Posts Tagged ‘Felix A. Cizewski’

70 Years Ago Felix and the 45th Signal Company Cross the Rhine

March 24, 2015

Gorak_crossRhine1[1]

DUKW (amphibious 2½ ton truck) transporting a 105mm howitzer and men of the 158th Field Artillery Battalion, 45th Infantry Division over the Rhine. (See glossary below for meaning of DUKW.)

This may have been about the same place where the 45th Signal Company crossed and some of the DUKWs that transported them

No photos have been found of the 45th Signal Company crossing the Rhine.

Fair use of photo from the collection of Edwin Gorak

On March 25, 1945 the 45th Signal Company received a DUKW to use in the laying of communication cables across the Rhine.

Early on the morning of March 26 the construction section laid two cables across the Rhine. The telephone section crossed and established switching central on the east bank of the Rhine.

The conditions under which the men of the 45th Signal Company laid those cables were life threatening.

While the ground fighting had moved east, the Nazis were still firing artillery and rockets and launching air attacks at the Rhine crossings.

Along with the risk of drowning they also risked hypothermia, frostbite, or immersion (trench) foot. The water temperature was probably 32° F (0° C) and the March air temperature averaged about 41° F (5° C).  My late father Felix A. Cizewski would have been very aware of that as he had just returned to duty after recovering from severe frostbite 3 months earlier.

On March 27, the rest of the 45th Signal Company crossed the Rhine and set up the normal Command Post communications systems in Zwingenberg.

Several Nazi soldiers surrendered to members of the company.

The company reported that their trucks and other vehicles were in bad shape because of constant use. A jeep threw a rod.

I do not know in which section of the 45th Signal Company my late father Felix A. Cizewski served so I do not know if he crossed the Rhine on March 26 or 27.


Glossary:

What does DUKW mean?

D = built in 1942

U = amphibious 2½  ton truck

K = front wheel drive

W = rear wheel drive


Acknowledgements:

The detailed information about the 45th Signal Company’s crossing of the Rhine is from the March, 1945 Company History which Dave Kerr obtained from the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

A discussion with free lance writer Anne Gafiuk resulted in the addition of details of the life threatening conditions under which the 45th Signal Company worked.

The details with links about DUKWs was in response to a question from Jeff Spitzer-Resnick.


Links, sources, and more information:

Felix A. Cizewski and the Central Europe Campaign


Revised: March 26, 2015

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-Ho

70 and 150 Years Ago: Two Promotions

January 26, 2015

70 years ago on January 1, 1945, Felix A. Cizewski, was promoted to Private First Class.

He was serving in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, Army Service Forces in Paris. He was in a hospital recovering from frostbite.

He is my late father.


munichapriljuly45 1jan45promotion

LEFT: Private Felix A. Cizewski on

occupation duty in Munich between

April and July, 1945.

From the collection of Felix A. Cizewski

© Leonard H. Cizewski

RIGHT: Unit Morning Report recording

his promotion.

Public domain image

150 years ago on January 26, 1865, Anson Croman was promoted to corporal.

He served in Company F, 20th Michigan Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade, First Division,  IX Corps, Army of the Potomac. At that time the 20th Michigan was part of the Union siege of Petersburg  near Battery Nine just south of the the Appomattox River on the northeast edge of the city.

Anson Croman is Cheryl A. Robinson’s 2nd great-grandfather and my 2nd great-grandfather-in-law.


croman Promotion rotated 90 degress

LEFT: Corporal Anson Croman

© The descendants of Anson Croman

RIGHT: Official certificate of promotion.

Public domain image

Links, sources, and more information:

Felix A. Cizewski and WWII

Anson Croman and the Civil War


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-Gs

70 Years Ago: Felix Assigned to the 45th Signal Company

January 25, 2015

70 years ago on January 16, 1945 my late father Felix A. Cizewski had recovered from frostbite to his hands and feet.

During WWII, while recovering from wounds, injuries, or illnesses, soldiers were removed from their units so replacement could be assigned to fill their place.

After recovery they were not returned to their units and instead reassigned to other units.

After Felix was discharged from an Army hospital in the Paris area he was reassigned to the 3rd Reinforcement Battalion, 16th Reinforcement Depot.

In late January, 1945, the 45th Infantry Division was taken off the front line.

1,000 replacements were assigned to the 45th.

Among them was Felix who on January 29th was transferred from the 3d Replacement Battalion to the 45th Signal Company in bivouac at  Petersbach, France.


