Feldman, Henry

Feldman, Henry


Feldman was born in 1925 in Detroit, the son of Louis and Anna Feldman, Orthodox Jews, and educated in the local public school system, including Cass Technical High School. He enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1943, before graduating from high school. Following basic training he was sent to Scotland, England, Wales, and then Northern Ireland for further training. There he was assigned to the 121st Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division, and became part of its cannon company.

His army unit entered the European continent via Omaha Beach on D-Day plus 28, i.e., twenty-eight days after the initial landing and participated in various campaigns through France and Belgium. His unit entered Germany from Belgium and continued eastward. In the various campaigns Feldman earned four Battle Stars, as well as the Bronze Star for meritorious service.

While in Germany his unit was taken to a just-liberated Germany detention camp to view the conditions there. Upon entry into the camp (which he believes was named Landsberg), he witnessed a multitude of dead bodies stacked in rows he estimates to have been 5 feet high. He describes the bodies as being emaciated, probably due to starvation and/or illness. He also saw a three-tiered structure with an open wall where a number of inmates were huddled. They looked like skeletons, appearing similar to the dead bodies. He describes the sights in the camp as being so overwhelming that he didn’t proceed further into the camp.

Feldman does not know the nationality or religion of the inmates of the camp, nor what it was used for. After about one hour his unit was taken out of the camp and returned to the front line for further fighting. He believes the purpose of the visit was to show the front-line soldiers the atrocities performed by the Germans to keep them from showing compassion for, or reducing their efforts against, the Germany army. In view of what they saw, he feels the purpose was accomplished.

Feldman stated that he will never be able to forget the piles of corpses and other things he saw at the camp.

Following his discharge from the army at the end of the war, he completed his high school education at Cass Tech High School and also enrolled in the Navy Reserves, serving for several years. He subsequently joined the Detroit Police Department and worked there until his retirement.

Feldman displayed his service awards, which include the Bronze Star, the European Campaign Medal with four Battle Stars, the Victory Medal, the German Occupation Medal, and the Liberation of Paris Medal awarded by the French government, as well as the Combat Infantry Badge and a Unit Citation, among others.

Interview Information:
Date: July 11, 2000
Length: 26 minutes
Interviewer: Hans R. Weinmann
Format: Video recording