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Interview with Bert Schwarz [n.d.]

Unidentified interviewer:

Today I would like to ask you to tell about some ofthe people you knew in service, and what they were like and what you did together, and so forth. One of the ones that you talked about was named Gene Dale. When did you first meet Gene Dale?

Bert Schwarz:

I met Gene in Savannah at the Officers' Club - 00, having a drink of course--- and we became pretty good friends. And we flew together and he was in -he got over to Corregidor before the fall of Bataan and he didn't become a prisoner until after Corregidor fell and then he eventually wound up in the Devao Penal Colony where I was and then we were on the ship that sunk, and he got out of there when I did. He was killed in New York City. He met a girl, they fell in love, and she tried to tell her husband, when he came back from Germany that she was in love with Gene, but he shot Gene, and the judge said that is what any worthwhile American would do.

Unidentified interviewer:

So he didn't go to jail. But his marriage was gone, wasn't it? I mean, he didn't stay with his wife. Well, how did you feel about that? I mean, you made it through all that---

Bert Schwarz:

I felt terrible. I took his body down to Enid, Oklahoma, and met the rest of the family.

Unidentified interviewer:

You took his body in what? I mean, it was in a coffin ...

Bert Schwarz:

On a military train. That gal came down for the funeral. That's the first time I've ever seen the paparazzi in action. Boy there were more guys taking pictures of her, 'cause she was beautiful.

Unidentified interviewer:

And you said she was a model.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, she was a model in NY. And that was that.

Unidentified interviewer:

I think I read that---didn't Gene lose a brother in the war? Were his parents there? Did you meet his parents?

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah.

Unidentified interviewer:

Wonder how they felt? He finally had survived the Japanese and got home and died in America. Awful thing.

Bert Schwarz:

Pretty bad. Anyway, who's next?

Unidentified interviewer:

Where did you meet Rocky Gause?

Bert Schwarz:

In the same bar(1aughter). Rocky was a pilot with the 27th Bomb Group.

Unidentified interviewer:

Was Gene a pilot in the 27th Bomb Group, too?

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah.

Unidentified interviewer:

Y'all all were pilots.

Bert Schwarz:

I'm trying to remember. When I became the Operations Officer of the First Provisional Air Corps Infantry, Rocky was really helpful. He was one of the best guys to send out on patrol. He was a boy from Georgia, only five foot five, and lived outdoors a large part of his life, and he knew how to hunt, fish, everything. Which I didn't. I would send him out on patrol, and he would get the work done, find out where the Japanese were hiding, and then bring back something to eat, so that was an extra added attraction.

Unidentified interviewer:

Finding something to eat seems like it was one ofthe major things you had to deal with the whole time you were there.

Bert Schwarz:

Absolutely. Rocky would kill a caribou, or a goose, or anything.

Unidentified interviewer:

A caribou is a pretty big animal. Then he would just put it over a fire and roast it?

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, sure.

Unidentified interviewer:

and that's what you would eat for quite a while, I guess.

Bert Schwarz:

Well, we ate the rice that was sent up. We were still fighting in Bataan, and they were sending some rice and other stuff up from the South.

Unidentified interviewer:

Did you get to eat any of the rice you grew in the Devao Penal Colony? Was that your own food you were raising, or do you know?

Bert Schwarz:

I don't really know. I guess we did eat some of it. I don't know, because we took it to the threshing machine. And then I don't know what they did with it. They fed us rice, only.

Unidentified interviewer:

Were they eating much better than you were?

Bert Schwarz:

The Japanese? Sure.

Unidentified interviewer:

They had actual food, then, besides rice.

Bert Schwarz:

They had a lot of stuff. The Devao Penal Colony had all kinds of farms. Fruits,and vegetables and the rice paddies and caribou herds. And they killed caribou once awhile.

Unidentified interviewer:

But they never shared any of that good stuff with you.

Bert Schwarz:

Right, they never shared any of it, but sometimes for a special deal they'd give us the neck and the ribs and one other part that I can't mention, and we'd call it the NRA.

Unidentified interviewer:

The NRA. Sorry, tell me what that means. (laughter) Or you can tell me off the tape later if you want to.

Bert Schwarz:

Uh. Neck, ribs, and asshole. And that was one of President Roosevelt's famous things: the NRA National Recovery whatever it was. But, oh ...

Unidentified interviewer:

Well that was better than plain old boiled rice, I guess. Gave it a little flavor.

Bert Schwarz:

Well, yeah, it was on very special occasions. They did that for Christmas one time.

Unidentified interviewer:

Tell me about the time---This is one of the things we taped previously, but my tape didn't work---Tell me about the time somebody came to visit and you got to eat.

Bert Schwarz:

You want to finish with Rocky Gause first?

Unidentified interviewer:

Yeah, do that first. I got off the track.

Bert Schwarz:

We retreated in April ' 42 as everyone knows, and I wound up in a ---actually Bert Bank and I went down together. We wound up in a jungle clearing. They had about 300 guys and about 75 Japanese guards with drawn bayonets and they were very rough. At that time they had the freedom to do anything they wanted to us, and the best thing you could do was to stay out of their way. God help anyone who wore a West Point ring. They'd either chop off his finger or his hand or his arm or his head. Really, and they were killing guys all over the place, and Rocky he said "Let's get the hell out of here," and I said if you intended to go any place with me you'd get killed immediately. So then I never saw him again. He took off, and he got to Corregidor somehow. He got on a plank or whatever he did and he got to Corregidor and he stayed in Corregidor until May 6 when Corregidor fell. And he got permission to take off again, and he took off and he eventually found a 20-foot leaking sailboat---you saw the picture in the book--- and went 3200 miles to Australia through typhoons, sharks and all kinds ofterrible stuff. He picked up another officer along the way someplace.

Unidentified interviewer:

It could have been you if you'd gone with him.

Bert Schwarz:

He'd never make it. Not with all those bayonets.

Unidentified interviewer:

Oh, you think it would have been noticed if two of you had gotten out of line.

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, it would have been noticed if I'd gotten out ofline. I'm taller than all of the Japanese and Filipinos, but he wasn't.

Unidentified interviewer:

And he could slip out easily. More easily.

Bert Schwarz:

I never knew what happened to him until I was lucky enough in my escape and I got back to the states in '44. And I was introduced to General Marshall, and Henry Stinson, and General Arnold. Gene and I were sitting talking to General Arnold, and I said, I have a friend who ran away right before the Death March started, and I never found out what happened to him. And General Arnold said, "I knew Rocky Gause." He said, "I met him several times, and he always wanted to go back and save you guys, but I wouldn't let him go, because if he ever got captured again it would have been bad." But he said, "I let him go to England." And he said, "Sorry, but he was killed in a P-47 crash, and he's buried just outside of London." Now I know his son and his widow. His widow married a guy from Pearl Harbor and, well, that's what happened to Rocky. Next.

Unidentified interviewer:

Okay, next person. What about Bert Bank? You mentioned Bert Bank.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, I was S3 of this Air Corp regiment infantry and Bert was S2.

Unidentified interviewer:

That means, what, rank? command rank.

Bert Schwarz:

And Bert and I started out under a tree--- we were together--- and we got I guess about 1200 of our troops lined up on the road to march down with the 31 st US Infantry Regiment that was holding the road and had much better artillery. We didn't have any artillery; we had mostly thirty caliber guns our guys picked up at various airfields where the airplanes were bombed out. We had a whole bunch of thirty-caliber air-cooled guns and our mechanics were good. They made pipe mounts for them out of2-inch pipeethey'd make a triangle pipe mount and you could shoot 6 or 7 rounds out of an air-cooled gun on the ground and the barrel would melt, but we had so many guns that we had plenty of barrels. The Japanese never attacked us head-on, because we had a terrific field of fire. I got a recommendation from General Casey, who was MacArthur's engineering officer. He came and walked the front line with me once,

Unidentified interviewer:

He was impressed, huh, with how you had used what you had?