Petersbachcropped
“Petersbach, France”
in Felix’s handwriting
on the back.

GIs in the background.

From the collection of Felix A. Cizewski
© Leonard H. Cizewski

The 45th Signal Company was responsible for connecting 45th with its Corps and connections between Division Command Post and all of the support units that were part of the division headquarters such as medical, engineers, and quartermaster.


Links, sources, and more information:

Felix A. Cizewski & the WWII Rhineland Campaign


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-G8

My Family’s 100 Year Relationship with France

December 21, 2014

This year I have come to realize that after Poland and Italy from where my ancestors emigrated, France is the country with whom my family has the longest and closest relationship. 

Our family’s relationship with France extends over almost 100 years.


1918: Philip Lovetere serves in France

uniform
Philip Lovetere in France.

98 years ago in 1918, my maternal grandfather Philip Lovetere was drafted into the U.S. Army and assigned to the 64th Infantry Regiment, 14th Infantry Brigade, 7th Infantry Division.

On September 23, 1918, Philip and the 7th Infantry Division landed at Brest, France.

By the end of September until the end of the war on November 11, he was deployed to the front where he served in the Marbache and Puvenelle Sectors in Lorraine, north of Nancy on the west bank of the Moselle River.


1920: Angela Giordano travels from Sicily to New York City by way of Marseilles and Cherbourg

angelinabfw
Angela Giordano’s passport photo.

96 years ago in 1920, my maternal grandmother Angela Giordano traveled by train from her home in Sicily to Cherbourg by way of Marseilles.

Among her memories of a young single woman traveling alone was her fright of the Arabs of Marseilles.

On December 31, 1920 in Cherbourg  she boarded the U.S.S. Finland for the United States.

She took a train from New York City to Chicago where she met and married Philip Lovetere.


1944 – 1945: Felix A. Cizewski serves in France

bfw
Felix A. Cizewski in training in 1943 just prior to his deployment to France.

In 1942, my late father Felix A. Cizewski was drafted and assigned to Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, Army Service Forces.

70 years ago on July 25, 1944, he landed at Utah Beach and was initially stationed at Tamerville, France. He also served in Valognes and Cherbourg before the battalion was sent to Paris. There he suffered frostbite.

In January, 1945 after recovering from frostbite he suffered in Paris, he was transferred to the 45th Signal Company, 45th Infantry Division in Petersbach, France approximately 130 kilometers (81 miles) east of where he future father-in-law Philip Lovetere served 27 years earlier

From January until March, 1945, Felix served in Baccarat, Lunneville, Castle Stanislaus, and Sarreguemines, France.

On March 17, 1945, the 45th Signal Company crossed in Nazi Germany.

In 1945 Felix left Europe from Le Havre.

In 1947 he married Philip Lovetere’s and Angela Giordano’s oldest daughter, Ennina Maria (Anna Maria ) Lovetere, my late mother.


2014: Leonard H. Cizewski and Cheryl A. Robinson return to Normandy to Honor Felix’s Service

DSC_0867
Cheryl and Leonard at the Tamerville memorial. 

Photo by Julie Waldner.

In May 2014, Felix’s son and Philip and Angela’s grandson Leonard and his wife Cheryl A. Robinson traveled to Tamerville for the dedication of a memorial to those who liberted anad served in Tamerville, including the 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

sign500pixelhPlaque honoring the 3110th and other units. 

Click on the image for a large PDF of the plaque.


2014: Genetic Cousins Leonard and Daniel Meet

cousinsGenetic cousins Leonard Cizewski and Daniel Ewenczyk.

Pnoto by Cheryl A. Robinson

In June, Leonard and Cheryl traveled to Paris where we met Leonard’s genetic cousin Daniel Ewenczyk.

From their DNA work, Leonard and Daniel discovered within the last 350 years in Eastern Europe their Slavic and Jewish families met and they share a common paternal ancestor.


Passing as French in the United States.

Anna Marie (Lovetere) Cizewski shared two stories of our maternal family passing as French to avoid prejudice and housing and job discrimination against Sicilian immigrant families.

In the 1920s Philip and Angela wished to move out of the crime and poverty of Chicago’s Italian ghetto.

In a neighbor founded by French-Canadians, they found an Lithuanian immigrant family who would rent to them. The owners and my grandparents agreed that they would tell the neighbors they were of French ancestry.

During WWII, Italian-Americans were being denied jobs.

