Lawrence E. Bartling was born on March 26, 1915, at Pipestone, Minnesota.
Raised as a Presbyterian, Lawrence was a civil engineer before
entering the service on March 23, 1942, as second lieutenant.
Service Record: Lawrence Bartling, serial number 0354986, entered the service
as part of the 36th Infantry Division and then joined the 69th
Division on May 15, 1943, as a first lieutenant. He was trained at
Camp Shelby, Mississippi, until November 15, 1944, when he was
shipped to the European theater. After landing in England, he
crossed the Channel, traveled through France in box cars and went
into battle line in Belgium. His battles and campaigns were in the
Rhineland and Central Europe. Following the battle of Leipzig, the
69th Division met the Russians at the Elbe River. The war ended May
8, 1945, V-E Day.
Camp Encounter: Capt. Bartling was not involved with the lliberation of the
Leipzig-Thekla Concentration Camp but was in the area of Leipzig as
part of the 272nd Regiment. His memory is that it could have been
the 271st Regiment. The night of April 18, , the 272nd was
ordered to move around Leipzig from the East to converge with the
273rd coming in from the West. There was fairly heavy resistance
from the Germans, but with the addition of tanks in our attacking
forces, Leipzig was secured. About
1700 prisoners were taken. Following this battle they moved further
East to the Elbe River.
photo courtesy of Lawrence Bartling
With reference to the concentration camp, Capt. Bartling
provided a quote from the diary of an officer with the Medical
Battalion that was part of the 69th Infantry Division: "April
26, 1945: Went to slave labor camp today and will never forget the
sight. The camp was near Taucha and called the Tekla [sic]
Compound." Bartling goes on to explain that Taucha is 3-4 miles
northeast of Leipzig. He says that his unit was not aware of the
existence of the camp at the time they waged the night and day
battle in Leipzig.
Awards: Victory Medal, EAME Theatre, Ribbon WW 2, Bronze Star,
American Theatre Ribbon, Combat Infantryman's Badge.