Intermountain Jewish News

Banner
Monday,
Sep 01st

Holocaust glimpse takes a lifetime toll

E-mail Print PDF

Longtime Denverite Leon Tulper during WW IIMemorial Day feature

Since 1945, April 6 has come and gone 69 times.

Leon Tulper has dreaded each and every one of them.

“Come April the 6th, I don’t want to talk to anybody,” Tulper says in the cluttered chaos of his soon-to-close place of business.

“I don’t even want to see my family, nothing. It’s like embedded, like somebody inserted something in your head that automatically on April 6, you’re through.”

April 6, 1945 was the day that Tulper, at the time a 20-year-old radioman with the 65th Infantry Division, part of Patton’s Third Army, walked alongside his comrades into a place in Germany called Ohrdruf.

It was the first Nazi concentration camp liberated by US forces as WW II wound to its violent end, the first camp visited, and documented, by Eisenhower.

Part of the Buchenwald complex of camps, Ohrdruf was classified as a forced labor and concentration camp, but — particularly toward the final days of the war — it saw plentiful death as well, as desperate SS guards murdered hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Jewish and other inmates before it could be liberated.

For Tulper, who had spent the last several months with his unit as it fought its way across Germany, Ohrdruf offered horrors that dwarfed anything he had seen on the battlefield.

The usually sunny face of Tulper — “89 and counting,” he says when asked his age — turns cloudy when he visualizes his memories.

“There are,” he says, “just no words for it.”

A native of Kansas City, Tulper has lived in Denver since 1939, when he was 13. His father established a jewelry and watch business, Tulper & Co., downtown and later moved it to East Colfax where, in the shadow of East High School, it has long been an East Side fixture. Tulper took over the business after his father passed away.

He was drafted in Denver, did basic training in Texas and then volunteered for the US Army Air Corps, hoping to join a bomber squadron. That didn’t happen, since the Army decided it needed infantrymen more than airmen, resulting in Tulper’s posting in the 65th Infantry Division.

Shipping out to LeHavre, France in late 1944, the division missed D-Day by a few months and the Battle of the Bulge by a few days.

“We entered the line at Metz, France,” Tulper says. “We were there for some time until the Battle of the Bulge.

The rest of this article is available in the May 23, 2014 IJN print and digital edition only. Contact Carol to order your copy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or subscribe to our online e-Edition.

Last Updated ( Friday, 30 May 2014 03:22 )  

IJN e-Edition

This is only a taste! Get full access to the IJN via our e-Edition, only $14.04 for IJN Print subscribers.

E-Edition subscribers get access to a complete digital replica of the IJN, which includes all special sections.

Get the IJN's free newsletter!

Shabbat Times

JTA News

Blockers and tacklers: Jewish gridders gearing up for NFL campaign

mbrodsky Blocking brothers and fullback who hasn’t had a carry in four seasons are among the Jewish players on NFL rosters as the league kicks off this week. ... [Link]

Report: SodaStream mulling departure from West Bank plant

Marcy Oster The Israeli firm SodaStream, which has been a target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, is considering closing its West Bank factory. ... [Link]

Canadian Nazi Party founder running for Ontario township post

Marcy Oster The founder of the Canadian Nazi Party, John Beattie, is running for deputy head of the town council in an Ontario community. ... [Link]

Foreign Affairs Committee’s Royce and Engel to visit Israel

Marcy Oster Reps. Ed Royce and Eliot Engel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee will visit Israel this week. ... [Link]

Turkish Jews can stay mum on Israel’s Gaza op, Turkish Jewish intellectuals say

Marcy Oster Jewish citizens of Turkey are under no obligation to comment on Israel’s operation in Gaza, a group of Jewish intellectuals in Turkey said in an open letter. ... [Link]

U.S. calls on Israel to reverse land appropriation

Marcy Oster The United States called on Israel to cancel the government appropriation of West Bank land in the Etzion bloc, while Israeli ministers praised and panned the decision. ... [Link]

Artists in Brazilian exhibition protest Israeli funding

Marcy Oster Most of the artists participating in a major Brazilian art event protested funding for the show from the Israeli government. ... [Link]

Thousands rally against escalating anti-Semitism in Britain

Marcy Oster Thousands of people gathered for a rally in central London to protest the rise in anti-Semitism in Britain. ... [Link]

Intermountain Jewish News • 1177 Grant Street • Denver, CO 80203 • 303 861 2234 • FAX 303 832 6942
email@ijn.com • larry@ijn.com • lori@ijn.com