Early Life

Becoming a Soldier

Overseas Deployment

Battle of the Bulge

Fighting in Germany

Taking Prisoners

Crossing the Danube

Occupation Duty

Entertainment in Germany

Fighting Fires in Austria

Leave in England

Returning Home to Racism

Combat and Postwar Life

Segment stub for 71512

Segment stub for 71516

Do Not Shoot the Mailman

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Seymour Reitman was born in 1925 in Philadelphia [Annotator's Note: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], but moved to Atlantic City [Annotator's Note: Atlantic City, New Jersey] when he was young. Growing up there was perfect. It was before the casinos arrived. There was one high school, so everyone knew each other. During the summer, all the kids worked because the city was a summer resort town. During the winter, the hotels would be empty, so the kids could have dances. The family did not suffer because of the Great Depression [Annotator's Note: a global economic depression that lasted through the 1930s]. His family had a candy store and then a restaurant. His mother was the cook for the restaurant. Reitman would work hard during the summer and had an easier time in the winter. The family always had food and would give away day old bread and milk to the needy. Reitman was at a friend's house when he heard about the attack at Pearl Harbor [Annotator's Note: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 December 1941]. His father called and told him to return home. The family listened to reports of the attack on the radio. He was still in high school. Reitman was Jewish and decided to enlist when he heard what Hitler [Annotator's Note: German dictator Adolf Hitler] was doing to the European Jews. [Annotator's Note: Reitman leaves the interview briefly.] He heard what was happening to the Jews from the news. His father was from Austria-Hungary and his mother was from Russia. They had relatives in Europe who passed along information. The German news also reported laws enacted against the Jewish population. Reitman never felt different growing up. Atlantic City was very diverse, but the schools were segregated until Reitman was in high school. Reitman thinks integration was good for the children. He does not know if there was an attempt for his family to move to America. Later in life, Reitman visited Russia and he was able to visit family in Paris [Annotator's Note: Paris, France]. He never visited Europe as a child. The attack at Pearl Harbor was a shock to everyone. They were worried there was no protection after the ships were sank. Reitman did not talk with his friends about it much, but they knew they would be sent to the military. [Annotator's Note: Reitman leaves the interview to get a drink.]

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Seymour Reitman's entire senior geometry class enlisted while they were still in high school. When he turned 18 years old, he was told to report to Fort Dix [Annotator's Note: now Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Trenton, New Jersey] for training. He was allowed to graduate from high school before reporting for duty. Reitman was not prepared for basic training because he was not an athlete. Basic training hardened him up quickly. After three weeks, he was sent to North Camp Hood, Texas [Annotator's Note: now Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas]. The base was used to train tank destroyer [Annotator's Note: also called tank hunter or tank killer, gun motor carriage with a direct-fire gun designed specifically to engage and destroy tanks] units. The camp had just been opened but was not completely built. The soldiers had to finish building the camp. There were no sidewalks, so they had to build some out of wood. Fort Hood was a tough place to have basic training. During basic training, Reitman had to take a series of tests. Because of his scores, Reitman was sent to engineer college at John Carlton Junior Agricultural College in Stephenville, Texas. Reitman had a difficult time in the analytical geometry class. The military realized the war would be over sooner than it thought, so it canceled the classes and put the troops back into the infantry. Reitman was sent to the 99th Infantry Division, which was made up of coal miners and farmers from around Pittsburgh [Annotator's Note: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]. The men of the 99th Division resented Reitman and the others from the college program because of the education gap. Reitman had to go through basic training again and then was sent to combat training. One time, he was sent into the country to live in a combat situation. The men had to capture or destroy replica German pillboxes. Reitman used a rifle grenade in the scenario. The first two people had Bangalore torpedoes [Annotator's Note: also called Bangalore mine, explosive charge placed in one or several connected tubes], which were used to destroy barbed wire. There were other Bangalore torpedoes going off around Reitman's unit. They thought they heard their second explosive go off and started running towards their objective. Unfortunately, it exploded. Reitman and another man were wounded. Before he went overseas, Reitman returned home on a furlough [Annotator's Note: an authorized absence for a short period of time]. After his furlough, Reitman took a train from Atlantic City [Annotator's Note: Atlantic City, New Jersey] to Texas. Before he left, Reitman gave his cousin the address of a girl he knew. His mother took his wallet, and Reitman got onto his train. The engineer came for his ticket and he realized he left his wallet with the ticket in it. Another man in the unit loaned him the money for a new ticket. By the time he got to the next stop, his mother had bought him a new ticket. However, he did not know until the train already departed and he was on his way back to Philadelphia [Annotator's Note: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. Reitman returned to base a day late and did not see anyone from his unit. The unit took off their patches in case spies were around.

