Stalag Luft III Newsletter – December 2015

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     Stalag Luft III Newsletter – December 2015

Greetings POWs, Families, And Friends of Stalag Lut III,

Veterans Day and Remembrance Day in U.S. and Canada, respectively, have now passed, as we all remembered those who served, ever grateful for their service. A special thanks to our Stalag Luft III POWs.

News from Marek Poland

“11th November is Polish National Independence Day, and every year we organise the Independence Run in Zagan. This year, 1200 people joined the run. About 30 American soldiers joined the run. They ran with their equipment, and they carried Polish flags. Spectators were amazed! Unfortunately, I did not see it, because I was promoting the museum during The Independence Military Display in Lubin. I wore my USAAF uniform, and I gave a speech about the museum, Great Escape, and Polish-American cooperation.”

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American Soldiers

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Marek speaks in Lubin.

“The American soldiers of the 3rd Battalion 69th Armor Regiment, US Army, visited the museum Nov. 22nd. Over 100 American soldiers came to Zagan to train with M1 Abrams tanks. The code name of the training is “Heavy Detachment.”  In their time off, they came to learn about the Great Escape and the former POWs who had been held at the camp.”

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The American soldiers pose in front of the replica of hut #104.

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Marek points out a POW name on the newest American plaque.

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Viewing artifacts from the camp on display

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Taking photos of the model of the camp

Henry Soderberg’s Car – While at the Air Force Academy, Marek found the following pictures, YMCA representative Henry Soderberg’s car. It was an Opel Kadett I 1937-1940. Soderberg traveled with this car around Germany visiting POW camps including Stalag Luft 3. In September 1943, the main YMCA office for Germany was moved from Berlin to Sagan. Soderberg visited Luft 3 at least once a month from 1943 to 1944.

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Thanksgiving in Zagan

Lt. Gen. Frederick Benjamin Hodges, Commanding General US Army in Europe, visited Zagan for Thanksgiving to share dinner with over 100 American soldiers now stationed in Zagan for the Allied tank exercises there. The Allied soldiers joined forces sharing Thanksgiving dinner at in the Crystal Room of the Zagan Palace. Below is a picture of that room. Video link is below. Marek and the Mayor of Zagan sat at the VIP table with Lt. General Hodges.

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Crystal Room – Zagan Palace

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Mayor of Zagan, Lt. Gen. Hodges, and Gen. Jaroslaw Mika, Polish

Commander of 11th Armored Cavalry Division

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100 Americans (The 3rd Battalion, 69th Army Regiment, Fort Stewart)

and about 100 Polish soldiers from 10th Armored Cavalry Brigade

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Lt. Gen. Hodges carves the first turkey, as the mayor and Marek look on.

https://vimeo.com/147309962 – link for Thanksgiving dinner in Zagan

 New to the Museum – Luftwaffe Bunk Bed

This is a real find for Marek, and he has had his eye on it for a long time. He has just purchased it  for the museum.

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Original Luftwaffe stamp on the side of the bed

“An original Luftwaffe bunk bed from Zagan is in my hands now! Actually, it is now in Warsaw at my friend’s house, and I only need to arrange transportation. I heard about it some time ago. Years ago, traffickers hung around Silesia, and they were buying German stuff from local people, and they were selling the stuff at flea markets in central Poland. A friend of my friend bought this some years ago for about 100 USD. He is from northern Poland. Once he heard about the museum, he decided to resell it to me for the same price. As you know, after the war the local people came to the camp, and they took what they could find. This bunk bed (it has an original Luftwaffe stamp) was used as a shelf in a basement. It was taken from Stalag Luft 3, or from the Luftwaffe barracks at Kupper Airfield, or Belaria. I was able to buy this bunk bed because of YOUR DONATIONS! Thank you so much. :)”

POWs Bob Inghram and Russ Reed Tell their Stories – Alan Hopewell

Always welcome, interviews with our POWs:

http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/A-Tunnel-King-who-didn-t-lose-his-cool-6662035.php?t=4c956b499ed3e497c2&cmpid=email-premium

Tuskegee Airmen in Video for High School Students – Played at the Reunion

I am indebted to Bryan Williams at Bryton Entertainment, LLC, for his permission to play a clip from his company’s excellent video featuring Alex Jefferson and other Tuskegee Airmen. The extended video is being played in hundreds of high schools presently, and eventually will be played in more. The link is below, as well as contact information for anyone wanting to purchase the video.

www.brytonentertainment.com   Office: 803-341-9435

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_Z0BWe4VOk

More Reunion Pictures:

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    On the bus on the way to the WWII Museum

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Mike Woodworth tries out the B-17 waist gun.