Bert Schwarz:

He just thought it was good. It was easy. We had all those machine guns. I think we wound up with about 20-something of them placed in position for firing, and altogether I think we counted 92. When the barrels melted, we had barrels. They never attacked us head-on. When the final push by the Japanese came, they came around on our left flank which was General---- Philippine division------- I can't remember his name. Anyway, they came around in back of us. The first thing Bert Bank and I saw was these little Japanese tanks coming and he said we better get our guys out of here, so we tried to sweep all the guys over to the road, which we did; then they told us to march down the road and take a position. I think it was, pretty sure it was. And there was this general--- Bleumel--- and he got a couple of hundred of us guys in these pre-prepared firing positions. Well, in those days the army didn't believe in air power. They believed in ---there was an open field in front of this position and we were up kinda high, and there was a little river running through it. The enemy was supposed to come over this open field and we were supposed to shoot them. But they didn't do that. They came with dive bombers.

Unidentified interviewer:

They hadn't read the book. Sorry!

Bert Schwarz:

They came with dive bombers and they blasted the hell out us and killed quite a few guys. And I finally said there is no sense in us staying here; we'll all get killed. So we took up the retreat, and as it happened, everybody was retreating. We retreated down to this. Bert and I fell asleep on the road one night. And we didn't know where we were exactly, but we were right near where the army had a--- what do call that thing that has all the arms? They had all kind of armaments, and they blew it all up.

Unidentified interviewer:

Because they didn't want the enemy to get the armaments.

Bert Schwarz:

Well, that woke me up ---about ten feet off the ground. And then we continued the retreat with all the guys, and then we got down to that clearing where Rocky Gause was. Now Bert Bank wound up in Devao Penal Colony with us, but he was going blind from lack of Vitamin A I think it is---and when we went down to LaSang to work detail, he couldn't go because he couldn't see. And he wound up back in Cabanatuan and he is fairly prominently mentioned in Ghost Soldiers. I was stationed at (Messick?) field after the war and he came, and about that far away from my face and he said, "Oh, Bert Schwarz! What are you doing here?" Or something like that. But his eyesight has gotten somewhat better. He's a year older than I am, and he lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Unidentified interviewer:

Did he go to the reunion? Or was he on the ship? No.

Bert Schwarz:

He wasn't on the ship, no. He was in the 27th Group. He became a state senator in Alabama. He's a very well-known guy there. He's a character. Enough of him.

Unidentified interviewer:

Okay, when did you get to know Grenny Porter?

Bert Schwarz:

I got to know Grenny Porter in Devao Penal Colony. And, 00, he's a little guy, a nice little guy, from Spokane or Tacoma Washington. I think Spokane. Very cheerful personality. He was in as bad a situation as we were, but he was always... One night, I think I told you---he woke me up, and said "Hey, Bert, you want a piece of chicken?" You betcha. So I ate the chicken, and the next morning he said to me, "How did you like that chicken?" I said it was delicious. He said it was a cat.

Unidentified interviewer:

It didn't matter to you did it, at that point?

Bert Schwarz:

Not a bit. Oh, you know like I said to classes here, the Chinese eat dogs---I didn't eat any, but I've been in a dog restaurant in Shanghai----and they eat cats, too.

Unidentified interviewer:

It's meat.

Bert Schwarz:

And I said to the high school students, they consider it Chinese Viagra. They do. It's an aphrodisiac. Now Grenny and Gene and I were sitting in that first ship when they ordered us to get over to the Shinyo Maru. I think you know that story.

Unidentified interviewer:

MmmHmm. And you said you wouldn't go.

Bert Schwarz:

We said, "The hell with them. Let them force us. They forced us."

Unidentified interviewer:

But somebody had to actually come down there. That was at least a little rewarding They had to actually get down there in the hold.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, but they had those drawn bayonets ... Well, actually they didn't want to mess up that ship and get blood all over it. So they just pushed us up that ladder with the bayonets.

Unidentified interviewer:

They didn't want to have to haul your body out.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, and I think they were saving that ship to take back some Japanese civilians that lived down there, because Devao was the biggest Japanese civilian .... , and they wanted to get back to Japan.

Unidentified interviewer:

I know one story that I haven't gotten you to repeat, maybe I'm interrupting at the wrong time, but anyway, about the time the person visited you. A; That was at Devao. The boss of all the prison camps. He was in Manilla. He-- I think he owned a bicycle shop or something. Some of the guys had met him before. He came, and the Japanese put on a big show for him to show how wonderful the prison camp was.

Unidentified interviewer:

And he was also Japanese ... right?

Bert Schwarz:

He was Japanese. They had this lunch for him and they wanted to show him how well they were treating the Americans. They invited I think three or four of us to go to the luncheon, and the food was super. There was this Japanese doctor sitting next to me. He wasn't one of the really bad guys, he was a pretty good guy. But he was leaving food on his plate, and I was trying to figure out, "How the hell can I take that food off his plate without anybody seeing anything? I never could. That was an interesting thing. Anyway, Grenny, when we were torpedoed, the three of us were sitting right down there cause we were the last ones in and there was no place to lie down or anything, so when the torpedo hit, I don't remember all the details. I know the second torpedo I was under about thirty feet of water. It blew the hatch covers off. They had kept the hatch covers closed so the airplanes couldn't see us in there, and the three of us just kind of got up in the water. The sun shone through and we let go. Now the problem was that Grenny couldn't swim very well. We could see the land, and we estimated it was about 2 and a half miles away. So Gene and I started swimming and there was a great big raft, and there were a lot of Japanese guards on it, and course that was when we were coming out of the ship. The Japanese guards had a life boat full of small arms, and they kept shooting at us as we were coming out of the hold. They missed me, but they got quite a few guys. And we ---Gene and 1--- said we're not having it-the hell with it---and the interpreter was saying --- Mr. Wadda - "If you hold onto this raft Lt. Hoshino will spare your lives." So Gene and I said, "The hell with 'em," and we swam around and Grenny couldn't swim very well so he got on the raft. That night they took ---I think it was thirty-one or thirtyytwo guys that hung on the raft--- and they took them aboard a tanker that had been beached by the Japanese when our torpedoes started coming out of the USS Paddle and they tied their hands behind their back, and they took them off one by one and shot them in the back of the head and threw them overboard. And one guy escaped. 1 understand he ran down the length of the ship and hid in the anchor compartment, and it was dark and they couldn't find him so they went on shooting the other guys. That guy 1 met in Washington also. And he told us the story.

Unidentified interviewer:

Do you remember what his name was?

