Stalag Luft III Newsletter – April 2017
Greetings Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,
In the very near future, I will be sending out a separate newsletter on the remarkable recovery of SLIIII POW Lt. Ewart T. Sconiers, a story many of you have followed. His remains, hidden for so long, are coming home after 74 years! The story has been an incredible one, start to finish.
Happenings in Zagan:
The following links show some of the activities in the camp for the 73rd anniversary of the Great Escape, held annually in Poland. The American troops present this year seemed to enjoy the running race as much as the Poles did!
Marek signaled the start of the recent race with a shot from an A-34 tank!
Polish Children Learning about the War – The Great Escape Historical Contest
“For the Great Escape memorial ceremony, seventeen teams (three children per team) also took part. There were three age categories: primary school, middle school, and high school. They started with an 80-question quiz. Afterward, was the most exciting part: The sand relay race. The teams moved a mug full of the same yellow sand the POWs dealt with digging the tunnels, from one bucket to another. The last competition required the teams to recognize national flags and military buttons. After the awards ceremony, all were invited for a barbecue. It was a lot of fun and at the same time great history lesson!”
80-question quiz in the replica of Hut #104
Marek’s briefing before the quiz
Marek explains the rules.
Mirek monitors the Recognize the Flag Contest
Sand relay race
Sand relay race
French Documentary on the Great Escape Release
The first documentary on the Great Escape that the French have done has just been released. Many of us who assisted with it were given credit by the French. Marek, received special recognition. Many of the contributors are also contributors to this newsletter! We hope there will be a version with English subtitles or voiceovers.
Marek’s special recognition in the film
Incredible Find – Ingo Hauck – Germany
Dr. Gustav Simoleit, former college professor and adjutant to Col. von Lindeiner at Stalag Luft III, arrived at the camp with a suitcase in his hand. During the Forced March in Jan. 1945, he was sent to Stalag VIIA with the Americans in Moosburg, Germany, where he surrendered the camp to the American forces on April 29, 1945. Researcher, Ingo Hauck, was contacted by a man who had it. The man got Ingo’s contact through this newsletter.
Dr. Simoleit in his office at SLIII
Dr. Simoleit, left – April 29th, 1945 – the surrender at Stalag VIIA
Dr. Simoleit’s name inside the suitcase
Thanks to Dr. Susanne Meinl in Germany for translating the list of contents in the suitcase! This paper was pasted inside the suitcase.
It is not known when the suitcase with all its contents was separated from Dr. Simoleit, who became a POW of the Americans. During the souvenir taking after liberation in Moosburg, it is not beyond the realm of imagination that the contents were divided among POWs and liberators.
Beginning left side under Dr. Simoleit’s name:
Schuhe und Gamaschen – shoes and leggings
Hemden – shirts
Kragen – collar
Unterhosen – underpants
Strümpfe – socks
2 – Uniform – second uniform
Mantel – coat
Regenmantel – rain coat
Koppel – belt
Schwert – sword
Dolch – dagger
Pistole – pistol
Fernglas – binoculars
Signalpfeife – signal whistle
Kartentasche – bag for maps
Hausschuhe – carpet slippers
Handtücher – towel
Taschentücher – handkerchief
Stiefelanzieher – metal to put on boots – boot tighteners
Waschzeug – utensils for washing oneself – wash kit
In the middle:
Essbesteck – cutlery
Kochzeug (?) – cooking utensils
Briefpapier – stationery for letters
Schreibzeug – writing utensils
Radiergummi – eraser
Taschenmesser – pocket knife
Taschenlampe – flashlight
Bücher über Flak – books on AA Guns
? Buch –???
Spiegel – mirror
Rasierzeug – shaving kit
Feldflasche – field or military bottle
Handschuhe – gloves
Hosenträger – suspenders
Knöpfe (?) – buttons
Sicherheitsnadeln – safety pins
Dr. Orville Barks – SLIII – POW son, Jim Barks
(Dr. Barks was one of the American doctors at Stalag Luft III.)
“What I have recently confirmed about where my father was in Friesing [Germany] is that the former nunnery at 21 Domberg was converted into a POW hospital. That’s where he was at the end of the war and was liberated at that building.
The photo attached is of him on the left. I haven’t found out who is with him in the photo, but I believe he was from New Jersey. But it was taken by Captain Jos. J. LaRusso, who was part of the liberating unit, and who sent the photo to my mother in a letter to her dated May 26, 1945. The bottles of wine in the box were given to them by Capt. LaRusso.
Glemnitz’s Grave – Ingo Hauck – Germany
After much research, Ingo was able to find the grave of SLIII’s Hermann Glemnitz, one of the most colorful German characters in camp. He is buried in Berlin.
Inscription on the grave says: Married-Couple Glemnitz
Their daughter, Gerda Kirchneck is also there.
Gerda and Mrs. Glemnitz attended SLIII POW Reunions.
Clandestine photo of Glemnitz in camp
Hermann and daughter, Gerda, at SLIII Reunion
Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark with Hermann at reunion
Ed Carter Edwards’ Card from Buchenwald – Bernd Schmidt – Germany
Bernd, a German researcher, who lives in Weimar, has sent along this medical card kept on the late POW/Buchenwald POW, Ed Carter Edwards. It was sent to me when I and other researchers tried to find out what the injection was that the airmen kept at Buchenwald were given twice as they were lined up standing in formation. The injection was given into their chests. When Ed went back to the concentration camp, he questioned historians there as to what it could have been. The injections, which were very painful, were given not all that long before the airmen were released to Stalag Luft III.
