Wilson, Charles E.

Wilson, Charles E.


Reverend Charles E. Wilson was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1916.  He had no contact with Jewish people but remembered seeing signs saying “for Gentiles only.”  After the war, he saw this as an injustice.

Reverend Wilson went to Wheaton College and played football before going into the service.  By the time he was drafted, he was married and had a daughter.  He continued his education after the war.

He lives in South Haven Michigan, is married to Rhetta for fifty two years, has a son and daughter, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Reverend Wilson was first shipped overseas and fought in the Battle of the Bulge with Patton’s Third Army.  He was then transferred out of the division and met a Chaplain who was looking for a driver, then meeting Stephen J. O’Donnell who became an associate.

They crossed the Rhine into Germany and then went to Mossberg to help with the wounded soldiers.  At Ohrdruf he saw dead US soldiers at the gate and piles of bodies, shot through the head.  Most of the dead were Jews.  He saw a ditch that measured about 75 feet by 25 feet with body parts protruding from the mud.  His memory of dead babies hanging on nails causes nightmares to this day.

Looking at the “walking dead” he asked himself, “Am I dead?” and; “Where did anti-Semitism come from?”

Reverend Wilson remembers that his parents had the prejudices of that period.  He now says “America should rejoice in our differences.”  But, he said “we’re still creating hostility.”

Reverend Wilson spent at least half of this interview reading from his book, mostly about his own religion.

Interview information:
Date: December 10, 1992
Interviewer: Rabbi Charles Rosenzveig
Length: 1 hour and 15
Format: DVD