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Oral history interview with Billy Taylor

Oral History | Accession Number: 1990.481.40 | RG Number: RG-50.062.0040

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Billy Taylor, born October 15, 1912 in Oklahoma, describes growing up on a farm in a suburb of Oklahoma City; attending the University of Oklahoma and studying petroleum engineering; joining the ROTC, working with the horse-drawn artillery; receiving his lieutenant's commission in 1935; working for the conservation corps in Oregon; getting married in 1938 and going to Texas; joining the armed forces in March 1941; going to Fort Sill to be an instructor; going to the 155 Howitzer Battalion; briefly being the captain of an Arkansas unit of the National Guard; being selected for secret duty at Camp Shelby, training Japanese American soldiers; how the men were loyal and they wanted to prove it; going to Italy; forming units at the University of Naples; going to combat north of Rome; his duties as well as the technical and logistical details of their campaign; going to Florence; how the unit was sent to Marseille, France but he got sick and was sent to the hospital; hitching a ride to Marseille a month later; experiencing their worst fighting in the Vosges Mountains; being assigned to rescue a battalion (131st Field Artillery, 2nd Battalion) in October 1944; emptying a brothel of women, who had been collaborating with the Germans; details about the rescue of the lost battalion and sustaining great casualties; the split of the 442nd and the 522nd; crossing the Rhine River at Worms, Germany; taking Mannheim, Germany; coming across a training camp for German youth and a compound of imported food; being northwest of Munich and Dachau and supporting the 101 Airborne; going to the Dachau concentration camp, which had been emptied of many prisoners; going to a meeting of units to discuss what they should do with the corpses; not staying at the camp for very long; the smell of the camp; heading south and finding a group of former Dachau prisoners in a village where they had been abandoned by the SS; seeing the survivors eating dead horses; the physical condition of the prisoners and their orders to not feed them; forming a camp for these people and sending many back to Poland; how the Russians were rough with the refugees; going north of Munich to search for SS troops; remaining in the reserve until 1954; receiving the Croix de Guerre from the French; working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs; how he is part Cherokee; how he never questioned the loyalty of his men in WWII but that at the beginning there was censoring of individual mail and some men were taken out of the unit; and his feelings about Dachau.

Interviewee
Billy Taylor
Interviewer
Judy Weightman
Date
1989 September 29  (interview)
Language
English
Extent
3 videocassette (U-Matic) : sound, color ; 3/4 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, acquired from the Hawaii Holocaust Project
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 10:50:08
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn511111