Bert Schwarz:

1 think it was Calvin Gray. 1 may have him mixed up with somebody else, but I'm pretty sure. Anyway, we met a guy we knew quite well. He was from the navy, and his name was John Light. And he had been shot in the shoulder. Course he couldn't swim very well, he was really bleeding and hurting. We needed---all the Japanese in the water had life preservers. And we needed some to hold him up, so 1 got two. The first Japanese 1 got to was completely stunned---he was completely out of it-- so 1 just pulled that jacket off and brought it back, and the next one 1 had to hit over the head with a piece of wood, but he was pretty well stunned, too, then Gene got one, so we had three life preservers, and we were holding John Light up, and we got a plank and we got boards to go under here, and we were doing okay-- we were pushing him slowly toward shore, and from that tanker they opened up with twin fifty-caliber machine guns. They were spraying all over the place, and we thought we'd better not be staying in a group. So we got away for a little bit and when we came back we never found him again, but he was about dead anyway. It was too bad. Nice guy. So then we got ashore. It was starting to get dark. It was pretty dark. We didn't know where we were. We didn't know if the Japanese were there or who so we figured we'd stay until the moon came up right near the beach, then we'd get up in the hills further, so if the Japanese were ---they were patrolling with boats all the time---but they didn't patrol much after dark but anyway, we started to go up into the hills, then we met John Playter, who's still alive, who was at the reunion, and a couple of other guys 1 can't remember, and Playter had a piece of flesh out of his leg right here. 1 think the story is that he was trying to help another guy whose name 1 can't remember. 1 guess the guy was afraid to jump into the water - he couldn't swim - (break in tape) We kept going up into the hills. 1 guess there were five of us, 1 think--- bamboo grove, and the temperature must have been about 130 when the sun came up. Here comes a Filipino, 1 guess he was a boy of maybe 15 or 16 and down the road whistling. Playter couldn't stand the pain anymore, and he jumped up and grabbed the kid, and the kid didn't speak any English so he ran away. We didn't know who he was going to bring, but he brought a Filipino who spoke English, and he said "You don't have to worry any more the Japanese won't dare to come here. This is guerilla territory. So we were free! For the first time in 2 years. That was quite a good feeling. But we were sick. 1 had everything wrong with me. My eardrums were blown out, my. We'd all had our feet terribly cut up, because when you walk on coral on the beach it just cuts the hell out of you. So everything got good after that. Juaqin Macias mayor of Sindangan took me into his personal care. He had thirteen children, and he had five or six houses going up into the hills in case the Japanese came in he would just move further up. He had some sulfanilamide tablets and he crushed 'em, and he started putting them in my ears and my cuts, and he did a good job with it. And we were there about a couple of weeks maybe. We started to collect all the guys---or somebody started to collect all the guys together, and we wound up with 82. And Juaquin said we would have to get a barracks built for all you guys. So he got a tribe down from the mountains. I never saw people like that. About this big. They had beards and long hair. And he negotiated with them. He was the only one in town who could speak their language. He negotiated with them for about 2 or 3 hours and he finally said, Okay, Bert, they'll build a bamboo barracks for you, but they want a payment of a pig every Friday.

Unidentified interviewer:

Were there wild pigs? Did you have to go---

Bert Schwarz:

I said, "You got any pigs, Juaquin? He said I'll get one. So then we stayed ...

Unidentified interviewer:

How long were you there?

Bert Schwarz:

Well, I think we were there altogether maybe 19 or 20 days.

Unidentified interviewer:

And was there actually a town there? They were huts, right?

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, well---

Unidentified interviewer:

There was population of Filipinos there.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, they were all guerillas. All guerilla fighters. But they had their families with them. And then I guess it was Joe Coe who was a radio operator. And these guerrillas had a radio, and he got a message down to the American troops who were getting ready for the Leyte invasion and I don't remember the exact date. We were torpedoed September 7th this was September 20-something.

Unidentified interviewer:

How could you keep up with dates when you were in prison all that time?

Bert Schwarz:

I didn't. Somebody did.

Unidentified interviewer:

Somebody just marked off the days, and said this has to be September whatever?

Bert Schwarz:

And they sent the USS Norwal which we thought. We had two submarines, the Nautilus and the Norwal, and we thought they were the biggest in the world until after the war we found out how big the Japanese submarines were. Anyway, they sent this Norwal in. they sent us into this beach, and Juaquin---I had pneumonia. I think I had pneumoniaa--I had something like pneumonia. He got one of those little ponies and he put me on it and tied me on it and he got Gene Dale to lead me down to shore where the submarine was, and I looked at that submarine and it looked like an island out there it was so big and Juaquin took me out in a banka, it's a little canoe, out-rigger, and we got alongside the submarine, and all our guys were being taken up by somebody, and this sailor, he was the biggest guy I had seen in a long time, he picked me up like I was a little rag, and I said, I want to see your commanding officer.

Unidentified interviewer:

At this point what were you wearing?

Bert Schwarz:

A G-string

Unidentified interviewer:

That's all you had on.

Bert Schwarz:

That's all we had. And I said I want to see your commanding officer, and he said "Yes, SIR!" and about five minutes later Commander Jack Titus showed up and I introduced myself, and I said "Commander, this Philippine guerilla friend of mine has asked if! could get him a carbine," and I said to him "What's a carbine?" And he said, well that's a new gun the Americans have. It's light weight and it shoots rounds and he's the leader of the guerillas in this area. Titus said "Wait a few minutes. So I waited and he came back with a carbine and 500 rounds of ammunition. And Juaquin was the happiest man in the world.

Unidentified interviewer:

I don't believe he was any happier than you.

Bert Schwarz:

He was going Jap-hunting. So we were---they got all 82 of us on that submarine. I was in the forward torpedo room with about 40 of us and the rest of the guys were in the aft torpedo room. And we started to eat. That cook (laugh) that chef, he couldn't keep up with us but I think we were out about two and a half days and it was daylight, and radar, which I had never heard of picked up an airplane, and in those days whenever they picked up anything they dived, because they said the American pilots of those ones that land on the water He said those guys were just as bad as the Japanese. If they see a submarine they're gonna drop something on it. So they dove. Anyway, we had a near disaster because when a submarine dives it puts the forward planes and the stem planes at the angle that they want to go down, and when they get to that angle then they neutralize it, so they just keep going in that direction. Well the stem planes wouldn't neutralize so the crew of that submarine started blowing a hom sounded just like a greyhound bus. "All crew to aft, all crew to aft" and course I'm a dive-bomber pilot, what the hell is a 22 degree dive to me? But they're supposed to dive at 8 degrees They said another 2 or 3 minutes and we were gone. So some navy guy cranked up the stem planes by hand and he got the navy cross for it.

Unidentified interviewer:

Saved that whole sub and all the people.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah. And then we got to Mios Wendi. Which was a small island offBiak which is the only sizeable island in the whole area, off the northwest coast of New Guinea. And that was a Navy. They'd been there about three weeks. Course the Navy has all the transportation in the world they have everything and Quonset huts, food,

Unidentified interviewer:

All the things you didn't have for 2 years

Bert Schwarz:

So they kept us two days, and then they put us in PT boats, then sent us over to an island called Owi which was another satellite islands of Biak, But that was the Air Corps island. I saw more airplanes than I knew existed in the world on that little island. 4000something airplanes. Course they were getting ready for the Leyte invasion. So we stayed on that Air Corps island. I don't think we were there for more than one night. And the next day they took us. By the way, I got sick. I drank two coca colas before I got on the PT boat. I thought I was gonna explode.

Unidentified interviewer:

Your body didn't know what to do with it.

Bert Schwarz:

So then we got on two or three 747s and flew down to -- an air base we had in kind of the middle of Indonesia, and then we flew down from there to Brisbane, Australia. And they stuck us in the 92nd general hospital. That was nice.

Unidentified interviewer:

You hadn't been on a real bed with sheets on it in all that time.

Bert Schwarz:

They fed us like six meals a day, not too much at one time. We started getting back into shape. Of course we were all getting fat. And I forget who--- Mrs. McArthur came to see us. It was nice, and after a week or so I felt pretty good, and I would go up and talk to the nurses. I met a girl from New Zealand who I thought was very nice. She was telling me what a bunch of bums the Australians were. So then they put us on an ocean liner, the Monterey I think, and we zig-zagged back to San Francisco, and we didn't have any escort, we were just going high speed, zig-zagging, and we got under that Golden Gate bridge. (Bert tapped both hands on his forehead, and struggled to control his emotion.)

Unidentified interviewer:

Ahh, you knew you were home then.

Bert Schwarz:

It was quite a feeling.

Unidentified interviewer:

Were you standing out on the deck?

Bert Schwarz:

Sure. And they took three of us. Dale, Morrett, and me. And they sent us to Washington to de-brief.

Unidentified interviewer:

Were you the top three officers?

