Frank Ventittelli

  • Birth Date: July 4, 1922
  • Place of Birth: Detroit
  • State of Residence: Arizona
  • Branch of Military: Army
  • Wars Involved In: WWII
  • Theater(s) of Operation: Mediterranean Theater

Frank Ventittelli was born in Detroit on July 4, 1922. In 1941, at the age of 18, he was drafted into the army. He was assigned to be in Patton’s 3rd Army. He was attached to the infantry.

He recalled that his job was to coordinate the connection between Patton’s army and other groups. He also said that he was present when Patton and his forces were held up at a bridge by a farmer who had his Donkeys in the road. He recalls that he saw Patton push the donkey over the side of the bridge. He also states that he was there when Patton slapped a soldier in the hospital for being scared. He liked Patton a lot and he said that Patton was “A soldier’s general.” He also said “He’s my man, Patton, he’s my man.” Mr. Ventittelli went on to relate that he was present during D-Day and fought through France, Germany, Poland, and up to the Russian border.

One of his main tasks that he said he had was going with an MP unit to Auschwitz to get the survivors. He said that though the Russians were already there, IKE (General Dwight D. Eisenhower) had made arrangements with the Russians to allow Mr. Ventittelli and his unit to go to the camp and get the remaining survivors. He was tasked with bringing the survivors to a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit so that they could be treated and helped.

Mr. Ventittelli described the horror of what he saw when he arrived at the camp. He talked about the mass graves and a lampshade made of ladies skins. He describes the survivors as looking like skeletons. He says that the sights that he saw made a doctor that was with him on one occasion throw up. He said, “I could not understand the Germans doing what they did, to this day I can’t understand it, it’s never left me.” He went on to say that sometimes when he is alone, he sometimes remembers standing in front of the mass graves.

Mr. Ventittelli served in the army for four and a half years. When he got out of the service, he went to college for two years at the University of Detroit. He moved to Arizona in the 1950′s and has lived there ever since.