Military Monday – World War II German Communities

Written by Lorel Kapke, Sort Your Story Founder

My father was interested in the arts and was heading in the direction of becoming a commercial artist when World War II broke out. He insisted on joining the service as he felt it was “his duty.” However, choosing what area of the military to join was a bit difficult. (Ray was always considered a “gentleman” and not a “fighter” yet he enjoyed sports as he played basketball in high school -at 5’10”- he was quick on his feet !

The military questioned his intent and asked him if he wanted to kill the enemy. Ray felt no animosity towards “any group of people” and he did believe it was his duty to serve (with full knowledge of the political climate at that time.) Ray was placed him in the Navy as a gunner on the USS Davison and Minesweeper.

Historically, where Ray Kapke lived in Wisconsin, it was a tight German community. At that time in Wisconsin the impact both World War I and World War II had on this German community” was experienced by our German ancestors. I understand many, many cultures dealt with similar stories. I feel sharing these stories may be beneficial to understand “discrimination” was felt by “many, many groups of people in this country from early 1500’s and so on!

So our question to you today: Did your ethnic group suffer any discrimination during World War I or II in your community? How did that shape your family’s history? How are you preserving YOUR family’s war stories?

© 2013 Sort Your Story, Sonoma, California

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