Further Newspaper Articles
Translation by: Claudia Möller, U.S. Veterans Friends Germany, Weimar

Bob’s special birthday

(TA, Tuesday, April 12th, 2005)

 APOLADA (Ah) Yesterday, on exactly the same day as the liberation of  Apolda took place by  American troops in 1945 a group of  American veterans paid the town a visit yesterday reminding it of the 60th anniversary of this geat event.  Among them is Bob Harmon, celebrating his 80th birthday today to whom this date , April 12th , means even more by evoking personal memories dating back 60 years ago when turned  20. Being a Private First Class then he and 20 others of his fellow soldiers serving in the  319 ID of the 3rd US Army were in charge of granting Colonel Castello ‘s jeep protection en route  from Troistedt to Weimar where the document of Weimar’s surrendering  to the US Army was signed.  ‘Moreover, our task was also to secure the area’, Bob said. Whether, he, however, was celebrating his 20th birthday in Weimar or not belongs to the things he can’t recall any longer. ‘Still quite vivid in my mind, just as though it happened yesterday’, the veteran continued, ‘ is another interesting incident which I experienced after having left Weimar. Together with 50 of my fellow soldiers I went to Austria where we found 10 thousand art treasures stored in a salt mine there in order to avoid any destruction by bombs.  Among the treasures were works by Rembrandt and Rubens’.

The paintings were taken to Munich, finally, and it was Bob Harmon who escorted the convoy.

12.04.05 Copyright: ‘Thüringer Allgemeine’



By Michael BAAR

‘In Commemoration of the US soldiers, liberating Thuringia from the National Sozcialist Dictatorship in April 1945’. This is what the letters made of brushed high-grade steel at the blocks of Muschelkalk read. The monument at the base of Sebelius Street right at the corner where the Fuldaer Street and Swanlake Street cross each other  commemorates the Americans in Thuringia. At least it lasted 60 years before Weimar commemorated those who risked and lost their lives there not only in Archives. According the exclusive request of the Thurigian Chancellery Weimar’s  Lord Mayor, Volkhardt Germer in the presence of Eleanor Fox, US Consul,  devoted the monument to the liberators of the entire Federal State Thuringia. ‘In it’s kind it is unique and the only one in Thuringia’, Eric Reilinger, a veteran having served in the 80 ID, realized. ‘It does not make a difference between the Divisions’. Mr Reilinger recalled his time of being there: ‘During the last days of the war the Nazis sent  their unexperienced members of the Hitler Youth into the battle and we, too, were young men far away from being professional soldiers. The establishing of the monument is to be owed to Hans Stadelmann’s persistence in keeping on this idea for which Mr Reilinger particularly thanked him. Stadelmann has been involved in commemorative places in Weimar and six further ones in the vicinity since 1998. Based on that the Head of the town consideres Stadelmann’s ambition and engagement as a prove the the ciitizens of the town suppport the monument. ‘There isn’t a grace of  the late birth’, the mayor sais. When Weimar refers proudly of his great poets than the town has simultaneously take responsibility for the sanity having taken place on German ground 60 years ago. The establishing of the monument is an evidence that remembrance never fades. Finanzing the monument was partly done by donations collected by Hans Stadelnmann as well as by sponsorship. As to the Town of Weimar own funding were contributed by the Planning Department and Building Control Office which will continue being responsible for the green area. The biggest sponsor  was the bank Sparkasse Middle Thuringia. Next to that further firms , such as ‘Ihle Scenery Architects’, Weimar, Lindenlaub Inc., Weimar-Legefeld, Finne Naturestone Roob Inc. & Co KG, Hardisleben, Trend Schrift & Werbung, Weimar,  Viso-Glas Inc., Ilmenau and Glas Köhler, Weimar sponsored the monument. It  didn’t happe accidently to chose the place at the corner Swanlake Street for the monument for it was this street the American troops came along when going further into Weimar.

 Helen  Patton-Plusczyk’s presence, the lengendary General Patton’s  grand-daughter, and her addressing the attendees with her grandfather’s farewell words to his soldiers ‘You were dubt in blood and fire and became steel in it’ was a surprise of a special kind. The general passed away shortly after his leaving the Army in 1945.


