Gazette Article by: Quinn Slack, Matt Bunn and Alex Vogl
Appeared in the Gazette: Winter 2002
An Interview with Philip Hoza
Philip Hoza served in World War II in the European theatre starting when he was 26. Mr. Hoza attended New Trier and graduated in 1934. Before that, he went to Greeley and Skokie. He lived in Winnetka where he, as a newlywed, bought a house in 1940.
Mr. Hoza’s training took four months. He thinks that army training was extremely beneficial in his life. Two of his three sons joined the army and they became better people as a result. Through his own personal and second-hand experience, he thinks that everyone would benefit from army training.
When he was in the military, Mr. Hoza was responsible for the points system, which was a metric of a soldier’s achievements. Once a soldier had attained a certain number of points by completing missions, he could go home. Also, during the war, Mr. Hoza traveled through Europe in a tank. He says that being in a tank is like being in a can. He much preferred his desk job for the points system.
Mr. Hoza says that he was completely against the internment of Japanese during the war. He felt that they were no less American than anyone else, and he wondered why Japanese men were enlisted but their families weren’t trusted enough to simply live like normal people.
Some of Mr. Hoza’s fondest memories are about his bike rides in Europe. He would often ride through the countryside for hours. When he would arrive back at the military base, he would sometimes have to skip parties and other outings. As he explains, military training and a long bike rides make you more tired than just about anything else in your life.When the war in Europe ended, Mr. Hoza remembers extravagant celebrations honoring the soldiers who came back and the ones who didn’t. He still keeps in contact with a few friends from the war, including several people in the area.
When he heard of the atomic bomb blasts, Mr. Hoza remembers being both thankful and sad. He was sorry for the Japanese civilians who died, but he feels that Truman made a smart decision. If the United States had invaded Japan, Mr. Hoza would have been in the invasion force. He feels that, overall, Truman saved half of a million lives, including his own. After World War II ended, Mr. Hoza stayed in Germany. During the war, the citizens of the German city he was living in had no idea that just one mile away was a concentration camp. The residents just assumed that the town was going well, but the Nazi government was keeping a huge secret from them. Living in Winnetka for most of his life has given Mr. Hoza a unique perspective on the town. It has always been a nice town, he says, but it has improved significantly since the 1940s. The property values have risen, the transportation has been streamlined, and Winnetka has become one of the top villages in the nation.Mr. Hoza has a unique perspective on the war. Instead of fighting on the front lines, he spent much of his time sending people home. He also remembers nearly everything that happened before, during, and after the war, so he can tell interesting, vivid stories.
Out interview with Mr. Hoza was informal, but informative. He told us the stories, anecdotes, and advice that he gathered during the war. Most importantly, his thoughts and ideas will enrich our generation.Quinn Slack, Matt Bunn and Alex Vogl wrote this article as students at Carleton Washburne School.