Carleton Elliott Simensen Military Heritage Collection
Carleton Elliott Simensen Military Heritage Collection, 1862-
Extent: 11.0 Linear Feet
Arrangement: The first series documents the life of Carleton Elliott Simensen. The remaining series are arranged in chronological order, with any sub-series arranged in alphabetical order.
Subjects: Military History
Access Restrictions: Open for inspection under the rules and regulations of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections.
Acquisition Method: The Carleton Elliott Simensen Military Heritage Collection was created by the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections to solicit materials documenting how North Dakota and the surrounding region were affected by wars and military conflicts.
Preferred Citation: (Description of Item). Carleton Elliott Simensen Military Heritage Collection. OGLMC 1278, Box #, Folder #. Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections. Chester Fritz Library. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.
Finding Aid Revision History: The finding aid was significantly revised by Heather Mohr, Special Collections intern, in March 2012, and added to Archon at that time.
Browse by Series:
[Series 1: Carleton Elliott Simensen, 1919-1941],
[Series 2: Civil War, 1861-1865],
[Series 3: Spanish American War, 1898-1899],
[Series 4: WW I, 1914-1918],
[Series 5: Second Sino-Japanese War, 1937],
[Series 6: WW II Pacific Theater],
[Series 7: WW II Europe and North Africa],
[Series 8: WW II Home-Front],
[Series 9: Korean War, 1950-1953],
[Series 10: Vietnam War, 1953-1975],
[Series 11: Persian Gulf War, 1990-1991],
- Series 7: WW II Europe and North Africa
WW II was a global conflict that was underway by 1939 and ended in 1945. It involved most of the world's nation, including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million people serving in military units. In a state of "total war", the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant events involving the mass death of civilians, including the Holocaust and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare, it resulted in 50 million to over 70 million fatalities. These deaths make the war the deadliest conflict in human history.
The following folders contain documents and photographs pertaining to the European and North African fronts in WW II.
- Sub-Series 1: Lynn Aas
Lynn W. Aas was born June 4, 1921, in Benedict, North Dakota. He entered UND in the fall of 1941, several months prior to U.S. entry into World War II. Aas entered the United States Army on March 22, 1943, and fought in the European Theatre with the 193rd Airborne Infantry, 17th Airborne Division. He separated from the service on November 1, 1945. He returned to UND following his discharge, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce in 1948.
This material consists of Aas' recollections of the Battle of the Bulge as printed in the Minot Daily News on December 11, 1994. Also included are two oral history audio-cassette tapes, which consist of Aas' memories of the war. The tapes were recorded in 1995 and consist of two interviewers questioning Aas about the war. Each tape is two hours long. The material was donated by Lynn Aas (Acc.#97-2151).
Two audio-cassette tapes were separated and placed in the Audio Tape Collection. Lynn Aas WWII Memories #1 was given audio tape number 1894, while Lynn Aas WWII Memories #2 was given audio tape number 1895.
- Sub-Series 2: Leo E. Bell
Leo Bell contributed one folder of materials. This contains an essay that Bell wrote in 1989 entitled "George Alfred Bell, Jr.: His Story," in which he recalls his brother's experiences during World War II. George Alfred Bell served in the U.S. Navy on the destroyer U.S.S. Buck. He was killed when the ship was sunk near Salerno, Italy on October 9, 1943. Bell also contributed an article photocopied from an unnamed source. The article describes a 1944 submarine hunt for the German U-boat U-616.
Leo E. Bell donated one photograph, a portrait of his brother, George Alfred Bell, taken circa 1941. This was separated and placed in the Photograph File Cabinets. (OGL #1278- 55).
- Sub-Series 3: Sig Benjaminson
Sigurdur “Sig” Benjaminson served in the 86th Chemical Mortar Battalion in World War II, which saw duty in the European Theatre of Operations. The papers consist mainly of correspondence between Sig and his wife, Gladys (Widme) Benjaminson. The couple was wed February 20, 1942, only two months before Sig entered the service. Gladys succeeded in finding employment at several of the bases where Sig was stationed before he was sent to England in May 1944. Sig's battalion arrived in France in July 1944, and saw action in France, Belgium, Germany and Czechoslovakia. Sig was discharged from the United States Army on October 3, 1945 and returned to Crystal, North Dakota.
Also included in the World War II correspondence are letters to Gladys from her sisters Emma and Clara, as well as from her nephews Marvin Gislason, Ardell Daley and Lloyd Widme. Gislason served in the 164th Infantry Regiment, while Daley served in the United States Marine Corp. Lloyd Widme was a member of the 53rd Armored Battalion. Other correspondence includes letters from Louis and Andrew Widme, older brothers of Gladys (Widme) Benjaminson, written during their service in World War I.
