The Year Was 1943

Ghetto Life in Warsaw (from the Library of Congress Photo Collection at Ancestry.com)The year was 1943 and World War II raged on. In Leningrad, there was finally a break in the siege of that city as the Red Army opened a land passage that would allow food and fuel to the starving and freezing citizens who had been trapped in the city since September of 1941. The siege wouldn’t officially end until January of 1944 (900 days after it began) and by then an estimated 632,000 people had died of disease, starvation, and the extremely cold winters.

In March and April of 1941, Jewish people in and around Krakow were rounded up and moved into a ghetto in the Podgorze district of Krakow. 20,000 Jews were confined to an area that had previously only housed 3,000. Illness and hunger took its toll on the ghetto inhabitants, and in subsequent years mass transportations to death camps began. Finally in March of 1943, the remainder of the population was either killed on the spot or shipped to death camps. The Krakow Ghetto was completely wiped out. 

In the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto, reports of the death camps were trickling in, and in January residents fired on German troops who were trying to deport another group of Jews. This initial resistance was successful and inspired the fighters, but in April German troops returned a final time. Although they were able to hold off the German troops for nearly a month, eventually they were unsuccessful. 7,000 Jews were killed there. Another 56,000 were deported to meet their fate in death camps.

In Germany, a smaller resistance was coming to an end. Five students and one professor at the University of Munich were opposed the Nazi regime and secretly began printing and distributing leaflets under the name The White Rose in 1942. The leaflets encouraged the German people to rise up against the Nazis. Copies were widely circulated, and eventually three of the students, Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl, and Christoph Probst were arrested by the Gestapo. They were immediately tried, convicted of treason, and sentenced to death. They were beheaded the same day. The remaining three were also caught a short time later and met the same fate. One of the leaflets reportedly was smuggled out of Germany, retitled “The Manifesto of the Students of Munich,” and dropped by Allied planes over Germany.

The invasion of Sicily in 1943 was the first step in taking Italy out of the war and led to Mussolini’s removal from the Italian government. Following Mussolini’s ousting, the new Italian government aligned itself with the Allies in September, but the Campaign for Italy would not be over until April of 1945. 

In the United States, with more and more men being pulled from the workforce to fight in the European and Pacific Theaters, unemployment was down and the need for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) was gone; in June of 1943 the program ended. Since its inception in 1935, the WPA provided work for 8.5 million people (and records to many genealogists).

On the home front, rationing extended beyond food to clothing, shoes, fuel, and tires. Women stepped in to fill jobs vacated by men, although mothers were encouraged to remain at home and care for their children. They planted victory gardens to reduce the need for canned produce and found other ways to make ends meet for their families. 

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46 thoughts on “The Year Was 1943

  1. I remember visiting my grandparents in Fulton, Mo, during the war. Fulton is the home of Westminster College, where Winston Churchill gave his “Iron Curtain” speech. At night my grandmother would pull the green window shades to the bottom and then check the windows to make sure no light would shine outside. My grandfather was a neighborhood watch commander so he would put on his yellow hard hat, take his flashlight and walk all the blocks in his area to make sure others had their curtain fully closed. They had their garden in the back yard and a small chicken coop…I never got brave enough to try to take an egg from under a hen. I don’t remember my parents doing anything with their windows but we lived in a very small town. My father worked for the railroad and the head of the draft board keep trying to draft him into the army but each time he was reclassified because he was needed on the railroad to keep the tracks ready for all the troop trains. He said on some days there were so many troop trains going through it was hard to get the track repair done. Every time my grandparents gave me money I would save it so I could buy another stamp to fill my bond book. I was really proud to do that. God Bless America.

  2. In 1943 I was 15 and helped my mother with shopping for our rations. On a Saturday morning I would go on my bike down to Guthrie’s in the Kirkgate in Leith and stand in the queue. We were allowed 2 ham hocks or 4 pigs trotters, I got the hocks and Mum would boil them,make soup with stock, we would have the meat hot, then cold or minced and made into what I suppose would be called burgers today. I used to cook Dried Eggs into something resembling an omelette, Mum never got it right! We were lucky that a family friend had a fish shop so we ate a lot of fish which wasn’t rationed although fairly scarce. In the city it was not so easy to grow our own vegetables although we had a small garden and Dad grew Brussels Sprouts, so many people lived in tenement flats so did not have access to a garden. I had a Pen Pal in Detroit and she sent me parcels -I think it was called ‘Bundles for Britain’ and my sister and I were very up to date with the fashions – we even had nylons before the Americans arrived! Unfortunately we lost touch after we got married as my husband and I moved about a lot working on RAF stations – but that’s another story.

