World War II Diary

By David Block



Introduction

David Block maintained a daily diary beginning February 14, 1945 and ending July 29, 1945. He recorded these daily entries in a small paperback book measuring 2 inches wide by 4 inches high. This little pocket book was published by the National Jewish Welfare Board, a member agency of the U.S.O. The book contained a list of its offices of the Jewish Welfare Board; a roster of the members of its Committee on Army and Navy Religious Activities; a description of the Board and its services to Veterans; Historic Quotations (such as the Preamble to the Constitution and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address); an article written by Henry A. Wallace, Vice President of the United States, titled "The Price of Free World Victory;" an article titled "The Jews in the Wars of the United States;" a brief essay on the Jewish calendar; Civic Holidays for 1944; Dates to Remember; the yearly calendars with blank spaces for each day in which to write comments; a blank section called "Names and Addresses;" a section called "Prayers" containing The Mourner's Kaddish, Memorial Services for a father, for a mother, for the male dead and for the female dead; a section to record Yarhzeit dates; a state-by-state listing of the National Jewish Welfare Board's "Representatives and Cooperating Constituent Societies Adjacent to Military Post and Naval Stations;" and an abridged Hebrew Calendar for the year 5704 and 5705 (1944).

Interspersed throughout the diary are notes in brackets made by me. We are still conducting research to uncover the complete history of David Block's activities during World War II and will be adding more information to this document in the future.

Gerald Lowell
March 8, 2009

THE DIARY

Written in diary on blank pages before start of daily entries:

Arr@Meade 2/14/45
Went into Baltimore 2/15/45
Shipped to Shanks 2/18/45
One pass 12 hrs. 2/20/45
On the alert 2/21/45
Shipped out for ship 2/23/45
Ship pulled out 2/24/45
Arrived in Scotland 3/3/45
Arrived in France 3/6/45
Arrived Home 1/14/46
Arrived France 4/12/46
60-day furlough

[NOTE: Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, was a training center during WWII, used by more than 200 units and approximately 3,501,000 men between 1942 and 1946.]

Wednesday 2/14/45

Left home 4:30 a.m. Arrived at Meade 12 noon. Had a physical and a few other items and wrote home.

Thursday 2/15/45

Received new clothing and combat boots and press pack and gas mask. Called home from town.

Friday 2/16/45

Went through gas chamber and am on shipping orders. No pass, called Mim 12 noon and spoke to her. Sure felt good.

Saturday 2/17/45

Clothing check all day. Came back 2 1/2 hrs. late from pass. Rode all the way to N.Y. and back. Haircut in afternoon.

Loaded bags at night. Lost $42.00 in dice.

Sunday 2/18/45

Left Meade about 9 a.m. arrived at Shanks about 4 p.m. and went right into our barracks. Train ride was nice. [NOTE: During WWII, Camp Shanks, NY, was the final stop for soldiers as they prepared for departure to the European Theater of Operations (ETO).]

Monday 2/19/45

Got one typhoid needle today and class in censorship.

Tuesday 2/20/45

Nothing doing all day. Got pass at night and went home. Saw Mim and folks and felt very happy, especially to see Mim.

Wednesday 2/21/45

Came back from pass 6:15 and went to bed until 9. Now on the alert. On guard for 24 hrs. 2 hrs on 4 hrs. rest.

Thursday 2/22/45

On guard until 11:30 this morning. Ate in cafeteria, went to movie at night. Saw "Here Come the Co-eds" and half of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn."

Friday 2/23/45

Was on baggage detail, brought bag racks to train. Train left at 6:45 p.m. to N.J. Ferry. Boarded British ship and was assigned bunk.

Saturday 2/24/45

Ship pulled out at 7:00 a.m. from, I think it was 50th St., N.Y.

Sunday 2/25/45

Second day on board. Felt dizzy, like I was drunk. Abandon ship drill each day at 11:45.

Monday 2/26/45

Time one hour ahead when I woke. Got a needle and a book on England and France and a Red Cross kit.

Tuesday 2/27/45

Time two hours ahead now. Got a German book. And we got cigarettes for having a clean section aboard.