Bert Schwarz:

No, we were probably the top three most sensible people (laughter). No, we weren't the top three officers and I don't know how it happened. Then General Arnold introduced us to Cory Ford and Alistair McBain, Cory was a major in the Air Corps and Alistair was a captain in the Air Corps. They were writers. And they had just given them officer status so they could get around and talk to people easily, and they're the ones who wrote the Colliers article. And---

Unidentified interviewer:

They did a pretty good job writing that up.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, Oh, Cory was very well known. He died a few years ago.

Unidentified interviewer:

In that article there were a couple of things I wanted to ask you about. One of them: they said something, This is way off the track now, but it said something about you had broken your wrist. Do you remember breaking your wrist?

Bert Schwarz:

I broke my arm. Well, I don't know how broken it was but it was pretty badly damaged. Working on a work detail and something dropped on my arm.

Unidentified interviewer:

And I wanted to ask. Did you have among the POWs a medic?

Bert Schwarz:

We had several.

Unidentified interviewer:

And they were just captured along with everyone else? They continued to try to look after the sick? They didn't have any equipment, did they?

Bert Schwarz:

Some of them may have smuggled a couple of pills in.

Unidentified interviewer:

Did they wrap your arm in cloth or something?

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, they wrapped it in something. Until it didn't hurt any more I didn't go back to the rice paddies. I worked in leading details of enlisted men in putting in a new latrine or some of that kind of crap.

Unidentified interviewer:

So they had other kinds ofthings you could do if you couldn't go to the rice paddies.

Bert Schwarz:

I remember one time we dug a ditch. It must have been ten feet deep, and it was to carry the waste from the latrine, and the part I remember best is that we needed something to shore up the sides of the ditch, and we got a piece of Philippine mahogany that would have made the greatest piano top you could imagine and we used it, and I felt badly about that. Then we had barbed wire where waste exited the camp because somebody could escape in there. Everything was barbed wire. Q; This was just some engineering on the part of you all in order to try to make your job easier then so you didn't have to empty the latrine with buckets.

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, sure. That would have been impossible with 2500 guys

Unidentified interviewer:

I don't see how you managed anything with 2500 people. It's hard to even picture that situation. It had to be a huge camp. Was it huge, the size of the camp?

Bert Schwarz:

See it was a Philippine prison for dangerous criminals. It had about five or six like barracks buildings and I don't know what they did with all the Philippine criminals; they probably let them loose.

Unidentified interviewer:

Or killed them. There was no love lost. The Filipinos hated the Japanese.

Bert Schwarz:

I don't know what they did with them. Might of killed them.

Unidentified interviewer:

Did you have Filipinos in the prison camp with you? No? Just Americans.

Bert Schwarz:

Then we had that ---you. remember the story about the flag in the blanket. That happened in Devao.

Unidentified interviewer:

I was reading someone's account. Maybe it was the Collier's article. They said that there was a program before that. They had some sort of a show that somebody put on or something and it was after that that they showed the flag. Was that two different incidents?

Bert Schwarz:

I think it was the same one. But Morrett in this last reunion, he told me some stuff that went on that night ---that I didn't know about. Yeah, there may have been something that went on. One night, did I tell you the story about Morrett almost getting killed? When we got to LaSang where we had to work on an airfield, which of course is against all the rules whatever the rules are, and went out to work on the enemy airfield, so we goofed it up as much as we could. So one night----one day there were like twenty or thirty guys that the Japanese didn't think were working hard enough, Course this Lt Hoshino would come out and observe and he took, I don't remember how many guys, and he lined them up on a railroad tie, then he got his guards to get lumber, pieces of wood from a tree or something, and put them behind the guys legs, and they had to stay like that on the railroad tie.

Unidentified interviewer:

Were they on their shins? Their shins were against the railroad ties?

Bert Schwarz:

So then, everybody else rushed with the jobs to get those guys off the railroad ties. Then they made us run back to the compound about a quarter of a mile. These poor guys could hardly get up.

Unidentified interviewer:

Was Morrett one of the guys?

Bert Schwarz:

No, Morrett was not one of the guys. But that night---I think it was that night---we were ordered to come and line up and there were about three hundred of us that got in this, and I was in the second row, and Morrett was right in front of me in the first row and all the Japanese guards were lined up with their bayonets drawn, and we didn't know what was going to happen. And the interpreter, we called him Pittsburgh Phil because he claimed to have gone to Pittsburgh, and Hoshino was there of course, He said Lt. Hoshino wants to know if you're going to work on the airfield or not. As I say, Morrett was standing right in front of me, and he jumped forward and saluted, and he said, "We're officers and men ofthe United States. We refuse to work on your airport. I thought I was going to get his head in my hands. But Pittsburgh Phil was afraid to interpret it because he didn't like blood at all. He didn't interpret it. He said something to Hoshino, but I don't know what, and the next thing I know we were dismissed.

Unidentified interviewer:

That's amazing.

Bert Schwarz:

It was amazing. And you don't know how to figure those things out.

Unidentified interviewer:

Maybe he was just tired of it. Maybe he had some kindness in his heart and he didn't want to see you all shot. Is that possible of the interpreter?

Bert Schwarz:

Dh, yes. The interpreter - he didn't want to see any blood. But Hoshino would have gladly done some blood work. So? I reminded everybody of Morrett's heroism at that recent reunion. Quite a guy. He became an Episcopal priest, and then he was the dean of the Episcopal cathedral in Honolulu for quite a few years.

Unidentified interviewer:

Have you stayed in touch with him for all these years?

Bert Schwarz:

Dh, yeah. And he's now living in Jacksonville. His first wife died, and he's married a pretty nice gal. She's about 20 years younger than he is, which I guess is a good idea. Her mother lives in Jacksonville, and I think that's why they moved there, because her mother isn't in very good shape so they can take care of her.

Unidentified interviewer:

Well, you want to wind it up for today then, or have you got some more thoughts?

Bert Schwarz:

I didn't remember anything outstanding that happened after that. I mean, I could tell you about working in the rice paddies. That's when my hip got fractured. You know that story, don't you?

Unidentified interviewer:

That we had on the videotape. The guy came and hit you in the hip, because you couldn't---

Bert Schwarz:

Couldn't lift it. He hit me with the butt of his gun. It still shows on an x-ray.

Unidentified interviewer:

That's amazing. That put you out of work for several days, didn't it? Did you have to do something else for awhile, or

Bert Schwarz:

Dh, I couldn't move. I couldn't work in the rice paddies for I don't know how long after that. Two or three weeks, I think. Four maybe.

Unidentified interviewer:

That was a stupid way to treat your workers. It really was.

Bert Schwarz:

The Japanese were pretty stupid. I think they still are.

Unidentified interviewer:

The favorite story, the one I like the best, is when they sang God Bless America. That's just so wonderful.

Bert Schwarz:

Coming down on the train?

Unidentified interviewer:

On the train, yeah.

Bert Schwarz:

That was the same day that the flag was in the blanket.

Unidentified interviewer:

You got back that night and apparently there was some sort of a show in one of the barracks, and---

Bert Schwarz:

I didn't remember the show, but Johnny said there was.

Unidentified interviewer:

The way you remembered it, they just said, "Come, meet us in the barracks."

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, somebody,

Unidentified interviewer:

Maybe the show was a different night. Maybe he's got it mixed up.

Bert Schwarz:

It's not important.

Unidentified interviewer:

How many people do you think were in there when they were whispering the Star Spangled Banner?

Bert Schwarz:

40 or 50.

Unidentified interviewer:

And who was it that had the flag?

Bert Schwarz:

I don't know. I don't know the guy's name. But we re-enacted that thing, I think I told you, in 1994 when Playter ran the first of our reunions in Springfield, MO and I've got pictures ofthat. Did I show you?

Unidentified interviewer:

Hm-mnn.

