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Kline, John

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



John Kline was born on 10 January 1925 in Glen Ayre, Indiana, near Terre Haute. He attended local country school, completing high school in April 1943. The next month John was inducted into the US Army. He completed Basic Training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, and then spent time in the Army Specialized Training Program (ATSP). When this program was disbanded, John was sent to the 106th Infantry Division, and assigned to the 423rd Regiment, to a machine gun crew. In September 1944 this unit shipped out to Europe. Sent to the line near St. Vith, Belgium, John's unit was overrun by the German offensive in December 1944, and on 19 December 1944, with more than a thousand other Americans, he was captured by the Germans. John spent the next four months as a POW in Germany, at camps IV-B (Muhlberg), VIII-A (Gorlitz) and, after a two month, 415 mile march, in the city of Helmstedt, Germany. Conditions steadily worsened, and hunger and disease claimed the lives of many. John was finally liberated when advancing US troops overran Helmstedt on 13 April 1945. John was moved to a field evacuation hospital, then to Paris, and finally in early May 1945 to the United States; he spent the time until his discharge in December 1945 at a military hospital in Indiana, and at home in Terre Haute. Again a civilian, John worked many years in sales in the Midwest region, before moving in the late 1950s to the insurance field. He and his wife Bettie (married 1943) raised a family of three boys. Bettie died in 1977, and John re-married in 1978 (wife Margot). At the time of this interview John Kline lived in Burnsville, Minnesota.


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John Kline - Transcript.pdf (1555 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with John Kline