Carl Arfa has vivid memories of his World War II service in the U.S. Army. Serving in the 1st Army, 69th Infantry Division, Arfa witnessed first-hand the result of the Nazis and was involved in helping concentration camp victims.
During a recent Rotary Club of Hollywood meeting, he spoke about some of his experiences in the war. At age 91, he gave a strong presentation. While many people are familiar with the largest concentration camps like Auschwitz, there were actually about 20,000 Nazi concentration camps in Europe during the war. Arfa and his fellow soldiers were involved in the liberation of a camp known as Leipzig Tekla. He also showed a portion of a color film on the end of World War II and concentration camps as they were liberated.
“We could not believe the condition of the people in the camps,” said Arfa. “We were all asking ourselves, how could one human being do this to another human being? I gave a presentation at a high school and a student asked me the same question. I don’t have an answer.”
He also described some of his wartime experiences. While in Europe, he was able to go on a date with a young woman. While on the date, they had to take cover from a German bomb attack. He described the experience of being on a troop ship as it crossed rough seas.
And Arfa is concerned about what is happening on the world scene today. “Now we are fighting radical Islam. Groups like ISIS are like the Nazis,” he said.
After the war, Arfa developing a successful hotel remodeling business. He is now designing a hospital and college of health sciences that will be built in Nigeria.
During the meeting, a group of U.S. military veterans were honored. They were asked to give a self-introduction and a brief presentation on the military service.