Also included are the 86th Chemical Mortar Battalion’s Battle History, personal papers and records regarding Sig’s military service and Gladys’ employment at several military bases where Sig was stationed, as well as other family records. Two scrapbooks kept by Gladys Benjaminson are also included. One of the scrapbooks, entitled "Album Camp Roberts, California" consists only of photographs, while the other, entitled "Camp Roberts," consists of newspaper clippings, correspondence and documents, in addition to photographs. Donated by Jim Benjaminson, Walhalla, ND (Acc.#96-2080).
Eight photographs and two scrapbook pages were separated and placed in the Photograph File Cabinets. They include: a 1942 photo of Sig Benjaminson in uniform (1278-102); an undated photo of Sig and Gladys Benjaminson (1278-103); a photo of Marvin and Lorraine Gislason (1278-104); photos of Ivan Gudjonson and Bjorn Hall, serviceman stationed at Camp Roberts, California in 1942, along with Sig (1278-105 to 1278-107); a photo of Louis Widme (seated) and Arthur Dahl (standing) in World War One (1278-108); a photo postcard of the Axdal Hotel in Cavalier, North Dakota (1278-109) and two unidentified and undated scrapbook pages with photos (1278-110 and 1278- 111). There is also a photocopied sheet that includes photos of Louis Widme, Bert McCloud, Andrew Widme and Pat Flanagan (1278-112) and a photocopied version of Louis Widme and Arthur Dahl (1278-108).
- Box 4
- Box 5
- Folder 1: Biographical Information
- Folder 2: Correspondence from Andrew Widme, 1917
- Folder 3: Correspondence to Gladys Widme, 1918-1920
- Folder 4: Correspondence to Andrew and Ellen Widme, 1929
- Folder 5: Correspondence to Gladys Benjaminson, 1942
- Folder 6: Correspondence to Sig Benjaminson, 1942
- Folder 7: Correspondence to Gladys Benjaminson, 1943
- Folder 8: Correspondence to Sig Benjaminson, 1943
- Folder 9: Correspondence to Gladys and Sig Benjaminson, 1943-1944
- Folder 10: Correspondence to Gladys Benjaminson, January-August 1944
- Folder 11: Correspondence to Gladys Benjaminson, September-December 1944
- Folder 12: Correspondence to Sig Benjaminson, 1944
- Folder 13: Correspondence to Gladys Benjaminson, January-April 1945
- Folder 14: Correspondence to Gladys Benjaminson, May-October 1945
- Folder 15: Correspondence to Sig Benjaminson, 1945
- Folder 16: Correspondence to Gladys Benjaminson, 1949
- Folder 17: Correspondence of Gladys Benjaminson, undated
- Folder 18: Personal Military Documents of Sig Benjaminson, 1940s
- Folder 19: Special Orders Number 174, 13 July 45
- Folder 20: The 86th Chemical Mortar Battalion Presents its Battle History
- Folder 21: Personal Documents of Gladys Benjaminson, 1942-1946
- Folder 22: 1943-44 Farmer's Tax Manual
- Folder 23: North Dakota Peace Officer, April 1987 (contains an article written by Jim Benjaminson)
- Folder 24: Paul Benjaminson Wedding Announcement
- Folder 25: Loose items from "Camp Roberts" scrapbook
- Folder 26: Envelopes
- Sub-Series 4: John D. Beringer
John D. Beringer was born on April 12, 1921, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He lived in several places in Wisconsin before settling in Sheboygan. Beringer graduated from Sheboygan High School in 1938 and attended a year of college at the University of Wisconsin. He worked as a salesman at a car dealership until he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in December 1941. He attended basic training at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. After graduating from basic, he attended aircraft mechanics school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was a part of several different squadrons while serving in Washington, Arizona, South Dakota, and Florida. His stateside duties included kitchen patrol duty, guard duty, and working on aircraft. In August 1942, Beringer transferred from mechanic duty to clerk duty for the Group Headquarters, Intelligence section doing mechanical drawing work. He continued this line of work until 1944, when his squadron, the 340th Bomb Squadron, 97th Bomb Group, transferred overseas to the air base complex in Foggia, Italy. The air base provided extensive aerial operations for the 15th Air Force, but was not a zone of active combat while Beringer was there. He returned home in August 1945 after the defeat of Germany, and was on a troopship home when the war ended. He returned to Milwaukee after the war. In 1950 he moved to Texas, but returned to Milwaukee in 1964 and died in October, 1975.
The materials consist of photocopied documents including Beringer's enlistment form, recommendation letters, pictures, correspondence and telegrams, dated 1941 to 1945. The correspondence was from Beringer to his parents, as well as his brothers, William and Richard. In his letters, John Beringer discussed many things, including basic training and aircraft mechanic school, postings with the squadrons he was assigned to, and the nature of life on the home front. The documents also include a summary of the collection written by Richard Beringer. The material was donated by William Beringer of Atlanta, Georgia and Richard Beringer of Grand Forks, North Dakota, on April 29, 2006. (Acc. # 2006-2819)
- Sub-Series 5: Kevin Bonham
- In 1994, Kevin Bonham of the Grand Forks Herald solicited letters from readers who had been present at the allied invasion of Normandy fifty years earlier on June 6, 1944. This one folder accession (# 94-1959) contains the original correspondence that Bonham received in reply.