Bert Schwarz:

I've got pictures of Morrett and I holding the flag, or holding the blanket. Q; Maybe what we should do is get those pictures, and let me scan those in and put them all on a CD and just make a file on the CD of all of the pictures that you've got. That would be great. We'd have a record.

Bert Schwarz:

I don't have many pictures.

Unidentified interviewer:

Oh, okay. We're going to talk about the rice fields. What did you do in the rice fields?

Bert Schwarz:

Well, we planted rice. We had seedlings about that tall, and they'd come in a bunch.

Unidentified interviewer:

About eight inches tall? Something like that?

Bert Schwarz:

Something like that. And two guys would stand on the dikes with a string across, and the rest of us would stand in the mud planting seedlings. That was fme, planting them in the mud. Then weeding them in the mud was okay, too, because weeds came out easier in the mud. But harvesting in the mud wasn't fun. It was supposed to be dry. They were supposed to drain the paddies. And every paddy has a drain, but the Japanese---

Unidentified interviewer:

---didn't do it.

Bert Schwarz:

---well, they may have done it sometimes, but they didn't do it in bad times, when I was there. They had all that slave labor, why worry about it?

Unidentified interviewer:

They had crops every three months, or something like that?

Bert Schwarz:

Quite often. No--Maybe four or five months. I think three a year.

Unidentified interviewer:

As soon as you would harvest one -harvest-you'd pull it all out and plant again? Did you have to do everything by hand? You didn't have any equipment at all?

Bert Schwarz:

Not to clean out the paddy.

Unidentified interviewer:

Did you have hoes, or any kind of tools to work with? I think they'd be afraid to give you anything sharp. (Indistinguishable) end of tape. [Part Two of Interview]

Unidentified interviewer:

My name is Doris Durbin, and I'm interviewing Bert Schwarz and the date is October 24, 2003 and we're here to talk about all sorts ofthings. You told me that your life was influenced by Charles Lindbergh. Would you tell me about that?

Bert Schwarz:

Sure. I was 12 years old. Lindbergh took off from a small airport not far from where we lived. And as you know he flew to Paris in something like 33 hours. Phew. One man staying awake all that time to guide an airplane.

Unidentified interviewer:

They probably wouldn't even let somebody try to do that now. They'd probably think it was---unsafe at any speed.

Bert Schwarz:

Well, there wouldn't be any reason to do it now.

Unidentified interviewer:

No.

Bert Schwarz:

So, it was-of course it was history-making. When he came back to the states he came back by ship, and (laughter) there was a monster parade in New York for him. And I don't know if they still do it, but in those days people used to throw confetti out of the windows, and it looked like a blizzard. I don't remember too much about it. I know my dad took me to see it, and it was impressive.

Unidentified interviewer:

Were you right down front?

Bert Schwarz:

We weren't too far away. My dad's office was not too far from there.

Unidentified interviewer:

What kind of office did he have?

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, he had a big place. In those days your office was where your commodities were, and he had a building and they made shipments from that building, and his office was in there.

Unidentified interviewer:

He had a shipping business?

Bert Schwarz:

No, he was in the textile industry, like I wound up. And I don't know, I guess you had to make---I was too young to know--- make deliveries on schedule when somebody buys from somebody else, I guess.

Unidentified interviewer:

So he worked in downtown NY., and where was this? I don't know anything about New York City. Was this in Manhattan?

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, Manhattan.

Unidentified interviewer:

And that's where the parade was?

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, sure. The parade was right up Broadway. I think it started at. Oh, it started right down at the beginning, and they marched up Broadway, and all these buildings and people throwing things.

Unidentified interviewer:

It was exciting.

Bert Schwarz:

That's all I remember, really.

Unidentified interviewer:

And you were thirteen.

Bert Schwarz:

I was really 12 and a half or something .

Unidentified interviewer:

We have a picture of you when you were about thirteen, and you have the little wings on your coat. Can you tell us how you got those wings?

Bert Schwarz:

How I got them? I didn't get them from Lindbergh.

Unidentified interviewer:

Well, you got them because you wanted to be a flier.

Bert Schwarz:

That's right.

Unidentified interviewer:

You were in some sort of a uniform. Was that something that the photographer provided, or-

Bert Schwarz:

You mean with those wings on? That's just a suit, I think.

Unidentified interviewer:

Just a suit? Okay.

Bert Schwarz:

I can't remember where I got them, but I wanted them and I wore them. So, that was when my mind wouldn't go away from flying, and of course it took a long time to get there.

Unidentified interviewer:

You told me once before that your dad got you a ride in an airplane.

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, yeah. I think it was that same year, that fall. He used to go to Boston on business quite often, and the usual procedure was to get on a night train, get in a berth, get up in the morning and you're in Boston, and then I don't remember when he'd come back. The same day or the next day, but Eastern Airlines was just starting. I don't think they called it Eastern at the time. I don't know what they called it. But one day he said, "I have to go to Boston next week," and I said, "Why don't you go by plane?" They had just started a flight service. It would take you about two hours to do what you do all night, and you can come back the same day. He said, he'd think about it, and a few days later he came and he said, I've decided to try that plane thing, and he said I think I'll take you with me. So, Ford Trimoter planes. There must be a picture in here. They had a metal fuselage and it sounded like a bunch of tin cans rattling when they got the engines going. So it was pretty good. It had three engines. It had these two pilots. I think that's all they had. They may have had a steward or something in back. I don't remember. There were just a few passengers, like 12 or 15. And, I pestered the hell out of those guys. I wanted to learn everything. And finally, when we landed in Boston, ---Oh, they let me sit in a jump seat behind the pilot.

Unidentified interviewer:

While you were in flight?

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah. And when we landed in Boston I guess I was a little pushy. I said, I'd like to stay with you guys and let him go to work. And they let me. And they took me in the airplane and they showed me the whole all the instruments and what each one did and it was a great experience. I mean I learned a lot about airplanes from that trip. And then I think we went home, yeah, we went home the same day. We left Boston about three o'clock, and got home at five.

Unidentified interviewer:

Was that the only flight that you took before you joined the Army Air Corps?

Bert Schwarz:

I don't think so. I don't really remember, but I probably took a lot of them.

Unidentified interviewer:

About the wings. You had wings when you were captured. Tell me the story about them.

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, yeah. Those were my--- Those were the wings I got when I graduated flying school.

Unidentified interviewer:

At--- Where was that?

Bert Schwarz:

Maxwell Field.

Unidentified interviewer:

And Maxwell Field was the one in---

Bert Schwarz:

Montgomery. And it's now the Air Corps College or something. The Air Force University. And I was very proud of those wings. I had them on during the Death March, and some Japanese guy tried to take them, and I said "Don't take those, they belong to my mother." Phew. He left them! And after that I kept them inside my pocket so nobody could see. But they were taking everything from everybody, but I just got very lucky with the Japanese who probably loved his mother or something. (Laughter)

Unidentified interviewer:

Yeah, he understood enough to understand what you were saying apparently.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, he seemed to understand. It might have taken a little-"mama"-you know, I can't remember all that. But I kept them, and I kept them all the time until the prison ship was sunk. I had them they were on a shirt, hanging on a post in the ship, and I went for them after the torpedo hit, but I never got them.

Unidentified interviewer:

Because you were going for them when the-after the torpedo hit, did that help you to escape, do you think? Or did that put you in a position to be able to swim up easier, or anything?

Bert Schwarz:

I don't know. I think well, when the torpedo hit, the explosion blew the hatch covers off and then we could see sunlight shining through, so we let go, but I think I may have been hanging on the pole at that time, trying to get my wings, or something like that.

Unidentified interviewer:

It seems to me that the objects that people managed to hold onto must have been very special to them. There was an article about a man from New York who had a ring that he managed to keep throughout the whole captivity. Do you remember that one? His name was Joey, or something.

