This Nazi flag was captured and signed by Company I, 112 Infantry, 28th Infantry Division during the liberation of Paris or The Battle for Paris that occurred between August 19 and August 25, 1944, during WWII. Paris and the surrounding region had been governed by Nazi Germany since June, 1940. The French Resistance rose against the German garrison and received help from the U.S. Third Army under General Patton. On August 25, the German garrison commander and military governor of Paris surrendered. Victory parades were held in the city on August 26 & August 29, 1944, in which Company I paraded.
The 28th Infantry Division was nicknamed "The Keystone Division" because it was formed from units of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Included in the many signatures on this flag are George Grettenberger of Tidioute, Joseph Cooper and Arthur DeVore of Youngsville.
John Pierson, a nephew of George Grettenberger was contacted recently by David Winner, a Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) participant working at the historical society. Pierson has generously loaned memorabilia from WWII that George collected while serving. Unique items loaned include a German map of the Netherlands such as German soldiers would have carried and German belt buckles, a flare gun, a Nazi arm band and pennant, pins, insignia from uniforms, and his Grettenberger's identification tags. There are also several framed photographs of Co. I as well as other photographs of George and letters he sent home.
Photo submitted for publication
Pictured, left, is Lauren Christy, summer intern at the Warren County Historical Society; David Winner, center, rebuilt the frame that houses the captured Nazi flag; and John Pierson, nephew of George Grettenberger.
He was born in the Grandin Opera House building in Tidioute on July 19, 1907. He graduated from Tidioute High School and Hoff's Business College, and enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard on February 17, 1941 at the age of 34. Mr. Grettenberger was probably present to march in the parades through Paris after its liberation from the Germans in August of 1944, but it is not stated in his letters because they were censored to prevent the enemy from learning where Allied forces were located.
George had an interest in firearms and was certified on small arms repair by the Army. He passed away in 1982.
The captured flag and Grettenberger collection will be on display at the Wilder Museum through September. Stop by to view the amazing period of history it represents. The museum is open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. through Oct. 5. For more information, call 563-7773 or 723-1795.