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Close-up of the new SLIII patch designed by Devon Geiger Neilsen

to represent the Baby Boomer generation’s respect and

admiration for our POWs.

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Back of POW Gideon Jones jacket

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Our bus to museum and air show

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Our excellent tour guide, Barbara

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WWII Museum

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Presentation at the hotel

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  POW Bob Emick and his wife

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 Air Show

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 Air Show

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 POW Gideon Jones

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 Selden Edner and Carolyn Clark Miller

Candlelighters

In the last newsletter, I accidentally omitted the names of Christine and Selden Edner, who lit a candle for their father, Lt. Col. Selden Edner, and the late Charles Woehrle.

“In memory of POW Charles Woehrle, until his death, the oldest surviving POW from SLIII and for POW and Lt. Col. Selden Edner, who flew with the Eagle Squadrons, and was later lost over Greece.”

[Lt. Col. Edner, a former SLIII POW, flew as an air attaché after the war in the Greek Civil war, and unfortunately, was hanged by the Greek communists there when the plane he was flying in was shot down by the guerrillas. After his time in the RAF, he had transferred to the US Army Air Force.]

 Ed Dement  at the White House

On Nov. 11th,  POW Ed Dement, National Commander of the American Ex-POW organization, was invited to the White House with other veterans for a Veterans Day brunch which took place in the East Room. Ed was accompanied to the White House brunch by his son, Ed. Both attended the New Orleans reunion.

[Photo blocked by the White House]

Ed and so many others I’ve heard from would like to return to Zagan to see the camp, perhaps next October. Anyone wanting to make such a trip might consider going with others with the same interest. I’d be glad to put such people together so they can plan a joint trip if you email me your intentions to do so.

Sir Douglas Bader – Trevor Hewitt – UK

Trevor has just come across a picture of his wife, Carol, being presented a trophy from RAF famed legless fighter ace, Douglas Bader.

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“Carol tells me that it was taken in 1981 at the Royal British Legion Club in Aylsham, Norfolk. Carol had won the ladies singles darts trophy tournament at the club that year and is seen in the photo being presented with the trophies by Sir Douglas Bader. He was a close friend of a member of the Legion who flew with him in WW2, so agreed to present the awards.”

Hermann Glemnitz – 1980 Reunion in Cincinnati, OH

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For Those Looking at Stalag Luft III and Beyond Tours

Szymon Serwatka, our Polish friend who has been so valuable and instrumental in the attempt to recover the remains of Lt. Ewart Sconiers, is providing excellent small tours for those seeking the WWII, POW, bomb group, experience. He is currently planning another season for 2016. The link below show highlights of the 2015 experience. Szymon can customize tours to suit the needs of those wanting to go. Groups, or individuals interested in particular sites, going to Stalag Luft III in Zagan, or other military-related tours can contact Szymon and arrange to have such tours customized. He would serve as the guide/driver/interpreter. Contact: Szymon Serwatka – sserwatka@yahoo.com  https://vimeo.com/album/3616163

Band of Brothers Tour, the Patton Tour – Keith Buchanan

Reunion attendee, Keith Buchanan, leads Stephen Ambrose tours as well, and several others which incorporate parts of those two tours. Contact:  kbuchanancpas@yahoo.com

 Folded Wings

POW Joe Gosselin, whom many might remember from the Colorado Reunion, passed away Nov. 30th, 2015, at his home. Gentle and kind, Joe will be deeply missed by all of us and his family. Condolences from the Stalag Luft III community to Joe’s family.

http://www.hathawayfunerals.com/obits/obituaries.php/obitID/965590/obit/Joseph–M-Gosselin

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         Joe – front row, first man on the right

POW Joe Moser died December 2nd, 2015. Joe was featured with other Stalag Luft III POWs in the documentary, Lost Airmen of Buchenwald. Soft-spoken and engaging, Joe was a favorite at reunions and will be missed by so many. Condolences to his family. From fellow Buchenwald POW Jim Stewart,  now cogent words  apply to both Joe Moser and Joe Gosselin, quoting from iconic “High Flight”…….. “He now tops the wind-swept heights with easy grace.”

