Local World War II veteran looks back on the war

BALLARD COUNTY, KY — At 95 years old, Bernard Anselm still remembers a lot about his service in World War II.

“Graduated out of high school in 1943 and was drafted right in,” says Anselm.

He served in the 8th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. Anselm wasn’t in Normandy on D-Day, but he was part of the second round of troops that took part in Operation Overlord. He still remembers the feeling of jumping off the boat.

“They dropped the thing, and we jumped out, and we had water up about this deep getting to the shore,” Anselm said, “Me, I just think I followed the rest of them whereever they went.”

Anselm and the 8th Infantry Division captured two French cities in Operation Overlord. They were later tasked with liberating concentration camps in Germany. Anslem says the images he saw are unimaginable.

“If a person could see what had happened over there and everything — the way the Nazis did, they were just like, they were not even human almost,” Anselm says.

Anselm says those horrific images are still with him after all these years.

“Something like this, you go through it; you don’t forget it. And I guess there’s not a day that goes by that something will pop up and make you think about it,” says Anselm.

By the end of the war, Anselm says he was thankful to make it out alive.

“I went through the whole thing — Battle of the Bulge and all — and met up with a Russian solider at the Baltic Sea at the end, and never got a scratch,” says Anselm.

To learn more about this story and others, follow Thomas on Facebook and Twitter.