Stalag Luft III Newsletter – July 2016
Dear SLIII POWs, Families, and Friends,
Marek has returned from the A.F. Academy after using the fellowship he was awarded by them to research the Eagle Squadrons.
Marek would like to thank recent donors to the museum, Chuck Benson, Devon Nielsen, and Carolyn Miller, while he was here in the U.S.
He is pictured above, June 9th, in this photo taken by archivist, Mary Ruwell, at the Friends of the Air Force Academy luncheon. He is with Brig. Gen. Philip Caine, ret., who has written extensively about the Eagle Squadrons. While he was there, Marek received the prestigious honor of being awarded recognition on the Lt. Gen. Albert P. Clark plaque for his outstanding contributions regarding Stalag Luft III.
Mary and Marek in the A.F. Academy Library
Marek’s new nameplate on the plaque
Marek’s research extended to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Here he is by the Stalag Luft III Memorial in the gardens next to the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.
POW Display at A.F. Museum
POWs on 40&8 boxcar
POW artifacts on display
Donated POW items
Donations to the Zagan Museum
Zagan’s veteran, Lt. Piotr Gubernator (92), donated an original wooden prop [wooden beam support] from Stalag VIIIC and an old wooden German suitcase to the museum. Mr. Gubernator came to Zagan in 1947. In 1945, German Sagan became Polish Zagan, and many Polish people came to the town from eastern Poland. Piotr was one of the first Polish citizens of Zagan. He said that the barracks of Stalag VIIIC [sat right next to West Compound at SLIII] were still there. Then the local authorities decided to dismantle the barracks and send the materials to Warsaw. Materials like bricks were sent to Warsaw, but wooden parts of the barracks were sold to the local people. Most of the wood was used as a fuel for the stoves or for the restoration of the damaged houses. The distribution center was near the museum. People from the area came there to buy the materials. Mr. Gubernator was one of them. Mr. Gubernator (for unknown reasons) decided to save the wooden prop. He told Marek about it some time ago and recently decided to donate it to the museum. The wooden suitcase has nothing to do with the camps. It is just an example of the civilian suitcase used during war times.
Piotr Gubernator Prop
Prop’s metal fittings
Picture taken in the Stalag VIIIC canteen’s
interior – “We are not 100% sure if this
was that kind of prop, but it looks like it.”
Marek: “I’ve recently found a few holes in North Compound, and I reported this to the Forest Guard and Military Police. I saw recently cheap metal detectors available in the local supermarket. Then I had a phone call. The female voice asked me if she and her friends could go to the camp for some ‘metal detecting.’ I explained to them that such an activity is against the law, and I warned them that they could be punished by Police, Military Police, and Forest Guards.”
Jeschkenfdorf – von Lindeiner’s Manor
This village, location of the beautiful manor of Col. von Lindeiner and his wife, was destroyed shortly after the war. The foundations of the manor are still there. The German people of Jeschkendorf escaped in January 1945, when the POWs were evacuated. The village was empty, and the communists decided to dismantle the buildings. All bricks were taken to Warsaw. A friend of Marek’s told him the story that about 20 years ago unknown looters found some goods in Jeschkendorf manor like silver cutlery, tableware, and porcelain. The goods were taken and sold somewhere in Poland. The looters dig there even today.
von Lindeiner’s Manor
In stark contrast to the manor, is this former hotel in Zagan where many of us who went back to the camp years ago stayed. The building has been for sale for many years and has not improved with age. It was a unique experience way back then to stay there! Today, many nice hotels serve the area.
Doolittle Raider – David Thatcher
June 22, 2016 – The second to the last Doolittle Raider has passed away leaving Richard Cole, 100, as the only remaining member of the Doolittle Raiders. Condolences to the Thatcher family on the loss of this true American Hero.
POW Edward Bender – POW daughter, Miriam Larson – U.S.
With a heavy heart, I pass along news of the passing of Col. Bender. He was the subject of the book, “Lest They Forget Freedom’s Price,” written by daughter, Miriam. Both Miriam and her sister, Diane Maurer, were two of the original Kriegie Kids, on our re-enactment march through Poland and Germany in 2009. It was my honor to know Col. Bender, who attended Stalag Luft III Reunions. He died just two days short of his 98th birthday and will be buried on that birthday. Our condolences to Miriam, Diane, and their mother, Kathryn.
