World Warfare II Military veteran from the Overbrook neighborhood of Pittsburgh recorded courtroom historical past

Knowing the shorthand most likely helped Cyril Emmerich return alive from World War II.

The 96-year-old army veteran from Overbrook left the United States on D-Day – 77 years ago today, on June 6, 1944. Shortly after he arrived in Normandy, France on June 17, a search was made for soldiers who knew the shorthand, a Method of quick writing with abbreviations and symbols.

Emmerich had attended a class at Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School in Oakland for a year.

“I think that saved my life,” said Emmerich on Thursday as he sat in a wheelchair and held his hat from World War II. “I’ve decided that I’d better brush up on my shorthand. I don’t think anyone wanted to go to war. But they needed us to go. “

He said he chose the army because he was not “water enthusiastic” and “I thought I had a better chance of staying on the ground”.

Emmerich still has an injured left ankle from wearing 50-pound mortar baseplates during basic training in Mississippi.

Louis B. Rudiger | Grandstand review

WWII veteran Cyril Emmerich 96, talks about his experience while serving in the Army.

Recording history

Emmerich said that when he first got the stenographer’s job, he would be used as a spy against the Germans.

But Emmerich got another job when his sergeant’s brother, who was on duty, was wounded. Emmerich worked for the Inspector General’s office, which investigated reports of officer mistreatment of soldiers.

Emmerich would record proceedings, much like a court clerk. He was part of a group that would follow the fighting troops.

“These soldiers gave their lives to save their country, and if an officer injured a soldier, he was brought to court martial,” said Emmerich.


Louis B. Rudiger | Grandstand review

A newspaper photo of Cyril Emmerich (right) and his two brothers Norman and Harry all served at the same time in World War II.

Emmerich is one of six boys from Cyril Urban Emmerich and Ethel Clare Murrin Emmerich. Cyril and his brother Norman served in France and Harry was in the Pacific. Rege served in the Korean War. Another died as a toddler, the other was not in the military.

Her mother went to church every day during World War II and wrote letters to her sons. The family grew up in Homewood on Bennett Street.

Emmerich said he wanted to go to Westinghouse High School, but his mother said he was going to Central Catholic.

Upon his return from the war, he studied at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh’s Uptown on the GI Bill and earned a degree in business administration. He worked for the US Postal Service for more than three decades and became a supervisor.

“I trained a lot and the people I trained respected me because I treated them like family,” said Emmerich. “The people I’ve trained appreciate that. People remember how you treat them. “

Love of his life

Emmerich met his wife Marie on a blind date. They had five children – Karen Bender of the North Side, Kathy Emmerich of Baldwin, Kenny Emmerich of Overbrook, Maureen Yvorra of Jefferson Hills, and Denise Sauter of Whitehall.

They were married for almost 52 years. Marie died on April 29, 2005.

“Marie was wonderful,” said Emmerich. “She looked after our children so well. She worked a lot. I miss her a lot.”

Emmerich’s mind is still keen from playing cards, checkers and crossword puzzles. He enjoys going to dinner with his kids at Armstrong’s, Eat’n Park, Gianna Via, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Atria’s.

“My father is certainly a character,” said Sauter. “He’s got sperm.”

Sauter said she took her father to one of his high school meetings. Many of his classmates had died in the war decades earlier.

“He didn’t talk much about World War II until recently,” said Yvorra. “I think it brings back a lot of bad memories of the soldiers who never came back.”


Louis B. Rudiger | Grandstand review

A description by registrant Cyril Emmerich states that he was 1.70 m tall and weighed 150 pounds when he joined the U.S. Army.

Emmerich said he was thinking of all the lives that were lost on D-Day and during the war.

“We’re not celebrating D-Day,” he said. “I remember all these parents and all these separated families. It didn’t seem right. It definitely influenced me. I think the guy upstairs had something to do with my survival. “

And possibly his ability to use shorthand.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062,, or on Twitter.

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