(NEWS ARTICLE) Carl V. Anderson, 86, an Army veteran of World War II who was still a teenager when he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and helped liberate a concentration camp, died Thursday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township.
He underwent treatment for salivary gland cancer last year. He seemed to be recovering, but he learned six weeks ago that the cancer had spread.
"It was such a shock when it came back," his wife, Kathleen, said.
Mr. Anderson of Waterville, a metallurgical engineer, retired from Chrysler Corp. in 1980 as a supervisor of product engineering at the Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg Township. He was a consultant at area foundries until 1990.
In 1943, he was a senior at Redford High School in Detroit when he was drafted and required to begin Army service before graduation.
"They took me from high school and gave me an all-expense-paid trip to Europe," he joked in an interview given in 2008 for the Concentration Camp Liberators Oral History Project at the University of South Florida.
He rarely spoke of the war at home.
"My husband said in later years, 'If you want to see hell, spend it in the Battle of the Bulge,'?" his wife said.
He was in the 63rd Infantry Division and shipped out from New York in November, 1944, landing in Marseille on Dec. 1, he told the oral history interviewer. His rifle company was in Sarreguemines, France, when the German forces began their campaign of attacks on American positions along the Belgian-German-Luxembourg border. His company of the 63rd division helped provide infantry protection as Gen. George Patton's forces headed north into the Ardennes.
"Well, it was cold, and we did a lot of fighting," Mr. Anderson told the interviewer.
By the end of April, Mr. Anderson and his comrades were at the western edge of Dachau, a concentration camp near Munich. He'd heard of the camps, from the newspapers and from counseling in the Army, but didn't know a lot about them. Then came the sight -- and smell.
"We actually saw these people leaning over the fence rails as we approached the camp and waving -- those that could," he told the oral history interviewer. "There were a lot who couldn't even get off the ground. And they looked like skeletons, really. It was quite a shocking experience."
Most of the prisoners had white and red or white and black striped clothing. They'd been eating whatever seemed edible -- grass, roots, trees.
He and other U.S. soldiers stopped their trucks and handed out "anything we had to eat in our possession" -- K-rations, chocolate bars, water.
There wasn't much talk among the soldiers. "It was just the disgust that we had for what we saw," Mr. Anderson said. "I told my wife later that the people in Germany and around that area said they didn't know what was going on. I said the smell alone should have told you something was really bad going on. It was bad.
"You don't forget it … I tell my grandchildren the stories about it, so that they know," he said in the oral history. "And it just grinds me no end, these people who deny the Holocaust ever existed."
He had three Bronze Stars, including one with Oak Leaf Cluster.
He and his wife visited Europe five times, including a tour in 1979 of the Dachau area. For more than 20 years, the couple attended regular reunions of the 63rd Infantry Division Association and took part in the regional chapter. Last year's reunion was announced as the association's last. Too few members remain. But a gathering will accompany its board meeting scheduled for August in Columbus. Mrs. Anderson hopes to attend.
He was born June 5, 1925, in Detroit to Grace and Leroy Anderson. After the war, he attended the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit on the GI Bill and was a graduate of the Chrysler Institute. For years, he attended night school.
"He would study until 3 in the morning and get up at 6 [for work]. He was a very determined man," his wife said.
He worked at Chrysler's Highland Park, Mich., headquarters for years, first as a metallurgist and then as a supervisor of product engineering at the manufacturing plant there, said Charles Holland a Chrysler colleague.
"He was strong in the technical side of engineering," Mr. Holland said. "He was a good boss. He was easy to get along with."
Mr. Anderson came to northwest Ohio in the late 1960s after the Perrysburg Township facility opened.
He golfed from childhood on. In the late 1970s, Chrysler plant managers arranged a flight to Georgia so he could play with Arnold Palmer in a pro-am tournament: "It was the biggest thrill of his life," his wife said.
Surviving are his wife, Kathleen, whom he married June 28, 1947, daughter, Sandra Hobbs, son, Kenneth Anderson, five grandchildren, and three great-grandsons.
Visitation is to be Monday from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday in the Peinert Funeral Home, Waterville. Services are to be Tuesday at 11 a.m. in First Presbyterian Church, Waterville, where he was a member.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.
Peinert-Dunn Funeral Home
7220 Dutch Road Waterville, OH 43566
Published in Toledo Blade on May 12, 2012