Veteran Stories:
Kelman Cohen

Army

  • Kelman Cohen pictured in Germany, 1945.

    Kelman Cohen
  • Kelman Cohen in Germany, 1945.

    Kelman Cohen
  • Kelman Cohen on the streets of London, England, 1946.

    Kelman Cohen
  • Kelman Cohen in 2005.

    Kelman Cohen
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"We took over this farmhouse and there was a trap door in the kitchen and I had a grenade. I had the pin pulled to throw it in. I heard a whimper. There was two young girls, maybe about 12, 13 years old. That would have been terrible. That would have been – I would have lived with that all my life."

Transcript

I was a replacement and I think there was about two or three truckloads that went up and we went into a place called Cleve. They teamed me up with a fellow and they says, “This is your partner,” to the other fellow, “Cohen.” Right away he says, “I don’t want a Jew as a partner.” Well I could have crawled into a hole when I heard that. I said to myself, what am I doing here?

The sergeant told me to dig in a slit trench beside the canal. I started digging in and it was only about maybe a foot, a foot and a half deep, and a sniper took a shot at me and I lied flat down. I kept my rifle away; I didn’t want to get it dirty with dirt. And everyone that was hanging around the factory, these slave labour helpers, ran into the factory. And they had these big door like big garage doors and here I’m caught in that half-dug trench. And they yelled, “Cohen, grab your rifle and run for it!” They all opened up. They didn’t know what they were firing at; they just fired at the other side of the canal. And as soon as they opened up, the German sniper fired another round but it was wide. But I was already grabbing my rifle and zigzagged and flew through the open doorway.


We took over this farmhouse and there was a trap door in the kitchen and I had a grenade. I had the pin pulled to throw it in. I heard a whimper. There was two young girls, maybe about 12, 13 years old. That would have been terrible. That would have been – I would have lived with that all my life.

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