front, "How Russians Kill Germans." On the ideological side we did one on Mein Kampf, which incidentally was rescuing material that remember we did originally and was turned down. Now we were able to use it and so on. So ideologically that go Mein Kampf, they got "We Have Met the Enemy and Defeated Them in Africa" (which was how we did it), this is the way the Russians have done their success stories, and so on. And then, just the very last one before the invasion, was called, Mein Kampf, it was called "Achtung"- Attention. This exactly what you're going to run into in Normandy. The hedgerows and the beach business, and all that sort of thing. So in the four issues, before the invasion, they were to get all of this vital information [ ]. And the last one on Normandy was given to the troops as they sailed across the channel to hit the beaches and to change the whole situation. So all of this, of course to me, a very exciting thing to be able to be effective in this way at these crucial moments. And again I would say that somehow destiny was involved. Why do these things happen? Why was I there at the time when these things needed to be done? Why was I in the position to do something about them and so on? It was an incredible experience to have the opportunity which was given to me by circumstances which really in a way I believe were dictated by something transcended, something beyond explanation. And of course, then what happened was...but maybe I'm anticipating your next question...and that would be as a result of this, there was a realization in the army newspaper, The Stars and Stripes, that a vital instrument in dealing with soldier morale and the, and I was made the editor-in-chief of The Stars and Stripes in the European Theater of operations.

ST:

What was The Stars and Stripes like before you got there?

AG:

The Stars and Stripes...I certainly do not want in anyway to seem to be criticizing it. It was started under very difficult circumstances - getting the newspaper men together form the army finding soldiers who could become reporters, and so on, editors, and what have you. Getting newsprint, getting paper - in very difficult supply situations to get paper. To get printing presses, to get ink, to...And that had all been done by my predecessor. He had done a very, very good job of that. He also had got done a very good job in collecting a bunch of men together who were excellent newspaper men. They were good reporters; they were good writers. And they were able to put a newspaper out. But the thing that was, what the newspaper was lacking; however, was, it was editorially it stood for nothing...it made...it was, it came into a very, very...long editorials, very long-winded, very, written in a very high-hand, elitist manner. Language was way over the average soldier's head. And coming up with some very strange things such as: the war is almost over. When the war had hardly begun. They said victory is in sight. Well, victory was nowhere nearly in sight. We, in May of 1944 the, we were a year away from victory but they're already declaring...Imagine the impact that that would have on a soldier reading this thing. He said, "Why, if the war is already won then why can't I go home." But he had all of the, a whole year of fighting ahead of him even though the editorial of The Stars and Stripes were saying, look the Germans were defeated, and so on. There would be an editorial that said everytime, everytime a [buzz bomb] - that's one of Hitler's bombs - hits London and kills Englishmen, American soldiers fight harder. Well, there was no relationship between American soldiers fighting harder in France because somebody was hit by a bomb in England. This was very distant from what the soldier was interested and concerned with. So what I did as the editor of The Stars and Stripes was immediately to change the editorial policy from one that was very distant from reality to something that was really real. So every real problem that we had was dealt with editorially - revealing that something like trench foot, for instance...trench foot was, the soldier's feet were subjected to snow and wet, and so on, would develop infirmities, and what have you. We started dealing with the realities of that sort. So every time a problem came up, the newspaper responded to the problem. If so, if the wrong people in the army were stealing cigarettes, for instance, which were very important to the troops, we wrote in editorials and got in to the newspaper that these guys should be condemned...this is wrong. In other words, the newspaper became an instrument where by we were able to reach soldiers on all of those areas that related to their survival and to victory, and so on. And so it changed the, changed the manner, the content of the newspaper in very significant ways without altering the news. The news was still was [ ]. But in doing this, I made some terrible mistakes. And one of the big mistakes was that because of the previous [ ] of the newspaper the soldiers all wanted to go home. I want to go home, I want to go home, I want to go home. And a big...the great outcry of the soldiers was "I want to go home." And that was brought about by, again the news would say, that there were, that soldiers were being sent back home. They had amassed the right number of points, they were going back home, and they were being treated very [ ]...they were living in hotels. And they were being discharged from the army. And they were getting good jobs where, you could imagine, the impact that that would have on the guys [ ]...in the trenches and in the foxholes of Europe. So I wrote an editorial saying, Well, if, why do you want to go home? If this isn't worth while fighting for, just look around you and see what happens to your own home if you don't...if you're not willing to protect it. Well, it's sort of an abbreviated approach to the matter, but it aroused a great deal of response. Thousands and thousands of letters poured into The Stars and Stripes. And it all got down to, yes we want to go home but not until the, not until the until victory. And so, these were the these were the situations that you confronted as the editor of The Stars, of The Stars and Stripes.

