Dear Mr. Rozell,
My grandfather, Luca Furnari, is 90 years old and served in the 95th medical battalion with Mr. Gantz at Hillersleben. He has a number of photographs from this period. For many years he has thought about trying to find a particular young girl who he helped sneak extra rations to at the DP camp and whose mother asked him to take back to the United States. He and some friends actually had a whole plan of how they were going to sneak her onto the boat back to the US, it’s a great story. Unfortunately, as you know, they were told they were going to the Pacific theatre and the plan became impossible. Her name was Irene / Iren / Irena. I have a photograph and have searched the manifest on your website, there are 3 possible people of approximately the right ages: Irena Gitler, Iren Roth and Iren Wittels. I was wondering if you had come across any survivors from Hillersleben with the same name.
Also, I know my grandfather would love to be connected to any other surviving members from the US Army that were at Hillersleben.
My grandfather is the large picture on the left hand side. Irene is in the flowered dress in the picture by herself and on the lap of another US soldier, whose name is Turner (?). The picture with the baby is also Turner, and they are in the DP camp. My grandfather’s inscription reads
“boy that kid sure did cry that day — until we gave her some chocolate”. The picture of the building with barrels in the foreground is from Hillersleben too. It has a strange inscription from my grandfather
“some disorderly DPs getting a shower bath”. The one with the two girls just says “Two of the children that lived in the D.P. center we were taking care of. Cute eh hon?” (He was sending the pictures to my grandmother back in the States.)
The child Irene is the girl that my grandfather would like to try to locate.
Any help you can provide is MOST appreciated.