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Avrum Gandel Horst Gansert Merrell Gibson Lloyd Giles Bob Gingery
Mary (Jo) Gorham John Gothard Earl Greenhalgh Wallace (Griff) Griffin Dave Griffith
William Grimm                

Avrum Gandel

(Maiden Name: Gandel)

U.S. Army, U.S. Merchant Marine

Born: 1927
Yountville, CA
United States
Original home:
Minneapolis, MN
United States

On the morning of August 13, 1945, Gandel landed in the harbor of Okanawa, Japan in his ship, the Ambrose Bierce. The huge harbor was filled with about 1,000 ships. Gandel claimed, "you could almost walk from ship to ship."

Although the ships were set to leave for a landing in Japan, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had left the ships no reason to leave harbor. Most ships that left went to Japan as military aid.

The evening of the 13th, Avrum reminisced, "I was setting up the mess hall aboard ship. We had a radio system for the army, 'Armed Forces Radio', that put out news and music. As I was preparing for the supper feed, I heard this fellow yell over the raido, ‘Give me clearance! Give me clearance! Oh, the hell with it! The war is over!'" As soon as it stated to get dark, every ship in the bay shot off every piece of arm. It was a display of fireworks that Gandel "[has] never seen since."
Gandel was thankful that the war was over. However, reminiscing about that day, Avrum realizes that ever since WWII, "we have lost every war" since, and looks back with a heavy heart.

Submitted by:
Molly T. Morrison
Santa Rosa, CA - United States

Horst Gansert

Foreign military (Germany )

Born: 1926
Salton City, CA
United States
Original home:

In the summer of 1945 we were transferred back to Camp Atterbury, Indiana (a German POW camp). In August two atom bombs were dropped by the U.S. and the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were flattened. The war was now really over. Japan capitulated days after this horrible disaster, ending a world war that had lasted six grueling years.

A week or so after the war had ended trucks moved into the camp and most of our food was removed from the kitchens. No explanation. Even things like soft drinks from the PX and cigarettes went out. Eventually some POWs working in the fields had dizzy spells and collapsed unconscious.

The farmers became alarmed and their production suffered. They complained to the various camp commanders and the news media soon caught on to what was happening. There were headlines on the front pages of newspapers that proclaimed that German POWs were being starved and one headline I saw asked, "Are we turning POW camps into concentration camps?"

Several weeks later the food was brought back again. I became one of a ten men work detail who were assigned to work as KPs in one of the Army kitchens inside the U.S. Army camp, washing dishes, mopping floors and such. I was lucky to work in the kitchen during the meager times in the POW camp and we were allowed to eat all we wanted.

During the night only a few GIs would come to eat. I took care of them and it wasn't long before they treated me as one of them. Some of the soldiers back from the Pacific sat down with me and told me their war stories, and some taught me more English. They had chocolate and cigarettes for me most of the time. We got to know each other so well even the five MPs who came to eat every evening joked around with me.

I admired Americans and their ways, loved their music and Glen Miller became my favorite. I was happy here.

Submitted by:
Darren Edson
Salt Lake City, UT - United States

Relationship to Storyteller:
Adult volunteer

Merrell Gibson


Lloyd Giles


Bob Gingery


Mary (Jo) Gorham


John Gothard


Earl Greenhalgh


Wallace (Griff) Griffin


Dave Griffith


William Grimm


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