Wednesday 2/28/45

Time-three hours ahead. Still nothing but water all around. Starting to miss my Mim. Whenever I am free and start thinking, Mim is always there. Makes me feel homesick. I guess I love her a lot. I wish this mess ends very soon.

Thursday 3/1

Nothing new. Dull day.

Friday 3/2

Was met by two corvettes about 3 p.m. Received K ration for full day to be ate on train. [NOTE: A corvette is an easily-built patrol and convoy escort vessel.]

Saturday 3/3

Arrived in Scotland today about 4 p.m. Stay on ship until tomorrow morning.

Sunday 3/4

Left ship 8:10 took train at Glasgow at 10 to Scotland. [NOTE: The word "Scotland" was crossed out but nothing was added. Based on the next day's entry, it should have read "Southhampton."]

Monday 3/5

Got off of train in Southampton walked out to dock at 2:30 a.m. slept on dock. Boarded ship at 8 a.m. Ship pulled out tonight.

Tuesday 3/6

Started its trip to France at 2:00 a.m. Was on guard duty. Pulled into Le Havre France 3 p.m. Stood on ship.

Wednesday 3/7

Went off ship 10:15 a.m. walked down to 15 Rec. Dept. Boarded box car at 5 p.m.

Thursday 3/8

Still in box car. Ate K ration last night. Two hot meals a day.

Friday 3/9

Arrived at Thaon, France to the 2nd Replacement Depot of the 7th Army. Received a rifle.

Saturday 3/10

Got up at 6:30 Zeroed rifle. Got $20 partial pay equals 1000 francs.

Sunday 3/11

Got a 12 hr. pass and went into town, looked around. Came back 4 p.m. Sent Mim 50 francs.

Monday 3/12

Restricted & on alert. Went to show at night and saw "Keys of the Kingdom."

Tuesday 3/13

Pulled out at 8 a.m. to another depot of 7th Army. Arrived for lunch and went to show at night. Saw "The Man in Half Moon Street."

Wednesday 3/14

Went on hike in afternoon and saw movie at night "Sweet and Low-Down", Benny Goodman.

Thursday 3/15

Zeroed our rifles in the morning. Got a pass for 3 hrs. Went into town and saw "Devotion" with Ida Lupina.

Friday 3/16

Went on a hike in morning and in afternoon went to fire machine gun. Sneaked out at night and saw "Hi, Beautiful."

Saturday 3/17

Gold bricked all day from work, went in day room. Got a pass and just walked around with Bennett.

Sunday 3/18

Went in trucks at 4 p.m. to 3 Div.

Monday 3/19

Slept overnight in pup tents. Gave all our clothes in, just kept pack and mask, sleeping rolls. Pulled out at 1:00 p.m. Second CG of 30 rec. spent. Slept at [NOTE: town name illegible].

Tuesday 3/20

Pulled out of Bath [NOTE: town name illegible] at 3:30 p.m. went to my Company I and slept over.

Wednesday 3/21

Woke and was assigned to 2nd squad first platoon. Walked to buildings where we slept over.

Thursday 3/22

Woke up at 6:30 and got on trucks. Rode all day until 8:30 p.m. Slept in field

Friday 3/23

Awake and ate. Then dug in but pulled out about 2 p.m. and dug in again in a small tree belt. Slept over again.

Saturday 3/24

Awoke at 6:30, had chief guard last night. Took a hike in morning. Road drill later in afternoon. Moved out at 8 p.m.

Sunday 3/25

New area. Pulled out at 9:00 p.m. to area nearer to Rhine.

Monday 3/26

Crossed Rhine River about 2:30 a.m. Baptism of Fire at second railroad. Moved into town and then moved out at 8:30 p.m. to the outskirts of another town, dug in. [NOTE: The phrase "Baptism of Fire" was used to describe that time when a soldier first faced live fire from the enemy.]

Tuesday 3/27

Awake at 6:30 a.m. Moved out again, walked to a town at 9 a.m. Rode on tanks from the first town to another. Dug in, pulled guard.

