This past Monday, January 30th, World War II veteran Herman Blumenschein passed away. Herman lived in my hometown of Marysville, Ohio, and made it to age 93. He was a very humble and kind man, as well as quiet. You would not know by meeting him that he was a former German Prisoner of War, but he was for 7 months. Herman's obituary explains his plight in brief (I will work on getting his full story on this site soon):
"Herman served his country in the US Army during World War II attaining the rank of corporal and was a former POW with captivity lasting from September 30, 1944 to May 5, 1945. He was a Purple Heart recipient and also received the Bronze Star Presidential Unit Citation and Glider Badge."
The middle school where I teach was honored to have Herman at our Veterans Day assembly this past November, and he led the Pledge of Allegiance. After the assembly he signed his "autograph" to over 200 middle school students. Wow. I currently have his great-great nephew Adam in class.
I learned one very interesting thing the other day at Herman's funeral. Major General Oscar Decker (U.S. Army, retired) a friend of mine and pillar in our community shared his unique connection with Herman. During World War II, Major General Decker was a Sergeant in the 20th Tank Batallion. In Germany near Munich on May 5, 1945, his unit came upon groups of American Prisoners of War who were being held in boxcars.
Flash forward 40 years......
Oscar did not move to Marysville until around 1984 (after 40+ years in the Army!) and told me he has known Herman about 25 years until his passing Monday. However, it was not until Herman's health began failing that the two talked in detail about Herman's liberation. After sharing the date, the place and the circumstances, they are 99% certain that it was Oscar's tank batallion who found Herman and the others and got them help. It really is a small world.
May God bless all those surviving Prisoners of War and their families, and may all those servicemembers listed as Missing as Action be fully accounted for someday soon.
Rest in Peace, Herman.
Wow incredible, I really want to read Hermans full story
My wife worked for a Hospice org. and took care of Herman for six years. She would go to his home and make sure he got bathed, fed, and his house straightened up and help him with his laundry. When she first started with him, she was told that he had leukemia, but that it was the very slow advancing type. But the Dr.'s said that he only had about 6 months to live. When she retired 6 years later, there was Herman still going strong. She has been retired for 1 1/2 years so Herman made it almost 8 years past the Dr.s prognosis. In all that time, he never mentioned that he had been a POW or that he was even in the military. He was of the generation that grew up, being expected to join the military and fight for your country during time of war. And it was no big deal.
Claudia.. Hermans story is very powerful, am looking forward to your followup on him. Thank you for all the good info you are providing. Semper Fidelis Top Mitchell. (PS I'm putting some stuff together to send to you soon)
I have spoken with his next of kin and will be receiving more information about him soon. Glad you like the contect. All of us together cam make this a very valuable and enjoyable site to visit.
I can't wait for your "stuff".......
Semper Fi back at ya.
I sent Mr Blumenschein a questioneer about 5-6 years ago and I would be happy to share any info I have on him for your story.
Just let me know and I will e-mail you the info I have.
My dad was the youngest of the Blumenschein brothers, William. I knew that Uncle Herman was a POW, but only heard some of what happened. When my Dad passed away in 2009, and my husband and I visited Uncle Herman, Uncle Roy, and Uncle Alfred, I had the pleasure of listening to all of my uncles bring to life what the world was like during World War 2. I never understood why my Dad quit school before he graduated, until my uncles told me he quit to help his Dad and my Grandpa farm.
I remember one of my last visits with Uncle Herman, and he told me the details of the day he was taken as a prisoner of war, and in his quiet way he told me he would stay with his friend again, simply because he was a friend and would have done the same.
I miss Uncle Herman, Uncle Alfred, Uncle Roy, and my Dad so very much. They all loved the United States, and I believe they are a example of men and women who served and still serve in the military to guard us, so we can enjoy our freedom. may God Bless them all.
All of the Blumenschein brothers are in heaven together. May they Rest in Peace.
I do not know the soldiers name that Uncle Herman stayed with, but I do know from what Uncle Herman said they had served together for two and a half years, and where the best of friends. I do believe in Uncle Herman's mind names where not important, just the fact that they where friends. Uncle Herman also said that for three days after he was taken prisoner he had to remain standing.
He also told me that he as you stated in your story that he could understand what his captors where saying. I thank the Lord above that they did not by the Blumenschein name realize he could understand, and as he also said could let his fellow prisoners of war know what was being planned for them.
That was the kind of man Uncle Herman, Uncle Alfred, Uncle Roy and my Dad where. They all where men of great faith, and God was their refuge and strength.
I was able to talk to Major General Oscar Decker at Uncle Roy's funeral, and he related how Uncle Herman and him came to realize that it was his tank batallion that where there to aid them. It was my pleasure to hear the regard Major General Decker held Uncle Herman in, and Uncle Herman told me the same in the quiet way he had.
Uncle Herman was a quiet, gentle man, with more strength than I realized, but should have. The Blumenschein brothers loved their Lord, and country.
Your uncles buddies name was Arthur E Fitzwater of West Virginia and he passed away in 1982.
I was always under the impression that Herman stayed behind with a dying buddy when he was captured and I sent Herman a questioner 7-8 years ago and he told me his dying buddies name was Fitzwater.
While doing some internet research on the National Archives site looking for a Fitzwater that was killed in the war I was only able to find one man with that last name but he served in a different unit, so that told me he wasnt killed. I then looked on POW files and found a Arthur E Fitzwater of 401st Glider Infantry and captured September 30, 1944 and was sent to Stalag 4F, so his buddy wasnt killed after all but survived his wounds and sent to a different prison.
Hope this helps.
Thank you for the information. It certainly does help. I would really like to hear the questions, and Uncle Herman's answers.
Uncle Herman was a inspiration to so many, and I thank you for bringing more of his life in the Army, and his time as a POW to my attention. I am so very thankful that I can pass this information on to my five children.