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Seymour Reitman spent some time preparing his equipment for his overseas departure. The weapons had to be put in a special oil to keep them from rusting. He then boarded a train heading for Tuanton, Massachusetts. As he passed through Ohio, some Gray Ladies [Annotator's Note: American Red Cross volunteers who worked in American hospitals, health-care facilities, and private homes during World War 2] gave the men food and newspapers. Reitman read that a hurricane hit Atlantic City [Annotator's Note: Atlantic City, New Jersey]. He later heard that his family was okay. The ship Reitman boarded was brand new. The beds were stacked six high, so there was not much room between the bunks. The ship smelled like oil. [Annotator's Note: Reitman answers a phone call.] The convoy Reitman was in was one of the largest at the time. No ships were lost on the voyage, but the soldiers did watch duties looking for submarines. The ship had to serve food all day because troops were coming on and off shifts all the time. It was not a very pleasant voyage. Reitman docked in the southern part of England and remained there for a couple months. While there, he marched across the countryside, which he thought was beautiful. On 11 November 1944, Reitman boarded a ship to Dieppe, France. It was scary leaving the ship because he had to climb down the side in full gear. At the bottom of the net, he had to drop into the landing craft. He was put into a truck and sent to Kalterherberg, Germany, just over the German border. His company relieved another outfit along the German Siegfried Line [Annotator's Note: a series of defensive fortifications roughly paralleling the Franco-German border built by Germany in the 1930s]. Reitman was in the town with a mortar squad. He served as a platoon runner for the weapons platoon [Annotator's Note: weapons platoon of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division]. The unit had two 30mm machine guns [Annotator's Note: Browning M1919 .30 caliber air cooled light machine gun] and three 60mm mortars [Annotator's Note: M2 60mm lightweight mortar]. Reitman was in a small house and after a couple of days, a cow wandered into the conjoined barn. A couple days later, the cow had the calf. Reitman helped with the birth. Reitman learned how to milk the cow. He would do that every morning to make himself hot chocolate and get milk for the squad. There was no activity. The Americans and Germans would send out squads to test each other's defenses. The Ardennes Forest was supposed to be a quiet sector because it was going to snow, and it was bad territory for tanks. It was a good place to acclimate new divisions.