Wednesday 3/28

Moved out in afternoon on TD's to another town. Took the town after it and dug in.

Thursday 3/29

Moved on trucks from one town to another. And went to sleep in barn.

Friday 3/30

Awake at 8 a.m. pulled out (walked) across Main River into another town and slept in house. Sent home watch and bracelet picked up here.

Saturday 3/31

Slept in house again. Still here. Nothing doing. Just sit around or sleep.

Sunday 4/1

Slept in same house again. Nothing doing.

Monday 4/2

Slept in same house again. Nothing new.

Tuesday, 4/3

Moved out of house in afternoon to another town and moved into a house.

Wednesday, 4/4

Moved out again, at 4:30 a.m. to another town and into a house. Moved out the same day to some woods on Deuche [NOTE: River] again.

Thursday 4/5

Moved out of woods at 6 a.m. to another woods and relieved "L" Co. Then about 3 a.m. went to take a town and 14 Armored took it. So we pulled into another town for night.

Friday 4/6

Went on Combat Patrol at 5 a.m. to some town but met Krauts in town before so waited for rest of Co. Then proceeded to town and went in houses.

Saturday 4/7

Moved out last night and took another town. Moved in house. Moved out again to the big town of Bad Kissengen. Open City. Dug in in a park.

Sunday 4/8

Pulled out about 9 a.m. to take town which we took then took the town after that. Slept in town overnight in house.

Monday 4/9

Moved out about 9 a.m. to next town stood there for about 2 hours, then moved to next one. Moved out about 12 midnight to another town and 2nd platoon took next one.

Tuesday 4/10 WURZBURG

Stood in town all day in a house. Slept on bed ate good . Swell life. If it will only stay like that. Things are pretty easy.

Wednesday 4/11

Moved out at 8 p.m. Crossed the Main River at 9:15 and took two towns. Stood at the first town until early next morning.

Thursday 4/12 ZELL

Moved into second town about 6 a.m. Pulled out on tanks in evening and took a town after K's. About 6:30 a.m.

Friday 4/13

On the move all day and night. Taking town after town.

Saturday 4/14

Took A Company's objective, moved out and took three more towns. At 12 p.m. 1st plat. tried to take town, too much Kraut.

Sunday 4/15 REGNITZ RIVER

Took the town in the morning. Pulled out at sundown to another town and crossed river again, took 2 towns after that and captured 2-88's and a flak wagon.

Monday 4/16 POXDORF

Moved out to another town about 2:30 p.m. on Ducks. Got in buildings. Was in a large building every man in platoon had a bed. [NOTE: The DUKW (popularly pronounced "duck") is a six-wheel-drive that was designed by General Motors Corporation during WWII for transporting goods and troops over land and water.]

Tuesday 4/17

Slept over in house stood there all day.

Wednesday 4/18 HEROLDSBERG

Moved out after breakfast about 8 a.m. on Ducks to another town and slept in house for the day and all night.

Thursday, 4/19

Moved to a different house which is really nice. Sun porch, 2 bathrooms, 2 kitchens. Plenty of room. One platoon in house.

Slept there night. Friday 4/20

Stood in Heroldsberg. Practice for ceremony all day. 2 hrs. guard at night from 2 to 4.

Sat/ 4/21

Was in the ceremonial battalion at Nuremberg. The ceremony was held at 3 p.m. Gen. Patch was present. [NOTE: Major General Paul E. Patch] We rode to Nuremberg from our town and back.

Sun 4/21

Came back from ceremony at Nuremberg at 6 and pulled out on Ducks 9 p.m. and rode all night.

Monday 4/23

Arrived at a town at 7 a.m. and got off and went in houses. Moved out at 2 p.m. to next town.

Tuesday 4/24

Arrived at town 2 a.m. 1st platoon had to go into next town. We hit a company of Krauts coming down the road. Laid low behind 2 ditches. Lucked out.

Wednesday 4/25

Stood in the town we took all day. Slept in a house.

Thursday, 4/26

Pulled out of town in afternoon and went to another town across Danube. Road across on trucks over bridge. Slept in houses. First time rode across river.