- Sub-Series 6: Jack Botts
Jack Botts was born on October 11, 1924 in Ludden, North Dakota. He entered the Army Air Force on June 4, 1943, upon graduation from high school. Until July of 1944, Botts was stationed at bases in Texas and Nebraska where he was transferred to Italy. On his missions, Botts bombed German controlled oil refineries and factories in Belgium, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Romania, France, Italy, and Poland. In January of 1945, Botts was sent back to the United States, where he served in Washington, Wisconsin, and Nevada before separating from the Army Air Force, at the rank of Technical Sergeant, October 17, 1945 in Great Falls, Montana.
Botts, a journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism, has also written two books, A Pocketful of Plums and Straight and Level. Straight and Level, a history of his time in Europe, uses the letters Botts wrote home during the war, providing accurate information on the life of a bomber pilot during World War II. These letters have been photocopied, and make up the majority of this collection. Also included is a detailed description of the missions Botts flew during 1944, also photocopied. Deposited by Jack Botts, Lincoln, Nebraska on February 12, 1997 (Acc. #97-2113).
- Box 6
- Folder 25: Letters from Botts to parents, 1943
- Folder 26: Letters from Botts to parents, July-August 1944
- Folder 27: Letters from Botts to parents, September-October 1944
- Folder 28: Letters from Botts to parents, November-December 1944
- Folder 29: Letters from Botts to parents, 1945
- Folder 30: Letters from Botts to parents, undated
- Folder 31: Letters from Botts to brother, 1944
- Folder 32: Record of Missions, 1944
- Folder 33: Miscellaneous: military cards, envelopes, newspaper article
- Sub-Series 6+: Ben Dregseth
Irving ‘Ben’ Dregseth was born on February 4, 1918 in Baltic, South Dakota, and afterwards moved to Nevis, Minnesota where he grew up and would later attend high school. Following his graduation from Nevis High School, Dregseth attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota until January 1941, when he was drafted into the United States Army.
Dregseth served with the 45th Infantry Division as a 1st Lieutenant, and participated in the Italian Campaign, battling against the enemy and the elements. In October of 1944, while serving in France, Dregseth was seriously wounded by artillery shrapnel and crawled down a hill until he was finally picked up by medics. He was later informed that if he had crawled down the same hill 15 minutes later he would not have survived. Dregseth returned to the United States on Christmas Day, 1944 and stayed with friends until he was able to return to Minnesota.
While Dregseth was considered a hero by many who fought with him, he did not receive his official medals until August 15, 2000—56 years after his tour of duty ended. He received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Emblem, the Meritorious Unit Emblem, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African- Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Honorable Service Lapel Button. Dregseth passed away in Fargo, North Dakota on October 7, 2002.
This collection includes a 15 page autobiography Dregseth wrote during the summer of 2000, which discusses his military experiences during WWII, beginning with hearing the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The autobiography channels his journey from Minnesota to various army bases before he was officially sent to the European and North African theater. Dregseth’s autobiography also includes a 2 page recollection of his ‘close calls’ that he experienced while he was in service. This particular addition to the autobiography was written at the suggestion of his family members. The collection also includes the photocopied article regarding Dregseth’s service awards as printed on August 15 2000 in the Fargo Forum. The final piece of the collection consists of Dregseth’s obituary and his funeral pamphlet.
This accession to the Carleton Elliott Simensen Military Heritage Collection was donated by Dr. Kim Porter, UND History Department on May 1, 2011. (Acc. #2012-3151)
- Sub-Series 7: Arnold J. Hagen
Arnold J. Hagen was born on March 14, 1906, in Grant County, Minnesota, to a father who had immigrated from Norway and a mother who was a first-generation American. In 1907, his family relocated from Minnesota to a farmstead near Cottonwood Late in northwestern North Dakota. He attended high school in Elbow Lake, Minnesota, and received his bachelor's degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He served as a teacher and superintendent for various communities in the Upper Midwest before entering the Army during World War II. Following the war, he returned home, married, and started a family. He reentered the profession of education, eventually earning a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Oregon in 1955. He thereafter joined the education faculty at Pacific Lutheran College. He died on October 20, 1985, in Tacoma, Washington.