ST:

Actually, we have your editorial here. Could you read it?

AG:

Yeah. So you want to go home? As long as The Stars and Stripes is a G.I. journal, there will be no stops on letters to the editor. I should...I should say that I introduce something called B-Bag, a letters to the editor column which enables soldiers to register their complaints and criticisms and what have you. So we had, that was another element in the new Stars and Stripes. But if you believe all the guff some guys give out on the I want to go home theme, you'd think this was one panty waste army. It's looks like our great, big American supermen are all ready to pack up and leave this legalized murder to the nurses, wacks, and club [ ] girls. We wish the homesick boys would lift their heads from the tear-stained pillows and take a look at the wreckage and misery of war around them and thank God their own homes don't look like that. They're away from home to save themselves a home to go back to. If it takes two or ten years to save it, it's worth it. If it isn't worth it, then why all the hurry to get back? Maybe all this bitching about going home is just another symptom of good morale. If so, fine. But maybe it's the first sign of a let's stay home and let the rest of the world fly a kite spirit that gave Hitler and his [jippy-jappy] pals their big chance. Sure, Joe, it would be swell to go home and get married and have yourself a son. Then in twenty years as he leaves for the wars, you can settle down to read his letters. Dear Pop, he'll write, I want to go home. When I read this today, I'm almost embarrassed by...you can see, you can see my writing style which is very definitely at a lowered level - using language that was very soldier-oriented, and so on. There's a real effort to use words like, all the guff some guys give out, and so on. It was soldier language, and so on. And it was, and it was in a way, very insulting that I would... be as outspoken as this about, you know, if you want to go home...what do you want to go home for. If you don't realize what's going on around here, this could happen to your own home, and so on. At any rate, it was...it aroused tremendous reaction. Thousands of letters came in. I was pilloried from...I was threatened...I never thought I'd survive this thing, especially among the staff itself. But in the long run it turned out to be a victory, and so on. It worked out well.

ST:

Actually, can you talk a little bit about the B-Bag and the characters Willie and Joe?

AG:

Yeah. Well...there again, I felt that The Stars and Stripes and The Stars and Stripes newspaper should be a an instrument used by the soldiers themselves. It was their newspaper and they should therefore have access to it, and they should be able to voice their complaints, their thoughts on whatever subjects interested them. And so we introduced this column called B-Bag. B-Bag was the duffel bag in a way where you stuffed all of your clothes and your toilet articles, and so on and so forth. And so, blow it out in the B-Bag was the method that we used to invite soldiers to write letters - and they did - complaining about their offices, complaining about liquor, and complaining about lack of cigarettes, and complaining about food, complaining about, just about every- thing you wanted to complain about. But it gave them, invented their antagonisms and their problems and it provided release. It was a very, very popular part of the newspaper. I think it was probably the...one of the best ways of dealing with morale, to give the soldiers a chance to let off steam. The other, of course, was, I think, one of the great geniuses of the war - and that was Bill Mauldin. Bill Mauldin was a cartoonist who had no reputation whatsoever until he got into the army. But in the army he somehow picked up again on the soldier, on the ordinary rifleman, the infantry replacement, the guy that was really suffering all of the hardships and indignities of the war. And he was able to draw pictures of these guys with absolute, total accuracy. Total accuracy meant that these soldiers up on the front lines, they had no water, they had no shaving cream, they had no time to shave, they had no razor blades, they had no mirrors, they had no time, they had no desire to look spic-and-span, so they looked very, very crummy. They were dirty, they smelt bad, badly and so on. But that was the fate of an ordinary soldier. That was the nature of being in combat, and so on. But that was very, very un-...displeasing to some officers, most noticeably General Patton, who was very, who objected very strenuously to Mauldin's pictures and who said that if you continue to publish these these disgraceful pictures in The Stars and Stripes I will stop, I will not permit the distribution of the newspaper in the Third Army, which he commanded. And...we ran into real problems with people like General Patton. But then was sent Mauldin down to talk to Patton and it was very interesting that he had a good talk with Patton and somehow he was able to mollify Patton, and we worked out what might be called a [ ] or a [ ], so that we were able to continue publishing Mauldin without having without having interfer ence with Patton. But the guy that saved us and all of this was Eisenhower. Eisenhower said, Pay no attention to Patton. You keep on publishing Mauldin, keep on publishing B-Bag. This is good for the soldier and this newspaper is for him and so he defended me...he defended me, incidentally, in the case of the "So You Want to Go Home" editorial, and so on.