Friday, 4/27

Was picked from 1st platoon to go to next town and guard house until they arrived. They didn't come so we all slept in CP [NOTE: Believe that this means "camp."] Had a good sleep. No guard at all that night.

Saturday 4/28

Crossed a creek at 7 a.m. towards Augsburg. Walked all day until about 3 p.m. the 1st platoon took town. 5 kilometers from Augsburg on road to Munich.

Sunday 4/29

Moved out on tanks in afternoon closer to Munich (20 Km. from here) stood in house for night.

Monday 4/30

Pulled out in morning and road all day into the outskirts of Munich and slept in a large house. Apartment house.

Tuesday, 5/1 ROSENHEIM

Pulled out with a task force at 7 a.m. on tanks toward Inn River [NOTE: The Inn is a river in Switzerland, Austria, & Germany. It is a right tributary of the Danube.] Road all day to town of Rosenheim.

Wednesday 5/2

Stood in Rosenheim for the day. Sacked houses and got myself another pistol P 32 and a 32 cartridge gun.

Thursday 5/3

Lost track of day.

Friday 5/4

Pulled into a town and captured an arsenal of guns and pistols. Man was killed with pistol so they took them all away. Slept in barrack.

Saturday 5/5

Rode into Salzburg and pulled into a house and stayed there for the night.

Sunday 5/6

Stood in Salzburg. Practically all got drunk. Saw German film at night.

Monday 5/7

Woke up at 6 for training in a.m. Afternoon squad went on patrol. I stayed in room and wrote letter. Radio announced that war will be over at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday.

Tuesday 5/8 WAR OVER

Drill in morning and did nothing in afternoon. Was supposed to go to show at night but sneaked away and went back to house and wrote letters. Got paid today. $140.00.

Wednesday 5/9

Drill in morning. Indoor baseball in afternoon instead of going to parade for Under Sec. of War Patterson [NOTE: Robert Porter Patterson]. Wrote letters in evening, pulled guard.

Thursday 5/10

Drill in morning. Hike which really tired me out. One needle. Prawl came back tonight. On KP tomorrow.

Friday 5/11

KP all day until supper. Ate KS for supper moved out at 9:15 p.m. arrived at another town 12:30 a.m. Don't know if in Germany or Austria.

Saturday 5/12

Annaberg name of town and still in Austria. Guarded some SS men and didn't do anything all day.

Sunday, 5/13

Did nothing all day. Climbed up a mountain and laid down in Sunday Very hot here.

Monday 5/14

Went on patrol in a.m. from 8-12; had a good time. Sat around the rest of day.

Tuesday, 5/15

On guard 2 hours on 4 off. All day.

Wednesday 5/16

Pulled my last guard from 3 to 5 a.m. Ate breakfast and we pulled out for Salzburg at 11 a.m. Arrived at our same houses at 4 p.m.

Thursday 5/17

Was on guard in front of CP. Two hrs. on 4 off.

Friday 5/18

Helped build a Volleyball court. Turned in Application for Typist & Clerk School.

Saturday 5/19

Drilled all morning. Typed letters in afternoon. On guard again tomorrow. And tomorrow is Rodeo.

Sunday 5/20

Pulled guard in front of 3rd Plat. Man was electrocuted on freight car. But he'll be okay. (DIED LATER)

Monday 5/21

Went off guard at 12 noon and went to parade where they gave out ribbons to the men who earned them.

Tuesday 5/22

Drilled in morning and saw film "Two Down and One To Go" in afternoon about redeployment from ETO [NOTE: European Theater of Operations.]

Wednesday 5/23

Anzio Day. No work. Parade in afternoon which I didn't go to. Dug a small hole for machine gun to fire into for tactics.

Thursday, 5/24

Rained all day. Had lecture on General Orders. Got liquor rations in evening so everyone got drunk and there was plenty of noise.

Friday, 5/25

Nice day today. Practiced in morning for parade. And went to parade in afternoon 15th Corp. General and he gave Bronze star to some rear echelons.

Saturday 5/26

Was put in Provisional Platoon in morning and drilled with them, signed my point card. At night went to Swing Show and it was very good.

