Donald was born in Union City, Ohio but grew up and now lives in Union City, Indiana – the town is split by the state line. On graduating from high school in 1942, he got married and was soon drafted. Serving as a courier with the Third Army, he participated in the D-Day invasion and was present when the first American troops crossed the Rhine at Remagen in 1945. Although he carried thousands of messages and was always near the front lines, he says he had never heard about the concentration camps until his regiment liberated Buchenwald in April 1945. The experience left him with a lifelong interest in Judaic culture, and his family has many connections with the local Jewish community.
General George Patton’s Third Army took part in the invasion of Normandy and then the vast sweep across France which liberated that country in the summer and fall of 1944. Patton continued on into Germany that winter, and his troops were usually at the forefront. This is why so many were present at the liberation of concentration camps.