Posts Tagged ‘France’

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
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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

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

Grandfather Lovetere’s WWI Division History Now Available Free Online

November 11, 2014

In Observance of Armistice Day & the 100th anniversary of WWI

In WWI Philip Lovetere, my late maternal grandfather, served in Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Infantry Regiment, 14th Infantry Brigade, 7th Infantry Division.

He served in the Puvenelle Sector on the west bank of the Moselle River.

7d

A free online digital edition is now available of Philip Lovetere’s divsion:

History of the Seventh Division, Compiled by Captain Edgar Tremlett Fell (1927).


uniform[1]

Undated photo of Philip Lovetere in France.


Philip Lovetere is not mentioned in the book.

Philip Lovetere  could neither read nor write Italian or English so he personally did not write letters. If someone wrote them for him, none have survived.

However, what his unit experienced, at times at the company level, are discussed.

That is the basis for the detailed chronology on my family history site:

Philip Lovetere & World War I

This is a model for how families can learn their ancestor’s story by following the movements of their ancestor’s unit.


Embedded copy on family history webiste:

History of the Seventh Division, compiled by Captain Edgar Tremlett Fell (1927).

The University of Michigan’s copy was digitized by Google and made available by the Hathi Trust Digital Library.


Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-DX

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

Cherbourg Memorial

October 20, 2014

In March, 1942, the Nazis with the assistance of French fascist collaborationist government began deporting Jews in France to slave labor and death camps. The first were foreign born Jews followed by Jews born in France and having French citizenship.

In February, 1943, the Nazis imposed Service du Travail Obligatoire (S.T.O.) (Compulsory Work Service). Ethnic French resident of Cherbourg were deported from their homes for slave labor in occupied France and Germany.

Cheryl A. Robinson and I visited the Cherbourg memorial to those and other victims during our 2014 trip to France for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Normandy.

DSC01341Memorial in Cherbourg to those executed, deported, resistance fighters,and hostages. (Fusillés, Deportes, Maquisards, Otages.)

2014 photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

DSC01342  Plaques on the ground with the names of the slave labor and death camps to which victims were deported.

LEFT: Ravensbrück was a concentration and slave labor camp.

RIGHT: Neuengamme was a concentration and slave labor camp.

Schandelah was a satellite slave labor camp of Neuengamme.

2014 photo by Cheryl A. Robinson

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

Links with sources and for more information:

The 3110th Signal Service Battalion in Normandy

Felix A. Cizewski WWII Cherbourg photos

Rommel’s image in popular culture

October 17, 2014

70 years ago on October 14, 1944 the Nazis forced Field Marshall Erwin Rommel to commit suicide.

In popular culture in the U.S. Rommel has a positive image.

Among the reasons are:

  • His competence as a military commander.
  • Unlike other German commanders especially on the Eastern Front, his adherence to the international standards of the treatment of POWs in North Africa from 1941 to 1943.
  • His association with the plotters of the July, 1944 attempted assassination of Hitler and coup and his statements of dissent about Nazi conduct of the war.

When his career is placed in its full context, his image is much less positive.

1933 to 1944

From the Nazis rise to power in 1933 until 1944 Rommel did nothing to oppose Nazism or to stop the Holocaust.

During those 11 years Rommel enjoyed the benefits of Nazi rule.

He failed to act in 1938 or 1939 when the Nazis were more vulnerable and would have been much easier to overthrow than in July, 1944.

For five years from 1939 until 1944, Rommel implemented the Nazi ideology of aggressive wars. Among the conquered populations were the majority of the victims of the Holocaust.

In 1939 among the earliest victims of the Holocaust were Polish Jewish officers and enlisted personnel executed when captured by Germans.

During the Polish campaign Rommel was commander of Hitler’s bodyguards (the Führer escort headquarters) as Hitler toured the Polish front.

From that position Rommel had to have been aware of the murder of Polish Jewish POWs.

During the 1940 Battle of France, troops under Rommel’s command motivated by the Nazi’s racial ideology executed captured French Senegalese troops.

French Senegalese soldiers 1940: Senegalese soldiers preparing to defend France against the Nazis.

