It is an honor to be here representing my father, Carrol S. Walsh, Jr. better known as “Red Walsh” while serving in the US Army. Little did he ever think that he would reconnect with people whose lives crossed with his on April 13, 1945. This all happened due to pictures kept safe in a dresser, a small child who was curious, the sharing of a story that had never been forgotten but rarely spoken about and a dedicated history teacher from Hudson Falls, NY named Matt Rozell.

It was rather unusual that our father had kept these pictures in his dresser. He was not one that would normally do that. And I was that curious child who loved to go into his dresser to play with his lead soldiers. That is when I discovered the pictures in the envelope wondering who these people were. Asking my dad about them, he just responded...it was a train we came upon in Germany during WWII. Fast forward to 2001. We finally convinced my dad to speak with Matt Rozell who was doing interviews with WWII veterans. Now you have to understand that although he said he had nothing to say, Matt listened to him for 2 hours. As Matt went to say good-bye to me, I casually asked my dad if he mentioned the train. “No” he said, “I didn't”. With that, Matt sat back down. My dad also shared Dr. Gross’ pictures with Matt who then got permission from Dr. Gross to post them on the website. This is the background of how the story finally got momentum and now here we are today.

My father along with Dr. Gross were the tank commanders in the 743rd Tank Battalion under Major Clarence Benjamin. On April 13, 1945, these two tanks led by Major Benjamin came upon the train. My father shared that he had no idea of where they were going or what was going on. He remembered just approaching this area and all of a sudden seeing this stopped train. He recalled it being a long, long string of boxcars with an engine in front. There were no SS guards around. These are his words: “I can remember swinging my tank to the right and proceeding alongside the train. Then I saw what the train held...I still remember peering into those boxcars and seeing those people just huddled and mashed together.” The soldiers never before had witnessed or been subject to anything such as that which their eyes beheld...they were shocked, stunned, appalled and horrified at this sight. And, then the thought crept in as to what they would do with these people?” My father’s tank was ordered to continue to battle while Dr. Gross’ tank stayed the night to guard the survivors. The next day other units arrived to assist.

My father never felt like he was a hero as he felt that the survivors were the real heroes. At the Hudson Falls Reunions, he stated that the survivors experienced trauma that no human being should ever have to know. Yet their survival is proof of the unquenchable strength of the human will to live. Not only did their will to live sustain these unique people through their ordeal, it was also their extraordinary courage, perseverance, faith, hunger for freedom and tremendous inner strength. The world has been enriched because these people were spared. Endowed with intellect and talent their lives became lives of achievement and success. As he got older and realized what could have been, he appreciated their gratitude. However, he felt the survivors owed nothing...he would say “it is us who owe them. Everything was taken from them. The world passively stood by and did nothing ...neighbors stood by with averted eyes. Political, religious, academic organizations and institutions, entire nations stood by and let it happen. Consequently at the very least, we owe them the obligation to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. We can learn much from the Holocaust and it is important that its memory remain alive for generations to come so that they too may learn from it. The day is approaching when there will be no witnesses and no survivors left to tell about it. It will be a story found only in the annals of recorded history. Too often, history is ignored and to do so often proves fatal.” What else did those ugly boxcars reveal but the revelation of what bigotry, racial hatred, intolerance, and ignorance can unleash. Each and every person on that train was innocent, guilty of no crime. My father believed that by eliminating racial prejudice and bigotry from our own lives, confronting and challenging such attitudes and obstinate opinions whenever and wherever we encounter them that we can provide the beginning, no matter how humble, of a concerted effort to rid the world of these contemptible practices. Looking upon and accepting people only for what they are, regardless of race, color, creed, gender or station in life will make our own world better. If we do that, my father felt, it is then that these wonderful people with us today, survivors of the scourge of bigotry and prejudice and their families, will have reason to thank us.

I am sorry that my father is not here to see this day. Thanks to the dedication of Ron Chaulet, local historians, members of the Stranded Train Committee and high school students from several schools as well as some of the survivors, this beautiful monument has been erected. This monument stands as testimony of history that should not to be forgotten while allowing closure and hope that we learn from our past so that bigotry, hatred and intolerance will never be tolerated. In closing, my sister Sharon Walsh Salluzzo will share a poem she wrote about our father and the train.



Magdeburg, Germany April 13, 1945

It was just another day
In a series of endless days
In an endless nightmare
When the young G.I.,
War-weary and older than his years,
Came upon the train.

With apprehensive curiosity
He opened the boxcar doors
And freed thousands of stories to be told.

Each story the same yet

As each man, woman and child
On that train


He opened the doors to freedom.
He opened the doors to life and
Some of the stories had already
Leaving the living to tell their stories too.

War-weary and older than his years
The young G.I. opened the doors
To an end
And to a beginning.

La chaim!

Thank you again for allowing us to be part of this memorable day representing our father.