Hartland Students Preserve WWII History

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by Priscilla Luong

HARTLAND-- Gene Schulz still remembers General Eisenhower's orders just before the end of World War II.

"I was only 21 years old at the time," Schulz recalled.

He was one of the soldiers who walked through Ohrdruhf-- the first concentration camp discovered by American soldiers. 

"I saw with my own eyes," he said, "the atrocities the Nazis had done."

When Schulz served in WWII-- he always took his camera with him.

"I have to take pictures of this because this is a terrible part of history," said Schulz, "and I think people should know about it."

What Schulz saw through his camera lens at Ohrdruhf has stayed with him his whole life.

"My emotions were so upset that day," he recalled, "my eyes were blurred, I was stunned, I just couldn't see it."

Bodies everywhere-- evidence of the unspeakable evil committed against 6-Million Jews.

"I could not talk about this for most of my life," said Schulz.

After Schulz broke his silence-- he published his memoir, "The Ghost In General Patton's Third Army: The Memoirs of Eugene G. Schulz During His Service in the United States Army in World War II."  Schulz's story is also one of many preserved by students on Team S.A.V.E.

"These stories, they're not going to be around forever," said Bailey Wakefield, a Team S.A.V.E. member, "so you need to make sure you get them down."

S.A.V.E. stands for "Survivor and Veteran Experiences"-- the students interviewed nearly 50 veterans and Holocaust survivors on camera the last 2-years.

"It's given me a greater sense of how much people have really done for our country," said Morgan Roelke, another Team S.A.V.E. member.

They compiled their interviews onto DVD's to help other students gain a better understanding of WWII History.  Their work will soon be featured on the U.S. Holocaust Museum's website. 

"When you interview someone who was actually there, you get so much more detail, and so much that you didn't know was there," said Jacob Julius, another Team S.A.V.E. member.

"I find that when I talk to students, and tell them the story, they listen so intently, they really listen," said Schulz.

Making stories like Schulz's come full circle. 

"It is a story I think still must be told," said Schulz.

Team S.A.V.E's Project is part of their work for Destination Imagination.  The students will travel to Knoxville, TN Tuesday morning for Destination Imagination's Global Finals.

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