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On 13 December [Annotator's Note: 13 December 1944], Seymour Reitman's regiment [Annotator's Note: Reitman served as a runner in the weapons platoon of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division], was told to take some German pillboxes [Annotator's Note: type of blockhouse, or concrete, reinforced, dug-in guard post, normally equipped with slits for firing guns] on the Siegfried Line [Annotator's Note: a series of defensive fortifications roughly paralleling the Franco-German border built by Germany in the 1930s]. That was his first combat action. The area was lightly wooded. The Germans spotted the Americans and started firing their 88s [Annotator's Note: German 88mm multi-purpose artillery] at them. The men dug foxholes with their helmets. A lieutenant told the men to get out of the area. The unit took some casualties but made it to relative safety in the woods. Reitman's company was told to take a town near a river on 15 December [Annotator's Note: 15 December 1944], then dug foxholes and put timber on top of them. The following day the Battle of the Bulge [Annotator's Note: Battle of the Bulge or German Ardennes Counter Offensive, 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945] started and Reitman was behind enemy lines. Early in the morning, the Germans started to shell his area heavily. The Germans went around Reitman and his unit in an attempt to get to Antwerp [Annotator's Note: Antwerp, Belgium]. They wanted to take back the port in the city. Reitman's sergeant told him to bring back the German prisoners but told him he did not care if they made it back to battalion headquarters. It took six days for him to make it back to American lines. They had to move at night. They could only carry a few rations and their raincoat. Reitman's unit picked up men from a tank battalion and some antiaircraft guys. The terrain was full of half melted snow. After a few days, they ran out of food. At a mess tent, Reitman found a can of string beans, which were used to feed his squad for two days. Eventually, he made it to the 2nd Division's [Annotator's Note: 2nd Infantry Division] lines where they got food. While getting his breakfast, the Germans started shelling the position. Reitman grabbed some food and ate it under a truck. During the battle, Reitman and his unit were sent to hold Elsenborn Ridge [Annotator's Note: the westernmost ridge of the Ardennes]. Elsenborn Ridge made up the northern shoulder of the battle. Keeping the ridge slowed down the Germans significantly. It got very cold on the ridge and started snowing. The Americans dug trenches and would keep warm by taking cans filled with rocks and gasoline and lighting them on fire. It was one of the coldest winters on record. Reitman's feet froze, so he was taken off the line. They used a helmet full of warm water to thaw his feet. After five days, Reitman was sent back to the line. The Germans were held but made it around and tried to get to Antwerp. However, they were turned back by American and British troops. When the battle ended, the Americans were back at their original positions.

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Seymour Reitman was near Aachen, Germany, which was the first German city taken by the Americans. From there, he continued into Germany towards the Rhine River. The Germans used it as a defensive position. The two sides would use artillery against one another. In March [Annotator's Note: March 1945], many men in Reitman's unit [Annotator's Note: Company G, 2nd Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division] were wounded. The Germans could see the Americans crossing a street in the town to get some food. An 88 [Annotator's Note: German 88mm multi-purpose artillery] killed many of the men. Reitman was told to pack up because the unit was moving out. A scout unit had discovered the bridge at Remagen [Annotator's Note: the Ludendorff Bridge in Remagen, Germany]. The Germans had tried to blow up the bridge but failed due to poor dynamite. A tank unit found the bridge and started firing to cut the dynamite cables. The explosives were set off but did not destroy the bridge. Reitman had been 20 miles north of the bridge and was trucked down to the town. He walked across the bridge with a full pack of food and ammunition. While he was crossing, the Germans were trying to destroy the bridge. The Germans used a new jet plane [Annotator's Note: Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter aircraft], which Reitman had never seen before. The bridge had a rail line and catwalks for pedestrians. Reitman ran across the catwalk but had to watch out for holes from the shells. Men that fell into the river never survived. American antiaircraft were not able to shoot the jets down. Reitman's division was the first to cross the Rhine River at Remagen. His regiment was sent to the left and put into the reserve. The units sent to the right had to fight the Germans. One man that Reitman knew was riding on a tank that was hit by an 88. The tank was immobilized, but nobody was hurt. The tankers ended up crossing the bridge three times in 24 hours. From there, Reitman fought in the Ruhr Pocket [Annotator's Note: Battle of the Ruhr Pocket, 1 April to 18 April 1945]. The area was industrial. He rode on a tank until he reached a town, where the infantry would flush out the Germans. The Americans went so fast that food and supplies had to be parachuted to the men.

