Chaplains of the
36th Infantry Division
Chaplain (Colonel) Herbert E. MacCombie
Interrogating Captured German Chaplains
On November 28th I was informed that the
142nd Infantry had captured two German majors of the Chaplain Corps at
Chateau de Koenigsbourg. They were brought to me for interrogation. I
invited Chaplain Lehne to come and serve as interpreter, because I did not
think my German was sufficient for such an occasion.
When they arrived, we found there were two
German chaplains. They were accompanied by a third man. He was a
Catholic priest who had been drafted into the service and assigned as a
medical corps enlisted man. Apparently the Germans drafted all clergymen,
but only made chaplains of those who would support the Nazi regime.
I secured a copy of the Rules of Land Warfare
to refresh my memory of the proper approach. Representatives of the PRO
and the CIC were present at the interview. While Chaplains were not
suppose to be held as prisoners of war, it was evident that we could not
release them in the midst of battle.
I called Chaplain Donnelly to inquire
concerning the policy of the Seventh Army with respect to captured
chaplains. He did not want to be involved, but I was instructed to
evacuate them to the POW enclosure of the Seventh Army. We fed the three
prisoners and they were evacuated by the Provost Marshal.
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by Mary MacCombie Fietsam
Printed by Permission