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World War, 1939-1945; Letter writing; United States. Army
Davis writes about Capt. Norine, the Military Governor or City Commander. He notes many of the officers have become frustrated with Germans complaining that the City Commander is only a captain. He then discusses the Provost Marshal, a major in charge of civilian affairs. He describes how soldiers were unhappy with the Army directive the "Military government shall occupy the most impressive building in the town." Davis mentions a group that is unhappy with the soldiers replacing the Military Government. Davis has been doing detective work and working with C.I.C (Counter-Intelligence- Corps.) on it and enjoyed it quite greatly. Davis writes that they discovered the only man they could trust was an attorney named Obermeier who defended Jews and people accused of "political crimes." Obermeier was appointed to Second Mayor, then chose a man named Runte as First Mayor. Runte was a Rhinelander who had been held in an army prison in Ingolstadt for anti-Nazism. On June 15th, Davis writes, they discovered two M.P.s sneaking around in the civilian motor pool which is off limits. At 11 pm the M.P.s arrested the Second Mayor. Davis points out that established procedure states that no one except the Military Government can have contact with civilian officials without permission.
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
3 July 1945
Last week was the ^most completely ^exciting period of my life. Principally was the thrill of John’s visit, but chronologically ^his was in the middle. Foe we have had in Ingolstadt a minor-scale, ^was an attempted coup-d’etat, a palace revolution as it were.
To briefly sketch in the background, the set-up was this. We are the military government of Ingolstadt; Capt. Norins is the Military Governor, the “City Commander,” to use the German phrase. For the seventy-odd thousand people in the City and the county he is the highest authority. But, there is also a Divisional Command Post here, the headquarters of the Ninth Division. General Ladd is the commanding General for all the troops in town, and for a vast distance thru’out the country-side. Now, unfortunately for the General’s pride, he has no authority over the civilians, and is placed in the intolerable position of hearing reverent German references to the “City Commander,” who is only a captain. I personally know nothing of the General’s feelings on this score, but some of his officer’s were very griped. Notably the Provost Marshall. The Provost Marshall is a Major, who was having a wonderful time running the civilians, holding audience with town officials, and cutting a grand figure in general. No sooner did we appear on the scene tan we started clipping the Major’s hours. We forbade all civilians to see ^him , prohibited the city officials from conferring with him, and informed him constantly that his Military Police would have to confine their duties to soldiers, except when they worked on something with our permission. Which left the Major very unhappy.
There were other soldiers who were unhappy, too. Officers who were unhappy at the Army directive that “Military Government shall occupy the most impressive building in the town…” Officers who were used to the benefits of an officers life in the States, to smooth women to date. And here it was common knowledge that every private in M.G. had a wonderful bed, a radio, and a headquarters simply swarming with women, interpreters and maids. Two Colonels were overheard bitching at mess that while they couldn’t get any liquor the MG detachment had a cellar full. Then too, there was our staff of house servants; For 15 men, 13 servants. (We have witnesses, cleaning girls, seamstresses, valets, head waiters, cooks, etc.) Horrible extravagance too; the first month we spend thousands of dollars replastering, installing bath-rooms, buying furniture, radios etc. Oh, there were plenty of officers mad on this score, too.
Not all the civilians were contented, either. There was the old Bürgermeister, whom we had deposed; his circle of friends. And all the people in town were angry at our two-fold policy of (1) removing NAZIs from all positions of authority and (2) confiscating all business enterprises owned by Nazis. You can imagine for yourselves what happened. This disgruntled gang of earlier officials began to collect rumors about us and to expand them, balloon them up, and take them (I wont say ^only to the Provost Marshal, but he was doubtless among them) to Divisional officers the result was, in-credibly enough, a combination of pro-Nazi elements and members of the U. S. Armed Forces, in a joint attempt coup-d’etat aimed at (1) the discrediting and removal of our city civil administration and (2) our replacement as Military Government. The whole thing didn’t work, and we won a complete victory, but, did they keep us guessing for a few days !
Just one more bit of background, and I’ll relate to you the thrilling and detective-like events of these few days. The set-up here is thusly: we have an Oberburgermeister (1stMayor) and a 2nd Mayor. As we arrived here, we discovered in conjunction with C.I.C. (Counter-Intelligence-Corps), that about the only men in town of sufficient caliber whom we could trust, was an attorney named Obermeier. Herr Obermeier was a man of principle, who kept aloof from the Nazis, and even defied them to the extent of defending jews, and people accused of “political” crime. Also behind him, was a considerable batch of philosophical and legal writing against Nazism. All in all, he was a wonderful man to lead the City Administration we hoped to install. He flatly refused to take the job, however, due to heart trouble. In accordance with his wishes, then, we appointed him under (or 2nd) Mayor. To him we left the task of selecting a suitable 1st Mayor, who would have the burden of ordinary duties. He chose a personable young man named Runte, who was a Rhinelander, confined in an Army Prison in Ingolstadt. Runte, who is a rabid anti-Nazi with his sentiments sharpened by a few months in an Army Penal Institution, lost no time in getting back at the Nazis. We got the most enthusiastic cooperation imaginable from him, in our anti- and de-Nazification programs, and, indeed, often found him pacing the way in the matter.
The first thing that gave us a hint of what had happened was 15 June 1945 (Monday). We discovered two M.P.’s sneaking around in our civilian motor pool, which is protected by “off limits” sign. Their explanations of their presence was very lame, and gave us for the 1st time an inkling that we were being “investigated.” We should have acted on the spot, and placed all of our city officials under guard. But we could not have conceived the fantastic thing that happened. At 11:00 p.m. that night the M.P.’s arrested our ^2nd Burgermeister. Now, according to all established procedure, no one shall have any contact with civilian officials, except thru’ us, and with our consent. So the M.P.’s arrested Obermeier, held him without any notice to us, and even denied any knowledge of the affair.
P.S. next letter will be dated 6th