Carpentras, France
August 28, 1944 - September 19, 1944

No letter from René today. Here’s an excerpt from the journal of Dr. Philip Westdahl about what the 59th was up to in Carpentras around August 30, 1944.




      My most interesting case was a shell fragment wound in a German, which perforated the left chest and diaphragm and the large bowel at the splenic flexure. The latter was mobilized and brought out as a colostomy, exteriorizing the perforations. My most disheartening cases were two arm amputations, both Germans, done within the space of an hour. Such cases cause one to reflect  on the absolute ridiculousness of war — why should civilized human beings be forced to kill, cripple and disfigure one another?

        Another ridiculous aspect is the fact that our boys do their best to kill our enemies and we, as doctors in the same army, do our best to save them, often giving them blood from our own troops and plasma from our own civilians.
The Germans on the whole are less arrogant than in our African days, but enough of them still possess the stubbornness of the so-called master race to make us realize how important it is for the Allies to maintain a rigid and constant surveillance upon them for generations to come. Any further attempts at re-arming and aggression must be stopped emphatically, with force if necessary, in their incipiency.

          I fear that many of our own fighting boys little realize or share this feeling. What then can we expect from those at home who have never seen our enemy or witnessed the havoc of war. It might be that we shall be forced to rely on the Russians, British and French. Their hatred is understandable.

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Watch for René’s next letter on
September 1, 1944


Surgery in Carpentras, France.