Returning Through a Destroyed Germany

As my dad and his comrades made the beginnings of their way homeward, they encountered remnants of war in the homes of the German oppressor. When the Nazis dug in to protect their homeland, they didn’t have the full support of all the German people, but their actions led directly to the destruction of their own country by the American-led Allies. These images tell a slice of the story of that destruction. See this video of Aachen and this video of Plauen.

Three Regimental messengers near Plauen, German.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

This German lady has been trying to clear her yard of all rubble. Her home here was likewise bombed but was in better shape than mane of her neighbors in Aachen, Germany.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

Aachen, Germany (the first large German city taken by American troops of the U.S. First Army) knows well what war is. Our bombers kept pouring it to the Hitler S.S. men who refused to surrender their headquarter city.

Bernard McKenzie, June 1945

 

This once was the town hall at Wasserbillig, Luxembourg. Our 3rd Br. fought their way in and took this town.

Bernard McKenzie, 1945

 

A small gasoline D.P. near our (unreadable) area. Ration stamps were unheard of.

Bernard McKenzie, 1945

 

“Take Ten.” Our convoy, homeward bound, would take a ten minute stop every two hours. Business pertinent at that time was taken care of.

Bernard McKenzie, 1945

Camp Oklahoma City, Next Best Place to Being Home

 

Complete & successful destruction of a Nazi Party headquarters building near Cologne, Germany.

Bernard McKenzie, June 19, 1945

 

A view of the picturesque Moselle River near Wasserbillig, Germany. Our regiment had taken Wasserbillig only after a terrific price in human lives last winter.

Bernard McKenzie, June 19, 1945

 

The cathedral was to have been the chief subject near Bonn, Germany, and while hurriedly passing through, the picture was snapped.

Bernard McKenzie, June 19, 1945

 

This photo, which I’d always assumed was of a sign constructed by a home-sick G.I., pointed the directions of American redeployment camps, or repo-depos.┬áThe camps were named after U.S. cities. My dad was at Oklahoma City.

Redeployment centers near Reims, France, were organized & functioning in these U.S. city named camps . Our Division was redeployed at Oklahoma City.

Bernard McKenzie, June 19, 1945

 

These redeployment camps near Reims served as a funnel to prepare millions of American G.I.’s for military operations elsewhere in the world and to send the luckier ones home. The map below shows the location of the various camps around Reims. The first photo shows the long lines for the “Gourmet Restaurant” at Camp Boston. The second photo is of my dad’s camp, Oklahoma City.

A Mystery to Solve

All of the photographs on this site are scans of originals that my father Bernard McKenzie took on his trek across western Europe at the end of World War 2. To this point the descriptions written on the back have been meticulous, detailed in the handwriting of my dad and the vernacular of the times. They’ve also been accurate, both chronological and locations. This blog post has helped me identify the first discrepancy, a photo and description dated far out of sequence. What’s going on? I hope to figure it out as I keep following the trail of photographs back into Germany.

The lazy Moselle River near Wasserbillig, Germany.

Bernard McKenzie, June 22, 1945

While this photo does appear to be of the Moselle River, Luxembourg is on one side while Germany is on the other. The photo is also obviously extremely mis-dated, as my dad was at Camp Home Run in Le Havre, France, on June 22.