Surviving the Soviet front
A Picabo ranch hands book recounts the horrors of serving in
Id been a death candidate and nobody had cared a damn about me.
Goose pimples went down my back. This was part of the war you didnt see in the
newsreels or magazines.
Rudi Klein of Picabo, on almost dying in a Nazi hospital during World War
By KEVIN WISER
Express Staff Writer
During his 75 years, Rudi Klein has seen the good and bad of the world.
The green fields and rising Picabo Hills remind Klein of the sweet life in
his homeland of German East Prussia, a place that no longer exists, before the madness of
Adolf Hitler sent millions to their deaths.
"Hitler had it in his head to conquer all of Europe," Klein said
in a recent interview at his Picabo home. "He made a treaty with Russia and then
And then the American soldiers came.
When World War II was over and Germany was defeated, East Prussia was cut
in two. The southern half was awarded to Poland and the northern half became Soviet soil
with the line of division cutting through Kleins hometown of Schonbruch, a place
erased from the map.
Klein became officially recognized as a "displaced person."
After losing his family to the war and being seriously wounded and left
for dead in a Nazi field hospital, Klein was taken prisoner by the American forces
occupying Germany at the end of the war. He then took a huge step in his lifes
journey and immigrated to the United States five years after the war, becoming a citizen
Today, the German flag is flown beneath the stars and stripes at