Again, my mother said that when asked she would say she was of French ancestry.


Could my family’s relationship with France be even older?

My Sicilian family’s oral history claims French ancestry.

History and DNA confirm a close relationship between Sicily and France, especially Normandy.

Normans first arrived in Sicily about the year 999 and ruled it until 1139.

DNA studies of Sicilians suggest that at least 7% to 10% of our DNA could originate in northwest Europe such as Normandy.

Our family reflects the heterogeneity of the Sicilian DNA:

Some of my ancestors have traditional southern Mediterranean features:
Filippo%20Lovetere[1]
Maternal great-grandfather Filippo Francisco Lovetere.
Others may have features that could be French:
mom19circlec[1] My mother Anna Maria Cizewski (nee Ennina Maria Lovetere) who passed as French to get jobs denied to Italian-Americans during WWII.

The majority of DNA of Sicilians is from the people of Europe, Asia, and Africa around the Mediterranean.  Possibly Norman and  sub-Saharan African DNA is also present.

The diverse DNA of Sicily confirms that we are all of one human family.


Links, sources, and more information:

Philip Lovetere (7th Infantry Division) & World War I

Angela (Giordano) Lovetere’s Immigration

Felix A. Cizewski & World War II

Differential Greek and northern African migrations to Sicily are supported by genetic evidence from the Y chromosome Cornelia Di Gaetano, Nicoletta Cerutt et. al, European Journal of Human Genetics (2009) 17, 91–99; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2008.120; published online 6 August 2008.

Sicilian Peoples: The Normans by L. Mendola and V. Salerno.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-Fn

Paris 1944: Felix Hospitalized With Frostbite

December 4, 2014

Seventy years ago on about December 10, 1944, Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, was admitted to a U.S. Army hospital in Paris with severe frostbite to his hands and feet.

In his letters Ray Davidson of Company A, 3110th Signal Service Battalion reports increasing rain and dropping temperatures in Paris.

In Citizen SoldiersStephen Ambrose  reports “It was Northern Europe’s coldest winter in forty years…”


FROSTBITE RISK

These photos are from the about same time and near place as Felix and Company C served

None of these photos are of Felix A. Cizewski or Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

The following two illustrate the type of work that Felix and Company C, the Open Wire Repair Section of the 3110th Signal Service Battalion, were doing when Felix suffered frostbite.

frostbitecroppedbfw

Signal lineman repairs wire in the Ardennes.

Public Domain photo from The Signal Corps: The Outcome (Mid-1943 through 1945),  p. 160.

splicecroppedbfw

European Theatre of Operations, December, 1944. Soldier traces a broken field wire for splicing.

Public domain U.S. Army photo from: The story of the U.S. Army Signal Corps between pages 114 & 115.

TRENCH (IMMERSION) FOOT RISK

 riverbfw

During cold weather Signal Corps personnel needed to work in and around water such as swimming wire across the Moselle River.

Public domain photo from:  The Signal Corps: The Outcome (Mid-1943 through 1945),  p. 132.

britishsignals

British or Canadian Signalmen using amphibious DUKWs and Weasels to work in areas flooded when the Germans blew up nearby dykes.

Early February, 1945, in the Netherlands along the Nijmegen-Cleve road near the German border town of Kranenburg

Imperial War Museum photo from The Rhineland 1945: the final push into Germany (Praeger illustration military history), Ford, Ken, 2004, Osprey Publishing, p. 48.


Felix said that the Army doctors told him that they might need to amputate part of all of his hands and feet.

However, night after night, after the American doctors had gone, a captured German doctor working in the American hospital massaged Felix’s hands and feet with a special salve.

Eventually Felix healed enough to avoid amputations and return to be reassigned to the 45th Signal Company.

A captured American soldier with “frozen feet” reported that from German medical supplies, the German guard gave him “something that looked like axle grease…which we rubbed on our feet.” (From Alex Kershaw in The Longest Winter, Da Capo Press, 2004, page 168.) Could this be the special salve Felix described that the German POW doctor used?


coldinjurybfw

Medic treating GI with trench foot and cold injuries to his hands and face. This illustrates what Felix might have suffered and the treatment with a salve.

Diorama in the Truschbaum Museum, Camp Elsenborn, Belgium. (Photo used by permission.)


FELIX’S POST FROSTBITE RAYNAUD”S SYNDROME SYMPTOMS

Felix’s wife  reports that the skin on his feet were fragile and tender for several years after the war.

