To discover the grandfather he never knew, Jeff Badger, armed with only a handful of photographs that his deceased grandfather brought home from WII, set off to find his grandfather's war buddies. He found and interviewed 32 elderly Army-engineer veterans from his granddad's unit, including his... more
- ISBN 9781593313210
- Imprint Ancestry.com
- Category Biography & Autobiography
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He found and interviewed 32 elderly Army-engineer veterans from his granddad's unit, including his grandfather's four best buddies. Their firsthand accounts created an intimate and honest portrait of their war: the work of an engineering maintenance company working behind the lines to repair equipment for the infantry, retrieving damaged equipment from the front, avoiding German snipers, building bridges in Germany under enemy fire, coping with the death of a best friend. One Jewish GI said the hardest part of the war was the anti-Semitism - not from the Germans, but from his fellow GI "buddies". The author then tracked down the Jewish GI's main antagonist to get his side of the story.
The men also told about the good times: breaking into a brothel in France, drinking wine and chasing girls in Holland, robbing a bank in Germany.
The author also did something unique: using the photos the GIs gave him, he tracked down the French, German and Dutch civilians who befriended the GIs in 1944/1945 and heard their recollection of events from 55 years ago.
Through it all the author weaves a rare and intimate portrait of the veterans and their war and how it still affects them to this day.
In Part II the author gives instructions on researching your own family member's war story, including obtaining medals.