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Seymour Reitman entered a mountainous area with a panzer [Annotator's Note: German term for tank or armored] division in it, but the German tanks had run out of gas. The Germans and Americans started firing on each other. A German staff car drove up with a white flag. The German commander asked to surrender, so a first lieutenant tried to accept the surrender. The Germans were eager to surrender. Reitman set up a POW [Annotator's Note: prisoner of war] camp in a nearby cow pen. The Germans were happy that their war was over. Reitman was able to speak some German, which he used to get the Germans in the right area. The Germans would come in with their weapons. That night, the camp ran out of space, so the Americans had to shell the area to keep more German soldiers from surrendering there during the night. The following day, the prisoners were trucked back further behind the lines. One German officer asked if he could get his duffle bag from his headquarters up a hill. While he was walking, more Germans were walking into captivity. At the top of the hill, the German got his bag and then gave Reitman his pistols and offered him his staff car. Reitman did not know how to drive but took the keys anyway. The German drove the car down the mountain some distance. While the man was driving, Reitman watched how he drove the car. When they arrived at a level area, Reitman was shown how to refuel the car, then took over driving. He told some nearby Germans to jump onto the car to bring them into captivity. Reitman could not get the car to move because the emergency brake was on. Other men in Reitman's battalion [Annotator's Note: Reitman was a member of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division] had obtained staff cars but were told not to bring them forward. The men brought the cars to a meadow and started crashing them into one another, they pushed them over a cliff so the communications men could not use them.

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After the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket, Seymour Reitman and his division [Annotator's Note: Reitman was a member of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division] were told to cross the Danube River. They were told to cross the river because Patton [Annotator's Note: US Army Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr.] wanted to get across the river. Reitman thinks it was a poorly planned attack. The engineers took assault boats over a hill and dropped them in sight of the Germans on the other side of the river. Before the assault, the men were shown how to use the boats, but they were not allowed in them to practice. The starting point was behind a levee. The men dropped their packs and left one man behind to watch them. Just before that, Reitman's unit took a town recently occupied by German soldiers. They found a crate labeled chocolate and checked it for booby traps. Reitman tried to break it open with his carbine [Annotator's Note: .30 caliber M1 semi-automatic carbine], but it still had a round in it. The round exploded and almost wounded some other GIs [Annotator's Note: government issue; also a slang term for an American soldier]. He was given a spare carbine but had never fired it. While a group of soldiers from another company was crossing the Danube [Annotator's Note: 27 April 1945 at Eining, Germany] German soldiers opened up on them. Reitman's unit hit the ground, and he could see a mining trestle with a bucket on it. He tried to shoot the bucket, but the rifle would not fire. He tried to clean it, but the weapon still wound not fire. Reitman refused to cross without a proper weapon. He ran back to the levee and to the packs. There had been a direct hit on the area, killing the man guarding the packs. Reitman took his weapon and made it back to his group. They were told to cross in the middle of the morning, but the men were pinned down all day. The commanding officer refused to take his men across the river. The Americans pulled back behind the levee then crossed the river without any problems. At the end of the Battle of the Bulge [Annotator's Note: Battle of the Bulge or German Ardennes Counter Offensive, 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945], Reitman's unit was given men from the Air Force and communications units to make up for the lost men. African-American troops from the Red Ball Express [Annotator's Note: one of several American military truck convoy systems that transported supplies from the coast of France to Allied forces advancing across Europe] volunteered for the infantry and were given training with weapons. Reitman's battalion had one platoon of Black soldiers. They were good troops. Reitman thinks they were better soldiers than the White troops. When he crossed the Danube, the Black platoon got to the German's firing position across the river and took no prisoners. Reitman believes that every officer, including Patton, should have been court martialed for the operation. On 25 April 1945, Reitman came across some barrels of pork and eggs on a farm. Reitman's last combat experience was 30 April [Annotator's Note: 30 April 1945], which was his birthday too.

