Stalag Luft III Newsletter – February, 2017
Greetings POWs, Families, and Friends,
After receiving your generous donations, I received this from Marek, who will be in touch with the donors soon:
“I have had two meetings with the carpenter who is going to build the replica of the POW room for the museum. He showed me some drawings and plans and, believe me, it will be great!
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Love the Museum!
Marek has received a lithograph from the U.S Air Force Thunderbirds. Each of the pilots autographed it for the museum. Marek will display it proudly in the museum where all visitors can see it:
Super Bowl in Zagan
For those who watched the Super Bowl, you might have noticed the Hyundai commercial after the game ended. The troops in Zagan, Poland, to be reunited via video with their loved ones at home, were chosen for the commercial.
If you did not see it, watch for the location at the very beginning of the link below:
According to Marek, the location where the commercial was filmed is the Army Camp just 500 meters from Stalag Luft 3. It is Karliki Camp.
“Karliki was a small estate deep in the woods south of Zagan. The German name was Carlswalde. The original name of SL3 was Kriegsgefangenenlager der Luftwaffe Nr 3 Sagan-Carlswalde, or simply Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Carlswalde.”
NATO TV Interview with Marek
Daily events in Zagan continue to be broadcast worldwide! Watch for Marek in this video, which also gives a good look at the town of Zagan.
Gen. Mika Honor
“Major General Jaroslaw Mika, Black Division Commander and great friend of the museum, became General Commander of the Polish Army on Feb. 8th! He was nominated by the President of Poland. Zagan is so proud of him. The picture below was taken in Nov. 2014 during the Polish-British exercise in Zagan. General Mika is on the left, Lt. General Sir James Everard, Commander British Field Army, is in the middle, and I’m on the right presenting a new tanker helmet to Gen. Everard.”
72nd Anniversary of the Evacuation of Stalag Luft 4 Gross Tychow
After interrogation at Dulag Luft, many of the enlisted men were separated from the officers on their crews. Most of the enlisted ended up at Stalag Luft IV, and sometimes VI. Many of the American officers and their enlisted crews were reunited at Stalag VIIA in Moosburg, Germany, for liberation together after marching from their respective camps. Stalag Luft 4 was evacuated on February 6th. The enlisted men had been months on the road walking to Moosburg from Stalag Luft 4.
Marek has sent the website below. It is in Polish but you can see some pictures of Stalag Luft IV.
Pole, Pawel Urbaniak, the local historian, is wearing the American military attire.
Children, local authorities, and military representatives were guests who were invited to attend the ceremony. After the main service, they visited the Cold War Museum contained in the old Soviet nuclear missile storage bunker. The museum within it is very new and was opened in September 2016.
“Poland will celebrate the 1945 evacuation of both VIIIC and SL3 and the Battle of Sagan on the 16th of February. Stalag VIIIC was evacuated on February 8th, and the Soviets took the town on February 16th.”
Former Commandant von Lindeiner, who had been exiled from the camp after the Great Escape, returned to fight in that battle and was shot in the foot and the shoulder. According to von Lindeiner, he was fighting for his homeland, not Hitler.
Below is the excerpt (in von Lindeiner’s own words) from the book Mike and I published— “From Commandant to Captive.”
“In the early hours of 12 February, I made a reconnaissance trip on motorcycle into the northern battle section accompanied by another officer. When the early fog lifted, we could see occasional Russian guards on the eastern shore of the Bober. Approaching the village of Greisitz, situated on the river, believing it occupied by German troops whom we had telephoned before our departure, we received Russian fire at close range. I was hit in the shoulder and foot causing me to fall. The Russians thought me dead and pursued my escort officer. By crawling through a barn, a stable, and a deep iced-over trench, I was able to reach the edge of the woods, cross through them, and reach Sagan with my last strength after a three-hour grueling march. The bullet was removed from my right foot, and I was properly bandaged. In the evening, a high staff officer took over my command. A heavily-damaged armored scout brought me, on 13 February 1945, via Soran [sic] Sorau-Kalau-Luckau-Torgau and Eilenburg to Leipzig to Reserve Hospital IV St. Georg. On 5 April, I was transferred to the Reserve Hospital at Blankenburg in the Harz and became there a POW of the Americans and then of the English.”