Sunday 5/27

Didn't do anything all day but went on Battalion Guard at 4:00 p.m.

Monday 5/28

Got off guard at 4 p.m. Did nothing all day. Wrote letters.

Tuesday, 5/29

Did nothing all day. Took a horse-bath at night. Sure needed it.

Wednesday 5/30

Got paid today. $49. And sent home a $100. Made the money on my pistols.

Thursday 5/31

Rained all day. Drilled in morning but most of time had lectures in theatre.

Friday 6/1

Nothing doing all day. Practice for big parade tomorrow but I went back to house. We got cigarette PX rations of 7 packs.

Saturday 6/2

Went on guard at 7 p.m. Had been all night in our new Day Room.

Sunday 6/3

Post guard at 7-9 a.m. Had some more beer a night and went for walk with Parker.

Monday 6/4

Nothing new today.

Tuesday, 6/5

Nothing new. Drilled in morning, wrote two letters in afternoon.

Wednesday 6/6

Normandy Day. No work. Parade was called off. Went swimming in afternoon in pool (outdoor).

Thursday 6/7

Parade was today but I ran back after trucks took off halfway to airfield and went swimming. Was given a BAQ [NOTE: Basic Allowance for Quarters].

Friday 6/8

Hot all day, rained about 8 p.m. G. I.'d house for Saturday's inspection.

Saturday 6/9

Rained all day and we didn't do a thing. At night I went to see "International Review" (a show) and then saw the Boxing exhibitions of 3rd Div.

Sunday 6/10

Rained all day, went to show in afternoon, saw "The Unseen" Joel McCrea.

Monday 6/11

Fifteen mile hike in morning from 6-11 A.M. Went to show at night saw "Having a Wonderful Crime?" Screwed off from march at night (CO's flag).

Tuesday 6/12

Was on Supply room platoon for not going on hike last night. Went to movie tonight and saw "Objective Burma".

Wednesday, 6/13

Supply Room detail for week, cleaning rifles.

Thursday, 6/14

Supply room detail. On guard starting 6 p.m.; on 4 off 8.

Friday 6/15

Last guard shift at 6-10 a.m. Went to show at 2 P.M. and saw "Brewster's Millions."

Saturday 6/16

Was on KP all day today.

Sunday 6/17

Saw "Austrian Show" (on stage) and saw "Free Love" Spencer Tracy. Went to "Haleen" [NOTE: Unable to locate yet] in Recon. Jeep.

Monday 6/18

Trained all morning. 1st platoon played 4 softball. We won 12-10.

Tuesday, 6/19

Company (3/4) pulled out at 3 P.M. to parade at Division Hdq. for a week or so. I stood at Salzburg and was on guard.

Wednesday 6/20

Pulled guard all day while Company was away.

Thursday 6/21

Moved out to company at 1 P.M. and slept in squad tents. It rained very hard at night.

Friday, 6/22

Practicing for parade (Guard) in morning and stood in parade at 5 P.M. Went to Aid for physical. Going to Nancy in morning.

Saturday 6/23

Started out at 9:30 A.M. Stopped at Karlsruhe (name was then crossed out) for night where all shacked up. DURLACH name of town.

Sunday 6/24

Started out at 7:30 A.M. and stopped in France and ate in G.I. Dining then went to Nancy at 11:30 a.m. Arrived in Nancy 2:30. Got clothes went into town. Didn't find anything. Drank.

Monday 6/25

[NOTE: Entry completely scribbled out]

Tuesday 6/26

Mims birthday

Stood at Center all afternoon went to movie at night saw "Conflict" Humphrey Bogart & Alexis Smith.

Wednesday , 6/27

Stood in Pert Center [NOTE: unable to define "Pert"] all day drank beer. Went to show at night and saw "Earl Carrol Vanities." Dennis O'Keefe.

Thursday, 6/28

Started out for W. at 1 p.m. arrived at the same town where we stopped on our way to Nancy (DURLACH) and slept over.

Friday 6/29

Pulled out from Darluch at 9 a.m. Arrived at Company Area 6:30 p.m.. Slept over in old buildings. Co. still at Division Hdq/parading.