  3. In 1943 I was 15 and a Junior in High School. We lived in a small town in South Texas not far from Corpus Christi where there was a Naval Air Station. Mother did most of our shopping, saying that was the best way to keep up with the ration stamps. Since she had been a bookkeeper before she married, she kept an accurate record of both money and the ration stamps. We also had a small vegetable garden in our back yard and used our meat stamps only for Sunday dinner. Dad came from a large farm family. Every summer all the women and childen of the family would spend a week together at the farm. The women spent the entire time canning their own vegetables as well as any food grown on the farm & preserving any fresh fruit they could find. All the families used this food throughout the year. Everyone walked to any destination in town and only used the car and gas stamps to shop in Corpus Christi or to drive to my Grandparents farm 40 miles from home. We did however save enough stamps back to drive to the Mexican border for a week’s vacation each summer. You see, gasoline was not rationed in Mexico. There were always many sailors along the highway outside of Corpus who were anxious to leave the naval base and find a bit of home in some of the surrounding towns or were trying to hitch-hike to San Antonio. Mother and I always stopped to pick up as many sailors as our car would hold. I shall never forget one particular afternoon. It had been a very long and hot day of shopping. As soon as mother got into the car, she wiggled out the girdle she was wearing and tossed it into the back seat of our car. When we stopped near North Beach to pick up 4 sailors, we both had forgotten about the offended garment. When the first sailor got in, he laughed and said “I presume this is yours, lady?” Mother laughed as she took the girdle and stuck it under the front seat and I was one totally mortified teen ager. I was so embarassed that I slid down in my front seat and sat, almost on the floor of the car all the way home. As I recall, once home I did have a few words of complaint. Many stores in our small town were owned by young men who went into service so the wives took over operation of the stores. They wives also had small children and had little time for the detailed record keeping required by the government. My Dad and another bookkeeper in town were too old for service so offered to keep the record books at night after working their regular jobs during the day. It was rare for Dad to get to bed until well after midnight during those war years. I’m happy to say that all of our store owners returned from service to once again run their own businesses.

  4. My mother, sister and I were living with my grandmother on a farm in South Carolina while my dad was working in Purto Rico. Grandmother had a garden, though sugar, meat, gasoline and other things were rationed. I still have some of the ration books. My cousins and I scoured the farm for scrap metal, old plows, horse shoes, rusty wire, etc. Grandmother recycled all the tin cans and grease which could be made into explosives. I remember wearing shoes with cardboard inside to cover the holes in the soles. Even chewing gum and cigarett pack tin foil was saved for the war effort. Children today think it is horrible if they are denied anything but we were willing to sacrifice anything for our troops overseas. Who knows, we may even see a return of gas rationing one of these days.

  5. 1943 I was a little kid following my mom around in Pike County KY my two older brothers were off to the war as were my two sister husbands. My dad did not go off to war as he was needed to mine coal.
    My parents traded stamps for sugar as we did not need gas,we lived in town and dad hand dug the yard to plant a garden and the city of Elkhorn allow us to have chickens and a cow in the shed were dads old cab used to park.
    Elkhorn City,KY the new name for Elkhorn Coal Co. as it was Praise,KY when I was born in 1936 had around 2000 people as it was a big coal and Train town back them but ALL 2000 people knew each other and who’s kids belong to what family… So you had to be good or you got the switch big time :-) .