Hagen's autobiography From There to Here: My Life consists of 401 pages of text, plus supporting documentation. The portion of the text covering the pre-war period of his life is written in traditional autobiographical narrative. The section covering the war-years, on the other hand, is for the most part transcribed directly from Hagen's personal diary and written in the present tense. The final portion, covering his life after the war, combines both forms of prose, although autobiographical narrative becomes predominant, particularly towards the end. For the sake of convenience, the manuscript has been divided among five folders. Folder 1 narrates the author's birth, early life, and college years. Folder 2 contains the story of his years after college, during which time he worked as a teacher and a school superintendent. At the outbreak of World War II, he entered the U.S. Army Air Force as an enlisted man, and kept a detailed diary of his experience. He offers vivid impressions of life in the Army, first in the United States, and later, after he was sent overseas, of England. The beginning of Folder 3 continues the account of life as an American soldier in Britain. By this time, Hagen was serving in the Army's Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), in which capacity he was temporarily attached to the intelligence service of the Polish government-in-exile. During the Normandy invasion, he traveled to France with a unit of the CIC. Folder 4 picks up with the author serving in France, and he remained with the advancing Allied armies all the way into Germany. Following VE Day, Hagen was seconded to the first Allied taskforce bound for newly liberated Norway. Shortly following the end of the war, Hagen returned to the United States, received his discharge from the Army, and married. Folder 5 covers his life in the post-war period as a husband and father, how he returned to teaching, earned his doctorate, and finally went to work as a college professor. He rounds out his narrative with accounts of the trips he took with his family (including a rather extensive tour of Europe), as well as biographies of his children and their accomplishments in life.
The copy of this manuscript in the possession of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections is a print-out of an electronic version made available on-line by the Hagen family. Readers wishing to access the electronic copy and/or print a copy of their own can do so by visiting http://www.goosegardens.com/Arnold.html. The autobiography was printed out in August 2006 (Acc.#2006-2854).
- Sub-Series 8: German Helmet
- This World War II-era German helmet was deposited on May 17, 2007 , by Barry S. Brode of the University of North Dakota Television Center (Acc.#2007-2890). Mr. Brode inherited the helmet from his father, Jack Brode, who acquired it while serving with the U.S. Army Military Police in Italy shortly after the end of the Second World War. The helmet represents the distinctive German Stahlhelm style, with a “coal scuttle” shape that incorporates a front visor as well as a protruding slanted rim (“skirt”) that extends around the sides and rear of the head. The helmet's rolled edges and stamped ventilator holes suggest that it is a model M1940, with the designation “ET62” (stamped on the inside of the rim, about where the wearer's left ear would be) possibly denoting a sub-variant. The significance of the number “939” (engraved on the inside of the back rim) is unknown. On the left-hand side, it bears a single white Luftwaffe Adler (“Air Force Eagle”) decal, indicating that the wearer was a member of the German air force. The helmet appears to have been painted field gray at the time of manufacture, but later repainted dark green to provide better camouflage. The fact that it was acquired in Italy suggests that it originally belonged to a member of one of the Luftwaffe ground units that fought there, such as the Herman Goering Panzer Division, the Luftwaffe Field Division, or anti-aircraft artillery attached to the German army. *NOTE: Some of the Luftwaffe 's Fallschirmjäger (Paratroopers) also fought in Italy, but could not have been the source of the helmet since they wore a unique variant of the Stahlhelm that lacked the distinctive visor and rim.
- Sub-Series 9: Charles 'Bud' Jacobi
Charles "Bud" Jacobi was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, one for heroic achievement in action; a Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action; and two Purple Heart Medals, August 1944 and May 1945. Jacobi, who along with his daughter, Jane Kennelly, established the UND tennis court complex, donated the following photocopied materials: a short history of the 135th Infantry Regiment (First Minnesota), a unit citation for the 135th Infantry Regiment and letter of commendation for Jacobi, orders appointing Jacobi as First Lieutenant (June 18, 1946) and then Captain (July 18, 1946) of the 135th Infantry, a notice awarding Jacobi the Bronze Star Medal (1951), an Army pamphlet circa 1944-1945 entitled "Hospitals Are NOT Fun," a humorous essay entitled "Short Course to Rotation, or You Can Still Be a Gentlemen Even Tho' You Were in Anzio," Jacobi's Army immunization register and a sample of a "Safe Conduct" sheet carried by enemy soldiers wishing to surrender. (Accession # 94-1945)
One audio tape (Special Collections Audio Tape #1313) was separated from the collection. Also separated were some oversized photocopies of various materials, including documentation for his Bronze Star, Silver Star and Purple Heart Medals, photos of Italy circa 1943-1944 (with corresponding captions written by Jacobi), photos of German soldiers and American G.I.'s circa 1943-1945, photos of World War II Italian currency, Italian Christmas cards from 1944, a unit citation for Company E of the 135th Regiment, a letter from North Dakota governor John Moses to Jacobi's parents regarding Jacobi's awarding of the bronze star, German propaganda pamphlets and newspapers for German troops, American newspaper clippings and correspondence. These oversize materials were stored in OGL #1278 Oversize Folder #'s 6-7.
In December 2003, Jacobi gave the Department of Special Collections a copy of his World War II memoir, Bud Jacobi's World War II Story: The Italian Campaign. The book was placed in the North Dakota Book Collection.
