Sam Morris

  • Birth Date: 1924
  • Place of Birth: Chicago, IL
  • State of Residence: Arizona
  • Years of Service: 1943-1945
  • Branch of Military: Army
  • Rank: Corporal
  • Wars Involved In: WWII
  • Theater(s) of Operation: European Theater

 

Sam Morris was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1924. When he was 16 he quit school and went into the meat business. When he was 18, he decided to join the Army, because he thought: “it was the thing to do.” He joined in March of 1943. He first was sent to Lake Erie from Ellwood City Pennsylvania for induction. Then he was sent to Fort Meade in Maryland. There he was processed and sent to Camp Blanding near Jacksonville Florida. At Camp Robinson in Arkansas, and he took ranger training. He volunteered to be a cook while there, but when he arrived in Italy, they made him an infantryman. From Camp Blanding, he was sent to Newport News Virginia. When he was sent to Italy he was involved in the campaigns in Anzio and Casino. He says that he was involved in many campaigns in places where it was “tough going.” He joined the 36th infantry division 3rd battalion L Company. His division had 26,000 casualties, because they were always up at the front, and they saw a lot of action. They went all the way to Rome, then they were pulled out, and they hit the beaches of southern France. His company was the first through the Belfort Gap. They went to the Rhine valley where their division captured more prisoners than any other division in the war. They captured the entire German 15th army! They went all the way to Colmar, and as they came out of the Black Forest onto the plain, Mr. Morris said that he was surrounded by two panzer divisions and was captured. When he was captured, he was stuck with a bayonet. Earlier in the war he was also hit in the mouth with shrapnel and another time was hit in his hand and arm with shrapnel. All three times the American doctors and the German doctor patched him up and told him he would be fine.

While on duty, his buddy who was supposed to be on watch fell asleep and the Germans captured them. When he was first captured, the Germans lined them up two deep, and he thought that they were going to be shot. They were at a railroad station and the Germans took them around to the back and asked them to stack up their dead. The prisoners stacked them up “like cordwood.” Then they were taken and kept at a wine cellar. He had a hidden pistol in a shoulder holster, he had it for three days, and he was never searched. In his mind he thought of all of the different scenarios, but in each one he realized that if he took the gun out, he would be killed, because the guards all had machine pistols. Since he spoke Yiddish, he could understand what the Germans were saying, so he heard the Captain ask the guard, “Did you search them?” when they started the search and they got to him he gave them the pistol. Life in the camp was tough and he says that out of two regiments of 2000 men, 308 survived. He says that he was very lucky. They first took him back to Colmar and then they were walked to Villigen on the Swiss border. This was called Stalag 5B, it was a French Prison camp, so all of the food parcels were allocated for the Frenchmen, and the American prisoners got none. The prisoners got very little food, and they had to steal food while they were working outside of the camp. From October to January he was there, In January, he was sent to Stalag 7A located near Moosburg, Bavaria. Only during the last two months did the Americans get food parcels. He was there until he was liberated on April 29th. He weighed only ninety pounds.

One of the experiences that he says that he will never forget was when he was crawling along a ditch with some others and they were being shot at with anti-aircraft guns. He was the last guy in the squad, and he kept pushing the guy in front of him and telling him to keep going, but when he rolled him over he saw that the man had a hole through his helmet. He says that many of the replacements did not have a lot of training, and he says that he was lucky to have survived, because he says that he saw a lot of action. The infantry he says was in front of the minesweepers, who were in front of the tanks, so there were many casualties.

He was in Reims when the Germans surrendered. He was stationed right across the street from where the surrender was signed, and he did not know what was going on at the time, but he remembers seeing many important people pull up and walk into the schoolhouse where the surrender was signed. When he was discharged, he had many diseases that were a result of his time in the POW camp. He was taken home on a luxury liner and he was put up at the hotel St. Dennis in Atlantic City for three weeks on a convalescence furlough. When asked where he would like to be stationed before he got out, he said Ft. Meade Maryland, but instead he was sent to Camp Adair. Then he was sent to camp Beale in California on Nov. 8, this was the day that he got out of the army. He was discharged as a corporal. He served from 1943-1945.

After the war, he went to L.A. where he met his first wife. They then went to Pennsylvania and got married, and then moved to California. He went into the meat market business with his father. In 1964 he opened his own meat market. In 1977 he moved to Arizona.