Irving Thaler

Irving Thaler

Irving grew up in Brooklyn, NY working in his father’s fruit and vegetable store. In 1944, when he was 17, he enrolled at New York University (NYU) as a pre-med student.  He was hoping he would be drafted in order to pay for his education. He was drafted into the U.S. Army June 1945.  He was sent to Fort Knox, KY for training at the Armor Replacement Training Center where he was taught how to drive military vehicles.  In 1945, he graduated at age 18 as an assistant truck driver.

The Atom bomb was dropped in August 1945.  The Japanese had finally surrendered in September.  Since Irving was being trained to go to Japan, and now the war was over, he was sent to Germany as part of some of the first occupational troops.  From Germany, he was then sent to France, to the town of Romilly-Sur-Seine,  to a military police camp.  There he trained for two weeks on how to be a military police officer, including how to disassemble a .45, use a  club, and learn Jujitsu.  He was then assigned to Frankfurt, Germany.

Thaler pass card1


While stationed in Heddernheim, a suburb of  Frankfurt, he was assigned to be a clerk documenting military’s records.  He became the chief clerk.  He recalls how the military police had little interaction with civilians, unless there was a conflict.  Most of the civilians went out of their way to avoid the U.S. military police.

Irving mentions while arriving in Frankfort in January 1945, 65%-75% of the city was destroyed, but the community was rebuilding quickly.

Irving  reminisces on how he had a stamp to issue a general court marshall, which he still finds hard to believe, since he was only eighteen-years-old at the time.  After is 10 months in Germany, Irving returned home.  He would then go on to reapply to NYU.  Since he spent a total of 17 months with the U.S. Army, he was eligible to have the government pay for his degree under the G.I. Bill.  He would later graduate with a degree in accounting and reside in Cherry Hill.