ST:

After...actually you said you did request reassignment. Was that after the editorial "You Want to Go Home?"

AG:

Yes. Yes...Andy Rooney, the, who you all everybody listens to Andy Rooney...Andy Rooney came back from the front [ ] and he said, This editorial's ruined The Stars and Stripes. We're even being attacked by by soldiers because of the sterile editorial you wrote, and so on. And it was...he said it was the most...it's the only unmoral thing The Stars and Stripes ever did. And that reflected a lot of the attitude of the staff. And I felt as if I'd, you know, as the editor, I had ruined a perfectly good newspaper because of my stupidity and in writing an editorial of that sort and in dealing with such a sensitive subject and doing it in a rather brutal way and getting the response that we did with thousands and thousands of soldiers writing in. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Well, I felt so badly about it that I went to my general. His name was [Sulvan]. I said, Look, I, I think I've made a big mistake; I think I've hurt the newspaper; I think I ought to be transferred and reassigned. And he said, Well, let's wait...there again, the Morale Services Division came in and they had psychologists and...who went out and interviewed the soldiers on all kinds of subjects. What do you think of the food, what do you think of your equipment, what do you think of this, what do you think of that. He said, Let's find out what they, what the (statistics)...what the interviews...we'll make, we'll do research and find out what the reality is. And so the thousands of men were interviewed across the entire spectrum of the army and when the actual returns came in it turned out that something like 60, 73 percent I think, of something of that sort, liked the editorial. 17 percent did not like it. And maybe 8 or 9 percent hadn't, had no opinion. It was a total reversal of the first flare-up - this emotional reaction that Andy Rooney...Andy and I are very good friends, and so on. But at that particular time and to this day, Andy still thinks that the editorials were inappropriate. But that began as a very, very good example of how the, of how Osborn and the Morale Services Division operated. They were very professional before they made decisions, such as reassigning me. Which would have been, I think, very hurtful so far as my own personal life was concerned. But it would have meant that the newspaper would undergo a new kind of direction. That...the decisions were based on real research and on real a real effort to get the facts [ ] and to deal with the emotions which always run rampant during a war with everybody on edge. So it worked, it worked out well. But...I was always in trouble...this is the...you couldn't be in a job like that without doing things that exposed you to very negative reactions. I think one of the worst, one of the biggest mistakes...I don't know that I should say mistake...one of the, one thing that I did, which again caused tremendous reaction, was coming out one day to watch the newspaper being made, made up and finding a little tiny picture on page one that was about the size of a postage stamp. And I looked at that picture and I said, This is, this has got to be the greatest picture of World War II. And there's picture (of a) marine who's lifting, raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi and Iwo Jima. I took this pic...this is something that had never been done before. I took this picture, about one inch square in size, and I made that the full page picture on page one. (I) Took all of the news, of page one, put it on page two and gave page one...can you imagine The New York Times or can you imagine the Star Bulletin or the Honolulu Advertiser with the first page, nothing but a picture and everything on page two and three, and so on. Well that's what I did. Well this really, there it is...that really raised hell. In the Herald Tribune building where we were printing the paper these, the paper was pasted upside-down and everybody was giving these phony salutes and I was an absolute, total disgrace for having done anything as crazy as that. Well, it turned out that that is the, that is the signature photograph of [ ]. There's statues, you know, in Washington, and so on. That is the...now now there again destiny, there again...how do you account for one episode of that sort happening. Why did I, why did I know that that was going to be the picture that would symbolize...

(pause on Tape 4, Side A [copy]. Changing side of original tape.)

...In other words, none of the stuff is unusable. It's still, you can use it all.

ST:

Yeah. I just have to [ ] the original. Okay. August 20, 1997. Oral history tape continued. So, were they objecting mainly to the style - the fact that you were doing something that went against newspaper protocol or rules?

