Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dealing With Bureaucracy


REPEAT OF ARTICLE FROM APRIL 2009

Since the article below was written, Senator Kennedy has passed away.  All of the information sent to his office originally seems to have been wandering around the bureaucracy and we are still at the original starting place.  If anyone has any ideas about how to get an immovable object moving, please let us know.

On April 29, 1945 Ed Cowley wrote home to his family in a way not to worry them,
"I haven’t seen too many of their “atrocities” but I’ve seen enough to know that there is some basis to all this talk. There is nothing kind about the Nazis whatsoever. They’ve starved their slave labor & lived so well themselves that its pitiful. Too bad there isn’t some way to make them pay for what they’ve done in the last six years."
After he returned home safely, he told the full story of what he had witnessed with the liberation of a "work camp".  The 94th deserves Liberation Status and they deserve receiving it while some of the witnesses are still alive to know their bravery and compassion has been recognized.
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When a Bureaucrat and a "Rule" gets in the way, it can be very difficult to do the right thing even with a Senator on your side

Last night, Kathleen Cowley tried to explain to a blog friend one more time about why this is so important and how little it would take to make this happen and what needs to happen next:

The Holocaust Museum told me what documentation was needed to apply, there was information posted on their site and taken directly from the Army bulletin which described the procedure.
  • Approximate date of liberation
  • Unit geographical location
  • Brief account of the events from 1 person. - We had two first hand accounts of that day.
  • Request for recognition from a Unit Assoc. or an individual of that Unit.
We had an approximation of the date as my father wrote home weekly- it was finding the letters which started this whole process. I had been in touch with the Holocaust Museum previous to finding them because I was trying to research the name of the camp my father liberated for our own family history. I called the Holocaust Museum that day and told them of the letters and most importantly the one which mentions the "atrocities". They were thrilled, and several people gathered in the office to hear the news while I was on the phone. This is when they informed me that the letter of April 1945 was the sort of documentation which would allow us to pursue Liberator status.

We thought documenting the geographic location would be the bugaboo, but Sen. Kennedy and his office really shined through on resolving this. We needed the Unit Operational Records which are at the Library of Congress. It is a lengthy process to request info from them and ordinarily takes about a year, but not when Sen. Kennedy is involved. The Library of Congress called me and asked me what I needed! I received the Records within 3 weeks. These records verified the dates and location and it was a great triumph to receive them this quickly.


Everything required was submitted with not one but two testimonies. We thought we were sitting pretty and just waiting to hear of approval. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the answer to be a resounding No! This bureaucrat had denied Liberator status because they did not liberate an extermination camp. There were six extermination camps, none of them in Germany. Some of the 35 Units recognized as Liberators were for camps in Germany.


I felt ( and still do) so terrible, my father and Thom had dredged up these horrific memories for nought. What a kick in the teeth. Sen. Kennedy intended to argue that we had met the requirements in the bulletin. He submitted this whole problem to the Congressional Research Center to help resolve this ( Kennedy's military liaison told me that this was a pretty big deal and seemed confident that they would be helpful in sorting this all out) and that is where this whole thing rested until I spoke with Sen. Kennedy's office last week who told me that the Research Center wasn't much help and Senator Kennedy's time is now very constrained.


Now we have to do it the hard way. It either takes a verdict from on high from somewhere in Veterans Affairs, an Act of Congress, or a Presidential Executive Order to simply give these men and their compatriots of the 94th the honor they earned.


They missed this past Veteran's Day. Now we aim for Memorial Day. It is such a little thing, but bureaucracy is horrid when it takes only one person and one rule standing in your way.

3 comments:

Jamie said...

Received from Pogo:

OSH, this is the part you need to get right:

"(A) the officer's name and business address;

(B) the date, time, and place of the deposition;

(C) the name of the deponent;

(D) the administration of the oath or affirmation to the deponent; and

(E) an identification of all persons present.

If the deposition is recorded other than stenographically, the officer shall repeat items (A) through (C) at the beginning of each unit of recorded tape or other recording medium. The appearance or demeanor of deponents or attorneys shall not be distorted through camera or sound-recording techniques. At the end of the deposition, the officer shall state on the record that the deposition is complete and shall set forth any stipulations made by counsel concerning the custody of the transcript or recording and the exhibits, or concerning other pertinent matters."

A notary public is probably authorized in MA to administer the oath. The person recording the depo can be anyone, but preferably should be able to say he/she is not related to the parties (our dad) and has no monetary or other material interest in the matter (a no brainer since there ain't none.) It is what most video folks say when they start a depo.

Solar said...

Kath,

It looks like U have been receiving great advice from people, and the only thing that I have to add is my hope that this gets resolved sooner, than later.

I have no doubt that once the right people get this information, that they will act to recognize the efforts of the Boston's regiment...and give the 94th the liberators status that they so deserve.......

newpogo said...

Hey, best of luck with this. If you can't trust the military to give credit where credit is due, who can you trust? (Did I actually write that or whas I just thinking it?)