I would not normally include someone else's biography on my page; however, I do believe that without the help of Franz, this project would have not been possible. To me, Franz Gajdosch is the resident historian of the post. He has written a book on the post which has yet to be published. It is currently being translated into English. To my knowledge, it is the first book to be written concerning the entire history Camp King. His knowledge of the post throughout its history, is amazing. I also believe that his story would be of interest to others as he was a POW of the Allied Armies interned in the United States.
I would first like to explain how I came to know Franz and then later found him. I knew of Franz because my family would often go to the Officer's Club for dinner. There Franz served as the bartender as well as cook. His culinary abilities are amazing. I have many pleasant memories at the Club and Franz was always a part of them. When I began to research the history of Camp King for my project, I wrote to the Historian of the United States Army Europe for information. He sent me some documents as well as a Stars &Stripes article that was written in 1993. To my delight, the story focused on Franz. Once I saw him in the paper, many memories came back to me. I later called him and he provided much of the information in relation to the post after World War II. He also provided me with a copy of The History of Camp King which I was unsuccessful at obtaining through the Center for Military History. (There is only one copy for reference)
Franz was born in a German mining town in Czechoslovakia named Smolink (Schmoelinitz) to German Parents on the 11th of April 1921. He was raised there and attended school.
In May of 1939 he left for Germany and joined the German Labor service in Hindelang and Gauting, Bavaria. In 1940 he joined the Army and volunteered for the "Waffen SS" in Vienna. After training he was transferred to the Haag in Holland where he was assigned to the Ostmark, SS-IR-4 (mot.)(SS)-Infantry Regiment 4th Motorized) During this period he participated in the Western Campaign. During this period his duties were primarily ceremonial. He also served as the messenger for the regimental commander, (Sturmbannfueher) Schuldt.
FRANZ GAJDOSCH DURING WORLD WAR II
In February 1941 his unit was transferred to the Eastern front, to the training center in Aris. Once the war began with Russia the unit crossed near Suwalky. It remained a reserve unit of the Reich. The unit later entered combat fighting its way to Wilna, Riga, Pskow. It also fought in Tosno, Nikolskoje, Lenningrad. It then returned as a defensive force in Nikolskoje.
The Polish border was reached in December of 1941 during adverse weather, blizzard, conditions. The unit was then ordered to Krakow. Franz was assigned the task of arranging for troops to arrive in villages. Once the Unit arrived in Krakow they were rapidly moved via aircraft to Kaluga in response to a Russian attack at the middle of the line. The town was recaptured with heavy loses being suffered by Franz's unit. The regiments unit strength amounted to two companies. Despite the losses, the unit continued to defend the front line. During these struggles Franz was promoted to Private First Class and made a squad leader. The unit ended up in the attack on Stiefwalden. Stiefwalden was taken without much resistance as the Russians were caught by surprise. After these actions the then regiment consisted of The commander, his deputy and about a 30 man reserve.
The commander was decorated with the "Ritter Kreuz" and the unit was renamed "Langemark" by Adolph Hitler. The remaining troops received the "Eiserne Kreuz" (Iron Cross) I and II.
In May of 1942, after receiving leaves, the unit was replenished with recruits and assigned as the "Kradscheuetzen Regiment" to the division "Das Reich". The unit was relocated to France.
In October Franz was sent to Warteland near Pozan for "Panzer School". In April of 1943 he was promoted to Sergeant and made a tank commander. As a tank Commander, he took part in the battles of Kursk and Mius. During a Russian breakthrough at Charkov, he retreated to Schitomer. His tank was struck twice by Russian T34 tanks.
In February of 1944 his unit was sent to France in the vicinity of Bordeaux. Franz notes in his biography that prior to entering the battle at Normandy, his unit suffered numerous losses to the Marquissards.
On D-Day, June 6th 1944, he became aware of the Allied Landings in Normandy by French civilians. His unit was participated in the counter attack on the allies. He was captured by the allies in August of 1944 while taking shelter in a French Villa after his tank had become inoperable.
After a brief stay France, he was transported to England. After a short period, he was transported to the United States to an interrogation center called 1142, near Alexandria Virginia, also called Fort Hunt. Once he was interrogated, he was assigned to work in the kitchen. Initially he was responsible for washing dishes. He eventually was tasked with the responsibility of bartending. During this period Franz learned English. (very well might I add) He was also given the opportunity to visit Washington DC as well as Arlington, Virginia. Many important POW's were brought through the post including Werner Von Braun.
By the time the post closed in June 1946, he was considered a VIP instead of a POW. He was shipped from New York to Germany along with General Gehlen and 52 of his men. On June 21st 1946 Franz arrived at the Military Intelligence Center Oberursel.
Franz Stayed on the post working at the Officers Club until it closed in 1993.
FRANZ TENDING BAR
FRANZ STANDING IN THE AREA OF THE BOWLING ALLEY
This is the best way I could think of to thank Franz for all of his help. It is interesting to note that in his Auto biography titled "I joined the Waffen-SS!" He notes how we interrogated our prisoners of war and comments on his treatment while at the interrogation center, 1142.
RETURN TO HOMEPAGE
PROLOGUE PRIOR TO WORLD WAR II1936-1939
WORLD WAR II "DULAG LUFT" 1939-1945 POST WORLD WAR II (1945-1953)
AMERICAN MILITARY UNITS (1953-1995) PHYSICAL PLANT SCHOOLS
THE FRANKFURT AMERICAN MILITARY COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
EMPLOYMENT TELEVISION, RADIO AND THE STARS AND STRIPES NEWSPAPER
POST SECURITY, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND TERRORISM
THE PEOPLE AND CITY OF OBERURSEL POST CLOSURE AND FUTURE