AG:

No. I think, basically, I think we must understand that in normal cost of events nothing was really happening. The newspaper was generally accepted. It was highly regarded. It was really a newspaper put out, not by me, but by these competent reporters and editors, and so on, who worked on the desks of the, in the city. In other words, the people who really put out the newspaper were the G.I.s who were assigned to that job. And I as the editor was upstairs dealing with General Patton and dealing with General Eisenhower and dealing with supplies and dealing with all of the problems that, personnel and supplies, and so on, that I had to deal with, and so on. But every once in awhile I would do something that was really most unusual. And one of those things was the "So You Want to Go Home" editorial and the other one, the other one was the...Surabachi photograph. And that would just be two examples of many other things that I did that were every once and awhile start a great, big, huge conflagration. And that became, that really is what I think happens when you're the editor of a newspaper. You go along rather smoothly for awhile and then you hit a big bump. I think that's true of ordinary newspaper management in civilian life, and so on. Working for The New York Times, I know that they had editorial meetings which conflict in disagreement, and so on. And every once in awhile something would happen that would really require some great decisions, such as, let us say, this case of The New York Times, the publication of the [ ] Papers, and so on. An editor makes these decisions. And every once in awhile I made a decision that really, where the...the stuff really hit the fan. And, those probably would be the two best examples. I'm trying to think, I'm trying to think of others. Yes, there was another that really almost did me in. I became an infantry replacement to find out what it was like to be an infantry soldier. I went back to the beach. This is, this was in the winter of 1944. I went back to the beach as a replacement, became a sold...became an infantry, rifleman, a private. And became a replacement, meaning I went by truck all the way from the beach to the front lines in...we were already in Germany in a place called Auchen. And for the four or five days that we were being driven from the from the beaches to the front, and trucks jammed with man and jammed with provisions and jammed with ammunition, and so on. No sleep, no food, rained on, unprotected. We were treated like dirt, just...By the time we got to the front lines, we were...instead of being ready to fight we were in very, very poor condition. And and I went through this whole experience and then I came back and I wrote a long editorial about it. But let me...but the reason for the editorial was this, and this is very, very strange: the division that I found myself with was the First Infantry Division again. This is the division run by General Huebner, my boss back in Washington. The man who said that I'd done more to train the American army anybody. This, my greatest friend in the army, so to speak. I find myself again with the First Infantry Division, and they were...these trucks that had brought us in packed with men and packed with with ammunition, and so on, were now being turned over to bring in German German people from surrounding villages. Brought in with covers on the trucks, with lots of room in the trucks, and so on. All of these trucks were now being used to bring in these people, these Germans, and bring them together so that we could feed them and shelter them. We turned over great, big barracks and schools, and so on. And turned over kitchens and turned over quantities of food and everything to take care of these people. And I having just gone through this horrible experience of privation...we...I barely survived this experience together with all the other replacements, and so on. Confronted with the fact that we were now pampering the very people that we were supposed to be fighting, and so on, I could not get over this, the disparity between, we ourselves, the American soldiers was being treated and the treatment that we were given that...was being given to the enemy, so to speak. Now, admittedly, this, the enemy was not German soldiers, these were civilians who were being brought in but they were being brought in to be feed and to be housed and to be taken care of, and so on. Well, the disparity between the way we soldiers were treated and the way the Germans were treated hit me so hard that I wrote a full page editorial about this, complaining about the way we were treating the American soldier, the replacement and using the example of how we were using the same equipment to feed and to cloth and to keep warm and sanitary the Germans, and so on. Well, of course, this again really raised really raised hell, among others. [ ] was very, very angry. The fact that his division was being criticized for doing this. But on the other hand, it was a very strange thing. I got letters, I got a letter from the man who ran the replacement system saying that thank god somebody did this and told us what was really going on. Now we know how to correct it. So Eisenhower, put in the position that he was in...first of all [ ] was being very angry and generally speaking generals really having the excuse, Look we can't have all of these unhappy people behind. We've got to take care of them, therefore we have to do this. There was a basis for their for their doing what they did. But the...it put Eisenhower in the position of who is he going to defend. Was he going to defend the generals who had who were behaving this way, including the people in charge of the replacement system, or would he defend me who exposed the, what I believe to be the inequities and the evil of this system. And by golly, Eisenhower came out behind me and defended me and said, This is good for the army that these matters are being dealt with and exposed, and so on. Most unusual, I must say that I owed a great deal to Eisenhower in that regard.

ST:

How often did you go into forays as a private or...