    God Bless us all for seeing those times

    Dave Hicks

  6. I was born in 1943. My mother and father were welders in the ship yards in Portland Oregon. Mom welded until she was about 8 months with me. She quit because she could not get into the bottoms of the ships any more. Mom told of being on a waiting list for diaper pins for me. Dad put his car up on blocks and did not drive until the war was over. My mom’s older brother was killed in the war and Dad had two brother’s fighting. I am sure it was a hard time for them. Anita Keller

  7. I was 13 in Visalia, CA. My oldest brother was a Navigator in the Army Air Corps and my middle brother joined the Army ASTP that year. My mother kept a Memory Book–a record of what happened from 1906 until 1968. 1943 has been typed up by my brother and is 29 typed pages long. I would be glad to share it.
    Wayne Woodward

  8. Lloyd Herbert Hughes died on 1 Aug 1943. Military buffs may recognize this as the day of the Ploesti Raid or its code name, Tidalwave. He was known to family and friends as Pete, and though I never met him, he was known to me as Uncle Pete.
    2nd. Lt. Hughes was a B-24 pilot in World War II who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in “a long and hazardous minimum-altitude attack against the Axis oil refineries of Ploesti, Rumania.” Uncle Pete was just a little over 22 years old when he died for his country on 1 Aug 1943.

  9. White Rose participants actually numbered closer to 180. Five students and one professor were beheaded in 1943, another student beheaded in 1945, another adult participant shot by the Gestapo three days before war’s end in 1945. An additional eleven (some students, some adults) were sentenced to jail, prison, or penitentiary. The wife of one man was murdered in Auschwitz.

    To learn more about the real story of the White Rose, please check out our Web site: http://www.deheap.com/White%20Rose%20Studies.htm.

    Best regards,
    Denise Heap
    Director, Finance & Administration and Internship Program
    Center for White Rose Studies
    Lehi, Utah USA

  10. I was nearly 5 years old and at grandma’s house when the phone rang. It was my great-aunt, crying, as she had just received word that her son James Wiggins Coe, was missing. Cmdr. Coe was the skipper of the submarine Cisco, which was lost in the Sulu Sea off the Philippines in September 1943 on its first patrol. He left a pregnant wife and 2 children. The 3rd child, Mary Lee Coe Fowler, has just published a book “Full Fathom Five” about the search for the father she never knew. I remember air raid drills with blackouts, rationing, scrap drives.

  11. Hartford, Connecticut, in 1943 practiced air-raid procedures every Monday at 9 p.m., the same time the “Lux Radio Theater” aired. Having a nervous stomach caused by a furnace exposion, this five-year old would, at exactly 9:01 p.m., head for the completely black bathroom to dispose of whatever supper had offered. But we children would also lie in the backyard to watch pilots test Pratt and Whitney engines in mock dogfights. To this day, I can reflect on those plastic bags of white stuff with orange capsule to make that still odious-to-me mixture called “oleomargarine.” Ration stamps and tokens I still have. I pray Americans will never have to use them again!

  12. I was just a child during WWII. I had been given a real rubber “Betsie Wetsie” doll that I loved. I left it in front of our small town grocery store and it was gone when I came out. It couldn’t be replaced because rubber was scarce due to the war effort. but do remember rationing.

    A local boy, training to be a pilot, buzzed the town one evening. I panicked thinking that we were being attacked.

    Eveeryone had victory gardens; local dogs, if allowed to run loose, were subject to being shot for fear that they would dig in and destroy the crops.

    In the northern Michigan area where we lived, hunting (poaching also) and fishing was a regular part of a man’s life. As a result, game and fish were available — canning of venison, mushrooms, and berries gathered in the summer, enabled people to have a reasonably healthy diet.

    My mother, abandoned by my father shortly thereafter, went to Detroit to become a “Rosie the Riverter” in a defense plant. Her feckless cousin lived with us for awhile and used up all our sugar ration to make fudge!

    Mignon’s remembrance of the odious oleomargarine, the lard colored with an orange capsule, made me laugh out loud. The only good part of that stuff was the fun of breaking the capsule and kneading it into the lard to turn it uniformly yellow — a kid’s job.

    Those who lived in Wisconsin, the dairy state, had to buy oleo uncolored until the late 70′s or early 80′s because the dairy lobby did not want it to compete favorably with butter.

  13. In 1943 by big brother washed out of pilot training in Texas. He told me later that that was the lowest point of his life. He wanted to volunteer for paratroopers and expected to die. It was the first time he had ever failed to succeed at anything he tried. One of his instructors told him that he was too smart to give up. He went into navigator training and flew in B-17s out of England from June to December 1944. Much of my memories come from pictures of that time since I was only six.