“We have now winter holidays in Poland. I arranged several guided trips for the kids. I rented a bus, and we visited the Black Division, 10th Tank Brigade in Swietoszow (Neuhammer) and our museum, of course. Lots of fun, especially the virtual shooting range and Leopard tank simulators.”
Lecture at the 10th Tank Brigade
Marek guides a tour at the museum.
Virtual shooting range
Polish children saluting in a tank
Justice for the SLIII Burglar
“Today I was in the court house. The guy who broke into the museum one year ago will go the jail for 3 years.”
For new readers unfamiliar with this incident previously reported in the newsletter: Break-In at Stalag Luft III, Rather Than a Break-Out
“During the night of Feb. 20th, a man broke into the museum to steal the donation box. He took the whole box, destroyed it, and left in the woods. Police took it with them as evidence. Unfortunately, the motion detector was too far from the window, and it did not activate the alarm system. We have to fix it. Fortunately, the box was almost empty. There were no damages to the museum except the window. We have everything on tape. Police traced the man as he tried to sell a few Australian dollars in the local currency exchange office I called all local exchange offices and warned them that somebody would try to sell the New Zealand and Australian dollars from the ‘80s and ‘90s. The guy came to the exchange office near Kepler’s Restaurant. The lady called me, and could not do much, but the face of the burglar was recorded there. At the museum, he had waved to the camera two times! I had given the police a CD with the museum’s recording of him. The burglar was captured by the police within weeks of the theft.”
The man had been convicted of previous burglaries, but he continued to commit burglaries in Zagan after the museum theft. Marek was called as a witness and victim at the trial.
Burglar climbed high to break a widow.
International Tourism Fair
Mirek and Marek are once again promoting the museum at the International Tourism Fair in Breslau. Above is their promotional stand.
Ed Carter Edwards – POW daughter, Leanne Cunliffe – Canada
On the morning of Feb. 22nd, Ed passed away after spending six weeks in hospice. A bright light has gone out of many of our lives with Ed’s loss. He was a dynamo of a man who was larger than life. He embraced life with such gusto. We all benefited from that. I know that my life was richer for knowing him. I got to know Ed during the making of the documentary, Lost Airmen of Buchenwald, as he had been one of those Lost Airmen. He was our singing star at the Dayton Reunion, much to the delight of all the attendees. We kept in touch long after that reunion, and due to medical reasons, his doctor would not allow him to travel to the U.S. from Canada for the last two reunions, which was disappointing for him and all of us. But I sent him pictures and full reports afterward, and after each reunion, sick as he had been, he called to sing his classic, “We’ll Meet Again” for me that we enjoyed so much in Dayton. It is hard not to think of his mellow tones and message of that song right now. I appreciated so much the books he would send me from Canada and especially a scarf he crocheted and sent to me.
Ed returned to Buchenwald several times to remember his fellow airmen and all those who were held in that concentration camp. He was present at the dedication of the RAF Bomber Command Memorial in London, where he was delighted to meet the queen. His jokes, his smile, his wit, and his good nature will long be remembered. The RAF motto comes to mind with his loss: Per Ardua ad Astra my dear friend – “Through Adversity to the Stars.”
Ed at Buchenwald with his fellow Lost Airmen
Ed with Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh – June 28, 2012
Buchenwald – Ed with fellow Buchenwald/SLIII POW Jim Stewart
Dayton Stalag Luft III Reunion – 2012 -Buchenwald/ SLIII
POWs Don Shearer, Ed, Joe Moser, and Richard Bedford
POW Ken Collins and POW Jerry Farber Reunite
Below are pictures taken at Jerry Farber’s 95th birthday party in Boca Raton, FL, on Feb. 18th. POW Ken is shown pinning the POW Medal on Jerry.
“Jerry and I were aviation cadets at bombardier school in San Angelo, Texas. We graduated in the same class and then got separated. We both ended up in Italy in the 15th Air Force and were shot down on the same day, ending up in Luft 111 and were liberated in Moosburg on April 29, 1945. After graduation, I lost complete contact with Jerry until we found each other here in Florida many years later. In those dark days back in POW camp, one of our mottos was, ‘home alive in ’45,’ never realizing or even hoping that it would be ‘home alive at 95!’ To say the least, it was a very emotional evening!”