AG:

Uh...almost every, every...I would try to do it at least once every two or three months. And I did it. I must have done it about seven or eight or nine times. It was very, very interesting, getting back to Andy Rooney. I was serving as a private in the, one of the biggest battles we had in Germany...this was Auchen. And in Andy's book, entitled My War, he writes about being a correspondent at Auchen. It would have been very, very interesting if Andy, who is a sergeant and a reporter for The Stars and Stripes, had met me as a private, infantry soldier. A very strange coincidence that he and I were in the same place - I as a private rifleman and he as a reporter for The Stars and Stripes. He driving around in a jeep and me lugging my M1 rifle. Strange paradoxes of that sort going on. But that was...if I may make a modern day analogy, I would say that the strike of the UPS people, and so on, or any strike that goes on in the United States...I think all strikes would be avoided if the management would ever take off its fancy clothes, get out of their Volks...get out of their Jaguars and their Rolls Royce's, and so on, get on the assembly line and get into, let us say, the UPS [ ]...get into a truck and drive around and see what it's like to be a an ordinary grunt, an ordinary working man instead of somebody upstairs in an office with a necktie and all that sort of thing. But only learn what it's like to be really doing the dirty work down below. You wouldn't have strikes. There would be an understanding, there would be empathy between the bosses and the workmen. It would avoid so much of the discord that exists in civil life. But in the army it was to me very essential if I was going to be the editor of The Star and Stripes...as a colonel I was living in very, very elite circumstances back in Paris - eating well, bathing everyday, immaculate uniforms, being treated with great respect, no danger to speak of in Paris, and so on, as compared with an ordinary soldier. And there were, you know, tens of thousands of them undergoing this horrible experience of...How could I be an editor of a newspaper unless I knew what what they were undergoing. So I again and again became a private. And it was always very interesting because after I was serving with an outfit, let us say, for awhile I would, at the time, [ ] when I had it and I had to go back and be the editor of The Stars and Stripes. And I would have to go the sergeant in my squad and say, "Look, I'm leaving." And he said, "[ ]...Do you want, do you want me to call your Rolls Royce and have you carried back to," and so on. And I said, "Yeah, I'm sorry but"...and I would have to identify myself and then, my god, the explosion that would happen. Then, my god, gee, we've had this guy. And then, you know, as the new man I was always being given the worst the worst jobs and being kicked around, and all that sort of thing...especially since I wasn't a very, very good, you know, I was not really in very good shape. I couldn't handle these things quite as well as they did. So that I was always the butt of their jokes, and so on. So, but then the news came that I was a colonel and that I was leaving them, and wow. But I wrote a whole series of editorials that are in the, that I really believe are the bests things I did about my life as a soldier in a squad. How different that life was being a soldier at the front, and so on. How different that was from being an officer in much more salubrious circumstances, and so on. The reality, the reality that you, that is absolutely essential if you're going to deal with problems and the resolution of problems. You cannot do that unless you the thing from the point of view, and then I really would say, from the bottom up instead of from the top down...you... There's something that [ ] with my life. It began with my with my time as a bum on the bowery in New York. That changed everything. I started to see life in its grim realities rather than as a privileged person. And all the way through I've consistently believed in the necessity of undergoing the experience that people generally underwent in order to be able to resolve problems of, that exist in human relationships. But in the army that was absolutely essential to me that I that I...undergo the experience of the ordinary soldier.

ST:

When you were undercover, were you ever in any danger or had any close calls?

AG:

Um? Well I think every time you're every time you're up there you're...there's danger. Most of our movement would be at night and you wouldn't know where you were where you were going. And we were walking through mine fields and I remember on one occasion I was walking along side a tank and the tank hit a mine and the mine exploded. And I was, really, if it hadn't been for the tank that protected me from the from the mine I probably would have been killed or, certainly, severely (wounded). There was always danger. Then, the thing that I that, you've got to realize something else on a very personal level, I'm not a big man. I was only 5 feet, 5 inches tall; weighed about 130 pounds. And I was weighed down with all this enormous equipment - the helmet, the gas mask, bayonets, bandoleers of ammunition, and so on. And on one of these, many of these occasions in the winter time, the field was covered with snow and I found it very, very difficult...I did not have the strength (or) the stamina really to carry all of this stuff through the snow, and so I would fall down. It would be very, very difficult for me to get up; and I had to get up and move on. And so, it would be, it was such a painful experience. And then of of course, there would be the moment when we had to attack the objective and that happened on many occasions. We, you were under fire. But again I was spared, I don't know why. I was that lucky. I was not...spared. But I was a witness to other men being hit and being killed. And that, of course, was a...that's an experience that affects you...Really, with all due respect, you can read about a war...with all...you cannot read about a war and understand it. The only way you can understand it is to actually be there and have these bullets whizzing by and seeing men killed and seeing the blood. Especially, for some reason or other, in the winter time the contrast between the whiteness in the snow and the blood flowing in the snow. The contrast of color, the red and the white...Very, still sticks in my mind. So, I don't want to seem like a hero. But on the other hand, I did undergo the rigors and the exposures of combat and there's no way of describing it other than to say that if you're lucky you survive and if you're not lucky you...you don't.