Edward Martin Bender, 97, of Cape Girardeau went to his eternal home Thursday, June 30, 2016, at the Veteran’s Home in Cape Girardeau. He was born July 2, 1918, in Cape Girardeau to Martin G. and Elinor Wilder Bender. Ed and Kathryn Stiegemeyer were married June 23, 1951. Ed was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church, and graduated from Trinity Lutheran School, Central High School, and Southeast Missouri State University. He served in the US Army Air Corps from 1942-1945 as a flight instructor and the Pilot of a B-17 Bomber. He was a Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft III for a year and four days. He later served in the Air Force Reserves, attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel. He was a Letter Carrier in Cape Girardeau from 1940-1961. He was a writer/editor for the US Department of the Interior/Bureau of Mines in Rolla, MO, and Washington, D.C. from 1961-1979. Ed was a member of Trinity Men’s Club, the VFW, and the American Legion. He is survived by his wife, Kathryn, and daughters Diane Maurer of Cape Girardeau, and Miriam Larson (Jim) of Knoxville, TN. Grandchildren: Matthew (Trish) Maurer of Argyle, WI, Ryan (Linden) Maurer of Dallas, Texas, Andrew (Jennifer) Maurer of Cape Girardeau, Mikaela (Eric) Larson Fuchs of Knoxville, TN, Aaron (Marie) Larson of Nashville, TN, and Micah Larson of Knoxville, TN. Great grandchildren: Madison Maurer of Cape Girardeau and Henry and Seth Fuchs of Knoxville, and brother, Kenneth (Martha) Bender of Cape Girardeau. He was preceded in death by his parents, and sisters Louise Roth and Margaret Cruce.
Dr. Roscoe C. Brown – Tuskegee Airman
On July 2, 2016, famed Tuskegee airman, Dr. Brown, died at the age of 94. Among his many accomplishments, Brown was credited with shooting down a German 262 jet. Condolences to the Brown family on the loss of this heroic man
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE4h8NcnnJA Dr. Brown interviewing fellow Tuskegee Airmen, Col. Lee Archer – provided by John Lanza
POW Bob Weinberg – Tracy Weinberg – U.S.
Following the tribute to POW and former reunion organizer, Bob Weinberg, in the last newsletter, who died on May 12, 2016, at the age of 94, his family provided the pictures below.
Bob – The War Years Nina and Bob from 1995
Liberation Picture – Stalag VIIA in Moosburg, Germany – Karl Duggin – U.S.
Oran Highley, on the left, who directed The Messiah at Stalag Luft III, next to Larry E. Wolfe, navigator on the Alden Mann crew that was the other wing ship next to Oran’s that also went down on 15 May 1943, and Oran’s brother Earl (helmet) who came in with Patton’s Third Army to liberate the camp. The last man on the right is unknown.
Halifax Crash – Peter Rees – Australia – Author of Anzac Girls, Desert Boys, Lancaster Men and Bearing Witness, the Remarkable life of Charles Bean, Australia’s Greatest War Correspondent
“I am researching another Australian, Bomber Command RAAF Flight Lieutenant George Alfred Archer, POW #565 at Sagan.” Peter Rees
P/O George Alfred ARCHER – RAAF – Halifax W1040
With the excellent research skills of Edouard Renière in Belgium, the following information was found on this crash :
The Amsterdam Carlton Hotel had been requisitioned by the German authorities and several Wehrmacht officers were staying there. All crew members of the Halifax that crashed there were killed.
Here are the details: http://www.verliesregister.studiegroepluchtoorlog.nl/item2.php?SGLO=T2209
The UK Magazine “After the Battle,” issue # 117 has an article about the crash.
A text in Dutch, with photos at: http://www.dedokwerker.nl/carlton_hotel.html
A few other details and a map at: http://www.reguliers.net/history.php#1800-1945. Ed’s comments below:
“During World War II, German Nazi-officers were housed in the Carlton Hotel, which probably made it a target for the Allies. In April 1943, the Germans shot down a British bomber, which accidentally came down right behind the hotel. Not only the hotel was severely damaged, but the fire caused by the plane also destroyed all the houses in Reguliersdwarsstraat between the Carlton Hotel and Geelvincksteeg. It was the most devastating fire that struck Amsterdam since 1659, but this time, as by a miracle, only 13 civilians died.
