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The NYC Veterans Oral History Project: Ralph Stern, Veteran Interview

February 11, 2013

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Brief Biography:

Ralph Stern recorded his oral history on Feburary 11th, 2013 at his home in Manhattan. Mr. Stern was a staff sergeant in World War II and due to ship problems, he did not land on the beaches of Normandy on June 6th, but instead, arrives in France 20 days after the initial invasion.

In this interview, using maps as a reference point, Mr. Stern describes his journey through France. He began in St. Lo and later traveled to Paris, the Remagan Bridge, and Bastogne, Belgium.  

Major points in interview:
  • 1:02: Stern begins his story, starting on June 5, 1944
  • 3:14: "What a break," Stern's group does not land on the beaches on D-Day
  • 3:59: Arrive in France as part of D Plus 20
  • 8:36: Maps are gotten out; lull as Stern finds his location
  • 10:20: Stern continues his story
  • 12:58: St. Lo is the next target, the jumpoff for Paris
  • 16:47: St. Lo is carpet bombed to clear the way to Paris
  • 20:50: Allies move towards Paris like a lobster claw
  • 22:40: Paris declared an open city
  • 24:14: March through Paris
  • 29:46: Stern moves from Paris towards Germany and the Rhineland
  • 32:25: Description of K-rations
  • 33:54: Crosing of Remagen Bridge
  • 38:14: The Battle of the Bulge, December 1944
  • 42:11: Freezing in Belgium with only chocolate for food
  • 44:33: Signal to designate Allies
  • 46:43: Stern's jeep hits a land mine
  • 47:46: Stern's journey from a hospital to back home
  • 48:43: Return to civilian life
  • 49:40: Denazification and Stern's role as a CIC
  • 51:40: Keeping in touch with military friends
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