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Seymour Reitman was near Regensburg, Austria, when Roosevelt [Annotator's Note: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States] died. Some passing tankers showed him a newspaper with the headline. It was a sad day for Reitman's men. Reitman was sent to guard some sugar with another soldier. The Germans would loot the sugar because it was hard to find. At dawn, Reitman and the other soldier saw German women coming towards them. He tried to tell the women they could not have the sugar because it would be rationed out. One woman told the soldiers they would take the sugar from them. Reitman shot a bullet into the air to ty and make them stop, but the women kept coming. It took a couple more shots to make the women from coming closer. Reitman had to do that for a couple days. The town had been a SS [Annotator's Note: Schutzstaffel; German paramilitary organization] camp but was being used for displaced people. Many of those people had been slave laborers. The Americans wanted to get them back to the countries they came from. One day, Reitman was told to help some Jews from Buchenwald [Annotator's Note: Buchenwald concentration camp complex near Buchenwald, Germany] because he was Jewish. He brought sugar, coffee, cigarettes, and other rations to the barracks where the internees were sleeping. Reitman was surprised to see they were not emaciated. After talking with them, Reitman found out the people had been from a Berlin [Annotator's Note: Berlin, Germany] theater and were sent to Buchenwald to entertain the German guards. Those people were well fed because they did a good job entertaining the guards. Reitman gave some of his artifacts from that time to The Holocaust Museum [Annotator's Note: The United States Holocaust Museum] in D.C.Seymour Reitman was near Regensburg, Austria, when Roosevelt [Annotator's Note: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States] died. Some passing tankers showed him a newspaper with the headline. It was a sad day for Reitman's men. Reitman was sent to guard some sugar with another soldier. The Germans would loot the sugar because it was hard to find. At dawn, Reitman and the other soldier saw German women coming towards them. He tried to tell the women they could not have the sugar because it would be rationed out. One woman told the soldiers they would take the sugar from them. Reitman shot a bullet into the air to try and make them stop, but the women kept coming. It took a couple more shots to stop the women from coming closer. Reitman had to do that for a couple days. The town had been a SS [Annotator's Note: Schutzstaffel; German paramilitary organization] camp but was being used for displaced people. Many of those people had been slave laborers. The Americans wanted to get them back to the countries they came from. One day, Reitman was told to help some Jews from Buchenwald [Annotator's Note: Buchenwald concentration camp complex near Buchenwald, Germany] because he was Jewish. He brought sugar, coffee, cigarettes, and other rations to the barracks where the internees were sleeping. Reitman was surprised to see they were not emaciated. After talking with them, Reitman found out the people had been from a Berlin [Annotator's Note: Berlin, Germany] theater and were sent to Buchenwald to entertain the German guards. Those people were well fed because they did a good job entertaining the guards. Reitman gave some of his artifacts from that time to The Holocaust Museum [Annotator's Note: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum] in D.C. [Annotator's Note: Washington, DC]. The displaced people found some mortars and were shooting them into the German countryside. The local mayor tried to make them stop but was shot to death before he made it to the camp. The Americans put a perimeter fence around the area. One of Reitman's guard posts was near a row of German apartments. He met a young German girl and would give her candy and chocolate. The girl taught him how to speak a little German. Reitman's division [Annotator's Note: Reitman was a member of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division] was sent back to the United States, then to the Pacific for the invasion of Japan. Reitman, however, had enough points [Annotator's Note: a point system was devised based on a number of factors that determined when American servicemen serving overseas could return home] to stay in Germany with the occupation force. He was sent to Bamberg, Germany, where he joined the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. He remained there for a couple months doing guard duty. While there, Reitman received a letter from a girl in London, England, saying she had become engaged to his brother. The girl invited Reitman to the wedding. He got an emergency furlough [Annotator's Note: an authorized absence for a short period of time] to be a part of the wedding. Reitman met an English girl and stayed at her house while in London. He was later introduced to one of his sister-in-law's friend and started dating her. Eventually, he returned to Germany.

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Seymour Reitman was sent to get occupation money because there was a black market thriving. He borrowed money from some of his friends so he would have extra money in his currency control book, then gave the cash back to his friends. His company [Annotator's Note: at this time, Reitman was serving in a company in the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division] went to Schweinfurt [Annotator's Note: Schweinfurt, Germany], where he did his occupation duty. The town had built ball bearings for the German war effort and was bombed several times. The factories were only disabled for a few days after each bombing. German apartments were also bombed. Much of the housing of the city was destroyed, but the factory was okay. Reitman lived in the high school, which was partially destroyed. All the men had German girlfriends despite being told they were not allowed. In the center of the town, there was a club house with a swimming pool and a dance floor. The Americans found a train car full of coal and used it to heat the swimming pool. Some of the men found a German band and some alcohol and would put on parties a few nights a week. While dancing with one girl, she told Reitman that someone knocked on her apartment door and there was a German man looking for her. Her mother told the man she was out with an American. The man threatened to kill the girl and Reitman if he caught them. Reitman excused himself, found a MP [Annotator's Note: military police], and the two men went looking for the German man. They did not find him, so Reitman went back to the dance. The following day, his commanding officer asked him about the incident. He was given permission to carry a gun while off base for self-defense.