Bert Schwarz:

Well, I know on the Death March that people guys were wearing West Point rings, and they would chop their hands off.

Unidentified interviewer:

Did they do that just for meanness? I mean, couldn't they have taken their ring off their finger? Or did the chop it off just for meanness? If the men struggled ...

Bert Schwarz:

You can't say they all would be like that, but some ofthem would. They were a bunch of kids from Formosa, It's Taiwan now. And they were given freedom to do anything they damn pleased. And I don't know, maybe they used to kill animals, and they killed people the same way. But there were a lot of bayonets flying and don't wear a West Point ring, before that crowd. I was surprised that some ofthem new what a West Point ring looked like, but they seemed to.

Unidentified interviewer:

Were they specifically looking for those, then? What ifthey had a wedding ring or other jewelry?

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, they would take them, but it seemed to me they were-it seemed to me they were really looking for West Point rings.

Unidentified interviewer:

Maybe they thought those were officers.

Bert Schwarz:

Maybe they wanted to go to West Point. (laughter)

Unidentified interviewer:

Tell me about all of the different Japanese that you remember during the war timethe different people that were at your prison camps. We talked about a bunch of the people that you knew that were your comrades. Can you tell me about the people who were not? Tell me about the translator.

Bert Schwarz:

First we had Mr. Wada, the interpreter, who actually got a life sentence.

Unidentified interviewer:

For war crimes?

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah. They executed two guys and gave Mr. Wada a life sentence. He was kinda crippled. I don't remember. He walked with his back bent and limped. But he's the one who was on that raft I told you about with thirty-one guys and he was the one who was saying, "If you hold onto this raft Lt. Hoshino will save your life and spare you. And they killed all those guys. And then Mr. Wada---I don't know how he got back to Japan, but when I went back to Japan in 1948 I went to Sugami Prison, and there was Mr. Wada and a lot of prisoners.

Unidentified interviewer:

Did you go there to see him?

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah. I went there to see who was there. And he was there. Of course he spoke English pretty well. I said---Course they wouldn't let you get near them. They had a thick wire separation. Because they had---they were interviewing a prisoner--- They had a prisoner in there one time and they had an American who had been a prisoner and there was no wire at that time and he tried to kill the Japanese. So after that they put that wire up. I said, How are they treating you? He said, Ah, terribly. As terribly as you treated us? And he said, Oh, no, Schwarz, not that bad. I don't know if he-he had a life sentence. I don't know if they really kept him for his life. They may have let him out. I don't know.

Unidentified interviewer:

Was he ever kind to you?

Bert Schwarz:

Wada?

Unidentified interviewer:

Yes. Is he the translator that did not tell Morrett's story?

Bert Schwarz:

No, that was Pittsburgh Phil, the guy who claimed to have gone to the University of Pittsburgh. He spoke much better English and he was a fairly nice looking young man. He ---Well, as I told you, he was, I think, he was afraid to tell Lt. Hoshino what Morrett said because he didn't want to see a lot of bloodshed, and there were plenty of bayonets poking at us. So we don't know what he said, because we don't understand the language but they just dismissed us, sent us back to the barracks.

Unidentified interviewer:

So on other occasions, was he the translator? Pittsburgh Phil?

Bert Schwarz:

He was the translator, yeah. I don't remember any particular occasions when he was the translator, but he was always around.

Unidentified interviewer:

That was at Lasang, at the airport.

Bert Schwarz:

That's when Morrett said, "We refuse to work on your airport."

Unidentified interviewer:

(Laughter) "And y'all said, No we don't! You can refuse." I thought they would hand me his head.

Unidentified interviewer:

Did Morrett out-rank you?

Bert Schwarz:

No

Unidentified interviewer:

He was just speaking for the group.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah. Because nobody else was saying anything. He's that kind of guy. I saw him recently. You know that. He was at the reunion where we had six of our survivors from the ship.

Unidentified interviewer:

I should have copied that brochure that you had. I looked at it and gave it back to you. I should have made a copy of that. Maybe I can get it back. The program from your reunIOn.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, I've got it.

Unidentified interviewer:

What about Hoshino? Was he the one that y'all thought had a disease or something?

Bert Schwarz:

No, that was ---the little bastard--- I can't think of his name.

Unidentified interviewer:

Little Caesar, or something.

Bert Schwarz:

He was a sergeant, so he had to answer to Hoshino. One of our doctors examined him, and he had syphilis, and what do you call what happens to your brain?

Unidentified interviewer:

A dementia of some sort.

Bert Schwarz:

It's a rotting process, I believe. I can't remember anything. His name was Hashimoto.

Unidentified interviewer:

Was that at Davao? He didn't go to the air field with you did he?

Bert Schwarz:

No.

Unidentified interviewer:

He was at Davao then. At Davao did you have a hut or something that was used as a hospital? Did the corpsmen work out of a room that was a hospital area or something? The reason I ask was that in one of the things I was reading they said something about one man was standing out I thought they said near the hospital area and was shot by a guard up in a tower just because he was drinking water out of a bottle or something. You don't remember anything about having a hospital area.

Bert Schwarz:

They had towers. Around the border, but I never heard that story.

Unidentified interviewer:

That was in - I'm reading two or three at the same time, and I don't remember which book it was in.

Bert Schwarz:

Well, it could have been in Ghost Soldiers.

Unidentified interviewer:

I haven't got that one yet.

Bert Schwarz:

You haven't?

Unidentified interviewer:

It may have been Murray Snedden's book.

Bert Schwarz:

Could have been. I think it was early 19---. I had resigned my commission for a very simple reason. I wanted to fly airplanes, an they had so many pilots coming back, especially from Europe that they'd only let us fly four hours a month. That's what you needed to get your flying pay. And they wanted to send me---they sent me to a couple of schools. I thought they were very boring. So I didn't want to do that. I figured I'd get back to work. So I went back to my textile engineering business, and I got out of service in August' 46, and in sometime early in '48 this guy came to see me in my office. I had met him someplace before. But I know he was in the Department of Commerce all during the war and he was a very charming kind of a guy and he talked and he talked and the gist of the conversation was the United States government wanted me to go back to Japan. And I said, don't you have a better place? And he said, well, you know we're trying to rebuild the economies in Germany and Japan and they thought that you probably knew something about Japan from your experiences.

Unidentified interviewer:

Nothing very positive, though.

Bert Schwarz:

About the Japanese, there are good ones and bad ones. So we had a I guess Rocky was about 2 years ---2-1/2 years old

Unidentified interviewer:

That's your son, and he was named for Rocky Gause and Juaquin

Bert Schwarz:

That's right. You've got a good memory. And my wife and I kicked it around for awhile and finally said, what the hell, we're occupying the country, they can't be very bad to us, so we went and I worked for the government for a year and a half, and Sukoshi was born, our daughter. Gosh, she was born within a week or two after Laura arrived. Laura came by ship. I went by plane with Fred Williams. He had been president of Cannon Mills for 25 years or so, he retired, and the government sent him over to look at the Japanese textile industry, and he went and looked and came back and said he would go for, I forget, a year or a year and a half, and then they said well pick a team to go with you to work so I was picked and a few other guys. There were five of us including Fred Williams and it was understood that I would be in the cotton textile industry, because that was my whole experience. So we got there. Nothing very exciting about that flight over except we stopped at Hawaii, Johnson Island, Guam, Tokyo. Johnson Island, God, that was a nothing place. It's a very little island. It has a million birds flying around, and they always had to get somebody out there scaring the birds away before planes could take off.

Unidentified interviewer:

And this was just a small plane?

Bert Schwarz:

No, it wasn't very small. I can't remember. You know, there were five of us as passengers, sitting on the floor most of the time, sitting on parachutes---I think we wore parachutes.

Unidentified interviewer:

It didn't have seats in it? It wasn't a regular passenger plane, then, apparently.

