Veteran Stories:
Rudy Deutsch

Army

  • Geneva Convention Red Cross Identity Certificate of Rudy Deutsch, September 8, 1943.

    In Achterveld, the Netherlands, during the last days of the war, Mr. Deutsch and his Sergeant driver drove into no man's territory, and accidentally into German territory to help a wounded Dutch woman. As Mr. Deutsch and the Sergeant were carrying the woman on a stretcher, Germans hidden in a neighbouring house appeared and drew their guns at Mr. Deutsch. The Germans were intent on taking them both as prisoners. It was only once Mr. Deutsch pulled out this Geneva Convention Red Cross Identity Card that the Germans let them both go. They were then able to quickly return to their Regimental Mid-Post, and Major Fairfield, the Medical Officer, was able to save her life.

    The Geneva Convention Card is a worldwide agreement to protect Red Cross and First Aid personnel. When carrying this card one cannot also carry weapons, and the Germans also respected this agreement.

    Rudy Deutsch
  • Universal Carrier used to pick up wounded in Holland.

    Rudy Deutsch
  • Rudy Deutsch's Soldier's Service Book, January 4, 1943.

    Rudy Deutsch
  • Statement of War Service Gratuity, December 6, 1945.

    Rudy Deutsch
  • Propaganda Leaflets dropped by Germans over Italy in 1944.

    Rudy Deutsch
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"But there was a lot of books written about the Hitler Line and the Liri Valley but they do not really tell the full story because it was so horrible."

Transcript

Then when we finished our basic training in Camrose [Alberta], we had a choice to go into what unit we wanted to, there was the ordinance and there was the infantry and there was the signals and all these different units. And I chose to go into the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. That’s when they moved us on to different units and I went on to Toronto to train there for medical purposes. And this is how I got to be a stretcher bearer.

It was hectic. Every day, there was fear that we would never survive to see the next day because of the severe battles and whatnot. I came to the unit at the Moro River, crossing at the Moro River, and I was with the Princess Patricias [Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry] at that time. After crossing the Moro River, there was a deep gulley, one of my first experiences, we were carrying this wounded guy, there was four of us, carrying this wounded guy out of the gulley. I was on the lead on a stretcher and I was with not being physically fit, you know, kind of my ruptured appendix, I said to the boys, “We have to put the stretcher down,” I said, “I can’t go any further.” And we put him down right on a mine, German mine, and blew the guy up. This was one of our first bad experiences.

The second day, we were lined up at noon, getting our noon lunch and I happened to be copping around, looked up and there was three planes came out of the sun. I didn’t know they were Messerschmitt German planes and they were zip zapping around. And I walked right out of the middle of the street to see them, to watch where they were going. And one of them came straight down the street and opened up. And he missed me and these other guys that were trying to hide and get away, blood and guts all over the place. Particularly one fellow that had his leg shot up pretty bad, and I was putting a bandage or a field dressing on him to try to stop the blood. And the MO [Medical Officer] had come along and he says, “Rudy, hurry, get your jackknife out.” So I gets my jackknife out and I start cutting away at his pants to get at his leg. He said, “No, cut his leg off.” So I cut his leg off with a jackknife. Well, I tell you, I didn’t eat for three days after that. That was, I was so in shock and everything else.

But there was a lot of books written about the Hitler Line and the Liri Valley but they do not really tell the full story because it was so horrible. Like the 2nd Brigade broke the line, they send them in there, it was into the wire and mines and what not. They had to cut their way through the wire down to mines and whatnot. And they did manage to break through, cut their way through the wire with a beehive. They had a long pipe and they’d put explosive on it, so they shove it into the wire, and then they’d blow a hole through the wire, so that they could get through. It was so severe, so many lives were lost. We lost I would say between 40 and 60 percent of the brigade, of the Pats, the Seaforth [Highlanders] and the Eddies [Loyal Edmonton Regiment]. And when you got through the wire, there was German bunkers and guns and their tanks, 88s [millimeters] were dug in and our planes and our artillery couldn’t find them and they just … Some of the boys were piled up in front of the German bunkers like cordwood. It was just unbelievable.

Three days later, when they had broke through and the advances, the rest of the units came to advance onto Pontecorvo [Italy], they had to push the wounded and dead with bulldozers to the side so they could advance. And this is never told, but I seen it from my own eyes. And after three days of gathering up our wounded and dead, the bodies were starting to smell, so the bulldozers came in, dug a hole and shoved them into that hole and buried them. With Germans and animals and everything. It was just unbelievable. My cousin, Charlie, was killed there. I picked him up with a bullet wound through his head.

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