  14. I was 3 years old and don’t have vivid recolletions of the war but I do remember the air raid drills and having to pull the black-out curtains closed. And I remember my Aunt throwing a shoe at the air-raid warden because he said he was going to shut off the electricity if she didn’t get those curtains drawn!!

  15. In 1943 I was 7 years old and a victim of the massive polio epidemic that swept through the country. Many who contracted polio underwent the Sister Kenny treatment — hot packs made from pieces of blankets and wrapped around affected limbs. Some were in iron lungs so they could breathe. Others were confined to hospitals for months and when released underwent strenuous physical therapy for years, learning how to walk again. Now, 65 years later after leading relatively normal physical lives, many of the afflicted are now in the throes of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS). Space limits my going into PPS, but you can Google it and learn about it.

  16. I was born in 1943. I remember things at the age of three but not before. We lived across the street from Winchesters Gun Factory in New Haven, Connecticut. We rented our apartment from them. My grandfather Nunzio and my great Uncle Harold worked at Winchesters. My mother worked as a seamstress and my father worked too.

    I remember having my tonsils out at three years old because the doctor made house calls then and the hospitals were full so we had our tonsils out on the kitchen table. I still remember them giving us the anasthetic with a coffee can used as a mask.

    I had forgotten about the oleo margarine and how I used to like to break the capsule and mix it. We lived in that apartment till I was nine and we would walk the block to the guard shack to visit with the guards and watch the trains come in. I watched the soldiers come and go on the trains and remember my uncle Joe going off on them when he joined the army. I will always remember those days.

  17. In 1939-1940, my dad was working at Bagley & Sewells Co. They were making machinery for paper mill companies. The company converted to making shell casings for the government. J.J. Cooper bought the company, Dad started working overtime and our financial situation improved immensely. I always thought it was ironic that J.J. Cooper also bought out a junk yard not too far from my father’s work. He cleaned out the junk yard and sold the scrap metal to Japan. And then it was 12/7/41! I often wonder how much of that scrap metal came back to us.

  18. What wonderful remembrances, I hope all are writing these down along with others for your families. This was before my time, but I have my mother-in-law’s ration books. Very interesting!
    Margaret McCarthy where in Northern Michigan?
    I enjoyed every comment!

  19. 1943 I remember well. I was 8 years old, we had a victory garden, fabric and shoes were difficult to find, rationing prevailed, even tires were rationed. We lived in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, a college town, where there was a large oil refinery on the northmost side of the city. Air raid blackouts were frequent, which brought the war closer to us than it actually was. When in the middle of the night the oil refinery caught on fire and produced amazing flames to the clouds in the inky dark sky, we were awakened. Sirens everywhere, my Dad piled us into the 1935 Ford and we went to see just what was on fire. The flames were indeed impressive to an 8 year old. Afterwards, I asked my Mom “Mama, are the Germans going to come and bomb our town?” She said no. I then asked her how she knew that. She said “Because God is on our side and we are safe”. I was content with that thought.

  20. In 1943 I was 12 years old and got my very first job in our small neighborhood grocery store. I counted and recorded the ration stamps that were turned in at the store. Also, in order to conserve on unessential factory labor, canned goods were shipped without their labels glued on. One of my jobs at the store was to glue the labels on the cans of peas, corn, beans, etc. I still sometimes wonder whether I ever glued the wrong label on a can.
    My dad was just over the age limit for the draft, so he became a neighborhood air raid warden. He insisted that we keep buckets of sand in our home in case a dreaded incendiary bomb landed on us.
    Growing up in Detroit, all of us kids were able to identify any and every make of automobile. During the war we also liked to practice being airplane spotters and learned to identify all types of war planes as they flew overhead. My favorite was always the P-38.
    Once we were of high-school age, nylon stockings were rationed and were very scarce. When a store announced that they had nylons in stock, the lines of customers would stretch for blocks. We solved the problem by applying bottled liquid stockings to our bare legs. And, since stockings still had seams then, we would use an eyebrow pencil to draw in the back seam to make the “stockings” look more real.

