Soldier serves as interpreter in WWII
February 2, 2011 12:24PM
Updated: May 29, 2011 4:47AM
John Tuider’s fluency in German proved to be an asset during World War II.
He came to America when he was 8 years from the Austrian province of Burgenland.
When he was 2, his parents left him and his sister in the care of his aunt and uncle while they went to America. They sent for their children six years later when they got established. Tuider and his sister grew up in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago.
Although he knew little English when he arrived, Tuider picked it up quickly. In fact, he learned English so well that it seemed to others that he had spoken it his whole life.
Tuider was 22 years old when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He reported for duty in Rockford, the day before Thanksgiving in 1942. He was assigned to the 104th Infantry Division and later picked up the rank of sergeant.
Tuider became part of the 65th Calvary Division that was known as the Halbert Division. The 65th went further east into Europe than any other division.
Tuider was very valuable because he knew the German language and could get information from the German POWs. So worked as an interpreter for the regimental commander.
Tuider was surprised to meet one German POW who spoke very well. He actually was born in Chicago and lived a couple of blocks away from Wrigley Field. The man had moved with his family back to Germany when he was 10. Talk about trading places. John was born in Austria and served for the U.S. and this POW was born in the U.S. and fought for Germany.
Tuider also was assigned to Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army. He saw Patton on numerous occasions and noted the general did a lot for his men. Patton liked to keep his men moving and shooting so the enemy didn’t have a chance.
A week after capturing Regensburg, Germany, Patton and his men marched into Austria. A few days later, the war was over. Because he was an interpreter, Tuider was present during some of the surrender meetings.
After the war, Tuider returned to his old job at Sunbeam. He married his wife Marilyn in 1947, and they raised a family and were married for 49 years. His wife passed away in 1996.
He retired from Sunbeam in 1982 and started delivering newspapers to stores and gas stations. Later a position opened up for him to sell newspapers at the Downers Grove Main Street train station. At 90, he is still doing that job today.
In May 2010, Tuider and 88 other veterans took part in the Honor Flight in which veterans visit Washington, D.C., to visit the various monuments and memorials. It reminded them of the sacrifices that were made.
Tuider is active in the American Legion and he also bowls.
Tuider is a good friend of John Rosier, an Army veteran from Desert Storm who lives in Lemont.
The Veterans Recognition Ceremony at The Timbers of Shorewood scheduled this week was postponed because of the weather. The rescheduled ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Feb. 16 at The Timbers, 1100 N. River Road. For more information, call the ceremony’s sponsor Joliet Area Community Hospice at 815-740-4104 and ask for Jodi Wulff or Paul Newport.
Air Force Airman Alexander Barrett, son of Donna Barrett of Mokena, graduated from basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
Jean Edwards is looking for veterans or those serving in the armed forces. She can be reached at 815-439-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.