Bert Schwarz:

No, it wasn't. It was a military cargo something.

Unidentified interviewer:

So you were going over there to work for the occupational government, for the U.S. government really.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah. So I worked for the government for a year and a half.

Unidentified interviewer:

Did you work as someone who taught them how to do cotton textiles, or did you set up the machinery or what did you do exactly?

Bert Schwarz:

I learned how the government works. (laughter) I was the boss of the cotton textile industry of Japan. It was the biggest one in the world, I think. And what I did was, I went around to see what kind of inventory we had. We had an enormous inventory.

Unidentified interviewer:

Of machinery, or of

Bert Schwarz:

Cotton textiles.

Unidentified interviewer:

And this was in warehouses, on bolts?

Bert Schwarz:

In warehouses. Big warehouses full of the stuff. What they were doing was paying a processing fee. A guy made a yard of textile, he got a processing fee a guy made a damask tablecloth, he got a processing fee. It didn't make any difference if it had a hole in the middle, but that's the U.S. government at work. So, Japanese textile industry was always heavily export minded, and they would only. Our government - the people who ran it before we got there - would only accept U.S. dollars. Well maybe only one other country had U S dollars besides America. America certainly didn't want all their textiles, they had enough of their own, so we worked out a deal that we would sell for sterling and we worked out a deal that we would swap, which we did with some guys in Singapore.

Unidentified interviewer:

Swap for what?

Bert Schwarz:

Some kind of raw material, not particularly textiles, but something.

Unidentified interviewer:

Something Japan needed.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah. And we worked out a system where we would give over-production to the local population. And that was the first they had of stuff they needed badly. So I did that for a year, so, it was a good education, you learned how our government worked.

Unidentified interviewer:

Okay after the year and a half that you worked for the government, then what happened?

Bert Schwarz:

After about a year of dealing with these Japanese guys who were in the textile industry, the most prestigious Japanese textile industry started romancing me to come and join them.

Unidentified interviewer:

Did they know you had been a prisoner?

Bert Schwarz:

Well, they probably knew. I never told them. I never mentioned it to anyone, but they're not stupid. They know everything. (Side B)

Bert Schwarz:

After maybe four or six months of the romance---

Unidentified interviewer:

They gave you parties?

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, Lord. They used to have a lot of parties. Anyway, we decided to join them. We were living in Washington Heights which was a thing built for American soldiers and civilians and 00, the Japanese who hired me--they didn't say they hired me, they said would you join us?--- I was always with the president or the chairman of the board of the company and they said we want to move you down to Nishinomiya which was on the gold coast of Japan. (Bert spells it.) And specifically, Shukugawa. They got us a nice house and they gave us five servants and a gardener.

Unidentified interviewer:

That's pretty nice.

Bert Schwarz:

So our little girl Sukoshi had a Japanese Ama, and she spoke Japanese until she was about three years old.

Unidentified interviewer:

Dh, my goodness.

Bert Schwarz:

It was interesting.

Unidentified interviewer:

Do you know how to speak Japanese now?

Bert Schwarz:

I know a few words. But I traveled for them. I started. You know, what was going on was--- as I told you, a lot of their business was export, but nobody in the world wanted to speak to any Japanese in those days, so I was like a front man. We did pretty well, and I cooked up some--- I cooked up one good scheme for one guy in New York who was a big user of cotton textiles. The American mills would get together at the---what the hell's thename of that club on ?? street--- for lunch every day and kind of set the prices what appeared in the Daily News Record, I think it was, the next day and the prices and he was buying from those mills, this guy, and he didn't like it because the mills were making money and he was struggling. So I worked out a deal where I got him to buy cotton from Texas, we shipped it to Japan, we made the fabrics for him, we shipped it back, and it a couple of cents a yard cheaper and he had millions of yards, so he was very happy and we did business in all those places in Africa where Japan used to export and it was a really great experience for me, learning all those different places which I never would have learned otherwise. And

Unidentified interviewer:

Did that involve any flying at all?

Bert Schwarz:

I flew some in Osaka. I was in reserves and we had a military air base not too far away, and I flew some. Flew some in Tokyo, too. I've got some good pictures, flying around Mr. Fuji. It was interesting.

Unidentified interviewer:

So you enjoyed living in Japan.

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, yeah. Wonderful time.

Unidentified interviewer:

As a business man it was a whole different thing.

Bert Schwarz:

It was wonderful. And they never stopped giving parties. I don't know where they got all the money.

Unidentified interviewer:

And your wife liked it, and your children were happy there? Everybody was happy to be in Japan. That's really neat.

Bert Schwarz:

I would say so. We were very happy. And every time you went someplace in the house you'd trip over a servant, so what the hell.

Unidentified interviewer:

(laughter) Somebody to do everything for you. And then, what happened next?

Bert Schwarz:

Well, they asked me in would consider opening a New York office for them, and I finally agreed to that. We had been there-we'd been in Japan for four years and we came back and opened the New York office. Oh, we did quite a bit of business. Damask tablecloths were one of our big numbers. And----

Unidentified interviewer:

Dining tablecloths and napkins that people used a lot at that time.

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah, damask. Well, that was one item, but we did a lot ofthings. And then, let's see, 19--- about 1959 this Japanese guy who was one of the main sponsors of me died, and I had a big--course he was buried in Japan---but I had a big funeral reception for him at Riverside Church in New York. That's a big deal.

Unidentified interviewer:

And who came to that? I mean, did a lot of people know him?

Bert Schwarz:

Oh, there were a lot of Japanese in NY at the time, and a lot of people knew him. Or knew me, I don't know what. It was nice. Then we had a guy I was telling you about that I made all that fabric for, and he said I want to expand my business into interlinings for shirts. Everybody used to wear white shirts, and wash and wear was coming in and you had to have the interlining- the interlining had to be the same shrinkage as the outer fabric and we had a--- what did they call chemists in the 15th century? Alchemists? And we had an alchemist working for us, and he figured it out, and business was booming. And then we spread out to the rest of the world, and I kept traveling around all the time promoting these products.

Unidentified interviewer:

When you say you spread out to the rest of the world, do you mean, you sold to different markets in the rest of the world, or you put in offices in other parts of the world?

Bert Schwarz:

We set up offices. We had a big office in Paris, right on the Champs Elysee. Beautiful office.

Unidentified interviewer:

What was the name of your company?

Bert Schwarz:

DHJ Industries.

Unidentified interviewer:

DHJ Industries, and what did that stand for?

Bert Schwarz:

Well, the guy who was the boss, who I worked for was Haskell. I don't want to tell names.

Unidentified interviewer:

Okay, never mind. It stood for names.

Bert Schwarz:

And, how long did I work there. Well, I worked for them, really----in 1975 the company was bought by Dominion Textile of Canada, which was a wonderful group of people, and I worked for them until I retired in '81. They made me president of New York operations.

Unidentified interviewer:

And you deserved it.

Bert Schwarz:

Well, I was president, anyway. And these Canadians came in, and they were great. Nice people. And then when ---after I retired. I had a friend up in Connecticut who I met in 1950, and we always remained friends. He---I don't remember if he called me or I went up there or something; and he said I want to start a charitable organization to carry medicines and other commodities to overseas disaster areas, and I'm setting it up in honor of my parents who died recently. And he said I need you because you know how to travel around the world and you can never tell where you'll have to go. So I agreed to work with him, and that was kinda fun working with him. He's the smartest guy.

Unidentified interviewer:

Do you want to tell his name?

Bert Schwarz:

Bob McCauley. He's famous. He really is.

Unidentified interviewer:

And so were you his pilot?