Jerry’s arm is in a cast from a recent fall. Happy birthday, Jerry!
POW Charles Church
Growing up, I constantly heard the name of POW Charlie Church, also known as “Muzzey.” He and my father were both in South Compound and became very good friends. I knew he had sons, one named Jim, but after a long search I failed to find either one. Son, Jim, saw notice of the 2012 SLIII Reunion in Dayton and contacted Mike Eberhardt wanting more information. Mike passed his email to me, not realizing I had been looking for Jim for a long time. I never knew where the name “Muzzey” came from, but I put Jim in touch with POW Joe Consolmagno, who knew both of our fathers, and he enlightened both of us through this letter he sent to Jim:
I knew your father well at Stalag Luft III and remember him at our Chicago reunion. At camp, he was nicknamed “Muzzey,” after the author of a history book that almost all of our generation had in high school. I don’t know what the connection with your father was, though. He wore the nickname when I met him. I was responsible for his female part in “You Can’t Take It With You.” I had the part of “Reba,” the black maid, and Muzzey wanted very much to be in the play. To avoid the inconvenience of the makeup, I offered the role to Muzzey, which he jumped at. Stalag Luft III was evacuated at the approach of the Russians in January, 1945, in the middle of a performance of the play, and your father had the discomfort of the makeup during the whole week-long ordeal that followed. (Incidentally, during the Mexican war, Lt. U.S. Grant played a female role in an Army play in Texas.)
Art in the Camp – POW son, Rick Grice – U.S.
Joe Boyle and Emmet Cook were two of the best American artists in the camp. Emmet was the artist who sketched the famous, “I Wanted Wings” cartoon that everyone copied. It was later licensed by the Disney Company. Thanks to Rick for sending some of the artists’ creations and this article about his father:
“There I Was” by POW Joe Boyle
“There I Was – B17 – You might have seen this one. It was in a book entitled Clipped Wings, about SL3 published in 1947.”
Christmas 1944 in South Compound – Emmet Cook
“SL3 Night Before Xmas – This is one of many sketches done by Emmet. I happen to have 5 or 6 of them.”
POW Charles Grice being captured – Emmet Cook
News Clipping Reporting the Capture
“FWST Article – Comes out of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. It talks about the in-camp ‘rivalry’ between my dad and Emmet Cook who was perhaps the first American my dad met after he was interrogated by his captors. There are some interesting stories behind their first meeting (Emmet thought my dad might have been a German ‘plant.’ They became best friends and, Emmet turned out to be the Best Man at my parents wedding.”
Bud’s Odyssey Premiers in Pasadena – POW daughter, Jennifer Kingsbury – U.S.
A film made from Jennifer’s book of the same name will be presented at the Pasadena Film Festival on March 12th for those in California who can come out and support one of our own. For more information or questions, contact Jennifer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
B-24 Propeller in UK – Trevor Hewitt – UK
“I have just been given a B-24 Liberator prop blade. It was discovered a couple of years back in a melting glacier in Iceland by a party of school children from the Norwich Cathedral School on a expedition to the glaciers in Iceland, and they brought it back. It comes from a very famous B24 named ‘Hot Stuff,’ which was on its way back to the USA after its crew completed its 25 missions. ‘Hot Stuff’ was with the 93rd Bomb Group flying out of its base at Hardwick, Norfolk, about 15 miles from Frettenham. ‘Hot Stuff’ had completed 31 missions, and her crew completed 25. She, and they, were selected to return to the USA to go on a recruitment and war bonds tour. The pilot of ‘Hot Stuff,’ Lt. ‘Shine’ Shannon and his crew flew into the 8th AF base at Bovington, Cambridgeshire, on the return trip to collect a VIP.
