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Alle, Samuel

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



Samuel Alle was born 26 September 1919 in North St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up in the area. He volunteered for the US Army in February 1941, and was trained as a dental technician. By late summer 1944 Sam had joined the fighting in Europe, serving as company aide man (medic) with Company L, 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Infantry Division. During a skirmish in eastern France on 6 September 1944, a river crossing, Sam was taken prisoner by German forces. Sam had been wounded in the action, so the Germans first sent him to a military hospital in the city of Saarbrucken for treatment. Subsequently Sam spent time in several POW camps: first XII-A Limburg, then III-C Kustrin. Kustrin, located on the present day German-Polish border, was overrun by advancing Soviet troops on 25 January 1945, and all POWs were released. Unable to reach American lines, which lay several hundred miles to the west, Sam and other liberated POWs were forced to march east, through Poland and the Soviet Union, to the Black Sea port city of Odessa. For some of these men this harrowing journey took weeks. Men were collected together and finally, in early April 1945, transported by an American ship to Italy. Sam was shipped from Italy to Britain, and then to the United States. He spent time recovering in several Army medical facilities, and was discharged from military service in November 1945. Again a civilian, Sam got married (wife Shirley) and worked many years for the US Postal Service in St. Paul, Minnesota. In retirement, Sam and Shirley relocated to Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where this interview was conducted in April 2005.


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