Saturday 6/30

Went to play at night in Salzburg which was excellent and saw Anathalla (?) Jones' [NOTE: unable to identify this individual] the show "You Never Had It So Good." Rode back in jeep, 5 in back.

Sunday 7/1

Went to show at night and saw "The Clock" Judy Garland and Robert Walker. Rode back in Med. Truck from Autobahn.

Monday 7/2

Rained all day. Saw "A Royal Scandal" with Tallulah Bankhead at night. Picture not bad nor good, fair.

Tuesday 7/3

Rained all day again. Went to stage show at night saw "Maryots Review" Good show Came back in the rain got all soaked.

Wednesday 7/4 JULY 4

Rained all day but stopped in the evening. Saw "Frisco Sal" with Susanna Foster. Not a bad picture, no training today, holiday.

Thursday 7/5

Didn't rain. Cool day. Recreation. Boxed a little with Droll. Went to show at night. Saw "Patrick the Great." Donald O'Conner.

Friday 7/6

Cool day. Saw Symphony Concert at night. Was dry. Went to sleep when I got back, have to go on guard tomorrow morning from 4-6.

Saturday 7/7

Rifle inspection in morning. Saw "The Whistler" rather the second Whistler picture with Richard Dix. Good picture.

Sunday 7/8

[Entry all scribbled out]

Monday 7/9

Knocked down tents. Moved to Division Area. Met reg. at 2 p.m. Went to river at night fire rifle. Went swimming too in a creek.

Tuesday 7/10

Hot day. Hung around Area and after supper went swimming in officer's pool in Division Hdq.

Wednesday 7/11

Started out from Salzburg at 8 a.m. to BAD WILDUNGEN. Stopped at Mannheim for night at 9:00 p.m. Slept on bank of Mainz River.

Thursday 7/12

Pulled out from Mannheim at 8:30 and arrived at BAD WILDUNGEN at 4 p.m. Pitched pup tent in field.

Friday 7/13

Did nothing all day.

Saturday 7/14

Went swimming in afternoon in pool. Beautiful pool. Went to "Vonuf Ugaist" [NOTE: unable to identify] in town. Received money.

Sunday 7/15

Pitched tents and fixed beds and cloths racks in squad tents. Moved near lake.

Monday 7/16

Dug latrine in morning. Went to have clothes pressed in afternoon for tomorrow's parade. Went to movies at night. "Pillow to Post!"

Tuesday 7/17

Wasn't in parade so came back to fix NonCom tents. Company came back. No parade. There was no transportation.

Wednesday 7/18

Digging latrine in morning, had rest of day off. Took pictures in - Postal Card size. Be ready Monday Went to show tonight "Do You Know Suzie?"

Thursday 7/19

Christened latrine in morning. Received package from Mim in evening. Drank beer and saw Hardy & Laurel in "The Bullfighters" at night.

Friday 7/20

Saw a cowboy picture in evening and drank beer.

Saturday 7/21

[Entry all scribbled out]

Sunday 7/22

Did nothing most of day. Went to RC afternoon Saw 78/Div band. Fished in stream behind my tent at night, caught three (trout).

Monday 7/23

Got PX rations today. Plenty of candy. Saw "The Woman in the Window" at night. Took out my pictures today, came out good. Sent them home.

Tuesday 7/24

Drilled in morning. Went to G.I. show at night and saw picture "Girl Rush" after show. Missed saluting a Colonel and Major, stopped me and asked questions.

Wednesday 7/25

Drilled in morning walked around town in evening.

Thursday 7/26

Drilled in morning and was told we are going to parade through town tomorrow and up to Division for Retreat with White Gloves.

Friday 7/27

Practiced for parade and in evening paraded up to Division. We really looked sharp with white gloves. Flag never went down during retreat.

Saturday 7/28

War Assistant Instructor on B.A. today from 3-5. Didn't parade.

Sunday 7/29

Saw 5 innings of 3rd US 78 Div., baseball. 3rd was winning 3-1. Stood through picture "G.I."

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