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One of the guard posts was a castle called Schloss Weinberg [Annotator's Note: castle in Upper Austria near Kefermarkt, Austria]. The castle was occupied by the family that owned the ball bearing factory. Reitman's guard house was on the edge of the castle. There was a house maid who would keep the area clean. The Air Force kept the area nice in case important people came to the area. While acting as the head guard, there was a fire in the fireplace and some of the walls on the other side of the chimney caught fire. Reitman was given a small fire extinguisher to put the fire out. He was able to stop the fire in the furnace, but still had to put the wall fires out. They managed to stop the fire. When Reitman returned to his post, an Air Force officer wanted him to write a report of the events because he was responsible for all the damage done. Reitman was told he did 300,000 dollars worth of damage.

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Seymour Reitman got an open furlough [Annotator's Note: an authorized absence for a short period of time] to England. While dancing, Reitman recognized another man. They had grown up together in Atlantic City [Annotator's Note: Atlantic City, New Jersey]. The man worked in communications at the air base. The man was able to get Reitman on the phone with his sister-in-law and the girl he dated to tell them he would be in England soon. He was only being paid 30 dollars a month, which was used for food at the PX [Annotator's Note: post exchange]. By this time, the war with Japan was over and men were discarding their uniforms before returning home. Reitman collected the uniforms to sell on the black market for some extra money. He took a train to Paris [Annotator's Note: Paris, France], found a Frenchman and told him he had clothes to sell. At a bar, Reitman bartered the clothes away, gaining a couple hundred franks. Reitman ran into some Australian troops who wanted to buy Reitman's converted money. They made the deal and Reitman was able to make more money than he had before. He remained in England for roughly a month before returning to his unit [Annotator's Note: at this time, Reitman was serving in the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division]. Eventually, Reitman accumulated enough points [Annotator's Note: a point system was devised based on a number of factors that determined when American servicemen serving overseas could return home] to return to the United States. When Reitman went to England the first time, he was in Dorchester [Annotator's Note: Dorchester, England], where he trained until being sent to the mainland. He saw large areas where buzz bombs [Annotator's Note: V-1 pulse jet flying bomb, German name: Vengeance Weapon 1; Allied names: buzz bomb, doodlebug] had landed. While Reitman was in Belgium, he could hear buzz bombs flying overhead. One rainy night, a buzz bomb was flying over him and the engine stopped. The Americans jumped into their foxholes and Reitman broke a finger. The bomb landed away from his unit [Annotator's Note: Company G, 2nd Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division]. As his unit moved into Germany, Reitman would see V-1 rockets fly in the air towards Brussels [Annotator's Note: Brussels, Belgium] and London. London had been bombed by German bombers.

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Seymour Reitman returned to the United States on the SS George Washington [Annotator's Note: USAT George Washington]. There were five to six men per cabin. Reitman saw the Statue of Liberty. The ship docked at Hoboken [Annotator's Note: Hoboken, New Jersey] and from there he was sent to a camp in northern New Jersey, then to Fort Dix [Annotator's Note: now Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Trenton, New Jersey]. While at Fort Dix, Reitman was able to see his parents for two days. It was cold so everyone had to bundle up. There was a man who was upset about a Black [Annotator's Note: African-American] man standing at the front of the bus. The man used racial epithets towards the Black man. Reitman started yelling and cursing at the man when he realized he had never gone overseas. After some time, Reitman noticed some WACs [Annotator's Note: Women's Army Corps; women's branch of the United States Army, 1942 to 1978] and apologized for his language. The incident disturbed him because he fought alongside Black troops in Europe. Reitman was discharged.