1945 – 1980 – After the war, the area destroyed by the plane crash was used for car parking for more than a decade. It wasn’t until the sixties that big new buildings were run up here: Muntstaete for the city savings bank, and De Geelvinck and Munthof for offices and shops.
Joe Moser’s Buchenwald POW Card – Edouard Renière – Belgium
This is a copy of the late SLIII Joe Moser’s POW card from Buchenwald Concentration Camp, where he was one of the 168 Allied airmen held there before being transferred to SLIII.
Paintings – Marilyn Phillips Johansen – Daughter of POW Eugene F. Phillips – South Camp – U.S.
“Since attending two of the reunions, I have started a series of paintings that are now traveling in my area of Florida to bring awareness to the public about War and Remembrance. The painting titled, WWII Prisoners of War, was painted from a photo I took of these men during the screening of the ‘Lost Airmen of Buchenwald’ by Mike Dorsey.” [Dayton Reunion – 2012]
Buchenwald and SLIII POWs Richard Bedford, Joe Moser, Ed Carter Edwards, Don Shearer
Marilyn Johansen’s father
Advertisement for the Event
Tunnel Bierstein – Greg Holt – U.S.
Greg was in college in Denver when the SLIII reunion was held there in 1985. POW Joe Consolmagno had written the play, Tunnel Bierstein” that was performed in the camp decades before. It was reprised for the 1985 reunion with local college students acting in it. Marek was able to find one of them, Greg Holt, and put him in touch with me.
Greg: “Here are two photos of the chair used in the production of Tunnel Bierstein. It can be seen on the right side of the photo (stage left) that Marek sent me from the production in 1985.This chair was definitely built by veterans – as was the entire set for the show; we actors (and the director) just showed up, and the set was ready. Then as they were disposing of things, at the end of the show, I decided the chair was too cool to toss into the dumpster.”
This chair is identical to the seats in the kriegie theatres. So many of us have wondered what the actual seats looked like, having only seen them in faded theatre pictures from the camp. Thanks to Greg for keeping this one!
Photos taken at Denver Reunion – chair is on the right
Greg is in the back row, 4th from the left with his hands clasped. Joe Consolmagno, front
row, third from the left, Gen. Clark, fifth from the left, German guard, Hermann Glemnitz,
seventh from the left, next to Dave Pollack, reunion organizer
Greg Holt is currently the Artistic Director and the Waterloo Community Playhouse in Iowa.
Inquiry – Carolyn Gabbe, granddaughter of Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark – U.S.
“I am attaching a photo that my cousin, Ed Clark, found buried in some things that my grandfather (AP Clark) gave to his son, Pat Clark. Ed sent it to my brother Bill, and we’ve been trying to identify the man. Grandfather only kept things for a reason, and we are so curious. Bill is also wondering what to do with the photo. It is in excellent condition.”
Does anyone recognize this gentleman?
[My guess is Gen. Ira Eaker, Commander of the 8th AF in England – MW]
Clark Book Cover – Jim Lincoln – nephew of Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark – U.S.
After watching the last newsletter’s link to Spitfires, Jim sent the cover of his uncle’s book. The cover was drawn by his brother, Clark Lincoln, and is a great depiction of a Spitfire. The long-awaited book has been an excellent read for so many!
Albert P. Clark, Lieutenant General, USAF (Ret.), graduated from West Point United States Military Academy in 1936 and went on to a distinguished military career. He was second in command of the first American fighter unit in the European Theater of Operations during World War II and was later shot down over France and held in SLIII, serving at that time at Senior American Officer.
RAF Records at National Archive in the the U.S. – Bryan Kasmenn – U.S.
This link shows a collection of 1000 names in the National Archives.