ST:

Last thing. You were with the patrol that liberated Dachau or Dachau?

AG:

Yes.

ST:

Could you talk about that?

AG:

Well, that was, uh, probably the, I don't know whether to call it the high point or the low point of the war. It...there's a war, can a war be justified? Can you justify the expense of blood shed, the effort, the expenditure of money, of man-power, and all that sort of [count]? Can you justify anything like that? And with all, with all of the other background that I've already explained, and so on, it was in a way...really I have to look at it now as superficial and unreal. With all due respect to Mein Kampf. Yes, you read Mein Kampf, Hitler's declaration, and so on. But it's nothing language, it's just words. And to use it as propaganda, you could say, well this was a bad man, he wrote bad things and therefore you should hate Hitler and you should hate fascism, and so on and so forth. The language and ideas and philosophy and, what have you, high level stuff and so on. And then there was Dachau. And wow, all of a sudden you realize it - the language, the, all of the speeches, all of the things that are written, and so on...garbage. Nothing, they have absolutely nothing to do with reality. The reality was right here. When you saw thousands of starving people...I'll never forget the the ground was covered with corpses. Then the, then a horses, horse-drawn wagons would come in and the Germans were forced into...They would pick up these parties and throw them [ ]. And I mean literally throw these green corpses on the...and most of them were naked by the way. The bodies were unclothed...dumped on these these carts and then driven away to some mass internments of some...some grave that they were all pitched into, and so on. And then the survivors...and I'll never forget, out of all the survivors I'll never forget there were two that I remember. One was a man that somehow staggered out of nowhere and found his way to the latrine where there was a shower and he, and somehow he was trying to get clean. And he turned on the water and a few little drops came down. And these drops hit him and he collapsed. He could not he could not withstand the dropping, the impact of a drop of water. That was his condition. You could see his bones and everything, all that sort of thing. And this was a condition of the thousands of people in Dachau - just starved to the point where they were emaciated, skeletons. And the train came in at that particular time loaded with loaded with mummies. There was still a spark of life in these people but they were all dying. And there was very little you could do about it because you couldn't feed these . . .and a train came in at that particular time loaded with mummies. There were still a spark of life in these people but they were all dying and there were very little you could do about it because you couldn't feed these people. If you fed them that would mean their automatic, immediate death. Their stomachs could not consume food. So you're surrounded by the stench. More than anything else, it was not only what you saw but the stench of the decaying bodies that made it such an inferno. And yet on the other hand, there was something else and I'll never forget this. In Dachau, there was one building occupied by women, and the women for some reason or other, were in somewhat better shape, for some reason or other had been fed a little bit more. I'll never forget the hysteria, the happiness, the emotion of these women as they realized, my God, it's all over. And then I had a very strange feeling. This is a confession I've never really made before. I had a very strange feeling. Why don't I pick up one of these women and rescue her and take her back to Paris and get her washed and get her dressed and rejuvenate her and rehabilitate her? Strangely, I don't know if it was a sexual thing that was motivating me or whether it was some more philanthropic purpose. I wanted to reach out and take one individual and see whether I could rescue that person from the horrible past and give her a total re-introduction to society. Cleanliness, clothes, food, position, and so on. And I could have done it. I had transportation, I could have picked out any of these people and put them in the jeep and gone off. Thank God I didn't because God only knows the pickle I would have been in. It certainly would have been interpreted as a sexual maneuver. No one would have credited me with any philanthropic motive, that wasn't in the cards. But it's interesting as I reflect on my feelings that the horror and the realization of what the war was really fought for, especially me with my background. And to realize how fortunate I was that if my mother and father had not left there, but with the grace of God was I, I would have been one of these skeletons. There was that realization. And then on the other hand, there was this strange feeling of personal wish to pick out one person and rehabilitate that person. But unfortunately that person would have been a woman and never, it never would have been understood what my motivation was. That would raise the question: what was my motivation? Was my motivation sexual or was it something of a much different, higher level? It's very difficult for me to even understand that in the perspective of time.