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1st Lt. Joe Moser, a P-38 fighter pilot

Allied airmen held at Buchenwald arrive at Stalag Luft III

in the clothes they were wearing when captured in Paris.

Arrow marks 1st Lt. Joe Moser.

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article47754620.html

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bellinghamherald/obituary.aspx?pid=176792944

 Happy Anniversary Bob and Sannie Doolan! – Mary Lance/Woodie Mitchell

Nov 17, 2015, Bob Doolan and Sannie celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Bob is 98 and Sannie is 94.

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Bob and Sannie

The Best Christmas Gift POW Jim Stewart – Canada

“For around fifteen years, this old (90 years+) curmudgeon, a.k.a. ‘Granddad Jim’ to the schoolchildren of St. Andrews, has been reading, with other local Legion members, to early grades at Vincent Massey Elementary School. We have always felt that love of books plus joy of reading play such an important role in the education process, and have been privileged to witness many rewarding outcomes. It was Thursday, last day of school before Christmas last year: in closing, I asked my kindergarten class what favourite gift they would like Santa to bring. One of the precious (5 or 6 year old) little sweethearts came forward to me, and with a big hug said “YOU.”.

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POW Jim Stewart, held at Buchenwald and Stalag Luft III,

reads to kindergarten students.

Book Orders

Mike Eberhardt has limited copies of our book:

http://www.amazon.com/Interrogation-Liberation-Photographic-Journey-Freedom/dp/1491846887/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446399976&sr=8-1&keywords=From+Interrogation+to+liberation

The books are discounted and cost $35.00 each, including the shipping. If anyone would like to order this book, please email Mike at mikeceber@sbcglobal.net or call him at 972-567-0029.  As always, 100% of the proceeds will go directly to Marek for the museum in Zagan.

Update – U.S. Stalag Luft III Reunion Location Additions:

Dayton, 1946

Dayton 1947

Dayton 1965

RAF Memorial Ceremony, London, 1969, also went to Sagan

Cincinnati 1975, 1980, 1990

Chicago, 1981, 1983

Oxford, England – RAF Ex-POW Association International Reunion, 1982

Denver, 1985

Barth, Germany, 1986

Seattle, 1987

Norfolk 1988, 1990

St Louis, 1992

Cincinnati, 1995 – 50th and supposedly the last

Colorado Springs, 1997

Kansas City, 1999

Tucson, Arizona, 2005

Kansas City, Missouri, 2007

Detroit, MI – Willow Run -Thunder Over Michigan 2011 – joined 8th AF

Dayton 2012

Washington DC 2013

Colorado Springs – 2014

New Orleans – 2015

Looking for Troops Who Liberated Concentration Camps – Mona Sobel [mailto:monasobel.rsf@gmail.com]

POW daughter, Mona, has sent a request asking if anyone can furnish names of men for possible interviews who liberated the concentration camps. “My good friends at the Shoah Foundation in LA at the University of Southern California, Heather Maio and Stephen Smith, are involved in a state of  the art holographic interview project that is currently filming and interviewing WWII Holocaust survivors, and they are looking for living liberators to include. You can see their work on a Today Show segment with  Matt Lauer:”

http://www.today.com/series/are-we-there-yet/holograms-add-new-dimension-holocaust-survivors-story-t20511

POW Daughters With Their Fathers’ Planes

Just before climbing aboard the B-17 – Joan Wootten

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POW daughter, Joan, visited the Palm Springs Air Museum in California on Veterans Day to pay honor to her father, William Bramwell.

