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I would like to use one of your pictures of North Africa American Cemetery to commemorate Technician Fourth Class William Tilton Eastlack who was lost in the HMS Rohna disaster of 26 Nov 1943. What should the copyright statement say? Thanks very much for your efforts.
Son-in-law of then 743rd Captain Edward Miller of HQ&HQ Company. Ed retired from the Army in 1965 as an O6, full Colonel. Passed away June 8, 2004 and given under full military honors.
My father Theodore C. Evangelista was in the B Company San Luis Obispo picture 1945. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant. God bless these heroes!
I'm writing to ask permission to use the photo on your website of the 743rd Tank in South Limburg for a book on the men who died in WWII from Minnesota. Thank you for your consideration and for your wonderful website.
Great website. Thank you for your contributions here and elsewhere.
I'll be back in the Netherlands next spring. I hope we get a chance to meet. Lets chat soon, I could use your help/advice. Thanks again.
Earlier this year, July 2015, I visited Margraten, after having visited the American cemetery at Neupré and Henri-Chapelle (both Belgium). All three incredibly moving places to visit. Realising that we live in freedom, because all these men (and women!) gave their life for our freedom, is the more strong when seeing all those graves.
Thank you for the website: a job well done! Heel mooi werk, webmaster.
We will remember them. They earned it.
I found a bracelet & some pins in my uncle's belongings after he died. The bracelet had the name George F Dieser 01011842. I searched online and found out he was in the 743rd battalion and the pins I have are the Coat of Arms for the battalion. I don't know why my uncle had these, but I thought the family might want his bracelet. My uncle was the 1st person to receive every maritime license available. I have a newspaper article with his picture and story on it, but I do not believe he was ever in this battalion.
Nous parrainons des tombes de G.I. à Henri-Chapelle, et, participons aux cérémonies du souvenir.
Alleen al de witte linten om de bomen op de n278 maken op mij een grote indruk..& hoe meer je erin verdiept hoe stiller je wordt.
Diep respect voor de verhalen van de gesneuvelde militairen, maar zeker ook voor hen die deze militairen levend houden, door hun verhalen op te tekenen.
Zeker het verhaal van de verpleegkundige die van dienst wisselde, heeft mij geraakt.
Mijn hoop voor de toekomst, mensen vinden die bereid blijven hier tijd voor vrij te maken.
I have found information on Paul Hirner including family members still alive (halfsister and nephew.) Contact me through Sebastiaan Vonk.
Hallo Ben, heb net laatste bladzijden van het boek De Margraten Boys gelezen. Indrukwekkend hoeveel adoptie van graven betekent voor familie van de gesneuvelde soldaten.
Hallo Ben !
Indrukwekkend wat je allemaal al hebt verwezenlijkt met deze fantastische website ! Ook ik heb een graf geadopteerd gekregen. Het was al lang een wens van mij om zoiets te doen maar ik wist niet goed hoe dit moest gebeuren. Dankzij mijn man is deze wens verwezenlijkt ! "Onze" peetsoldaat ligt begraven te Neupre (Luik) en heeft de naam John Spendolini. afkomstig uit Providence, Rhode Island. Ik hoop dat ik meer kan te weten komen over deze soldaat, misschien kan U mij hierbij helpen. De volgende gegevens heb ik al : Pvt John Spendolini, 175th Infantery Regiment, 29th Infantery Division, Service # 31447149. KIA op 13/9/1944 te Bretagne (France) fort de Montbarey.
Het zou fijn zijn mocht je me op de goede weg zetten om mijn zoektocht te starten, alvast bedankt !
Groetjes van Wendi !
As a student of history, and especially armor of WWII, it was a great find to discover your site. What an amazing story, sacrifice and heroic witness to inspire generations to come. May God continue to bless all those who served, and their families.
My Dad, Col.William Darien Duncan, was the 743rd Tank Battalion Commander during WWII. The battalion "captured" a train full of Jewish adults and children which was on its way to a concentration camp. There is general information on the battalion on Wikipedia (743rd Tank Battalion)
16 October 2014
Below is an article my sister, Karen Duncan Moretti (who lives near Tampa) sent me about a talk given by Mr. Frank Towers in Boston. Mr. Towers mentions the U.S. Army 743rd Tank Battalion which my father, William Darien Duncan, commanded. Under Dad’s command, the battalion captured a cattle train carrying over 2000 Jewish adults and children being taken to a concentration camp.
Mr. Towers was a lieutenant in an infantry division (soldiers on foot and with some vehicles such as Jeeps) that, as you will read below, worked diligently to get medical, transportation and other badly needed resources for these people.
Ernest Kahn (mentioned in the article) gave a heart-wrenching eulogy at Dad’s funeral here in Florida in 2001. Among other things, he said Dad was “one of the righteous men for what he did, which it is an honor to be called.”
Dad had never spoken of such things, and we were all, as a family, overwhelmed by the amazing story Mr. Kahn told as part of his eulogy about what my father did, and how, without Dad, he and thousands of other Jewish adults and children would not have survived the Holocaust. Mr. Kahn has since died.
Frank Towers contacted my sister, Karen, who has the copies of Dad’s “After-Action Reports”. Mr. Towers used these reports as a major source in his research. He is coming to Sarasota to present his talk.
From the Boston Globe:
WW2 liberator reunites with Holocaust survivors
By Victoria Bedford
GLOBE CORRESPONDENT OCTOBER 12, 2014
“If not now, when?’’ asked Rabbi Joel Sisenwine, quoting from Hillel the Elder, a revered Jewish leader who lived at the time of King Herod. “If not me, who?”