  21. I started school in 1943. While I know that the sun did shine during the war years, what I remember is the darkness. My dad was an air-raid warden and on the nights that there were practice air-raids, we had to draw the blackout curtains and turn off the electricity. We would take our baths by candlelight. Among my souvenirs are a couple of old ration books and some of the red and blue tokens that were used for meat and something else, though I don’t recall what that was. We recycled everything that we possibly could – newspapers, tin cans, glass, even grease. My mother used to collect the bacon grease in an old coffee can and use it for cooking. She had a very large garden and did a lot of canning so that we would have enough food for our large family. I have never understood why, when the war was over, that this country didn’t continue to recycle. Had we done so, I think we would have a “greener” society.

  22. 1943 was the year my mother suffered a miscarriage after being bombed out of her home in Bristol, England. The baby would have been my elder sister. I remember Mother telling me the story of the doctor attending, who was doing it all in the dark, commenting to my mother on the convenient bedside table; “Bedside table? I don’t have one.” was her reply, it turned out to be the chimney stack, which had fallen through the ceiling!

  23. Along with all of the memories already mentioned, I remember us kids going into the fields with burlap sacks and gathering milk weed pods. Boy did they leave you with sticky fingers. When our bags were full, we would take them to the local school and turn them in. We were rewarded with war bonds.

  24. I forgot to mention that the fluffy stuff from the inside of the milk weed pods was used in making rafts and parachutes.

  25. My father was relocated from the small town in upstate New York to the “big city” of Syracuse. He was too old to be drafted (he’d already fought World War 1) and his occupation as owner of a small logging & lumbering operation was considered “not essential to the war effort”, so no ration stamps unless he went to work in a factory so a younger man could be released to fight. We lived in a 3rd-floor walk-up apartment and I was a “latchkey kid”. Mother went back to work for the first time, on the day shift in a “war factory” making shells for the Navy. She worked days and father worked in the same plant on the night shift. They slept in the same bed but saw each other only on weekends! I was the one to come straight home from school, make Father’s dinner, pack his lunch and send him off to the bus stop before starting supper for my Mother and brother.

    Those blue tokens someone mentioned above were for canned goods. Every shelf in the grocery had two tags below each product, one for price and another for ration points.

  26. 1943 was the year my husband-to-be came back to the United States after having hurried to Australia starting out on December 8, 1941,(the day after Pearl Harbor)just a few days before we were to be married at Christmas. He took a ship to Hawaii and then supervised the uncrating of his Martin B-26 in Honolulu before flying himself and his crew to across the South Pacific, island hopping using only Captain Cook’s maps. That took real bravery considering that those maps were drawn in the early 1800′s when Capt. Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands.
    After only 23 days in combat before he was wounded in late April 1942 most of his fellow first pilots were dead. I thought he was dead too because he never wrote me while he was in hospital but in January of 1943 the phone rang in our home Dayton, Ohio, and wonder of wonders it was Fletcher. He had come back to the U.S. and was on leave with his mother in Amarillo, Texas and did I want to come visit? I didn’t hesitate but said yes and so in August that year 1943 we finally had the wedding that would have been im 1941. Ues I certainly remember 1943 and here we are 65 years later still thanking whoever takes care of lovers for all of our years together.

  27. I was born in 1941 and have memories of WW-II. I remember that tin cans were opened on both ends and flattened out and saved for the scrap drive. They were kept separate from other trash, usually in baskets, and the city would keep them seperated when they picked up the trash. They would then be recycled for the war effort.
    Because I was a baby, my parents got sugar-ration tokens (red and blue round fiber slugs) to buy it and we had sugar. I still have some of them today.
    I remember my mom making the “fake” butter with the oleo and dye capsule.
    My uncle Mike was drafted into the Army and he wrote often during basic training. There was a guy in his unit who had a portable record-cutting machine and he charged $1.00 to make a recording. My uncle made a recording and mailed it home to my grandmother. We didn’t have a record player so we played it on the neighbor’s player. It started out “Well, Ma, tomorrow we’re gonna get shipped out”. Even as young as I was at the time I can remember the tension and anxiety in his voice as the record played, almost like he was saying goodbye, and the sombre mood of everyone listening. Because he spoke Italian he was shipped to Italy as an interpreter.
    If you had anyone in the service you were given a fabric
    “flag” that hung in the front window with a star for each member of the family that was in the service, a sign of patriotism. My grandparents lived above us so we hung it in our front window for everyone to see. My uncle did return from the war. Oddly, I don’t remember any war’s-end celebrations.