ST:

Were you there as a private or...

AG:

No. Oh, no. No, I was highly privileged. I had my own transportation. I was...no, I was, not everybody could...unless you happened to be with the troops themselves that liberated. [ ] I was in a position to be with them. But as an officer and with all of the entitlements that I had so I could go in there and I could interview the Germans who were in command. And witness their interrogation. And then go around and inspect the premises and ovens where the people were being, had been incinerated. And so I had grand view of the whole thing. And that was true of Dachau, of [Buchenwald], and of Auschwitz. So I really saw most of the, many of the concentration camps. But unless you saw them and unless you smelt them...and you know there are people today who don't believe it. Who say it didn't happen.

JY:

Did you know of all of those things that were happening prior to going there or was it discovered as you went there?

AG:

There was no way...nobody really knew. No, you had to be there to...there's no...and I really don't believe that anything's ever been written...Now they do have the Holocaust Museum in Washington, which I visited. And of course there are pictorials, archives now where you can see photographs, and so on. There's Shindler's List...but to me Shindler's List did not work out because to me it was not convincing because having been it, in Dachau, I knew the difference between the really...the people in the movie were really obviously well fed. There were no gaunt people or anything of that sort. The difference between reality and the movie picture version just didn't come through. The...there really is no way of getting a point across other than to have really experienced it in the in the real situation.

ST:

What about Maus by Art Spiegelman? Have you seen that? Maus.

AG:

No.

ST:

The graphic novel that won the Pulitzer.

AG:

No.

ST:

Okay. Shall we stop?

[recording session pause]

ST:

I'm sorry, could you go over that.

AG:

I don't believe...ready?...I don't believe that the reality of Dachau, [Beltsin], Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and so on, can be dealt with through any literary or pictorial or other treatments such as a movie picture or a novel or a cartoon series such as Maus, so on. The reality does not lend itself to anything other than the total experience itself. Because that's that is such a melding, such a blending of the visual and the olfactory and the...The mood is such that it does not lend itself to genius - [ ], Tolstoy. None of the great novelists can ever really capture the reality the realities...is too, is beyond human, human ability to reproduce it in any synthetic way. It is, it's such a combination of...how can you possibly translate the the last grimace of a corpse's face, just still there in the awful hues. The, for some reason I can never forget how green these would become. Together with those who were still alive and were on the very threshold of death. And how somehow these emaciated creatures were able to stagger around, such as the man under the, being knocked down by a drop of water, and so on. If you do any, if you do something that might be called a treatment of that, the treatment of that reduces its essence. It deprives it of its reality and it deprives it of its dignity. It becomes advertising or it becomes, I'm going to use this to teach you something. But the lesson itself is unteachable, it resides within the reality of a thing that does not lend itself to interpretation or manipulation, and so on. It's the ultimate human grotesque[ry], it's the...that human beings could behave this way and have these things happen to them. And I ran into this again, you know, just a few years ago when I was in Hungary as a teacher in the Peace Corp, and so on. That I was able to relive that whole thing by going to the, in both in [ and ] of the two cities where I worked. The synagogues, we were able to go there and actually see the where the Jewish people were brought together and they all came with their [leases] and their property, and so on. And they said leave it here. We'll transfer this [ ] march to the railroad station. And I was able to talk to people who had actually witnessed the the march of these people, and so on. And they were taken to the station and put on these box cars and carted away. And that was the end of them. And then when you went into the synagogues and...the most beautiful one, I think, was in [ ] and actually see the place where they these people were corralled and marshaled, and so on, and lead off. It's an exercise in trying to recapture the reality of the situation and the circumstances that cannot be described...cannot be...can't really be relived. But [ ] all this was that tremendous impact on me especially because that this would have happened...I was a patsy for for that...my age was such that no matter what happened I'd be, either been in the in the Hungarian army dying on the in the on the eastern front in Russia. Or I would have been, as a Jew, corralled in, sent into a concentration camp for which I never would have emerged. So I always get back in some strange way to something that was...somebody was on guard, somebody was taking care of me. And still is.

ST:

Good. You want to call it a day?

[END]

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