Vetera ns in Weimar

Former US soldiers at commemorative events

 WEIMAR (rd). Approximately 40 former US soldieres, having been stationed in Weimar and the vicinity in April 2945 are visiting the town of Weimar in the frame of the 60th anniversry of the liberation of the Former Concnentration Camp Buchenwald. Their stay from April, 9th  till 16th was organisied by the Association ‘US Veterans’ Friends Germany, Weimar.

Next to the project ‘Thuringia 1945’ to  which the Thuringian State Parliament appealled each Thuringian High School for participation the veterans and their accompanying relatives devote their presence to the commemorative events at the German National Theater as well as at the Former Camp Site Buchenwald. In addition to that a monument in commemoration of the killed American soldiers is supposed to be  dedicated. General George S. Patton’s grand-daughter Helen Patton also stays among the guests. In April 45 the general and his 3rd Army achieved the surrender of Weimar to the Americans.  


(TLZ (Thüringer Landeszeitung) April, 12th  2005)   

To the country of the dearly beloved potatoe

Special exhibition on the Potato Cultural Country USA

Heichelheim. (tlz) A special exhibition informs about the Potato Cultural Country USA at the Thuringian Dumpling Museum in Heichelheim from tomorrow onwards. The reason of it’s opening is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Heichelheim and Weimar by American soldiers. Veterans from New Jersey, Fliorida, Oregon and Ilinois having been involved in the liberation 60 years ago are opening the exhibition by celebrating the German-American Potato Friendship in a cultural culinary way.  Students of the Thuringian International School in Weimar also contribute to the opening ceremonies by  presenting a cultural program in which the development of the potato is displayed.

Potatoes have become a ritual and are considered as cultural assets in the United States of America: The country not only belongs to the five biggest potato producers all over the world , but next to that worships this vegetable enormously. In particular it’s the population of the Federal State of Idaho being very proud of  the potatoe for each number blade of vehicles reads ‘Potato State Idaho’ and shows the potatoes next to the letters. Moreover, the USA is known for the invention and cultivation of plenty of potatoe dishes that range from chips up to the backed potato.

The exhibition, however, provides even a further survey on this beloved plant and it’s significance in the USA as well as the ‘Potato Friendship’ between Germans and Americans.

Opening scheduled for tomorrow, 11 am


Thüringer Landeszeitung (TLZ), Thursday, 14th April 2005

From the Potato farmer to multimillionaire

Lines below the picture:

The plant potato connects peoples and generations: Based on that the new special exhibition on the ‘Potato Cultural Land USA’  at the Thuringian Dumpling Museum in Heichelheim was opened by US veteran Eric Reilinger as well as the two students Kyley and Aaron attending the Thuringian International School Weimar


Everything is ‘Great’ in America. Not only potatoes of the size of a football which easily feed a family of four at dinner exist in this contry, but also the fields where the potato is planted cover huge acres. The USA, however, to which this kind of vegetable has been taken from South America to Europe by a circuitous route belongs with a yearly production of 460 million hundredweight to the world’s biggest potato producers.

Yesterday’s opening of the special exhibition at the Museum which dedicates a show on potato traditions to another every year took place next to that for further second reason – the liberation from war and fashismn of this Northern community, Heichelheim, by American soldiers 60 years ago.  Eleven of these soldiers dwelled in the frame of the 60th anniversary of liberation from the Nazi Regime in Weimar again these days and enriched the opening of the exhibition by their presence.

It was Eric Reilinger, who pointed out that the Spanish conquers’ owe their discovery of the potato to the Southamericans’ natives as they had to make the tiresome experience the best part of this plant doesn’t grow above, but below the soil.

Following the devise ‘The potato connects accross borders and generations’ the young generation, the students of Thuringian International School Weimar,  contrubuted their part to the opening  and displayed in little scenes the history of the potato in the finest English language. In the frame of that the ‘Potato Song’ experienced its


Realization of what happened here

Monument for US veterans – General Patton’s grand-daughter visiting Weimar

 Weimar. (tlz/bük) When commemorating the liberation of the former Concentration Camp Buchenwald in these days US soldiers are an (untrennbarer) linked with these historical moments. Within only two weeks they have ceased the rule of the Nazi-Regime in Thuringia by reaching Buchenwald on 11th April and invading via Swanlake Street into Weimar a day later. Since yesterday right at this place a monument reminds of the killed soldiers during these days of April 45.