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When Seymour Reitman saw E Company [Annotator's Note: Company E, 2nd Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division] being shot at while crossing the Danube River [Annotator's Note: in April 1945], he witnessed some men make it to a small island in the river. He thinks the unit lost 75 percent of their men. The Germans had zeroed in on the entire area. Reitman saw a machine gun crew member get shot in the head. Reitman did not have a hard time readjusting to civilian life. He did not participate in the heaviest fighting. He only had a broken finger and frozen feet. Reitman does not like being cold. He reads a lot about the war. The men who died were left where they fell and men from the rear came to get them. The wounded were sent to the rear. Reitman visited Europe sometime after the war and he cried in a cemetery when he found some of his friends who were buried there. Reitman did not regret leaving his dead friends. After the Battle of the Bugle [Annotator's Note: Battle of the Bulge or German Ardennes Counter Offensive, 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945], many men were sent to the rear with frozen limbs. The unit had so many replacements that Reitman did not know anyone very well. One replacement was shaken up during an artillery barrage. Reitman tried to calm him down since they shared a foxhole. On the Siegfried Line [Annotator's Note: a series of defensive fortifications roughly paralleling the Franco-German border built by Germany in the 1930s], the Americans took a command pillbox [Annotator's Note: type of blockhouse, or concrete, reinforced, dug-in guard post, normally equipped with slits for firing guns]. The Germans started shelling the position with a railroad gun. He could watch those shells coming in and where they would land. Reitman did not suffer from post traumatic stress disorder [Annotator's Note: also referred to as PTSD]. The soldiers felt bad for the men fighting in the Pacific. They thought the Germans would treat prisoners fairly, but the Japanese would not. There was a German naval cadet where Reitman lived. The cadet and another man decided they wanted to surrender to the Americans, not the Russians, so they took a week to get across a river to surrender. His family believes their relatives in Vienna [Annotator's Note: Vienna, Austria] were all killed in the Holocaust. While working in Washington, DC, Reitman's wife had a hair appointment. While talking to the clerk, the head hairdresser took her to do her hair. The hairdresser kept asking about her family until it came out that they were related. The man was the son of Reitman's aunt in Vienna. The man's mother had been a cosmetologist in the Vienna stage shows. The man did not know what happened to his parents during the war. Sometime later, Reitman found out his aunt made it to Argentina.

Annotation

Seymour Reitman was a platoon runner [Annotator's Note: in the weapons platoon of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division] between the platoon officers and the squads. One day, they got lost in some woods, but found a small town that looked like a German regimental headquarters. A forward observer from the artillery was with Reitman. They used the artillery to figure out where they were. The artillery was then used to shell the town. The artillery battery readjusted but did not adjust enough to get over the trees around Reitman's unit. He experienced friendly fire, which wounded many men. They eventually captured the town. Reitman only had three opportunities to fire his carbine [Annotator's Note: .30 caliber M1 semi-automatic carbine] at a German, but never hit one. In one town, Reitman saw a man in a fancy uniform, so he opened fire on the man. The civilians were yelling for the Americans not to shoot the man. They missed every shot. Reitman then found out the man was a mailman. At the regimental headquarters, the Germans were firing from some woods behind the town. Reitman heard bullets flying around him until he made it to a farm. The commanding officer formed a squad to assault a church. The mortars stayed behind, due to the heavy fire, but Reitman volunteered to retrieve them. Eventually, the men made it back and set up so they could give the infantry some cover as they assaulted the church. The sergeant leading the squad was killed, but the church was taken by the Americans. The mortars managed to kill some Germans in their foxholes. Reitman inspected a German machine gun and found that it had two triggers. He sent the gun home to his family. It was hung in the window of the family restaurant. When he got home, Reitman had to register the weapon. The people who registered it soldered the muzzle closed. Eventually the gun was lost in some woods near Milwaukee [Annotator's Note: Milwaukee, Wisconsin]. When his family moved from Washington, DC to Hartford, Connecticut, the boxes with his pistols in it never showed up. He reported the missing weapons to the police, but they were never found.

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