Chaplains of the
36th Infantry Division


Chaplain (Colonel) Herbert E. MacCombie
Division Chaplain

The Billionaire Chaplain

That afternoon we moved again to the vicinity of Weilheim, Germany.  While we were there I had the opportunity to visit Oberammergau where the Germans have presented the Passion Play every ten years since 1634.  During World War II no performance was given.

I sat at the table that was used for the Lordís Supper.  Someone took my picture.  The cross which was used in the drama was a real burden.  Anyone who thinks he had a cross to bear, should try the one at Oberammergau.

Many times as we were moving forward I had evidence that my men thought of me even in the midst of combat.  On one occasion they brought me a Mercedes Benz for my greater comfort in riding about the country.  Fortunately I declined the gift.  When the Seventh Army Rear heard about such vehicles, they ordered that all captured civilian vehicles should be turned over to them.

As we were moving along our men discovered a Cigar Factory.  At least a dozen men brought me cigars which they had liberated.  They were not as good cigars as the Havanna product or our American cigars, but they were evidence that some one remembered the chaplain even in combat.

One time they offered me a beautiful chess set, made of ivory and ebony.  I insisted that they take it back to the private home where they had located it.

I did accept some evidence of what inflation had meant to Germany.  I had several bank notes of ten billion marks. At the rate which had been established for the mark they should have been worth a billion dollars apiece.  Actually they were worthless even in Germany.  However, I was able to send each of my children a billion dollars apiece (in worthless German Money).


Copyright 2001 by Mary MacCombie Fietsam
Printed by Permission

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