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Ruth Berger Interview Transcription

Ruth Berger, 1st Lieutenant

Ruth Berger, who longed for adventures beyond her Evanston, IL home, enlisted in the Army in the summer of 1944 and was sent to the European Theater of Operations as a 1st Lieutenant and assigned to the 34th Hospital Train based out of Paris, France.

Ruth Berger was born in 1922 and was raised in Evanston, IL. After graduating high school, she went to school for nursing—completing her schooling during the outbreak of World War II. Fueled by a longing for adventure, she enlisted in the Army in the summer of 1944 and was sent to the European Theater of Operations as a 1st Lieutenant, assigned to the 34th Hospital Train based out of Paris, France.

As trains carried wounded soldiers from the frontlines in the Ardennes and Rhineland back to hospitals in Paris and Le Havre, Berger cared for hundreds of wounded soldiers and was subjected to attack by German V-1 “Buzz Bombs”—although at the time, she was unaware of the danger they posed.

After the war ended, Berger cared for survivors of the Holocaust who were also being transported to hospitals in France. She was eventually discharged and returned to the U.S. where she married and worked as a nurse until her retirement.

Berger aspired to be a cartoonist and during her time on the 34th Hospital Train she drew cartoons satirizing the sometimes monotonous and difficult life of a nurse. Digital copies are included in the photo album below.