Mollie’s War

The Letters of a World War II WAC in Europe


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About the Book

The 150,000 women who served in the Women’s Army Corps are now seen as the undersung heroes of the Second World War. This memoir describes the life of a WAC enlistee who would serve in England when it came under attack, France immediately after the Allied invasion, and Germany after VE Day. From her experience in basic training in Daytona Beach to the climactic moment when she saw the Statue of Liberty as her ship approached American shores upon her return home, this work provides a glimpse into the life of a woman in uniform during this crucial time in American history.

About the Author(s)

The late Mollie Weinstein Schaffer retired as a medical records secretary and lived in Vernon Hills, Illinois.
Technical writer Cyndee Schaffer (Mollie’s daughter) is the editor of the newsletter for the Midwest Writers Association and lives in Northbrook, Illinois.
Jennifer G. Mathers is a senior lecturer in the department of international politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Bibliographic Details

Mollie Weinstein Schaffer and Cyndee Schaffer. Contributing Editor Jennifer G. Mathers
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 291
Bibliographic Info: 22 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4791-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6026-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments (Cyndee Schaffer)      viii

Abbreviations      ix

Preface (Mollie Weinstein Schaffer)      1

Introduction (Leisa D. Meyer)      3


1. Basic Training: Daytona Beach, Florida October–December 1943      11

2. First Assignment: Wilmington, California December 1943–March 1944      18

3. Preparing for Duty Overseas: Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia March–April 1944      38


4. “Somewhere in England”: London April–June 1944      47

5. Dodging the Doodlebugs: London June–August 1944      58


6. Camping in the Fields of Northern France: Normandy August–September 1944      75

7. After the Liberation: Paris September–October 1944      86

8. From Visiting Refugees to Sophisticated Nightlife: Paris October–December 1944      101

9. Keeping an Eye on Family and Friends Overseas: Paris January–March 1945      122

10. Tour Guide for Soldiers on Leave: Paris March–May 1945      138

11. VE Day and After: Paris May–July 1945      160

12. In the Palace Stables: Versailles July–August 1945      179


13. With the Army of Occupation: Frankfurt August–September 1945      205

14. Saying Goodbye: Frankfurt September–October 1945      226

15. The Journey Home October–November 1945      239

Epilogue      257

Chapter Notes      261

Bibliography      273

Index      277

Book Reviews & Awards

• “An enthralling, enjoyable combined biography-autobiography-compendium”—Argunners Magazine

• “Excellent editing…a warmly human, accessible account…a historically vital representation of the role played by the 20,000 WACs sent overseas in World War II”—Midwest Book Review

• “The letters provide a fascinating description of Mollie’s experiences stateside and abroad in Europe. We also get an excellent picture of what life was like for a woman in the military.”—National Museum of American Jewish Military