- Sub-Series 10: John W. Kellogg
- During World War II, Lt. Col. John W. Kellogg served as a bombardier with the 460th Bomb Group, based at Spinazola, Italy. His plane was a B-24 Aircraft White "G" named the "Maxwell House." Kellogg donated a photocopy of the article "Good to the Last Drop," which was published in the Spring, 1971 issue of the International Liberator Club Briefing. The article was written by Kellogg and describes his experience on the Maxwell House's 21st combat mission on May 10, 1944. Kellogg wrote the article as a reserve member of the U.S. Air Force stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He has lived in Minot, North Dakota since 1980 (Accession # 93-1906).
- Sub-Series 11: Bonnie Larson
- Bonnie Larson donated one folder of material. This consists of several Nazi propaganda photos, which include photos of Hitler and of various Nazi party rallies, and of World War II era currency from Australia and several European countries, including England, Germany, Belgium and France (Accession #94-2000).
- Sub-Series 12: Lester J. Lohse
- Now It Can Be Told: Air War in Tunisia, North Africa, World War II is a 37 page book written by Lester J. Lohse of Williston, North Dakota, in 1991. Lohse was born on September 23, 1918, in Alamo, North Dakota. He attended the Law School at the University of North Dakota during 1938-1939. He was accepted as an Army Air Corps Cadet in 1939 and graduated from flight school in 1940. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force in Tunisia, as Commanding Officer of the 92nd Fighter Squadron. Early in 1943, Lohse was severely injured when a jeep collided head on with the jeep he was driving. He was eventually sent back to the U.S. and separated from the service on July 16, 1946. He received the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for his service in Tunisia. In Now It Can Be Told, Lohse describes his combat experiences in Tunisia. Deposited by Lester J. Lohse, Williston, North Dakota, on 13 March 1997 (Acc.#97-2115).
- Sub-Series 13: Signe and Dwight Meier
This collection consists of materials regarding Norway during World War II. Included in the collection are: several issues of the News of Norway , published in Washington D.C. by the Royal Norwegian Governments Press, which dates from 1942-43 and two issues of the Norway Times from 1995, which discusses life in Norway 50 years after World War II. Also included are publications written in Norwegian that cover a variety of topics such as Norwegian students who died during the war, information on the King of Norway, and life during and after the war. Two editions of the Sjomannsbladet Signal and one edition of Var Folkekonge that contains information about Norwegian soldiers training in England. And lastly, one issue of Alle Kvinners covering the young prince of Norway, Harald V, returning to school after World War II.
The following books were added to the North Dakota Book Collection: Hjemmefrontens Guttegjeng by Jens Schulz, Slik Dor Menn by Dagfinn Hauge, and Contact by Oluf Reed Olsen.
These materials were deposited by Signe and Dwight Meier, Fargo, North Dakota, in September 2004 (Acc. #2005-2768).
- Box 8
- Folder 6: Alle Kvinners : 1945
- Folder 7: Before we go back, 1944
- Folder 8: Fra Aulaen Til Buchenwald : 1945
- Folder 9: Lille Norge Avisen: 1945
- Folder 10: News of Norway: 1942-1943
- Folder 11: Norway at War, Calendar: 1943
- Folder 12: Norway Times: 1995
- Folder 13: Pro Patria: 1945
- Folder 14: Publications relating to King Haakon VII: 1945
- Folder 15: Sjomannsbladet Signal: 1941-42
- Folder 16: Var Folkenkonge
- Sub-Series 14: Donald T. Nicklawsky
Donald T. Nicklawsky was born on May 18, 1916, in Hillsboro, North Dakota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1938. During World War II, he enlisted in the United States Air Crops on August 31, 1942. During a January 29, 1944, air raid over Frankfurt, Nicklawsky’s plane, “Our Love,” was shot down. This happened on Nicklawsky’s second raid over German territory. He was captured by the Germans, and sent to Stalag Luft 1 near Barth, Germany. He was eventually liberated by the Allies in May 1945. Following the war, he worked for the Internal Revenue Service, was President of the North Dakota League of Savings and Loans Associations, and was Vice President of Northwestern Savings and Loan Association in Fargo. He was also a member of the North Dakota Banking Board. He died on June 19, 1987.
This collection mainly contains material related to Nicklawsky’s confinement at Stalag Luft I from 1944-1945. The files contain newspaper articles, correspondence, his diary, reports, and ephemera. The articles report of his capture by the Germans and rescue from P.O.W. camp Stalag Luft 1. The reports include German P.O.W. regulations and a report on American P.O.W. done by the Military Intelligence Service. Some of the ephemera include his German P.O.W. Identification Papers, his dog tags, and Prisoner of War Service Medal.
