June 26, 2003
On June 26, 2003, Rachel & Sam Tannenbaum
celebrated Sam's 61st birthday with a visit to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum
in Pooler,Georgia to see Tony Vaccaro's exhibit of "The Last Battle,"
featuring a photograph of Private Henry I. Tannenbaum.
Rachel and Sam
Tannenbaum -- on Sam's birthday
in front of Tony Vaccaro's photo of Private Henry I. Tannenbaum
Happy Birthday, Sam!!!
Below is a treatment
of Tony Vaccaro's photo, and the story as it appears
on the websute of AWON member Dave Curry, who wrote the account.
The massacre at Ottre near Bihain, Belgium was one of the terrible tragedies of war for the 83rd Division.
On 11 January
1945, as the 331st Infantry was driving toward the town of Langlir, two assault
F Company made a dawn attack into the forest. They had gone 100 yards when they were pinned down by
heavy machine gun crossfire. The entire slope was raked continuously for several minutes. When the fire lifted,
platoon sergeant Harry Shoemaker raised his head and looked around. Many of his men were dead,
most of the others wounded. He saw two SS troopers coming down the slope from the ridge and he dropped
his head and watched from the corner of his eye. They began searching the clothing of the dead soldiers. A man
groaned and a rifle shot rang out. Blood trickled from the man's temple. Another groan was heard followed by
more shots. Everyone of the wounded was riddled and their clothes searched.
Shoemaker was the only one who escaped to tell the story.
the body of Pvt. Henry I. Tannenbaum lying in the snow. Taken by Tony Vaccaro,
the picture has been acclaimed by many as the outstanding photograph of WWII. Tony's photo is a
powerful emotional image--doubly so for me, because Henry Tannenbaum and my father served together
in the same rifle company. The verse represents the feelings I experienced when I first saw the photograph.
A monument in
memory of Pvt. Tannenbaum was dedicated by the Luxembourg Friends of American
Veterans Association this past June (2002). The monument is located at the exact spot in the field
where Tannenbaum was killed in action. To see the monument at Ottre, Click Here.
To go to Dave Curry's website "Brothers in Arms," the story of the 83rd Division, Click Here.
The photo was provided by Sam
and Rachel, with thanks!
The photo "White Death" is with thanks to Tony Vaccaro and Dave Curry.