An Unrecognized and Uncompensated Disabled Veteran?
No one has been able to calculate the number of wounded, certainly amounting to several millions, whose lives were permanently scarred as a result of the war. Physical scars, from the severest disability to disfiguring wounds, and mental scars, accompanied these millions for the rest of their lives. Many died as a direct result of them. Others lived in pain, discomfort, fear or remorse...The greatest unfinished business of the Second World War is human pain.

Martin Gilbert, The Second World War: A complete history, 1989, revised 1991.

As I've worked on my Dad's story, I realized that he was a disabled veteran, unrecognized and uncompensated.

Felix was first assigned to a Signal unit in the Army Service Forces which provided support and supplies to the Army Ground and Air Forces. He served in southern England in preparation for D-Day. After D-Day, he served on the Cotentin peninsula near and in Cherbourg and Paris.

Those areas of England and France suffered German air attacks. Felix made vague references to experiencing air attacks. I am comparing the reports of German air attacks, including rocket attacks, with the dates and places of Felix's service.

In January, 1945, he was reassigned to the 45th  Signal Company of  the 45th Infantry Division, a front-line combat division. On March 24, 1945, nighttime German air attacks on nearby units were close enough to be noted by the 45th Signal Company. In April, the 45th was among the units that liberated Dachau.

All those experiences seemed to have caused Felix post traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

On June 5, 2009, as part of the observances of the 65th anniversary of D-Day, President Obama visited the concentration camp at Buchenwald, Germany. His remarks about his great-uncle may also describe how Felix was effected by what he witnessed at Dachau:

I've known about this place since I was a boy, hearing stories about my great uncle, who was a very young man serving in World War II.  He was part of the 89th Infantry Division, the first Americans to reach a concentration camp.  They liberated Ohrdruf, one of Buchenwald's sub-camps.

And I told this story, he returned from his service in a state of shock saying little and isolating himself for months on end from family and friends, alone with the painful memories that would not leave his head.  And as we see -- as we saw some of the images here, it's understandable that someone who witnessed what had taken place here would be in a state of shock.

In the 1950s he had his left lower lobe removed because of an (then) untreatable tubercular tumor.
He was drafted in 1941. Presumably, they screened him for tuberculosis. He served until 1945. Then in the 1950s he was found with an untreatable tubercular tumor.

Although he worked full time until his retirement, he never had the same stamina and strength and always seemed to struggle to breathe.He did make inquiries about disability for the tuberculosis but was discouraged from pursuing it.

My mother reports that the skin on his feet were fragile and tender for several years after the war.

For the rest of his life, he suffered from a post frost bite syndrome with symptoms that resemble Raynaud's Syndrome. The circulation shut down in his hands and feet whenever the weather turned slightly cold but painless. I remember in the winter his hands up to his wrists were cold, cyanotic with poor skin turgor.
(Colleen Doyle, RN, assisted in identifying my father's symptoms as possibly Raynaud's Syndrome.)

R. Richard Kingsbury in his autobiography, The Eighteen-Year-Old Replacement: Facing Combat in Patton's Third Army describes suffering cold injuries, possibly trench foot. After the war, the VA paid him two 10% disability for the permanent damage to his legs and feet. (Page xiii.)

At a minimum, that is what I believe Felix also deserved if not more as his hands were also permanently damaged.

I have a lot more insight into my father than I ever had. I wished I had this earlier while he was still alive. At least I am now able to remember him with compassion and understanding for what he suffered.

INDEX: Cizewski, Lovetere, Musbach, & Robinson Family History

All material not in the public domain 2006 - 2014 Leonard H. Cizewski

Last Updated: December 1, 2014
Posted: Sometime prior to July 29, 2009
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