Also included in this collection are 84 photographs from Stalag Luft 1. The vast majority of the photographs are undated and unidentified; they have been kept in the same order they were found. The photographs depict scenes from the camp, including buildings, people, and special events such as plays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The photographs are numbered from 1278-453 to 1278-537. Also included is a book, Welcome to POW Camp, a cartoon representation of life at Stalag Luft 1. The book was placed in the Rare Book Collection.
Donated by Lisa Foss (Nicklawsky’s daughter), Flagstaff, Arizona, on July 11, 2006 (Acc.#2006-2860).
- Box 8
- Box 9
- Folder 1: Dog Tags
- Folder 2: Ex-POW Bulletin, 1981-1987 (Note: V.38, No.6, p.25; V.43, No.5, p.34; V.44, No.1, p.28)
- Folder 3: Felt Wings Patch
- Folder 4: German POW Identification Papers
- Folder 5: German POW Regulations, 1941-1942
- Folder 6: Honorable Discharge Papers, December 29, 1945
- Folder 7: Metal Wings Pin
- Folder 8: Military Intelligence Service – American Prisoners of War Report, 1944-1945
- Folder 9: Paper on World War II, probably written by Nicklawsky
- Folder 10: Prisoner of War Service Medal
- Sub-Series 11: War Department ID
- Sub-Series 15: Norwegian Relief Inc.
This material consists of a 1941 Norwegian Relief letter and 100 Norwegian Relief Seals. The seals were sold by Norwegian Relief, Inc. to assist Norway during the Nazi Occupation. The letter requests that the seals be used on Christmas cards, and that one dollar be donated for every 100 seals used. The seals are the Norwegian colors, red and blue. Their flag is in the background with “Help Norway” across the top and a young Norwegian girl in the center. The bottom of the seal states Norwegian Relief.
This material was donated by Char Brekke of Brekke Tours & Travel, Grand Forks, in Fall, 2009 (Acc. #2010-3059).
- Sub-Series 16: George Olson
George Olson served in World War II with the U.S. Army Air Corps 48th Fighter Squadron. He saw duty in England, North Africa and Italy. Olson donated three folders of materials. Photographs and some oversize materials were separated. Documents include Olson's contemporary descriptions of North Africa and Italy in 1943-1945, orders and rosters received by Olson from the U.S. Army and a folder of guide books on Rome, circa 1943-1945, some in English and some in Italian. (Accession # 94-1946)
Several photographs were separated and placed in the Photograph File Cabinets. These include many photos of Rome taken in 1944. (OGL #1278-10 to 1278-30, 1278-32 to1278-40, 1278-92 to 1278-101) Subject matter includes St. Peter's Basilica and the surrounding area, the Coliseum, the King Victor Emmanuel Monument, the bridge across the Tiber River and the Castle of St. Angelo. Olson and his friends appear in several of these photos. An additional photo depicts an airplane crash at the U.S. Naval Air Station in San Diego, California in 1942. (1278-31)
Oversize materials (OGL #1278 Oversize Folders #3-4) include a 1944 clipping from the Double Seven, the official newsletter of the 14th Fighter Group, a 1944 article from the Leader, the Official Newspaper of the Nonpartisan League, in which Olson describes threshing in Italy, a map of Rome from the American Red Cross, circa 1943.
- Box 2
- Oversize Folder 4: Newspaper Clippings Pertaining to George Olson
- Dates Associated: 1944
- Oversize Folder 3: Maps pertaining to Italian campaign
- American Red Cross Map of Rome, c. 1943
- Sub-Series 17: Shirley Pietron
- This one folder of material was deposited by Shirley Pietron of Grand Forks, North Dakota. Ms. Pietron donated an essay describing the wartime experiences of her brother, Harold Russell, who served with the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. Russell served in the 17th, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions as a glider pilot. He saw combat in the European Theatre of Operations and was present at the Battle of the Bulge and the subsequent Ruhr Valley campaign (Acc. #93-1909).
- Sub-Series 18: Larry Schlasinger
Larry Schlasinger was born on December 5, 1922, in Streeter, North Dakota, to Russian Jewish immigrants Noah and Sarah Schlasinger. He was the youngest of five children, including one brother, Kenneth, and three sisters, Marcella, Ethel, and Florence. He attended public schools in Streeter and graduated from Streeter High School in 1939. He enrolled at the University of North Dakota in the Fall of 1939 as Journalism major.
He earned outstanding grades, won a marksman medal, and served as a writer/editor on the college newspaper, the Dakota Student. Schlasinger obtained membership in, and in 1942 became President of Sigma Delta Chi, a journalism honorary society, as well as Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in January 1943, and then enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Schlasinger underwent basic training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, before entering a Specialized Training Program or STAR unit, at Rollins College near Orlando, Florida. In December 1943, he received additional Military Intelligence Training at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. His work was confidential so he could not disclose any details about his training or assignments.
