Schulz was eyewitness to WWII, Holocaust

NEW ULM – The public was treated to a presentation by author Gene Schulz Tuesday night in the Martin Luther College Auditorium.

Schulz’ book: “The Ghost in General Patton’s Third Army,” is a memoir detailing his experiences in World War II as a member of the 20th Corps, which was the spearhead of General Patton’s Third Army.

Schulz was born in Clintonville, Wis., in 1923. He graduated from high school shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was drafted into the Army at age 19. Following a number of aptitude tests, Schulz was assigned as a typist in the war room.

Schulz summarized key moments in WWII history, including a detailed account of D-Day landings at Normandy. His stories were accompanied by historical photographs taken during the war as well as photographs taken by Schulz decades later.

Schulz told the audience that he had a personal encounter with the legendary Patton, and the experience is found in his book.

Schulz spoke about the Holocaust. In April of 1945 the first concentration camp was found by an American tank division. Not long after the discovery, General Dwight Eisenhower sent out orders that all American troops within the area should visit the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Schulz explained that Eisenhower wanted as many witnesses as possible to prevent people in the future from denying The Holocaust ever happened.

“I am an eyewitness,” said Schulz.

Schulz was one of several soldiers to not only tour Buchenwald, but he also photographed many atrocities left by the Nazis. The most graphic example given was a tour of the camp commandant’s office. The camp commander kept a book and a lamp shade made of human skin.

During a question-and- answer session, Schulz said it was only in the last 10 years that he could bring himself to talk about his experience in WWII. “I could not talk about it. If I started out, I would break down and cry because it was so imbedded in my brain.”

It is only recently that a push has been made to collect these firsthand accounts from WWII veterans.

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