Herman J. Obermayer was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army during WWII. He was born and raised in Phildelphia, PA, to a well-to-do Jewish family and graduated cum laude from Dartmouth before enlisting in the Army. He wrote hundreds of letters to his "folks" during his time in basic training, a special military school at the College of William and Mary, and while in Europe. He was a medic in France, worked on the gasoline lines that fueled the Allied war machine on the Western Front, and, through a twist of fate (and well-placed connections) was present at the historic proceedings at Nuremburg after the war's end.
This book is a compilation of his letters, in which we learn about the goings-on of the time from the vantage point of an educated "grunt." He talks everything from the tedium and misery of some of the camps he stayed in to the exhileration of watching Nazis squirm. He talks about the secret code he used to relay secret messages to his parents -- messages that U.S. censors would have removed. He discusses racism and bigotry in the military and society at large. He talks about aspects of war and occupation that are timely in this day and age with the United States once again engaged in helping a people emerge from despotism and develop a democratic culture to support a liberal, Western-style state.
This report prepared by Tom Crowe