P-39 – Carolyn Clark Miller

Carolyn Clark Miller, daughter of POW A.P. Clark, later Lt. Gen. Clark, superintendent of the A.F. Academy, was surprised at the recent Air Show in New Orleans to find the only P-39 in the western hemisphere identical to the one her father had trained in. “This is the plane that he had to bail out of during training, and the plane that he flew from Ft. Wayne to Seattle, and then back to New Orleans during the winter of 1941/42. The plane needed refueling every 200 miles!” It was the first time she had ever seen one of his planes. “We gave almost all of them to Russia. Most of the half of his wing that was sent to the Pacific in 1941 went down. Dad was lucky to win a coin toss and go to Europe instead of the Pacific, later flying Spitfires.”

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Carolyn in the cockpit

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Two Names Added to the Lt. Gen. Albert P. Clark Award for Excellence – Carolyn Clark Miller

Two more names were announced at the reunion for this special honor, joining Art Durand

And Arnold Wright.

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Carolyn Clark Miller reads the citations for the awards.

Air Force Academy Archivist, Dr. Mary Ruwell, and former Archivist, Duane Reed, were chosen for recognition on the plaque that is held in the A.F. Academy Library.

Lt. Gen. Albert P. Clark Award

 in Recognition for Significant Research and Outstanding Contributions

Relating to the History of Stalag Luft III

 Duane Reed

“The third recipient of the Lt. Gen Albert P Clark Award for significant research and outstanding contributions to keeping the history of Stalag Luft III alive is retired chief archivist for the United States Air Force Academy, Duane Reed. There is no one more deserving of this award than Duane, and I wish my Dad were here to present it to him in person. In addition to being the Air Force Academy’s archivist, Duane was a very close friend of my father’s.  In fact we considered him part of the family, for the last 36 years of Dad’s life. And Duane was the last to be with Dad before he died.

Duane was archivist for the State of Nebraska before he was hired by the Air Force to take over responsibility as the Air Force Academy archivist. Duane reported that he was a bit intimidated by the General, especially when he was handed a large scrapbook that Dad had assembled of materials relating to Stalag Luft III and asked Duane to help him build a collection to teach the cadets about ‘the POW Experience.’ But, in short order, the two became ‘joined at the hip’ as my mother contended. Duane was Director of the Clark Special Collections Branch of the Library, which he and Dad assembled together.

As the Academy’s Chief Archivist, and Chief of the Special Collections Branch, Duane acquired a number of unique and important collections including the Gimbel Collection, those relating to the Women Air Services Pilots, the Eagle Squadrons, and the former POWs in Stalag Luft III and in Southeast Asia. Under Duane’s leadership, the Air Force Academy became internationally recognized for its repository of historic materials on American military aviation.

In 2008, Duane made the sentimental journey that my Dad, at age 94, was unable to make. Duane traveled to Stalag Luft III and brought back, not only photographs, but a vial of Stalag Luft III dirt which he presented, in trophy form, to my Dad.  And he also brought back stories of the friendly people he met in the town of Zagan, and the enthusiasm and dedication of those wonderful friends of ours who were building the museum.

The war and the imprisonment of our POWs, of our fathers, of our loved ones, marked them and consequently marked us in many ways. Art Durand, Arnold Wright, Duane Reed and Mary Elizabeth Ruwell have helped us to know and understand what they experienced and how their experiences have marked us. We are forever grateful for their dedication to helping us toward that deeper understanding.

Duane’s name will be added to the Lt. General Albert P. Clark Award, which hangs in the Air Force Academy’s McDermott Library.”

 Dr. Mary Elizabeth Ruwell

“The fourth recipient of this Award, presented in my Dad’s name, is Dr. Mary Elizabeth Ruwell, who was appointed to take over as the Academy Chief Archivist when Duane Reed retired in 2004. As you may have heard at the reunion in Colorado Springs, Mary Elizabeth has followed in Duane’s footsteps displaying exceptional professionalism and dedication to the mission of the Academy.  She is now the Chief of 1500 Special Collections at the McDermott Library of the Air Force Academy.

