The Diary of Gunther Rhodes
Dedicated to Johnny Rhodes
December 13, 1943
Today marks the 1st year that I have been serving my country. I always wanted to be an author when I was growing up, but a black man would never get that chance. Instead of trying, I enlisted in the Army, and here I am. I have no regrets, although I would like to marry in my life.
December 22, 1943
Today is the coldest day so far here in Sweden. But I guess it’s always cold here. It has not stopped snowing for 2 weeks now. There have been many fatalities from frostbite; I almost lost my leg, from the knee down, because I had frostbite on my toes.
December 31, 1943
Today is New Year’s Eve and I am in Stockholm Sweden. They allowed us to have a little gathering, and I met my first official friend, overseas of course. His name was Johnny McGee. We promised each other that we will have each other’s back for the rest of our enlistment.
March 3, 1944
We have been very busy over the last two months. We have now traveled to Poland, and are helping the Jews that have been transferred. There are many groups that we have to help, and not all of their family members have made it. It reminds me of a time back home in Alabama, when my momma was taken from me; because she was a drug addict. Anyways, we really do not have down time anymore, so I can’t write as much.
April 13, 1944
We have moved to Germany and we have been threatened with an attack. The Nazi soldiers have many concentration camps placed throughout Europe. This massacre is so severe; it is being called a Holocaust. We get calls every day, explaining the devastation occurring in the country. I don’t know how long this will last, but I will tell you that I am scared.
May 05, 1944
We have been attacked for the first time since we have been in Germany. Johnny and I mostly keep to ourselves; because some of the other soldiers have witnessed so much, they are turning into monsters. Many of the wounded soldiers had been shot, multiple times. They had masses of skin dangling from their wound. It was a sight no person should ever witness in their life. The Nazi’s do much more terrible things to the Jewish than that. They put them in camps and gas them to death.
May 21, 1944
We have received reports that the Nazi’s have invaded yet another country. If you asked me, I would say they are taking over the world. It seems that almost every day, they take a new country. We have also received that a man of the name Adolf Hitler is in control of this so-called Holocaust.
June 15, 1944
Today has been the hottest day in Germany. When we get prepared for battle every day, it feels like the temperature increases. The stuff we must wear is heavy and bulky. It has been raining for 3 days now. It only makes it harder to travel, in the mud and all. We also have to set up camp multiple times, and sometimes we don’t even get to, due to the inclement weather.
October 19, 1944
My best friend is wounded. They don’t know the outcome to his accident, but it doesn’t sound good. He is my only friend, and I don’t know what I would do without him. You’re in my prayers Johnny.
October 21, 1944
Johnny McGee passed away today. He was the only friend I had, and today was also the first day that I cried during this war. I had never