In April 1944, he was shipped to England until June 21, 1944, when he arrived in France. He was attached to the 79th Infantry Division, Military Intelligence Team # 434 G-2. Schlasinger was wounded in the right chest by artillery shrapnel during the Battle of Cherbourg on June 25, 1944. He was immediately treated, and on July 4 was transferred the 158th General Hospital in England. He appeared to be recovering well and even prepared a summary for the improvement of intelligence specialist training, but on July 11 he suddenly and unexpectedly died from a pulmonary embolism caused by a blood clot. He was survived by his entire immediate family. He was awarded the Purple Heart and, posthumously, the Legion of Merit “for exceptional meritorious conduct." In 1947, his body was re-interned from England to the Minneapolis Jewish Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Larry Schlasinger letters date from 1932-1947, and are divided into ten folders containing a total of 300 letters arranged in basic chronological order. A folder of biographical material is also included. His letters while written as a high school student in Streeter described a well-adjusted youth who worked on the school newspaper. He also described his close knit family life. His letters to and from his siblings, as well as his parents, present a picture of Larry's experiences at the University of North Dakota. Schlasinger candidly described his views about his professors, study habits, and campus life. He and his sisters made frequent use of pet names, and the sisters provided very generous financial assistance.
His Army correspondence primarily dealt with everyday local and family affairs. His description of army life was positive, although he was unable to discuss specifics about his work as censorship was tight. According to Larry's Letters (pg. 299) such strict security was logical since Schlasinger's mission in France was to contact the French underground resistance during the Normandy invasion, just after June 6, 1944. Schlasinger expressed vexation with what he perceived as over protectiveness from his father in the fifth folder. He wrote that he wished "you'd (Mr. Schlasinger Sr.) stop imagining, anyway that your son is a baby” and could be a man. Mrs. Schlasinger wrote about family and local affairs. She discussed the traits of the baby twins of Florence and her husband, Sam. She also mentioned Ken's activities in the Army Air Force and various aspects of his social life. Trips and family gatherings were also discussed. Unlike her husband, Sarah Schlasinger did not write about any political or military aspects of the war.
Noah Schlasinger frequently mentioned war developments. He also expressed emotional displeasure with the attitudes of certain American leaders regarding the enemy. Most of his letters, however, dealt with common local or family dynamics. Both parents emphasized the importance of pictures. The siblings' letters were also pleasant in tone, and did not discuss the war in much detail. Even after Larry Schlasinger was hospitalized in England after receiving what proved to be a mortal wound, he wrote in the same pleasant tone. The ninth folder contains his last letters written two days before he died from a pulmonary embolism.
The family letters contained in the last folder portray intense grief and anger from Noah Schlasinger. He even wrote of seeking revenge against Nazi sympathizers; he previously had expressed sharp dislike for Gerald Nye and other American Hitler sympathizers. Ethel Schlasinger wrote a sobering response to her father's rhetoric which exhibited a profound theological, moral, and philosophic thesis. All of Larry's siblings expressed serious concern for the parents' adjustment after his death. Another interesting letter in folder 55 was Larry Schlasinger's moral rationale for enlisting in the Army in the war "against the authorities of a supposedly civilized country" who threatened humanity’s freedom.
The last folder also contains the Army telegrams notifying the family of both Larry's wound and subsequent death. In response to a request from Florence (Schlasinger) Sigal, an Army physician described the exact cause of death in an additional letter. Also contained in this folder are letters written to Schlasinger before the family learned of his death. Correspondence between the Schlasinger family and the University of North Dakota regarding the "Larry Schlasinger Award” are also included. A note in the last folder mentioned that Larry's picture would be included in the University of North Dakota Alumni Hall of Fame.
The letters were deposited in the Orin G. Libby Manuscript Collections by Regina M. Anavy of San Francisco, California in May and June 2003 (Acc. #2003-2661). She is the daughter of Larry Schlasinger’s sister, Florence Schlasinger and her husband, Samuel Sigal. She published many of these letters in a book, Larry’s Letters: The Personal Correspondence of Larry Schlasinger. A copy of this book was separated and added to the North Dakota Book Collection. The folders were kept in the original order and division as they were received.
- Box 6
- Folder 46: Biographical Material
- Folder 47: Correspondence, high school years: 1932-1939
- Folder 48: Correspondence, UND years: 1931-1943
- Folder 49: Correspondence from Florence (sister): 1937-1943
- Folder 50: Correspondence from Marcella (sister): 1939-1943
- Folder 51: Correspondence from parents: 1943-1944
- Folder 52: Correspondence from Ethel (sister): 1943
- Folder 53: Correspondence from Ken: 1943-1944
- Folder 54: Correspondence from Larry (basic training): Summer 1943
- Folder 55: Correspondence from Larry (advanced training): November 1943 - April 1944
- Folder 56: Correspondence from Larry (England and France): April 1944 - July 9, 1944
- Folder 57: Correspondence (Posthumous documents and letters): July 1944 - 1947
- Sub-Series 19: Gene Sibell
- Gene Sibell donated one folder of materials that he obtained from his grandfather, Ernest Sibell. These include two photos depicting victims of the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, Germany and one photo of a monument to Buchenwald victims erected by U.S. Army Engineers. All three photos were taken circa 1945 by Elmer Undlin of the U.S. Army. Accompanying the photos is a letter (dated May 17, 1945) from Captain Undlin to Paul Kinney, a newspaper reporter in Osakis, Minnesota. In the letter, Undlin expresses his belief that the pictures should be viewed by the public despite their graphic nature. Undlin mentions being present at the liberation of Buchenwald and describes the piles of corpses that he saw there.
