Testimonies from the Midwest

 

Pfc. Linfred LeRoy Schuttler, Co. F, 411 Infantry, 103 Division

Pfc. Linfred LeRoy Schuttler              Division patch                    Photo of Linfred LeRoy Schuttler

 

Linfred LeRoy Schuttler was born on November 2, 1924, at Spencer in Hanson County, South Dakota. Of German heritage and raised as a Methodist, Linfred was a store clerk before entering the service on May 7, 1943. The following is his story, told in his own words.

Service Record: I went into the service with the first 18-year-old draft call. I had my basic infantry training at Camp Wolters, Texas. I was then assigned to Co. F, 411 Infantry Regiment, 103rd Division in March of 1944 as part of a 60 mm. mortar squad. I went overseas in October of 1944, landing at Marseilles, France. We were part of the US Seventh Army and were sent to the Alsace-Lorraine  area of eastern France. During the Battle of the Bulge we were re-assigned to the US Third Army. The division ended the war in the Brenner Pass area of Austria and Italy. I was hospitalized for 2 months in March and April of 1945 with hepatitis.

Camp Encounter: I was assigned to the 103rd Inf. Division until the war ended and was then assigned to the 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion. We were positioned along a line south of Steyr, Austria, and spent about two months facing off with the Russians.

The enclosed pictures are of the work camp at Landsberg, Germany. It was liberated by the 103rd Division. [See photos at end of testimony.] I was hospitalized at that time so did not see this camp. There were six of these camps in the Landsberg area. The German civilians claimed to "know nothing" of the camps in their midst. They were ordered to clean up the camps and bury the dead. The mayor of Landsberg committed suicide when confronted with what was found in the camps.

My only real encounter with camp survivors was seeing many Polish POWs who had been captured in 1939. They were walking skeletons. They wanted to go home to Poland, but did not trust the Russians either.

Awards: I was awarded the Bronze Star, European Theater Ribbon with 3 Battle Stars, and the Combat Infantry Badge.

 

After the War: Pfc. Schuttler was discharged on April 13, 1946. He had this to say of his experiences.

I returned home to Hanson County and then moved to Spearfish in 1947. Because of being with mortars during the war, I have experienced a severe hearing loss. I attended some extension courses and night classes at BHSU [Spearfish, SD] and the University of Oklahoma. I farmed in Spearfish Valley for nine years and then worked as a city mail carrier in Spearfish for 25 years. I took an early disability retirement from the PO and then operated Bell, Book, and Candle Shoppe in Spearfish for 13 years. I married Charlotte M. Bryant and am now researching the history of Spearfish.

 

Advice from a WW II Veteran to Today's Youth: 

WW II has been called the "Good War" and we are known as the Greatest Generation. This was a total war, and the country was united in the effort to win it. The lesson of the war and of the Holocaust would be to maintain a vigilance so that the incidents of persecution of ethnic groups or classes of people shall never again get started.

Photos of one of the concentration camps in Landsberg, taken by Pfc. Bertram Sanders, 103rd Division cameraman, shortly after the city's capture by the 411th

Photos of one of the concentration camps in Landsberg, taken by Pfc. Bertram Sanders, 103rd Division cameraman, shortly after the city's capture by the 411th

Photos of one of the concentration camps in Landsberg, taken by Pfc. Bertram Sanders, 103rd Division cameraman, shortly after the city's capture by the 411th

Photos of one of the concentration camps in Landsberg, taken by Pfc. Bertram Sanders, 103rd Division cameraman, shortly after the city's capture by the 411th ; photos courtesy Linfred Schuttler

German women are forced to evacuate their homes to make room for Jewish displaced persons

German women are forced to evacuate their homes to make room for Jewish displaced persons; photo courtesy of USHMM

Landsbergers view the destruction of Kaufering IV with the 12th Armored Division guards looking on

Landsbergers view the destruction of Kaufering IV with the 12th Armored Division guards looking on;  http://www.acu.edu/academics/history/12ad/campsx/camps3.gif; courtesy of the Julien D. Saks Collection

http://www.eastmill.com/103rd/index.htm