For the rest of his life, he suffered from a post frost bite syndrome with symptoms that resemble Raynaud’s Syndrome.

The circulation shut down in his hands and feet whenever the weather turned slightly cold but painless. I remember in the winter his hands up to his wrists were cold, cyanotic with poor skin turgor.

R. Richard Kingsbury in his autobiography, The Eighteen-Year-Old Replacement: Facing Combat in Patton’s Third Army describes suffering cold injuries, possibly trench foot. After the war, the VA paid him two 10% disability for the permanent damage to his legs and feet. (Page xiii.)

Felix was an unrecognized and uncompensated disabled veteran.

At a minimum, that is what I believe Felix also deserved if not more as his hands were also permanently damaged.


Links, sources, and more information:

3110th in Paris

Signal Corps personnel and cold injuries

Trench (Immersion) Foot

Felix A. Cizewski: An Unrecognized and Uncompensated Disabled Veteran?


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-EP

The 3110th in Paris

December 3, 2014

Seventy years ago sometime prior to December 10, 1944, the detached unit of Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion left Cherbourg for Paris and rejoined the rest of the battalion.


felix001_thumb.jpg

1944 or 1945:

The only photo of Felix A. Cizewski in Paris.

He is standing in front of a building below a Salle de Réunion sign (meeting rooms for rent) with security gates over its windows.

Date and unit are unknown.

Felix was in Paris in the late fall of 1944 with the 3110th and in March, 1945 while on leave from the 45th Signal Company.

Photo © the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and Leonard H. Cizewski


Corporal Ray Davidson of Company A reports that the 3110th worked from a building near the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

They were first housed in a hotel near the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Their hotel had electricity only a few minutes per day and no hot water.


DSC01477

June, 2014:

Seventy years later. Felix’s son Leonard on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées near where Felix served.

Since the exact building that the 3110th used may are not known, I decided that the best I could do was to stand under a sign on the Avenue.

Photo by Cheryl A. Robinson


Later the 3110th moved to a school near a race track. Hotels near the Avenue des Champs-Élysées were needed for combat troops on leave.

Corporal Davidson reported that the public transportation system was not working and bicycles were the main means of transportation.

Goods were scarce.

Sidewalks cafes were open but not night clubs or movies theatres. A couple of theatres were showing news reels.

He reports that after they first arrived they had to wait in long lines for their meals and the meals were initially “skimpy”. Their meals improved when the battalion was assigned a restaurant with French cooks.


ray001

October, 1944:

The the only documented photo of the 3110th in Paris.

Corporal Ray Davidson of Company A in Paris.

Photo © Charles N. Davidson


Links, sources, and more information:

3110th in Paris

The WWII Letters of Ray Davidson were compiled by his nephew Charles N. Davidson. Charles privately published them for his family and families of the 3110th.


Another post in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the the memorial in Tamerville, part of the observance of the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of France.

My late father Felix A. Cizewski served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Tamerville, Cherbourg, Paris providing communications and logistical support for the liberation of Normandy in 1944.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-EL

1943 Thanksgiving at Camp Crowder

November 25, 2014

71 years ago on November 25, 1943 Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, celebrated Thanksgiving with his unit, Company E, 840th Signal Training Battalion, at Camp Crowder, Missouri.

This was an especially profound observance as they knew they were at the end of their training and about to be assigned to a unit and deployed out of the country, probably to Europe.


thanksgiving1[1]

Cover of Company E, 840th Signal Training Battalion November 25, 1943 Thanksgiving Program.

Included a Thanksgiving message from their commander, the menu, and unit roster.

Larger and complete six page program is at:

Thanksgiving Menu and Roster


In December, 1943 they were transferred to Camp Wood, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey  and assigned to the 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

In February, 1944 they boarded a ship to Great Britain.

Six months later in July, 1944 Company C deployed to Normandy followed by the rest of the battalion in August.


Links with sources and for more information:

Camp Crowder, Missouri

Felix A Cizewski:

At Camp Crowder

Deployment to England


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-Ev

Researcher and Author Mickaël Simon

November 14, 2014

Mickaël Simon at his Normandy dairy with a Wisconsin Sassy Cow Creamery coffee cup, a gift from Cheryl Robinson and me!


Mickaël Simon is one of the researchers who confirmed the Signal Corps bivouac site in Tamerville where my late father served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion, Army Services in 1944.


ms3

Mickaël spoke and also served as an English translator for another speaker at the Mary 31, 2014 dedication ceremony at Tamerville.