  28. I was 5 in 1943. I kind of lived between my grandparents and my parents in Indiana. My father managed a war defense plant, and my grandfather was one of about three doctors left in the neighboring county during the war. He had been a surgeon at Walter Reed before WWI and then ran a field hospital in France. I remember the white oleo with the red/orange dot very well, too. We also had a neighborhood victory garden which all of us kids in the neighborhood raided..we found out the watermelons were ripe and we would take one a night and go hide in the woods and eat it during the long daylight hours! No one could figure out what was happening to the watermelons!
    My grandfather was often paid for his work in food, including meat and vegetables, so we canned everything and then shared. My mother was an air-raid warden and when the sirens sounded, I was left alone and I can remember how scared I was. Our city was considered a major target.
    Before the end of the war, I was traveling on the train with my grandparents to NYC and on into RI. I loved the trains, and would lay up in the berth watching the mountains and towns go by.
    On VJ Day, my grandparents were in NYC for a few days; I happened to be with my grandfather and wound up sitting on his shoulders in Times Square when the word the war had ended came over the sign in Times Square. It was the safest spot for a little shrimp of a girl. That night I saw the lights of NYC come on!

  29. I was 8 yrs old in 1943. At school we all had to be fingerprinted. We all had to wear name tags around our necks. Our neighbor was an artist. He painted camouflage scenes that were stretched over all identifiable landmarks in Burbank, CA, where we lived because we had the Lockheed aircraft plant and it was thought that we would be the first to be bombed. Whenever we had air raid drills at school, we really believed we could be hit. My father had a wonderful vegetable garden. I knew there was rationing, but I was too young to feel deprived. We were all in it together.

  30. I remember the day Italy surrendered. I was 8 years old. We lived in an Italian neighborhood and all the people ran out into the street, because Italy was no longer the enemy of the USA. I remember a woman whose sons were in the US army kissing the ground in thanks, because Italian Americans were so torn about their patriotism to the USA and their feelings toward their country of birth and their relatives who were still living in Italy. My father had been a war hero during WWI and he now worked for Steinway and Sons in NYC making gliders for the army. During peace-time, Steinway was the piano company. My father’s nephew was taken hostage by the Germans who were occupying his Italian town of birth and shot in reprisal in the piazza with 19 others because a German soldier had been shot by partisans. My father learned of his nephew’s death on a commuter train as he read and saw photos in the NY Daily News. I still have letters my future brothers-in-law sent my from the UK and Belgium. Just think of how caring these men were, thinking of an 8 year old girl while in the midst of a raging war. I also remember my mother studying for her citizenship papers and then going before a judge who asked her if she would bear arms against Italy. She said yes, of course, as long as she didn’t have to shoot her brothers who still lived there. People today, can never understand our feelings of loyalty and patriotism to the USA that we all had at that time.

  31. I was eight years old and my mother and I traveled from CA to Mo to visit my grandfather. We were on a troop train–mostly soldiers. The soldiers took me to the dining car with them for meals, gave me candy bars and chewing gum and treated me like their little sisters or daughters back home. I had a wonderful time. Can you imagine this happening in the world we live in today??

  32. I’m really impressed with the original story and the comments. I was born in late Nov. 1943 so there was only one month left in what sounds like a very hard year for many to have endured. My gratitude is deep for the contributions of all of you because it has helped me learn more about what the world was like when I entered. Thanks!

  33. I was born 0n 6th May 1943 in the town of Cheltenham, Gloucestersire UK. A country spa tpown with about 80,000 pop normal non-wartime. This night the one and only bomb on the town fell – 1 only during ww11 – the night I was born. I was born ar 6.10 am wartime summer-time which was 2 hours ahead of GMT rather than usual one hour,to make it harder for the germans ike it was daylight until 11pm at night. However by the time it was time for my mother to go to the hospital it was blackout. She walked with her own mother about 2 miles with only the light of a single match. My father was of course away at war- so were my grandmothner’s sons and 1 daughter. M y grandfather was living with us as he was over fighting age but he ran the local home-guard and because he was a butcher the meat-ration. I was taken home to my grandparents house 3 weeks later. Thet put my cot under the billiard table (because it had a lead top).

