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Harry J. Collins
Birth: Dec. 7, 1895
Chicago
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Mar. 8, 1963

Career Army Officer. Commander, 42nd (Rainbow) Infantry Division, World War II. Graduate, Western Military Academy and University of Chicago. Received commission, assigned to 3rd Infantry Regiment, 1917. Served in variety of assignments in US and overseas, most notably on staff of Infantry School at Fort Benning. In August 1942, was named assistant division commander of 99th Infantry Division at Camp Yap Dorn, Mississippi. In April, 1943, assumed command of 42nd (Rainbow) Division at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. In December 1944 division arrived in France and played major role in stopping last German drive in Western Europe. 42nd Division was also credited with liberating the Dachau concentration camp at end of war. Defied convention by naming Jewish Division Chaplain, Rabbi (Captain) Eli Bohnen, and had clearly been moved by the plight of concentration camp survivors he saw at Dachau, going above and beyond to provide them private housing, first class rations, and complete medical attention. His efforts enabled Rabbi Bohnen to successfully appeal for assistance from civilians in the United States for items the Army was not prepared to supply, including kosher foods, religious articles, and money. Recent writers have found fault with Collins and other officers who performed occupation duty after World War II, suggesting that they requisitioned luxury items for furnishing their offices and quarters – items allegedly taken from Jewish families by the Nazis during the war. Many items were not returned to their original owners, who could not be located, but were later sold at auction, with the proceeds used to aid war refugees. Following V-E Day, 42nd Division assumed occupation duty in western Austria, and he served as military governor. In July 1948 was appointed commander of 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington, and later assumed command of New York-New Jersey Area Headquarters at Fort Totten, New York. In January 1951 was assigned to command 8th Division at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. In January 1952 was assigned to office of Military Attaché in Moscow, USSR. In October 1952 took command of 31st Infantry Division, Camp Atterbury, Indiana. In 1954 retired to Salzburg, Austria, an area he grew to love while serving there in World War II. (In fact, his wife Irene Gehmacher was Austrian.) Awards included Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Bronze Star, French Legion of Honor (Order of Chevalier), French Croix de Guerre with Palm, and Order of the Crown of Italy. Honorary citizen, Salzburg, which the 42nd Division liberated from Nazis. Honorary citizen, Linz, where many Dachau survivors were initially transported after liberation of camp. (bio by: Bill McKern) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Irene Gehmacher Collins (____ - 1987)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Saint Peter's Churchyard Cemetery
Salzburg
Salzburg Stadt
Salzburg, Austria
Plot: Grave is opposite the main entrance to St. Peter's Abbey.
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Sep 13, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 12400
Harry J. Collins
Added by: quebecoise
 
Harry J. Collins
Added by: Eric Thomsen
 
Harry J. Collins
Added by: Eric Thomsen
 
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- Lazer
 Added: Mar. 8, 2014

- Jeannie
 Added: Dec. 5, 2013

- Sharon
 Added: Mar. 8, 2013
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