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G.I. RECALLS THE CAPTURE OF HOLOCAUST ARCHITECT.

Byline: Dana Bartholomew Staff Writer

Pvt. Alfred Frye had driven Army Lt. Jerome Shapiro about 80 miles behind enemy German lines on a top-secret mission to capture the highest ranking Nazi.

Shapiro, an American Jew who had just seen the horrors of the Holocaust, would then bag Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering, an organizer of the ``final solution'' to kill all Jews.

``If anybody says they weren't scared, they're crazy,'' said Frye, 81, the last surviving soldier to have captured Goering on May 7, 1945, on a snowy Alpine road in Austria.

``I covered him with a .50-caliber machine gun set on the back of the Jeep. My mission was to protect Shapiro ... (and) to make damn sure (Goering) didn't get away.''

On Thursday, Frye will help launch a series of Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations, beginning with the official opening of ``Liberation! Revealing the Unspeakable,'' a new exhibit honoring the Allies of World War II at the Museum of Tolerance in West Los Angeles.

A one-day feature will include Goering's gold-plated gun and the American service pistol used to capture him.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi death camps, Jewish community leaders will then host the state's largest ceremony to honor Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Memorial Day, at the Los Angeles Holocaust Monument at Pan Pacific Park.

On Sunday, the Museum of Tolerance will host a March of Gratitude to mark the 60th anniversary of VE Day - Victory in Europe.

``The battle-hardened people who fought across Europe said, This is not war, this is a horror that was carried out under the cover of war,'' said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who made a special plea to San Fernando Valley residents.

``It's 60 years to the day. We can't say thank you enough to the Greatest Generation. We'd love everybody from the Valley who has an ex-G.I. in the family to hop in their car, come over the hill, walk the mile and grab a doughnut.''

The ``Liberation!'' exhibit features more than 200 photographs taken by Allied soldiers who liberated Nazi camps responsible for the death of 11 million prisoners, including six million Jews.

Photos of fields of dead Jews. Of stacked bodies. Of men too listless to stand, of prisoners too gaunt to smile.

And of the tears of the liberated and smiles of the free.

Among the liberators was Frye, an Ohio farm boy hooked up to a recon squad with the Seventh Army. During the war, he'd earn 14 service medals en route to freeing Dachau and Landsberg.

``I remember seeing the bodies stacked up, but I can't say much about it,'' said Frye, who now lives in Florida. ``You think about it at the time, but you like to forget about it.''

After Hitler's suicide, Frye joined Brig. General Robert I. Stack of the 36th Texas ``T'' Division on a secret mission to capture Goering, former head of the Nazi air force and, after Hitler's death, de facto leader of the Nazi state.

While Stack dined with German SS officers in a medieval castle in Austria, Frye and Shapiro set out in two Jeeps with two fellow grunts to snare their biggest trophy of the war.

They found a bloated Goering in the back of his black Mercedes staff car, wearing few medals on a gaudy gray uniform.

Goering, a signatory of the ``final solution'' who had wanted to be captured by Americans rather than the advancing Soviet forces, calmly surrendered his gun to an American Jew.

``If I could have five minutes to talk with my father,'' said Cyndi Hobson, 52, daughter of the late Shapiro, crying amid his uniform and artifacts at the ``Liberation!'' exhibit.

``Oh, my God. I am so proud of my father, he was amazing,'' she said of the Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn who went on to perform social work before his death in 1968. ``He was able to live his life, come out of that, to live a regular life, without revealing the horrors of war.''

Dana Bartholomew, (818) 713-3730

dana.bartholomew(at)dailynews.com

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY EVENTS

--At 7 tonight, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 1020 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, will hold a memorial service for victims and survivors of genocide.

--``Liberation! Revealing the Unspeakable,'' a photo exhibit hailing the Allied soldiers who liberated Europe, will open at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Museum of Tolerance, 9786 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. An opening ceremony will include an appearance by the last surviving soldier involved in the capture of Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering.

--Los Angeles Jewish community leaders will host California's largest Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Los Angeles Holocaust Monument, Pan Pacific Park, 7600 Beverly Blvd. The event will include remarks by state Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi.

Free transportation from the San Fernando Valley will be offered from the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills; and Valley Beth Shalom, 15739 Ventura Blvd., Encino. To register, call (310) 821-9919 or (310) 280-5010.

--The Museum of Tolerance will host a March of Gratitude at 10 a.m. Sunday that will include marching bands and color guards in honor of the armed forces who defended freedom during World War II. The one-mile march will begin at Pico Boulevard and Century Park East. Call (310) 772-2528 or contact www. museumoftolerance.com.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- color) Alfred Frye, 81, is the last surviving soldier to have captured Hermann Goering, shown in photos left, on May 7, 1945.

Evan Yee/Staff Photographer

(2 -- color) Eva Davis shows a photo of herself, holding braids of her sister Edith, who, at 13, was among thw 1.5 million children who were killed during the Holocaust.

Jill Simpson/Special to the Daily News

Box:

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY EVENTS (see text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 4, 2005
Words:978
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