It was Oct. 4, Yom Kippur, and Sisenwine stood before the congregation at Wellesley’s Temple Beth Elohim, introducing a very special visitor.
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As Frank Towers walked up to speak, the teary-eyed congregation of 1,500 rose to give him a standing ovation.
Towers never considered himself special. Now 97, the South Boston native is living in Florida, where he spent most of his adult life as an office manager at a university data processing center. But in the early spring of 1945, in Farsleben, Germany, he was among a group of soldiers who liberated thousands of Nazi prisoners.
The rabbi invited two of those survivors, and their families, to step forward and stand beside Towers.
Yvette Namias, 92, of Peabody, did so. She was 22 in 1945 and long a prisoner at the notorious Bergen Belsen death camp before the liberation. She had never met Towers. Her family — children, grandchildren — stood around her.
Namias was joined by Charles Elbaum of Providence, a 17-year-old prisoner at the time of liberation, now surrounded by his children and grandchildren.
“Well,” Towers said to Namias after the ceremony, “I’ve spent a long time chasing you around the world.”
“He’s responsible for my family,” said Namias. “Without him, my family would not be here.”
Nothing in his life had prepared Towers for what he came upon on April 13, 1945. He was a young lieutenant in the 30th Infantry Division, a unit of the US Army National Guard, heading for Magdeburg, Germany, to fight one last major battle. In the town of Farsleben, they encountered a cattle train that had been seized by the Army’s 743d Tank Battalion (my emphasis). Towers was told it held 2,500 Jewish prisoners, and he was responsible for taking them to safety.
“What if you find a train loaded with Jews, what are you going to do? Nothing was ever said about anything like that.” Towers said. “If you come across a camp, like Dachau or Buchenwald, what are you going to do? We didn’t know anything about that situation.”
But the lieutenant found himself faced with a train full of death camp prisoners, 60 to 70 men, women, and children crammed into each cattle car, forced to stand until they collapsed from exhaustion, with a daily ration of thin potato soup, and one bucket for a bathroom. They were starved, sick, overworked, and in desperate need of medical assistance, which Towers and his men were wholly unprepared to provide.
Still, Towers and his men sprang into action, rounding up as much transportation as they could, and took the prisoners to the town of Hillersleben. There, a Red Cross unit processed the thousands of Jewish prisoners, gave them showers, provided clean clothes and dusted them with DDT, now a prohibited carcinogen, to kill lice and fleas.
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Knowing that he was leaving the prisoners in good hands, Towers went on to fight a last battle, and returned to the States later in 1945. Soon, he started a family with his wife, Mary. Like many who lived through the war, he put his experiences in the rearview mirror for years, never talking much about what he had seen of the Holocaust.
“But I could tell it was eating him inside,” Mary said. “I knew that.”
Towers said his focus was just to move on. “Not much thought was given to the victims,” Towers said. “They were starting out on a new life somewhere.”
That all changed for him in 2005, when he was invited back to Magdeburg to speak about what happened 60 years before. There, he met Ernest Kahn, a survivor of Buchenwald who had been liberated by Towers’ division (“It was very emotional,’’ said Towers), and Kahn put him in touch with Matt Rozell, a high school teacher from Hudson Falls, N.Y., who was assembling an online archive of stories from the war. The two began working together to locate survivors from the train in Farsleben.
“The thing just snowballed,” Towers said. “Today we have located 275 of these children.”
Like Towers, Charles Elbaum, who was a 17-year-old prisoner when rescued from the train, rarely spoke about the Holocaust to his family. After his liberation, he went on to become a physics professor at Brown University, a husband, a father to three sons, and a grandfather to eight children. His son Dan, of Newton, and grandson Nathan met Towers at a reunion, and invited him to speak before the congregation at Temple Beth Elohim.
“Without what they did,” Dan Elbaum said, “I wouldn’t be here. Frank is the last known surviving veteran who was actually present at the liberation of the train.”
For Towers, who now travels around the world to tell his story, preserving the memory is the most important aspect of these talks.
“Dan and his family, and others just like him, he’s second-generation,” Towers said. “Many of them knew nothing about the incarceration of their parents. This second generation is entitled to know what happened, and how it happened, so that they in turn can pass it on to their children, and this will never happen again. That’s the hope in all of us.”
Victoria Bedford can be reached at email@example.com.
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Frank Towers, the man who gave this talk in Boston, will be giving the talk in Sarasota. Here is his most recent email re the Sarasota presentation.
Just in case that I have not contacted you before,
And, if I have, and Just in case you have made plans to attend the event at which I will be the featured speaker, on “The Train at Farsleben”, just let me refresh you with the latest details of the event:
Place: Gold Coast Eagle Distributing Co.
7051 Wireless Ct.
Sarasota, FL 34240 (Google this for location)
Time: 5:30PM to 7:00 PM
Bag Pipers* (my emphasis) will be welcoming guests from 5:15 to 5:30
Refreshments will be served from 5:30 to 6:00
Start of Talk: 6:15 PM
Return to Refreshment area to mingle with guests 7:00 PM
Please e-mail me if you have any questions. And please let me know if you plan to attend.
Yours in Old Hickory Friendship,
Frank W. Towers
Historian & Editor
The 30th Inf. Div. Veterans of WWII”
* We Duncans are Scots, you realize.
Michael and I plan to attend his talk with my sister, Karen and her husband, Freddie (who is also a Scot ).
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