That VIP was Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, Commander of Forces, in the ETO. Apparently, he was a friend of Shannon’s so elected to return with him when he found out that ‘Shine’ was going home. But when Shannon arrived at Bovington, he found that the general had also with him his staff, two Army chaplains, and a civilian Methodist bishop to accompany him home on the trip as well. That meant that five of the Shannon crew were ‘bumped’ to make way for the extra people as there was not room for them all. Those five were to return on another aircraft. Shannon took off from Bovington and landed at Prestwick, Scotland, to refuel for the next leg which was to Iceland, presumably to the airbase at ‘Bluie West One,’ but, unfortunately, ‘Hot Stuff’ crashed into the Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland, killing all those on board. This crash was a bit hushed up and not really a lot was openly published about it at the time. ‘Hot Stuff’ had, in fact, flown on the same mission as the B-17 ‘Memphis Belle’ to Willhelmshaven, Germany, on March 22nd 1943. She was flying her 31st mission that day when ‘Memphis Belle’ was on her 10th. ‘Memphis Belle’ completed her missions three and half months later.
On the same day as the crash, May 3rd, 1943, Lt. Gen. Andrews was given the job of leading all Allied forces across the Channel on D Day, but he was killed before he received the message. The job was later given to a man called Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Apparently, some of the ‘Hot Stuff’ wreckage was returned to the USA a few years back and is now in a museum stateside, but I’m not too sure which one. I suppose that if Shannon and ‘Hot Stuff’ had not crashed, history would have been different, no film, and ‘Hot Stuff’ would have superseded ‘Memphis Belle,’ meaning a good old B-24 got there first, and it would have been Allied Supreme Commander Lt. Gen. Andrews, not Eisenhower on D-Day.
The airbase in Maryland, where presidents depart on Air Force One, is known as Andrews Air Force Base, named after him in his honour.”
Lt. Gen. Andrews
Chicago Tribute Report of Kiel Raid – POW son, Mike Woodworth – U.S.
Former member of the flak battalion that shot down my father’s plane and Mike Woodworth’s father’s plane, Ernie Hasenclever, has sent Mike this newspaper article about the raid on which Mike’s father went down. He found the article in the May 20, 1943, edition of the Chicago Tribune.
100th Bomb Group Reunion – SLIII Invited – POW niece, Val Burgess – U.S.
Val: “I had mentioned to you before that I was going to organize a reunion with the 100th Bomb Group. The reunion is Oct. 19-22, 2017, in Washington, DC at the Hyatt Regency Hotel – Dulles, in Herndon, VA.”
Val will complete the schedule in the next few months. So far, an optional wreath-laying ceremony is scheduled at Arlington Cemetery and a visit to the WWII Memorial. Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Air Museum is a highlight and is located at Dulles. The Human Spaceflight collection spans decades of achievements from the first U.S. manned Mercury missions through Apollo, the Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station. There will be a symposium about the September 11, 1944, mission – “Ruhland Mission and Its Aftermath.” The “aftermath” includes the current recovery efforts of Howard Schulte, per Jan Zdiarsky’s findings in 2014 and now involves both the German and U.S. governments. Many airmen who were shot down on the Ruhland mission were sent to Stalag Luft III. This will be a multi-media presentation and will involve a re-enactor group to dramatize mission briefings. Mike Faley, Jan Zdiarsky, and Mark Copeland are primary historians for this historical presentation.
For further information, email Val Burgess, email@example.com,
or call (001) 307 674 4080
Col. Keeffe’s Foreword – POW son, Jim Keeffe – U.S.
Some interesting thoughts of the late SLIII POW James Keeffe, recently sent from his son. Years after the war, Col. Keeffe was asked to write the foreword for a book written by the son of the man who once greeted him on the ground in Holland and helped him evade.
“Here is the foreword my father wrote over twenty years ago for a Dutch book titled, Luchtalarm, by Pieter van Wijngaarden.”
(Click on word document below.)
[unable to copy to WordPress]
Pilot Missing and A Courageous Grandmother – POW nephew, Hugh Carter – U.S.
“My uncle, John Keith Carter, [SLIII POW] and I collaborated on his story called ‘Pilot Missing.’ My uncle passed 15 February, 2008. He was commissioned 2nd Lt. through Air Cadet Program 25 March 1943. He was shot down during a raid on Anklam/Marienberg, 9 October 1943, on his first mission.”
Hugh and his family proudly wrote of their hero, highlighting the wartime service of Hugh’s grandmother as well.