Public domain image from Tales of War, page 239.

French Senegalese soldiers
1944: French children with their Senegalese liberator.

Public domain image from Amére patrie, devoir de mémoire et de vérité

Cemetery gate carvingCarving on the gate of the French military cemetery in Chasselay with Senegalese soldiers massacred by Nazi troops including some under Rommel’s command.

The cemetery is designed in the traditional Senegalese burial grounds.

Fair use of image from by Petra Pulles at Tata Chasselay France – A WW2 Cemetery on French soil for massacred Senegalese troops

From 1941 to 1943 in North Africa Rommel reportedly refused to implement Nazi orders to execute Jewish and other categories of POWs. Many Jewish soldiers were serving in the British and Polish forces in North Africa.

That is further confirmation of the depth of Rommel’s knowledge of Nazi criminality.

While Rommel may have prohibited the execution of Jewish POWs at the front, no evidence exists that he did anything to stop the Nazis behind the front from rounding up of Sephardic Jews in Nazi occupied parts of North Africa for deportation to slave labor and death camps.

In 1943 when Rommel was given command of Normandy, he used slave labor to construct fortifications.

Stopping the Holocaust or protecting ethnic Germans?

By July, 1944, Rommel recognized that Germany was militarily defeated. Germany no longer had the military capacity to defend its borders.

To continue the war meant that the Soviets would overrun Germany.

Was Rommel’s 1944 dissent motivated by his concern for the potential sufferings of ethnic Germans at the hands of Soviet troops or to stop genocide?

July, 1944 status of the Holocaust

By July, 1944, most of Nazi Holocaust murders had already occurred.

The July 1944 assassination and coup attempts were much too late to save most victims.

Rommel’s role in the attempted coup and assassination

Rommel may not have supported assassination or a coup.

He may have hinted that after others killed Hitler and overthrew the Nazis he would be available to serve in the post-Nazi government and armed forces.

He may have looked the other way while members of his staff planned the coup and assassination. He refrained from alerting the Nazis of the plots to what if anything he knew.

As his troops were being defeated in Normandy he said to his superiors including Hitler that the time had come to negotiate an end to the war.

On July, 17, 1944 Rommel suffered a serious brain injury when British aircraft attacked his car near the Normandy front.

That injury seemed to have decreased his inhibitions on speech.

His comments became less guarded, more frequent, explicit, and strident.

On July 22, 1944, a coup and assassination Hitler were attempted. Both failed.

On October 14, 1944. the Nazis force Rommel to choose between torture, a show trial followed by an execution, and violent retaliation against his family or suicide.

To shield his family from retaliation, Rommel chose to execute himself by committing suicide.

My amateur historian’s assessment of Rommel’s legacy

  • 11 years of personally benefiting from the Nazi’s policies.
  • 5 years of waging the Nazi’s wars of aggression during which the majority of the Holocaust victims were captured.
  • Being present in Poland when Polish Jewish POWs were executed.
  • Being in command of troops who executed French Senegalese POWs.
  • Use of slave labor to construct Normandy fortifications.
  • After D-Day in 1944, stating that the Allies and Soviets had militarily defeated Germany and that Germany should end the war.
  • Doing nothing to increase the chances of the success of the July, 1944 assassination and coup attempts.
  • Dissent motivated more to protect ethnic Germans from the Soviets than to stop genocide.

3110th Signal Service Battalion and Rommel

From February to July, 1944, the 3110th Signal Service Battalion, my late father Felix A. Cizewski’s unit, and Rommel faced each other across the English Channel (La Manche in French).

Rommel was preparing to continue the Nazi occupation of France and the 3110th was building communications infrastructure to facilitate the supplies to the forces preparing to liberate France.
________________________________________
Links with sources and for more information:

(French) le maréchal erwin rommel se suicide le 14 octobre 1944: Site where I learned of the 1940 massacre of French Senegalese POWs by troops under Rommel’s command.

(French)  Le Tata sénégalais


In depth historical background and context: An occasional feature of my family history blog.
________________________________________
Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2ix3W-BD

Revised: October 18, 2012


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