“A complete nominal roll of all men from Stalag Luft III in Silesia, Poland (the famous camp of the Great Escape). The thing that makes the list unusual is that it is actually the roll call at Marlag/Milag, a Navy internment/POW camp in the Baltic. The RAF Stalag Luft III prisoners were marched there as the Russians drew closer to Germany in 1944/45 and later moved on elsewhere. What is especially interesting is that these records, unlike the camp’s own rolls call (which can be seen in our collection), list the place of capture, plus the number of the hut the prisoner was billeted to at Marlag. Keep an eye on our site if you have a POW relative who was at Stalag Luft III as we’ll be transcribing those 1,000 records very soon!”
Although this paragraph suggests there are records for ALL SLIII POWs, it would seem to indicate RAF only.]
History of Center Compound
In finishing the Mud, Wings, Wire book, I noticed that there was mention by POW Tom Mulligan about Col. Delmar Spivey’s History of Center Compound. Spivey was Senior American Officer of Center Compound. After liberation from Stalag VIIA in April, 1945, Lt. Mulligan returned home to his home in NY, and that same year he and Lt. Lyman Burbank and Lt. Robert Brunn assembled the History of Center Compound for the U.S. Strategic Air Force Command (SAC). It had been secretly complied under the direction of Col. Spivey at considerable risk to the lives of the three men while they were still in captivity. Mulligan and his two co-writers were awarded the Bronze Star medal for their efforts. The history is housed in the Albert Simpson Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB in Alabama and became the basis and initial impetus for the book SLIII– The Secret Story, by Art Durand. According to papers found in Mulligan’s effects, this same report, once it was declassified, served as background material for the movie, The Great Escape and the t.v. series, Hogan’s Heroes. I have had a copy of it for many years, not knowing its complete genesis.
Mulligan was a B-17 pilot whose plane got in trouble over Germany. He ordered the crew to bail out. All did, but navigator, Ben Street, who had been hit in the head by a piece of shrapnel and died instantly. His body remained in the plane, and miraculously the plane landed itself in a field. Forty years after the war, man named Coenen found Tom Mulligan and sent the pictures he had taken of the plane that day, as a teenager.
POW Stewart E. Cooper
Lt. Cooper lost his leg during a raid over Emden, Germany, on Sept. 27, 1943 and was repatriated on July 25, 1944, having been a POW at SLIII. He took his wartime log book with him, filled with the names and addresses of some of his fellow POWs, but it also contained segments of coded information gathered by Col. Spivey’s “X” committee since Aug. 1943, which was shared with G-2 staff when Cooper returned.
At a POW reunion in 1970, Stewart spoke of the compassion shown to him in Germany.
“This compassion was the outgrowth of the treatment so many downed fliers received at the hands of their so-called enemies; like the farmer and his two children who helped me find my morphine in my first aid kit; the soldier who carried me to the farmhouse and stopped whenever I groaned; the ambulance driver who insisted I was not dead when two hospital interns told him to put me in the morgue; the entire hospital staff at the foot of my bed calling, “’Cooper, Cooper, wake up!”; the Catholic nun who held my hand when I groaned; the very beautiful x-ray technician who would visit us every Sunday morning and talk to us about her family, always pleasant, even though her husband, a U-boat captain, was missing and presumed lost at sea; and the ambulance driver who transported me to the hospital and would visit us. Once he showed us a picture of his wife and two children, all killed in an RAF raid. He did not hate us. His only comment was, “It’s the war!”
Mud Wings and Wire, A Memoir by Harry x. Ford
HC Scharff – Interrogator Articles – Hans Claudius Scharff – son of Hans Scharff – U.S.
Hanns Scharff’s successful interrogation techniques live on with increasing interest by the military and many police departments. There was an article in Newsweek magazine 05/20/2016 – page forty-seven – on torture. It was published in the on-line version of the L.A. Times on 10 June, 2016. More recently, the L.A. Times published the article in hard copy on page six.
The article says that Hanns Scharff, a German WWII era interrogator, famous for his non threatening approach, used techniques that have been tested successfully by the Norwegian police (article pending). Prof. Par Anders Granhag, a Swedish professor of psychology, says he and his colleagues are receiving “more and more” requests to train practitioners in the Scharff method. “So far, we have trained police units in Sweden and Norway, and the LAPD and FBI.”
Inquiry – Jim Blackstock, son of POW Lt. James Carne Blackstock, A-20 light bomber pilot, USAAC – U.S.