Bert Schwarz:

No. No. We shipped tons of cargo by airplane to various groups. The fIrst place I went to was Beirut. It had been bombed by Israelis a couple of days before. We stayed in a hotel--- I think it was a Sheraton. It was one of those glass buildings and the whole front had been blown out. We had a room at the back. And then I went to Afghanistan, well actually the Afghans were fighting the Russians at the time. And the---I wasn't allowed to go into Afghanistan. Most of my work was done from a city called PShOrrE-l? P-R5hoL.uCL-r' Pakistan, which is right on the border. And I went in there and the next trip I went there I took a doctor with me---a lady doctor from Switzerland, and she was a pretty smart cookie, and she said the only thing. There was a Red Cross Hospital on the border where they could chop off arms and legs without any problem - you know, they knew how to do that. But she said the only thing they really need that they can't do is facial reconstruction or brain surgery. So I went in the next time and brought back the first planeload of wounded Mujahadin who needed one ofthose two things. They were pretty beat-up looking. I brought back, I forget, seven or eight of them. I think seven, and then I had a little l2-year-old boy who had a bullet in his head from a Russian helicopter.

Unidentified interviewer:

When you say, "I brought back," did you fly the plane or you were directing what went on?

Bert Schwarz:

I was directing what went on. And McCauley, of course, he knew somebody big in Pan-American airways, and they gave us the upstairs of a 747 first class lounge to bring these wounded guys back. And, 00, I took a guy from here, Ron Delong, do you know him?

Unidentified interviewer:

I've heard the name but I don't think I know him.

Bert Schwarz:

I took him with me. He was a photographer for the local paper for some time. I took him on one of those trips, and 00, I have pictures of him and this little 12- I think it was 12-years-old Mirwois M I R W 0 I S. who had this bullet in his head and I said to his father that I would take care of him. Both Bob and I said we would take care of him. It's very hard to get a kid away from an Afghan family.

Unidentified interviewer:

And you couldn't bring all the family, I don't guess.

Bert Schwarz:

And we took him. And we brought him back and we put him in Walter Reid hospital land they decided not to operate on his head to take the bullet out, because it would kill him, but they gave him all kind of exercises or what to you call that

Unidentified interviewer:

Therapy, probably.

Bert Schwarz:

Therapy. And on the next trip when we took back some of the guys .... Oh, some of the guys were terrific. Two of them had an eye shot out, and they both were lieutenants or something in the Afghan army, and they wanted to go back and fight. And they did.

Unidentified interviewer:

I wonder if they were some of the ones we ended up fighting against after things changed around.

Bert Schwarz:

So then when I took Mirvois back, I took him to his father, and he was walking much, much better, so it was a pretty emotional scene. I think we have pictures of it somewhere. Anyway, we started that business of bringing back soldiers who were wounded by the Russians and eventually the Air Force took it over and started bringing back more. We put the second group into the hospital in Richmond, Virginia.

Unidentified interviewer:

How many trips did you make to Afghanistan?

Bert Schwarz:

I think five altogether.

Unidentified interviewer:

Then you said you made a trip to Colombia.

Bert Schwarz:

Colombia, where there was a mudslide. The local paper had a story about that and on the Afghan situation. The mudslide in Colombia. They told me it killed 22,000 people in five minutes. The whole city was buried. And, 00, well, of course there were a lot of people around the edges that needed medicines and stuff. I always had a lot of medicines with me, I mean a LOT of medicines. Then one trip I met with McCauley, who was flying with his friend George Herbert Walker Bush,

Unidentified interviewer:

The president

Bert Schwarz:

In Air Force Two. George was vice president at the time. And they came and met me in Khartoom, Sudan, and we just ---shortly before they came in an airplane had come in with 249,000 pounds of medicines. And I was there for five or six days beforehand, and I knew it was coming, because they kept telegraphing or radio or telephone or something. I lined up 14 trucks, I think it was. Seven to go to Iritrea, and 7 to go to Tigres, two provinces of Ethiopia. And they were both non-communist. That was the big deal in those days.

Unidentified interviewer:

And then who was supplying the medicine? Was it paid for by the government, the medicine? or just McCauley's organization?

Bert Schwarz:

The medicines were always given by pharmaceutical companies. The air freight was mostly paid by AmeriCares Foundation. McCauley. I wouldn't say anything about this, but I heard yesterday they're preparing a thing for him to be on the Today Show. And I don't think he knows about this yet ... .I mean he may know that. The guy, Bill Halliman there is doing the stor--- he's writing a book about Bob, and when Vietnam fell, we were trying to bring kids, and it was a C5A a big air force freight plane, transport plane, and it was carrying something like 150 kids, and it crashed, and half of them were killed---

Unidentified interviewer:

Are you talking about soldiers, or Vietnamese children----

Bert Schwarz:

Children. And nobody had made plans about what to do in case of an accident. So McCauley took a mortgage out on his home, and made a deal with Pan American to fly them to San Francisco. A bunch of them. And there was a set of twins, and they're going to bring those twins to that Today Show.

Unidentified interviewer:

That's wonderful.

Bert Schwarz:

I'll let you know when it's on.

Unidentified interviewer:

I'd like to see that.

Bert Schwarz:

So would 1. I just learned about it yesterday. I really shouldn't talk about it.

Unidentified interviewer:

Well, I won't publicize it.

Bert Schwarz:

I'm sure you wouldn't. But that should be quite interesting. He's a very interesting guy, unfortunately his health stinks.

Unidentified interviewer:

Now, you said you met him in 1950?

Bert Schwarz:

I met him in 1950. I was playing golf with his father at the Greenwich Country Club and he came along for dinner.

Unidentified interviewer:

I see. And how did you know his father?

Bert Schwarz:

I had this friend in Japan when I lived there, who I used to play golf with all the time, and his brother was a big shot--- I can't remember names any more ----some big paper producer and the McCauley family was in the paper business and this guy who was my friend in Japan, the brother who used to do business with McCauley's father was going to play golf with him, and they asked me to go along.

Unidentified interviewer:

So you were fellow businessmen. That's how you knew each other.

Bert Schwarz:

So that's how I met him, and we've been friends ever since. I wish his health were better.

Unidentified interviewer:

Is this corporation still in business now? This AmeriCares? Is it still working?

Bert Schwarz:

AmeriCare Foundation? Wow, it's big. I mean we're talking millions and millions. We had a new CEO. Bob is chairman of the board. I just resigned as director. I've been a director for 22 years, and it's too much of a deal for me to be a director. I traveled to directors meetings. Phew.

Unidentified interviewer:

That's what you recently did, wasn't it, go up there to a director's meeting?

Bert Schwarz:

Yeah. I'm happy to be retired from it, because I want to work on Charlotte Collins' new thing here, which is getting started pretty well.

Unidentified interviewer:

And what's the name ofthat?

Bert Schwarz:

Friends of Children. Lila McCauley, Bob's wife, runs a Friends of Children up in Connecticut, and I asked her if she would mind if we used the same name, and she said she would like it. So we're using the same name, and

Unidentified interviewer:

You'll do charitable things for children in need. That's wonderful.

Bert Schwarz:

Well, you know Charlotte. She's terrific with children.

Unidentified interviewer:

She's was my son's teacher in about third or fourth grade, I think.

Bert Schwarz:

Your son's teacher? I just talked to her this morning and we have an outing planned on the 29th, I think. Something like that of this month. And she already has twenty-three kids lined up. So we've got all the kids who were in Wilderness Scouts.

Unidentified interviewer:

Is the Wilderness Scouts out of business now?

Bert Schwarz:

Pretty much. I don't say they're out of business, 'cause I don't know. I don't pay any attention to them any more. I did enough for them and never got much of a thank you from that guy. I'm happy to be working with Charlotte. I just love to watch the kids with her. She's like the mother that they never had, and a lot of them don't have fathers.

Unidentified interviewer:

Well, you've been real involved with the children of this community ever since you moved here, haven't you, through the Wilderness Scouts, and now this. End tape.

 
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