Photo by Julie Waldner (granddaughter of one of the downed American aviators who survived).


Before the ceremony, Mickaël assisted us in ordering lunch Auberge des Lices Bar and Restaurant in Tamerville.

His guiding and translations ensured that we had a great experience.

He is now our friend.

For my birthday, Cheryl A. Robinson gave me a copy of one of Mickaël’s Tombés sur le Cotentin.

I am using it to improve my French reading skills!


FI CALVADOS.indd

Tombés sur le CotentinMissions sans retour et évasions de aviateurs de l’US Army Air Force sur la presqu’île de Cherbourg en 1944

(Shot down on the Cotentin: Missions without return and escapes (evasions) by aviators of U.S. Army Air Force on the Cherbourg Peninsula)

Copies are available from:

OREP editions (the publisher)

and

Amazon France

Both ship to the U.S.


Links with sources and for more information:

The 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Normandy

Infantry, Air Force, Medical, and Signal Corps Units in Tamerville and Valognes


Another post in an ongoing series about our trip to France for the the memorial in Tamerville, part of the observance of the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of France.

My late father Felix A. Cizewski served in Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Tamerville and Cherbourg providing communications and logistical support for the liberation of Normandy in 1944.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-Ei

Dad’s Cherbourg Photos

October 22, 2014

Seventy years in 1944 Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, served in Cherbourg in Company, C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion.

Ten photos of his survived, the most from his WWII experience.

Only one has my father.
lines Felix is first on the left.
In the background of several photos are street scenes of 1944 Cherbourg.
jeep
  GI on a Jeep in front of Cherbourg building.
Two photos have a military police officer and African-American GIs.twogischerbourg1Military police officer on a motorcycle with an African-American GIs on the right.

African-Americans served in segregated support, service, supply, and construction units in Cherbourg at the same time as my father.

All GIs in the above photos have helmets.

While Cherbourg was liberated in late June, 1944, Cherbourg remained under threat of attack from Nazi bombers and rockets.


Larger versions of these and the other seven are at:

Cherbourg Photos


All photos are from the collection of Felix A. Cizewski, Co. C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion

Copyright © Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

May not be reproduced, displayed, modified or distributed without express prior written permission.


Links with sources and for more information:

The 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Normandy

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-D8

Café de l’hôtel de Ville in Cherbourg: 70 years ago and today

October 13, 2014

Among the places I have documented that Felix A. Cizewski, my late father, visited while serving in Cherbourg with Company C, 3110th Signal Service Battalion was the Café de l’hôtel de Ville.

The Café de l’hôtel de Ville is located just south of the l’hôtel de Ville (Cherbourg city hall).

Researcher and friend Claude Letelier shared these photos of the Café de l’hôtel de Ville from WWII and today.

The WWII photo is not only of the Café de l’hôtel de Ville but also documents the Nazi crime of slave labor.

wwii now
Sometime after February, 1943.

On the right of the photo on the side street is the Café de l’hôtel de Ville.

Note the sign above the doors.

On the main street Nazi troops are escorting ethnic French residents of Cherbourg for slave labor.

The column is moving in the direction of the Cherbourg train station.

The angle of this photo suggests the photographer is taking this photo clandestinely.

This documentation of slave labor may have been an act of resistance.

2014:

The Café de l’hôtel de Ville today is the Bar de l’hôtel de Ville.

Photo by Claude Letelier

In February, 1943, the Nazis imposed Service du Travail Obligatoire (S.T.O.) (Compulsory Work Service) on the people of Occupied France.

The photo above is of the deportation of ethnic French residents of Cherbourg for slave labor mostly in Germany.

In the Nazi racial hierarchy, ethnic French were among those to be enslaved rather than completely exterminated such as Jews.

The French Jews of Cherbourg

French Jews of Cherbourg are not among those in the photo.

Prior to February, 1943 enactment of the S.T.O. law, the Nazis deported to death and slave labor camps as many French Jews of Cherbourg as they could capture.

Some survivors returned to Cherbourg after liberation.

Links with sources and for more information:

(In French) La France sous l’occupation: Le S.T.O.

(In French)  Le S.T.O. (loi du 16 février 1943)

(Includes English): Louis PESNEL’s account from Mémoires de guerre: WWII stories, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie

The 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Normandy

Felix A. Cizewski WWII Cherbourg photos

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-Bc


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