“My father explained many years ago that when he was in camp, after February 1944, the Kriegies would sometimes stage an “Olympics” using Red Cross parcels. As I understood the story, the men would each donate a portion of their Red Cross Parcel to make up two complete parcels. Then competitors would be chosen (he never explained exactly how), and the two Olympians would have to consume their entire Red Cross parcel within a set time period. The first one to completely consume the package was the winner, and he received two complete Red Cross parcels to consume at his leisure. The story always made sense to me, but I’ve never come across any reference to that sort of thing. I’m now wondering if it, or something like it, actually happened.”
Inquiry – Kristen Alexander – Australia
In her research, Kristen has come across the acronym, SKAOS in regard to a play presented in East Compound . “Saw ‘The Dover Road’ by SKAOS. Very good.” Does anyone know what those letters stand for?
New Book – POW son, Keith Ogilvie – Canada
When the Royal Canadian Air Force wouldn’t accept him as a pilot in the summer of 1939, Keith Skeets Ogilvie walked across the street in Ottawa and joined the Royal Air Force. A week later, he was on a boat to England and a future he could not have imagined. Some unusual luck won him a transfer as a Spitfire pilot to No. 609 (White Rose) Squadron, just as the Battle of Britain was being joined. Over the next months he firmly established his credentials with six confirmed victories and two probables, along with several enemy aircraft damaged. Shot down over France the following July, he was fortunate to be treated for grievous injuries by top German surgeons. Skeets’ home for the balance of the war was Stalag Luft III prison camp. He was the second last man out of the Great Escape tunnel but was recaptured three days later. For reasons he never understood, Skeets was one of 23 escapees who were spared from being murdered by the Gestapo. 50 of his fellows were not so lucky. In London on a night off from flying duties, Skeets had been introduced to a fellow Canadian expatriate, Irene Lockwood. While he was testing the limits of his luck, his future wife was experiencing her own adventures in London, living through the daily stress of the Luftwaffe bombing campaign and working with MI 12, and later as a wartime photographer with the RCAF. You Never Know Your Luck is the story of two modest people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances, and who rose to the occasion like so many of their contemporaries. Skeets’ and Irene’s own words and memories are the foundations on which the experience of wartime unfolds. The book is a unique perspective from individuals who never failed to wonder at their own fortune.
Book launch recently took place at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridge, England.
POW Gideon Jones Receives Honor – Doug Descant, Sr. – U.S.
POW Gideon Jones, whom we all enjoyed so much at the New Orleans Reunion, received recognition for his WWll service from the State of Texas. Rep. John Cyrier and Chief Randy Prince, of the Texas Rangers presided. Congratulations, Gideon!
Special Valor – POW Leonard Spivey – U.S.
Dutch Firm Trains Eagles to Take Down Drones
Recently Released WWII photos – POW son, Mike Eberhart – U.S.
B-17 Visits Canada – POW daughter, Barb Edy – Canada
Dutch Researcher Finds 175 Dulag Luft “Mug Shots” – Dr. Susanne Meinl – Germany
DPAA Lists Names, by State, of MIAs Not Recovered
http://www.dpaa.mil/ – Click on Our Missing and WWII
“Sweetheart Grips “ – Barry Schoen – U.S.
“The Bad Angel” –POW daughter, Carolyn Miller – U.S.
Jet on a Stool
Lili Marlene – 1939 German Version – Ernie Hasenclever – Canada
Last week’s link did not work, so Ernie suggested this one. Listen to what Center Compound heard New Year’s Eve, drifting over from the German vorlager adjacent to them, as reported last newsletter.
Correction – Gunner not on Memphis Belle – Kevin Pearson – U.S.
“The story on the guy mentioned as the Memphis Belle gunner dying in the UK is wrong. He was with the 303rd BG, and the reporter who wrote the story got it all wrong. The Belle came back to the States on a War Bond Tour after 25 and did not stay in theater. The newspaper later made its correction:
Photos from the 15th Air Force
Beautiful Spitfires – POW son, Peter Mayo Australia
Leaving you with:
If Old Pilots Designed Cars – John Lanza – U.S.
Until next time,
Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers