May 24, 2019
To continue the Mumedy family history, I will move on to Leona as she was well qualified as clerk for the different attorneys in Carter County and went on to Missoula, Montana to work for an attorney and also for the CCCs.
She reported that in 1941 she was transferred to San Bernardino, California to be secretary to the Commanding General of the Mira Loma Quartermaster Depot. Remember, World War II was in progress and this base supplied all the merchandise for the Los Angeles port serving China, Burma, India, and other depots of Europe.
After the war, a teletype came to recruit court reporters to go to Washington D.C. Leona and eight other court reporters from various states were privileged to attend.
“This was a real experience for me and Washington was beautiful in cherry blossom time, I was truly in another world from the sod house in Ekalaka,” she wrote.
While in Washington, D.C. a teletype came to the state department asking for fifty court reporters to go to Germany for the War Crimes trials. Leona and Mary Lou Humphries (unknown to me) took the test. Both qualified and made the decision to go to Germany.
Leona has a two and a half page article in Shifting Scenes Vol. III, pages 332-334, about this experience.
She wrote in 1981:
“The War Crimes trials in Germany may not have a place in history of Carter County, but they are history. They were held from October 1945 to March 1947 in Dachau and Nuremberg. Since this was over 3 decades ago anyone under 40 years old does not know what the trials were about. Briefly, when Hitler took over Germany, all those who opposed Nazism were placed in concentration camps and used as forced labor in the factories: These were doctors, teachers, nurses, executives, etc. The better educated people who didn’t conform to Nazism.”
Leona gives some statistics on these concentration camps, and again I quote her article:
“War was declared December 8, 1941 and before the camps were liberated in May 1945, over six million people were exterminated at Auschwitz and over 240,000 exterminated at Dachau. This included the Jews, mentally ill, retarded, handicapped and old. 50,000 Russian children were destroyed. Five million Russians were shipped to Germany in cattle cars to work at forced labor and put in camps.”
In her article which covers about a page, she gives her description of how these people were treated and killed. It is too long to print here and almost too terrible to believe.
She tells of her trip to Germany where they stayed and journeys to different places and towns while working there. There were eight courts and judges with one each from France, Britain, Russia, and the United States. The jury was made up of American officers who sat on the bench, seven to nine in each trial. It was here that she met Gordon O. Berg, former county attorney of Ekalaka, and it was like “old home week” to see him. Gordon O. Berg was Carter County Attorney from January 1937 to February 1942.
Leona traveled to Paris, London, Ireland, Scotland, Norway and Amsterdam. She sent 500 tulips to her cousin Elsie Stenseth in Ekalaka to distribute them around town, but they never arrived.
After returning to the states she married William Miller, an attorney, in June 1950. She had met him in Germany. They made their home in Maysville, Kentucky.
We need to be reminded and know how one man (Adolf Hitler) with his propaganda machine and control of the military brought the destruction and death to the world during this time. Thanks to the sacrifice of the U.S.A., including many brave Carter County servicemen and women, all this was defeated.
Ekalaka and Carter County may be “at the end of the world,” but two individuals, Leona Mumedy and Gordon O. Berg, made international history there in Germany. From sod house and homestead days to world history.