  34. In 1939 my father worked in the WPA in Billings Montana. As a child I heard stories of how poor they were. My small dad dug ditches. There was one family who were not poor. They shared steak with those who did not have anything. My sister bought 25 cents worth of lunch meat and this was not a lot at that time. There were about 15 women in Livingston Montana who worked on the railroad while the men were at war.

  35. three gallons of gas a week and two pair of shoes a year! I didn’t complain because i had 3 brothers and a cousin over seas, but I felt i was suffering for the war effort.

  36. I was born in Maracaibo the oil town of Venezuela, during the early 1940s there were rumors that Venezuela was going to be invaded by the Nazis and Axis forces for the oil.
    The small (about 40 families) Jewish community fearing their fate would be similar to their European brethens. Decided in
    sending at least one child from each family to the United States. A Texan the head of an American Oil company, adviced
    a delegation of Jewish parents to send the children to a private Military Academy that the olil company supported in
    San Marcos, Texas.
    Not all the families sent children to Texas. In 1943 at the
    age of eight I was sent with a few other Jewish boys and girls to the San Marcos Military Academy eventually during those war
    years the Jewish boys and girls from Maracaibo comprised about
    ten per cent of the student body of that Baptist Military Academy.
    I remember the teachers reading us letters from their loved ones serving their country. Also the High School seniors getting ready to join the military units.
    Our teachers instilled in all of us at the Academy including
    the Junior boys a feeling of patriotism during those war years.

  37. I found all the memories interesting. Many thanks goes to all who served in the armed forces and to all who did their part on the home front. Happy Memorial Day!!

  38. I was born in 1943 and remember my mother telling about buying flannel to make my diapers. She was a nurse so she got extra rations of gas and tires. When we closed my grandparents house we found ration books, and a recipe book put out by the government on how to “make do” and cook with the ingredients on hand and how to plant a victory garden. We also found black out paper in the garage.

  39. In 1943 I was 13 years old, born in Los Angeles. My mother was a nurse at the Los Angeles County Hospital and, among other duties, helped train nurses for the Navy ship “Mercy”. My parents had been divorced and my father was in Texas. How well I recall the fear of Japanese attacks, blackouts, rationing, and other things. I remember when Japanese were rounded up and sent off to camps, and I snarl at criticisms of that by people who weren’t born yet. We had two Japanese students at our school in Los Angeles. One was a nice person. The other held her head high and told us her father was a “sleeper”, sent from Japan years before to settle in like an American and wait for orders that would come when the war began. That our parents would be put in concentration camps and we’d never see them again, and we’d be made to work for the Japanese. I knew no child our age could know those things unless they heard adults say them. I’ve thanked God many times for the confinement of Japanese because that girl’s father was dangerous.

  40. I was born in 1935 in a small town on the Strait of Juan De Fuca in the State of Washington. My parents home had a good view of the Straits and I watched as many of the ships damaged at Pearl harbor limped past my home on their way to the shipyards at Bremerton, Washington. In 1943 Fort Worden(where An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed),was about a mile from where I lived then and just over the hill from where I live now. There were many military troops stationed there during the war and after. My grandparents lived in Victoria, British Columbia, about an hour and a half ferry ride from my home. The ferry left in the middle of the night and they would have to open the anti-submarine nets that were stretched across our harbor so the ferry could get out. We have a naval airbase across the water from us and we would hear them practicing. My parents raised chickens during this time and we had victory gardens at school.

  41. I was 4 years old in 1943, but I remember ration stamps, for sugar,gas,shoes. We didn’t have a car, we lived in Northeast Ark. on a farm and had mules for farming and that was our transportion, also. My uncle was on the USS Helena that was sunk by the Japanese on Jul 6,1943 north of Australia. He was one of about 150 out of over 600 that didn’t make it. I, also, had 2 more uncles in the Navy, but they did come home. I remember the day the war was over we were going to my granparents and when we were going thru town all of the church bells and the sirens were going off. My dad asked what was going on and was told the war was over. We didn’t have electricity so we didn’t have blackouts.
    I, also, remember the fake butter with the orange spot. We had our own garden and my mom canned everything, including meat from the pigs that we killed for food. She would trade her gas stamps for sugar to can peaches and apples from our own fruit trees. We only had to buy sugar, flour and things like that, we raised most of the other things we needed. And we also recycled just about everything. Mom made our dresses from the printed flour sacks. People weren’t so wasteful back then.