With an undergraduate degree in French from Georgetown, Mary Elizabeth first worked as an archivist for the National Archives and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. That’s when she developed her special interest in history and was accepted at the University of Pennsylvania where she obtained a doctorate in American Studies.

Mary Elizabeth is always ready to help, whether it’s a cadet, another history scholar, or a POW family member, looking for information.  Years ago, when I realized that all our family’s memorabilia relating to my Dad’s imprisonment was now the property of the Air Force Academy, she kindly offered to make copies of the several items that I was most interested in having. For example, the telegram informing my mother that Dad was missing in action, and several newspaper clippings telling of his shoot down, his capture, and finally his liberation. And some of you have told me that she has helped you find materials related to your fathers’ stays in Stalag Luft III and provided you with copies of photographs.

Marilyn tells me that she has seen countless published materials in which Duane and Mary Elizabeth are given credit for their assistance in researching and locating materials relevant to writers’ and historians’ work.

The war and the imprisonment of our POWs, of our fathers, of our loved ones, marked them and consequently marked us in many ways. Art Durand, Arnold Wright, Duane Reed and Mary Elizabeth Ruwell have helped us to know and understand what they experienced and how their experiences have marked us. We are forever grateful for their dedication to helping us toward that deeper understanding.

Mary Elizabeth’s name will be added to the Lt. General Albert P. Clark Award, which hangs in the Air Force Academy’s McDermott Library.”

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Virginia Eades – 80th Birthday – Peter Hynes

Virginia, from the Dayton reunion, is the daughter of RAF F/Lt Wemyss Wylton Todd, who is the officer who designed the memorial to the 50 murdered POWs after the Great Escape that still graces the old camp. Todd, a gifted musician, also provided much needed entertainment to the men of North Compound.  Virginia celebrated with her family at the University Club in Chicago. Happy Birthday, Virginia!

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 Words of Wisdom – POW Jim Stewart

The words which he quoted at the local November 11th Remembrance Day ceremony in St. Andrews – Canada:

“The late F/Lt Frank Ziegler, Intelligence Officer of my 609 (WR) RAF Typhoon Squadron summarized it well:

‘The end of the war took away the purpose that for many years had united young men of a dozen different countries in friendship and mutual loyalty. Flying together and fighting together, it had been a way of life and fulfillment that few would experience again, even if for so many it had been a way of death.’”

 Historic Picture of the RAF Memorial to the Fifty – Martyn Perrin

Flt/Lt John Francis “Jack” Williams memorabilia is being auctioned off. Williams was one of the 50 murdered after the Great Escape.  The following picture is among the items being auctioned.

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“The Memorial dedicated to the 50 Executed Allied Officers which originally contained their ashes – This photo, taken shortly after the war (probably by Jack’s father), shows it in a derelict state after being damaged by advancing Russian troops, or the retreating German Army, in 1945. The RAF Eagle that adorned the front had been stolen and some urns broken into. It has since been restored and the urns moved to the official war grave in the Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery.”

Author on Fox News – Scott Culver

Scott Culver’s father watched B-24, Nine Yanks and a Jerk, shot out of the sky in 1944. One of the men on that plane was the father of Eric Shawn, news anchor on Fox News. Below is the segment aired Nov. 15th, when the two men discussed the book, their fathers, and the war.

Scott Culver 4:40 PM segment

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4614492320001/

Nine Yanks and a Jerk jpg front cover

Scott Culver

‘Son of a Gunner’

Son of S/Sgt. Henry J. Culver, Sr.

Ball turret/waist gunner/assistant engineer

445th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 703rd Bomb Squadron

Under Squadron Commander Major James M. Stewart

Tibenham, England

2nd Air Division

U.S. 8th Air Force, ETO, World War II

Purple Hearts – Frostbite – Robert Sabel

Just a reminder…all POWs who were wounded (including severe frostbite) in captivity are eligible for the Purple Heart. [Frostbite sustained on the march would qualify.]  Contact: Robersabel@aol.com

Links

Swamp Ghost – Mike Eberhardt

http://www.latimes.com/travel/hawaii/la-trb-hawaii-swamp-ghost-pearl-harbor-20151013-story.html

Until next time,

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers

 

 

 

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