“I chose name ‘Pilot Missing,’ as it was title of a poem my grandmother wrote (Uncle John’s mother) some years after the fact. In 1966, John’s mother, Lucy Fall (Weaver) Wright, looked back on those dark days of not knowing … then bitter sweet news, and, then again not knowing. Eight long days elapsed between the MIA telegram regarding the fate of John, lost on 12 October 1943, and the POW notification received on 20 October. Lucy writes her own words 23 years to the day after the shoot down remembering what she felt……”
Plane down! Two simple words
But oh the heartache and sorrow.
Ground crew anxiously scan the sky
Hardened faced pal, “I’ll write his folks tomorrow.”
Is there one heart left to grieve?
Or did a wife and child he leave?
Anxious days with countless hours
Of deep despair, and then hope towers.
Perhaps he is well. Oh, can it be?
Please God bring him back to me.
Endless time until it’s known
The one in a thousand returns to his own.
October 9, 1966
“My grandmother was a Red Cross Volunteer Nurse’s Aide. She also worked in the Bell Aircraft Corporation Factory assembly line in Marietta, Georgia, making B-29 ‘Super Fortresses.’ She worked to fill the empty hours until her sons would return safely home to her. Originally trained as a ‘Riveter,’ she advanced to ‘Parts Coordinator’ due to her ‘savvy and cheerful devotion to duty’ that kept the assembly line moving. The ‘Super Fortress’ carried the war home to the Japanese, and a single B-29, the ‘Enola Gay,’ flew into history in a way the world has never seen before or since. After the war, she returned to her primary duty of homemaker and grandmother extraordinaire.”
Lucy Fall Weaver Wright
“Sannie” Doolan Passes – POW daughter, Mary Lance – U.S.
As POW Bob Doolan – 92nd BG — Center Compound — prepares to celebrate his 100th birthday, March 21st, his daughter reports that his wife and her mother passed away Jan. 29th. Deep condolences to Bob’s entire family.
What Does Oberursel Mean? – Claudius Scharff, son of Interrogator Hans Scharff – U.S.
The town of Oberursel, Germany, where Stalag Luft III POWs were interrogated translated means “upper little bear.”
Did You Know? – POW son, Mike Eberhardt
About 27,000 American POWs were held by the Japanese in WWII, and 11,000 of these POWs would die. In contrast, of the estimated 93,941 American POWs held by Germany, 92,820 survived.
Russian POWs held by the Germans fared far worse. The Germans took 5.7 million Russian soldiers as POWs in WWII, and 3.3 million of the POWs died — about 75% died through deliberate starvation.
The Russians took 2.8 million German soldiers as POWs in WWII. According to the Russians, about 380,000 Germans died as POWs. The Germans dispute this figure, and claim the number of POWs who died was closer to one million.
General MacArthur’s September 1944 decision in WWII to engage the 11,000 Japanese troops holed up on island of Peleliu in the Pacific, as opposed to bypassing it as others on the Joint Chiefs of Staff had recommended since it was not viewed by them as key to the island hopping progression of the Allies to get closer to Japan, ended up with virtually all 11,000 Japanese troops killed. A handful of Japanese POWs were taken. The American Marines and Army soldiers counted 9800 in casualties during the battle for this six square mile island, which was supposed to take four days but took two months instead. Americans fired 16 million rounds of bullets, used 118,000 hand grenades, and fired 150,000 rounds of artillery during the siege on the Japanese. That math means that 1450 rounds of ammunition, 10 grenades and 14 artillery rounds were used for each killed Japanese soldier—-a number of whom actually committed suicide rather than suffering death (or capture) at the hands of the Americans. There is no estimate as to the use of flame throwers, but they were extensively used to attack Japanese soldiers who lived in and attacked from the miles of caves that they occupied on Peleliu. The cave system was so extensive, and unexplored by the Americans at the end of the battle, that the bodies of two of the most senior ranking Japanese officers (both of whom committed suicide deep in a command cavern) were not discovered until 40 years after the war ended.
B-17 All American – Joe Lawrence – U.S.
WWII Pilot Flies Again – POW daughter, Diane Stamp – U.S.
How Does Boeing Produce over Forty 737s a Month? – Ross Greene – U.S.
Watch this 3 ½ minute video beginning with the train arriving with the main body in the morning.
Until next time,
Marilyn Jeffers Walton
Daughter of 2nd Lt. Thomas F. Jeffers