Saturday, March 10, 2012

Who reported the news?

In my family, it was my dad!  Now I know you're thinking that all soldiers during World War II wrote letters home and told about the war but this was different.  My dad's 'job' was to report the news back home to the local paper in his home town of Fresno, California. 

I'm sure all of his assignments were interesting but I can't imagine anything was more interesting than the time he spent reporting 'live' from the Nuremberg Trials.  What made it even more interesting, I'm sure, is that my dad was Jewish - I can't imagine being a Jew and listening to those proceedings.

In going through the box of stuff from the garage I found a newspaper folded up dated October 10, 1946.  And there on the front page was my dad!

The Fresno Guide
Fresno, California
Thursday, October 10, 1946
EYEWITNESS Corp. Gordon Levy of Fresno was a very interested spectator at the recent trials of the Nazi war criminals in Nurenberg.  His account of what he observed appears in a story on Page 13-A.

And then when you turn to page 13-A, there's more......


To declare that the Nazi war criminals recently sentenced at the conclusion of the Nurenberg trials should not be held to account for their crimes would be the same as to say "there has been no war, there have been no slain, there has been no crime," according to a Fresnan who wrote eyewitness accounts of the trials for an Army newspaper in Germany.

The Fresnan is Corporal Gordon Levy, son of Mr. and Mrs. Sigmund Levy, 1549 Echo Avenue.  In an article published in the "Sky Dozer," a newspaper for the enlisted men of the Aviation Engineer School, Geiger Fields, Washington, Levy wrote:

Levy entered the armed forces in June, 1944, and took his basic training at Keesler Field, Miss.  Soon afterward he went overseas, where he became sports editor of the Ardee News in Furstenfeldbruck, Germany.

He is a graduate of the Fresno High School, where he was a track star.  At the time he entered the army, he was a student at Stanford University, where he was president of his class and sports writer for the Stanford Daily.

The GI who is fortunate enough to make the Nurenberg hike can gaze at scads of personalities, some even outshadowing the hated Hermann Goering and nutty Rudolf Hess, who sit fidgeting in their court-room dock.  There's former U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle, Lord Justice of Britain's Court of Appeals Geoffrey Lawrence, and until recently Justice Bob Jackson, who issued the red herring to his Supreme Court bench partners not so long ago.  There are scores of interpreters, but the glance is back again to the dock and to Carl Doenitz Joachin von Ribbentrop and Al Jodl.  There are more certainly, but those are the blue ribbon prizes.

One can't help but feel the importance of it all.  In the bomb-blasted old city of Nurenberg, whose  history dates back to 1050 and Emperor Heinrich III, one sees the result of Nazi Germany's attempt to rule the world.  He surveys the gigantic sportplatz where Hitler reviewed his fanatic followers and he also sees a city 90 per cent destroyed.  And in this Palace of Justice it all makes sense, as though it had been written long before the paperhanger ever thought of "Festung Europa."

This is the IMT, and this is the result of aggressive war.  Justice Jackson opened the trial last November with this advice:

"Their wrongs....have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated."

He closed the prosecution's argument last month:

"They stand before the record of this trial as blood-stained Gloucester stood by the body of his slain King.  He begged of the widow as they beg of you: "Say I slew them not."

If you were to say of these men that they are not guilty, it would be true to say there has been no war, there has been no slain, there has been no crime."

And here's a close up of the photo included with the article.

ON JUDGMENT DAY  When the International War Crimes Tribunal read the verdict of former Nazi leaders, these armored cars and heavy machine guns provided a guard for the courthouse at Nurenberg.  A Fresnan, Corporal Gordon Levy, who was an eyewitness at the trials, reported that "one could not help feeling the importance of it all."

My dad just wasn't a part of history, he reported it!


  1. Very interesting! You know, my parents were near Nuremberg when they were in Germany. My mother mentions going there several times, although it was after the war trials.

  2. Wow! That is great to have such history in your family. My Dad was in the OSS and wouldn't tell us a thing about what went on in the Pacific.

  3. What a treasure that you have these newspapers and that your dad reported on such a significant historical event! I enjoyed this post.

  4. I'm trying to locate archived copies of the Furstenfeldbruck "Ardee News". My father-in-law was on the Furstenfeldbruck Eagles hockey team in 1948 and 1949. Since your father was the sports editor for the base newspaper, maybe you could point me in the right direction to look? I'm also interested in trying to locate a team roster and maybe some team stats? Thanks!

  5. Just found your blog and info on your dad. My father dave cunningham too was in Furstenfeldbruch and on staff of Ardee. And attended trials as well. He's still alive and has recalled many fascinating stories. And has all his letters home about life on base and writing for Ardee throughout year there in 1946. I believe too he might have old copies of ardee! Please few free to email me. I will ask him ASAP if he remembers your father

  6. Debi- regarding my yesterday above message to you . I just heard back from my father dave cunningham. Who said "yes indeed I remember Gordon! BWe were close friends on staff together at Ardee newspaper. And I'm sure I still have pics of him and us together "!
    I know he'd love getting in touch with you. I'm in Chicago. He lives in Portland Or. Maybe first you and I connect via email. And we'll make this connection happen. Knowing my dad and with still a great memory, even at almost 90, I'm sure he'll have some stories worth sharing with you

    1. Kathy, I would LOVE to connect with you and your dad. Unfortunately I am out of town with limited computer access right now. Will be in touch very, very soon!!

  7. Debi. Great! when youre back and available, reach out again and let's privately connect. My father is looking to find and put some things together for you; as he recalls some thoughts on your dad who He still remembers well as a great fun and accomplished guy!

    1. Kathy, I'm back in town but not sure how to reach you other than replying to your comment here. You can reach me at debiausten at Looking forward to hearing from you!