- Sub-Series 20: Edwin M. Tofte
Edwin M. Tofte served in the United States Army during World War II. On July 26, 1944 he was a technical sergeant on an airborne mission. His plane was intercepted by enemy aircraft and Tofte and the other passengers were forced to bail out. Tofte was captured by five German soldiers near Vienna, Austria and sent to a German prisoner of war camp. The camp was liberated by Russian soldiers in May, 1945, and Tofte was flown to France and then home.
Tofte donated one folder of material consisting of newspaper clippings describing his capture and experience as a prisoner of war. (Acc. # 94-1950)
Further information on Edwin Tofte's experiences as a prisoner of war, including his written answers to an oral history interview, can be found in the North Dakota Prisoner of War Reports (OGL # 786)
- Sub-Series 21: Lt. Col. Paul Thompson
Modern Battle was distributed to United States soldiers during World War II to inform them about the events that led to the involvement of the United States in the war. The book was intended to give a detailed account of German warfare and the importance of military strategies and logistics in modern combat. It contains 253 pages of maps, diagrams, and accounts of battles during the beginning phases of World War II and was written by Lieutenant Colonel Paul W. Thompson, Corps of Engineers, in 1942.
Modern Battle was deposited by Jerry Bulisco, Associate Dean of Student Life, University of North Dakota, on September 9, 2004 (Acc. #2004-2714).
- Sub-Series 22: Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen were African-Americans who served in the U.S. Army Air Force during the Second World War. Due to the racial segregation of the United States armed forces at that time, black servicemen were grouped in separate units, and no African-Americans were allowed to serve as pilots prior to 1941. As an all-black air combat unit successfully operating and maintaining complex aviation technology, the Tuskegee Airmen demonstrated that military competence was not a function of race, and helped pave the way for desegregation of the U.S. military in 1948. Organized as the 332nd Fighter Group, they fought in the North African and European theaters of operations, flying escort to American bombers and distinguishing themselves as one of the most effective fighter units of the war. The unit took its name from the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where approximately 1000 of the 332nd’s pilot’s earned their wings between 1940 and 1946. In addition to aviators, the Airmen also included maintenance personnel, load crews, military police, and other support personnel – all of them African-American.
These documents relating to the history of the Tuskegee Airmen were deposited by 2d Lt Cory Kuehn, USAF, in May of 2007 (Acc. #2007-2889). Lt Kuehn, a graduate of the University of North Dakota, acquired these documents from the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, while in the process of conducting his own research into the history of the 332nd Fighter Group. They consist of one roll of microfilm and two compact discs containing text files in PDF format. The microfilm (marked “A2284”) contains unit records dating to World War II, including (among other things) medical records, training reports, incident reports, pilot class data, and commander correspondence. The first of the two compact discs contains transcripts of a series of oral history interviews with veteran Tuskegee Airmen Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (commander of the 332nd), Chappie James (America’s first black four-star General), Samuel Curtis, Chief Anderson, and Lucius Theus. The final item consists of another CD, this one containing a digitization of a historical study written by Alan M. Osur entitled Blacks in the Army Air Forces During World War II: The Problem of Race Relations (Washington, DC: U.S. Air Force, Office of Air Force History, 1986.
- Sub-Series 23: Bill Webster
Nine photographs were deposited by Bill Webster of Fargo, North Dakota, on 20 November 2008 (Acc. #2010-3012). According to the depositor, the photographs were given to the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in Fargo several years prior. No records exist for that donation.
In addition, an autograph book belonging to William L. (Billy) Lindstrom of Sycamore, Illinois, accompanied the photographs. Lindstrom served as an aerial gunner on a B-24 Liberator in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Therefore, it is unlikely that there is a connection between the autograph book and the photographs. The autograph book was de-accessioned in December, 2010, and given to the Joiner History Room in the Sycamore Public Library.
Although none of the nine photographs were labeled, they were obviously of a liberated concentration camp. Further research indicated they were from the Buchenwald camp, which was liberated 11 April 1945 by soldiers of Patton’s Third Army. The website of the Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota (http://www.chgs.umn.edu/histories/minnesotans/buchenwald/f.html) states that copies of such photographs were distributed to those participating either in liberating or dismantling the camps.
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