The veterans’ attendance in the commemorative events at Buchenwald was organized by the Weimarer Association ‘US Veterans’ Friends, Germany. Among the guests dwelled Helen Patton-Plusczyk, grand-daughter of the ledgendare and controversial US General Patton who’s 3rd Army reached Buchenwald. Helen living in Käshofen, Rheinland-Pfalz, has never met her grandfather who died in Austria in Winter 45 in Austria from his injuries of a car accident.  Helen’s knowledge of these days is based on her grandfahter’s diary and talks. ‘I’d prepared a bit, read in his diary before I came to Weimar’, the 43-year-old woman married to a German doctor said. She’s aware the fact that her grandfather was considered as one of the most important creatures of WWII,known in particualr for his controversial political atitudes. However, to judge about this she leaves to others. The general, in 1945 at the age of 60  seemingly had seen everyhing in his life. ‘But’, so Helen, ‘when entered through the gate of Buchenwald he had to vomit caused by the agony having encountered on there.’ Extremely shocked by the cruelty of the Nazi Regime Patton commanded the military police to guide the citizens of Weimar through the camp. 60 years later his grand-daughter visits the Former Camp Site the very first time. ‘One attempts to realize what happened here’, she reports. ‘but you can’t, it’s impossible even though you seem to feel the blood and the goose skin makes shaking your entire body ever and ever again, but in vain.’

The Monument in commemorance of the unforgettable merits of all those American soldiers killed in WWII established at the corner Fuldaer Street -  Swanlake Sreet represents the utter Staate of Thuringia. Initiated by Hans Stadelmann it was partly financed by private sponsorship.

 ‘Thank you, Hans Stadelmann. We can commemorate our killed comrades. They will never be forgotten’, Eric Reilinger (85) said. He marched alongside Swanlake Street today 60 years ago

  ‘Now we can honor our killed comrades which will never been forgotten’, said Eric Reilinger (85) who exactly on that day 60 years ago marched through Swanlake Street.


Keeping spinning the threats of the past

Yesterday Weimar’s High School students devoted an entire project day to the liberation of the Former Concentration Camp Buchenwald

 Weimar’s High-School students reminded of the liberation of the Former Concentration Camp Buchenwald 60 years ago by conducting a project day. The Lord Mayor Dr. Germer tributed deep respect to the students for their suphisticated program.

 WEIMAR (paw).

The Lord Mayor considered the conduction of the project day with it’s topics ‘Liberation and Right-wing extremism’ exactly on the 60th anniversary of the liberation as a nice and wise gesture. In particular those students has to be congratulated who contributed to make this day happen by their broad engagement to let this day take place


60 Years

By Michael BAAR, Thueringer Allgemeine

That’s the way how ways cross, how times change. Next to representatives of the Town Council and numerous citizens of  Weimar also a group of US veterans, staying in Weimar on invition of the Association ‘US Veterans’ Friends, Germany,  took part in the dedication of the monument in the afternoon yesterday.  Among the veterans is Bob Harmon, the last survivor of that legandary crew of four jeeps, which rolled with Commander Colonel Normando A. Costello on the Market Place in Weimar on April, 12th 1945.

The yesterday’s speech of Weimar’s Lord Mayor was translated into English by Alexander Letetzki. Not having been born in 1945 he is linked to that special date, 12th April by his profession as a translator with the Russian military (civil official). After the ceremony was over a elderly citizen of Weimar’s  approached the Americans and the Lord Mayor yesterday and pulled a picture our of his pockets. ‘This was him in 1945, dressed in a uniform and wearing a steel helmet. When in Weimar the war was over he still was lying in the trenches in the Netherlands.

Besides, on this special April, 12th Bob Harmon turned 20. And today it’s his birthday again. He turns 80. The 80th birthday! In Weimar! Congratulation to you Bob Harmon!