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World War, 1939-1945; Letter writing; United States. Army
Davis continues his account of the M.P.s arrest of Obermeier. Davis suggested to his comrades that Runte be assigned guards, but they did not listen and Runte was arrested that night. The provost marshal denied knowledge of the arrests. Runte was questioned and then released. Davis complains that the M.P.s work "feverishly rather than brilliantly". He writes that they took reports from locked offices after midnight. Davis does not believe they uncovered anything good. On Wednesday, Davis writes, they got a hint of where Obermeier was being held. The captain sent Hanes and two other men to get him. They found Obermeier, the second Burgermeister, the ex-mayor and a group of his friends in the home of the ousted Burgermeister. Davis describes how they were being guarded by an M.P. who would not let Obermeier go. Davis immediately demanded his arrest papers. The M.P. was about to give Obermeier up when a second M.P. arrived. Davis sent for the captain and using M.G. authority arrested every civilian on the spot. Obermeier claimed to Davis that he was there voluntarily and he remained there voluntarily. Davis notes that he was so angry he was not thinking about the correctness of his German, he was just thinking in German. Obermeier refuses to re-enter the city administration until certain charges were cleaned up. Obermeier is outraged by the fact that Runte was living with a concubine - unacceptable for Catholic Ingolstadt. He asserts that the city is in financial ruin because of the Military Government's confiscation of Nazi businesses and establishments and dismissal of all Nazi's from public office. Obermeier refuses to associate with Captain Norine until it has all been cleaned up. Davis, very angry, explains that the entirety of Germany was physically ruined so Obermeier should be happy about the physical standing of his city. He also informs Obermeier that Norine believes all members of the Nazi party should be executed. Davis then yells at the M.P.s for filling Obermeier's head with this information, saying he might be punished for Nazi sympathies. Norine then arrives with the entire detachment, fully armed.
T/5 Robert D. Davis, 18107121
Co. E, I7E3, 3rd ECAR
% Postmaster, N. Y.
U. S. ARMY POSTAL SERVICE A. P. O.
9 JUL 24 1945
Mrs. R. L. Davis
6 July 1945
We never even learned of Obermeier’s arrest until the next morning. No one knew where he was; the Provost-Marshal disclaimed any knowledge of it. At noon I suggested putting Runte under guard, but it wasn’t followed up. So the M.P.’s and their “special investigator” picked him up the next day Tuesday, grilled him, and let him go. (That evening John came in, and I have never been in a bigger buzz in my life. So was poor John, who had has a case of the GI’s, which as I told you, every soldier gets about once a month when he’s eating in an army mess with mess kits.) I was out working until 1:30 or 2:00 for two or three nights when John was here.
The entire stay is too complicated to relate here, but the M.P.’s worked feverishly and rather brilliantly, considering how we were in the dark for three days. They collected all bills against us, arrest reports for people whom we had arrested, records of all kinds; I say “collected them”; Actually they were investigating all kinds of angles, and frenetically followed up every lead that this inner circle of disgruntled citizens offered them. At the end of three days their sands were running out, and they knew it. In spite of their efforts, nothing too good had been uncovered, that justified an army investigation. Also, after three days of thundering phillipics by Capt. Norins, directed at all sorts of higher headquarters, the unhappy Provost Marshal began to suspect that as a result of his high-handed actions, he was holding a very hot potato, indeed. The entire investigation had been conducted without knowledge or approval of the C.I.C. and his own divisional intelligence, which was intelligent enough to know the right and the way to do a thing.
Finally, on Wednesday, we got a hint as to where Obermeier could be found. The Capt. Instantly sent Hanes and I out to get him. We went to the home of the Burgermeister and found a pretty group; Obermeier, our 2nd Burgermeister, the ex-Mayor and a circle of his friends who had instigated the whole thing. They were all guarded by the M.P. I tried to remove the 2nd Burgermeister and he didn’t want to go. The M.P. said that his orders were to keep the man there, which was where he made his mistake; I immediately pointed out that if the man was not free to go, then he was under arrest, and if he was under arrest then there was he had to show me arrest papers. Altho’ even such a basic deduction was rather complicated for the sergeant, he finally go it thru’ his head. Unfortunately a second M.P. arrived on the scene, and confronted by Obermeier refusal to budge from his seat (he is a huge man of over 200 lbs.), I was forced to back down. I sent Hanes back for the Captain, and throwing the M.G. authority around the room, arrested all civilians on the spot. For an interim of 15 minutes the situation was completely ridiculous; five civilians in the room, under arrest by two different groups of soldiers. I stood on one side of the room glaring at the M.P.’s, and all the civilians uncomfortably seated in the cross-fires of our ^glances.
I addressed myself to Obermeier, very litteraly. (All the time we had assumed that he was unequivocally on our side. Now he was telling me that his appearance was “voluntary,” and that he remained there “voluntarily”.) I was so angry, so outraged at the betrayal, that I spoke rapidly and harshly. There was no question of thinking of my German, if it was correct or not; I thought in German.
Purposely, I aimed my barbs at him. “So, Herr Obermeier, so this is the Inner Circle Grundl?” The poor fellow winced at hearing his name mentioned, stammered out his protestations about never having any connex-ion with this group. “But,” he shouted, “I refuse to re-enter the city administration until these charges are cleared up!” Then he listed the charges. “In the first place, this Runte, the Over-Burgermeister, is living with a concubine. A staggering outrange for Catholic Ingolstadt, an unbearable situation! Then these gentle-men have told me that the City Administration and the City itself are in complete financial ruin! This wholesale confiscation of Nazi business establishments, the overall dismissal of any Nazi’s from public office, has brought the town to utter chaos! I refuse to associate myself any further with your Captain Norins until this thing is cleared up!”
Of course this was like waving a red flag at me, who with Capt. Norins have the personal opinion that all members of the Nazi Party should be executed. “Pious Catholic Ingolstadt *6?!! Unbearable, is it? Pious Catholic Ingolstadt bore it very well last September when that Texas Major (a shot down flyer) was murdered by local Nazis an hour after he landed! And 24 hrs. after he landed ^was killed every one in the town knew it!” Then I lambasted him further about the financial ruin: “Financially ruined! 95% of the cities in Germany are physically ruined, and here with one of the least damaged sizable cities in Germany, you cavil at financial ruin. All Germany is financially ruined. What is standing behind your *6* mark today? American rifles. And the mark is half-good because we say its so, not because it is.”
Then I launched into the M.P. who lead the investi-gation. “And this 10 yr. old mentality has been filling your mind with this crap, and you believed it! You, an intelligent man of the world! And he’ll be punished for his support of these Nazis; you’ll see.”
Just then our entire detachment rolled up in 5 cars, with irate Capt. Norins pacing a group of growling men, armed with sub-machine guns and drawn pistols.
Next letter, dated 22nd July.