  42. I enjoyed reading all the memories. I was almost a teen when the war began. I remember rationing but was also aware of hoarding, which was a crime and the black market, another crime. Some towns had no meat ever because the black marketeers got to it first. I remeber when my parents and I went from southern California where there was no meat, to Sacramento, where the butcher case was full. My mother was so startled to see this that she asked the butcher if it was really for sale.

  43. This is great! So many things I had forgotten about, such as the oleo & orange capsule. My daddy was unable to join the service so in 1941 he went to work for the Civil Service & we moved to Buffalo NY when I was 6 years old. Because of the polio epidemics, every summer daddy sent mother & me back home to West Virginia. I was learning to play the accordian & we took it with us on the troop trains three summers, 1942 to 1944. I played my accordian for the soldiers, songs like Little Brown Jug & Beer Barrel Polka, which they sang to. It was a wonderful experience.

  44. I will gry again. My prior recolletion was not sent because I mis-read the instructions.

    I was a recent high school graduate in 1942 and was taking a business course in Syracuse in 1943. Syracuse was an Army Air Corps town and Pine Camp was only one and a half hours away, as was Sampson Naval Base.

    We residents of the local YWCA had kitchen privileges, so when a soldier was invited to joins us for a meal, he always brought his ration stamps –usually more than we needed (Hooray!) When our friends left for overseas, we watched for the dipped airplane wings signal.

    Nylons were no problem because Woolworth 5&10 cent store had a service for re-weaving “runs”. Those of us who had saved damaged stockings were fortunate — we never lacked for nylons all during the war.

    We weren’t a throw-away generation!

  45. How well I remember WW II. I started high school the fall of 1941 and graduated in May 1945, so I was in high school all during the war. We were just coming out of the Great Depression, when Pearl Harbor was hit on the fateful day of Dec. 07, 1941. It was on Sunday and we lived in the country. We came home from our country church and my uncle had come to visit that day. We had a new battery radio–my parents didn’t have electricity until 1948. Dad wanted my uncle to listen to the new radio, so he turned it on and all we got was that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. It was repeated over and over again and we knew then that my brother, who had been in the Army since 1935, would certainly be sent somewhere. It happened to be first to Attu in the Aleutian Islands and then he was sent to Kwajalein Atoll, then to Leyte and on to Okinawa, where he was hit in the back with shrapnel. It just missed his spine, but he carried that piece of shrapnel until his death in 1977.
    Yes, we dealt with rationing and I well remember the lard looking margarine. Before the bubble packs, there was a small envelope with the coloring in it and one had to let the margarine get soft and then mix in the coloring with bare hands. It left the hands discolored for a day or so until it wore off in the hot dishwater. What a great day it was when we got our first margarine in a kneadable bag and the little orange capsule was inside that bag and we would break the capsule by crushing it into the white stuff and then kneading it until the mass was yellow. No hand washing!!
    I was married in October 1945 and we were still using ration books at that time, so I had to learn how to use those ration stamps as a new bride.
    In 1955, I went to Mainz, Germany, as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to spend a year in post graduate school there. Mainz had been 95% destroyed during the war and only 35% rebuilt, when I arrived there. I watched the digging out of rubble and have seen numerous skeletons uncovered from the rubble. In Stuttgart, the precision bombing by the Allies could still be seen. A house would be bombed and the next one left, but the business section was flattened. The old cathedral there still had blackened areas on the walls from smoke from the burning rubble. Berlin was still almost nothing but rubble in the Eastern section and the West section was being slowly cleared and new buildings being built. This was before the wall was built. The conditions in the refugee camps was deplorable. Sacks of straw were used for bedding and a gruel was cooked in large cauldrons and dipped out onto pieces of newspaper and the refugees ate it with their fingers and hands.

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