Chaplains of the
|Tuesday, June 8th at 2000||143rd Infantry Regiment|
|Wednesday, June 9th at 0800||111th
Hq. And M.P. Company
|June 9th at 2000||141st Infantry Regiment|
|Thursday, June 10th at 0800||Division
111th Engineer Battalions
Altogether 174 men of the Jewish faith attended services in the local synagogue. Because of the narrow streets we had to leave our transportation outside the walls of the ghetto and walk to the synagogue. I led the troops.
On Thursday morning when we were coming in I saw a large group of natives waiting in the square. I thought maybe they objected to my presence. Many of them had fled from Nazi terror. Many had lost relatives and friends in the holocaust of Germany and France. I would not have blamed them if they resented a Christian coming into their midst. I could not stop. I had to go on.
When I reached the crowd an old man with a long beard stepped out, accompanied by the president of the local Jewish community. He was the Grand Rabbi of Morocco. He kissed me on the cheeks and thanked me for making it possible for the men of our division to visit with the Jews of Rabat. Then he told me that the families of the community had arranged to entertain my men in their homes for luncheon after the worship services, if I would grant my permission. It seemed like a wonderful opportunity for my men. I said I would let them go to lunch in the local homes if they would agree to assemble promptly at a designated hour after lunch. Every one of them reported promptly and without incident. I was happy for them and glad it had worked out so well.
Not so the Corps Chaplain. Someone told him I had allowed my men to enter local homes alone. He really lectured me about my action and stated that I could not take any more men to the Jewish quarter and that if I did he would have me court-marshaled. It didnít really matter. The holidays were over. All my men of the Jewish faith had been given an opportunity to worship with their fellow Jews. I was satisfied and General Walker approved my actions.
by Mary MacCombie Fietsam
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