Leo Markus Schlocker, commonly known as Marty, was born on April 5th, 1925 in Los Angeles, California. He lived with his mom, dad, and three brothers: Julius, Allen, and Paul. Although his family was affected by the Great Depression, his father worked hard as a “White wing,” better known as a sanitation engineer, or a street sweeper, for 33 years. His father also fought in the Spanish American War, and because he was very proud of him, he followed in his footsteps. Schlocker attended Freemont High School in L.A. for most of high school, and also Boulder City High in Nevada for about a year. He was never very fond of school because he hated math, and therefore never received his high school diploma. However, he did receive his G.E.D. from Belmont High School.
From Boulder City, Nevada, Schlocker tried to join the navy with his friend Kenny Jones. However, to his deep disappointment, he learned that he was color blind, and therefore was not allowed to join. After, he tried to join the marines, and, again, was not able to join because he was colorblind. Furthermore, when he was 18, he was drafted into the military and joined the Paratroopers. He was in the military in World War II from July 1943 until December 25th, 1945. During his first year and a half before he went into combat, he was in training at Fort Benning – a Parachute Jump School. While he was in the Airborne, he flew in aircrafts called C-46 and C-47, and he himself made about 15 parachute jumps.
Schlocker’s first day in combat was on December 24th, 1944. With the 17th airborne, he was flown from England to France and the next day motor trucked into combat at the Battle of the Bulge. Normally, the airborne would have parachute jumped into combat; however, there was a very bad storm and the aircrafts were grounded. On January 6th, he was wounded in his right foot by an exploding 88 mm shell.
On January 7th, 1945, the 17th airborne was being overrun by 15 German Tiger tanks and infantry. Schlocker was in the basement of a Belgium home with the wounded. While he was in the basement, his sergeant came and warned them that they were being overrun. When he got out of the basement, he saw that his best friend, Robert Emmick, was also with his sergeant. As they looked out of the home, they could see that the house was completely surrounded by tanks. So he, his sergeant, and Emmick went to the back basement to hide. However, they were only there for about ten minutes before a German soldier was at the door of the basement and, while holding a grenade, asked, in German, how many people were down there. So, because Schlocker is of the Jewish faith and can speak Yiddish, he can understand some German, and he went to the bottom of the stairs and held up the number three with his fingers. All three of them went outside with the soldier and saw about 30 other American prisoners by now. All of the prisoners went back to the German headquarters about 5 miles away by hanging onto the Tiger tanks. Schlocker, however, was asked by a German soldier to drive one of the jeeps back to their headquarters. However, it was inoperative, so they hitched the jeep to the back of a tiger tank, and it was pulled while Schlocker drove it and his best friend Emmick sat by him and a German soldier, with a weapon, sat in the back. On the first day, he threw away his dog tags because they revealed he was Hebrew, and during this time, Germans were a great enemy to anyone of the Jewish faith.
During their first night as prisoners, they stayed in an old bombed out church. While they were there, they dug trenches 6 by 6 feet, thinking they were digging their own graves, but later found out that the trenches were for German weapons. Their first meal was prunes and rice. Mostly, they depended on the Germans for even a little piece of bread. All the prisoners were deprived of normal meals, toilet paper, a comfortable place to sleep, a clean change of clothes, and much more that many people take for granted. Most of the men had dysentery and lice.
All throughout the war, Schlocker carried around his Jewish Bible. However, to hide his religion, he attended Catholic services with his best friend, Robert Emmick. He did everything he could to hide his religion because of what the Germans were doing to Jews during World War II.
While in a camp in Bonn, Germany, one night while going outside to the bathroom, Schlocker heard British aircraft bombing and all of the bombs hit the camp where many men died and all the buildings were destroyed. They left that camp and marched to another camp where 400 prisoners, including Schlocker, were asked to make a forced march to a camp called Bad Orb – also known as “death camp.” They were on the road for 7 days and walked 30 miles a day while having just a half loaf of bread for the whole trip. During his time at Bad Orb, it was Passover, and about 10 of the prisoners, including Schlocker, got together and prayed underneath the gun towers. This was his last camp, out of five altogether, before he and the others were liberated.
In May of 1945, he and his fellow prisoners were repatriated by Patton’s tanks. First, the men were deloused and then flown to France where they were fed food that they were not used to because of their internment. So, the first day Schlocker collapsed and was sent to a hospital where he stayed for about 2 weeks. Then, on May 13th he arrived by Liberty ship in New York. Schlocker stayed in the military until December 25th 1945. During those last months in the military, he married Rosemary Wilson on June 21st in the Army Hospital in Pasadena.
After the military, Schlocker joined the Los Angeles Police Department, where he was for 23 ½ years. While he was in the L.A.P.D., and while being a father of a boy and a girl, he attended USC to get a higher education.
Now, Marty Schlocker is a retired Command Sergeant Major E9 from the military and a retired policeman from the L.A.P.D. He lives in Sun City, California, and his wife lives in Newport Beach, where he goes every weekend. Along with his two children, a boy and a girl, he has five grandkids. He volunteers at Loma Linda Veteran Hospital, where he has over 7,000 volunteer hours. He has also assisted erecting many of the service monuments to include metal of honor and ex-prisoner of war, at Riverside National Cemetery.