Mystery Solved – Joe Eubanks
Three months ago, I featured a query regarding the identity of a POW painted by POW Don Stine:
Mystery POW – American Likely in North and South Compounds – POW son, Jim Jones, son of Doolittle Raider, Davy Jones – U.S.
This oil painting was found in Oregon. It was painted by American POW Don Stine. Is this face familiar to anyone?
I recently heard from the owner of the mystery painting, Joe Eubanks – US.
Below, he relates his journey of discovery researching this painting:
I wanted to give you an update on the painting done by Don Stine which I now own. His son, Jerry Stine, forwarded you a picture I sent him which you included in your December 2016 newsletter.
I have identified the man in the painting as Captain Robert Adamina. He was a P47 pilot who was shot down on May 14, 1943, after he downed a Focke Wulf 190. He was escorting bombers on a raid over Antwerp that day. He bailed out over the North Sea and was picked up by a German fishing boat.
I identified him by finding a grainy small photo of him in wartime prisoner of war bulletin on your site. He was amongst a group of 12 others in a photo, but their identity was not supplied with the caption. In later issues of the prisoner of war bulletins, I was provided by last name only for the men in the photo. From that last name, I was able to locate pictures to positively identify him.
I have been in contact with his only living relative, and she told me she wanted me to keep the painting and tell her father’s story. She is going to help supply me some of his story. I was able to share many details with her about her father’s story which she didn’t know. She had also never seen the pictures I found online and attached to this email.
Here are some attachments of those pictures I found online of him. I knew you would appreciate hearing how this all came together.
Jerry’s father, Don Stine, is pictured in the group photo as well. He is the third to the right of Mr. Adamina who is wearing the crusher cap.
Capt. Adamina in the Red Cross Bulletin
Middle – Picture where Joe identified Capt. Adamina
100th Birthday SLIII POW 2nd Lt. William J. Bramwell – POW daughter, Joan Wootton – US
The flag Joan and her daughter displayed is from the town of Lokeren in Belgium which is where his plane crashed and was given to him by the town. Joan and her husband, Mike, brought it home from the 70th anniversary commemoration of the date of the crash Nov. 5, 1943.
100th Birthday – POW daughter, Mary Lance – US
As mentioned in the last newsletter, POW Bob Doolan celebrated his 100th birthday. Mary has sent pictures.
72th Anniversary of the Liberation of Buchenwald – Bernd Schmidt – Weimar, Germany
“Today was the ceremony of 72th Anniversary of Liberation of Buchenwald.
25 survivors attended, but no liberators. Maybe the liberators are in a high age and can’t come.
But I was very surprised to met Craig Carter-Edwards, grandson of Ed Carter-Edwards, who you knew very well. We are so sorry that Ed passed away in February. So, Craig was coming to Buchenwald again in the name of his Grandpa.
With the new generation, the memories will be living in the future too.
Bernd and Craig
Craig is proud to provide the following link—Ed putting his experiences into his own words:
POW Ken Rees Book—POW son, Martyn Rees – UK
Martyn has discovered some copies of his late father’s book, “Lie in the Dark and Listen,” and is selling them.
By age 21, Ken had already trained to be a pilot officer; flown 56 hair-raising bomber missions by night over Germany; taken part in the siege of Malta; got married; been shot down into a remote Norwegian lake; been captured and interrogated; sent to Stalag Luft III, survived the Great Escape and the forced March to Bremen. Truly a real-life adventure story, written with accuracy, pace and drama.
I will need an address. Pay by PayPal using
Cost is: £20+ £5 P&P UK. Outside UK £8 P&P
Fantastic Holdings at the Army’s Military Museum – POW son, Alan Hopewell – US
Priceless contents at Fort Belvoir, VA, when and if the museum opens – those interested in opening the museum have to raise another $100 million from private donations to build the museum. The museum will be on Ft. Belvoir so when it opens it will be an Army Museum open to the public like the Smithsonian in DC or the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico.
Intersection of Hearts and History – Ross Greene, US
Thanks to Ross for this incredible story told to him by a former Vietnam vet and employee of Southwest Airlines who was shot down twice in Vietnam flying Hueys. His brother was shot down once in Vietnam flying a push-pull aircraft, and his father was shot down flying a P-47 in WW2…two generations of proud veterans.
Ross: “One of the ancillary benefits of having authored a book continues to be the incredibly diverse and interesting people I have met or communicated with. Last week, I received the following story from Russ Moseley from Salt Lake City. He had found A FORTRESS AND A LEGACY while searching for an interesting WW2 book.”
“My father was shot down by Germans over Rouen, in occupied France, northwest of Paris. He was with the 8th, flying P47s. A French family found him wrapped up in his parachute and hid him four months until the underground collected him and got him out. Here’s where your cousin Thelma and the story in your book ring so similar.
I was a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines (now retired) and one flight, about six years ago, I was boarding an older couple who sat on the front row. As they seated, she remarked they were newlyweds. They had just married, because he had met her at a reunion of pilots. His wife had died, and her husband, who trained with the pilot, had also died. They met, fell in love, and in their 80s married. I kinda let that blow right on by but soon was to learn it was such an amazing story.
The old guy had been a pilot on B25s, which he told me the Japanese called the “twin tailed dragon,” because they knew what a terrible weapon it was against them. He was flying to give a presentation on his WW2 experience flying in the Solomon Islands during WW2.
As we spoke, the conversation caught the attention of a lady across the aisle. Her inquiry of the pilot and her demeanor made it very clear that the conversation had hit a tender spot with her. She said to the old vet, “My father worked on that very same airplane, and he was in the Solomon Islands. He was killed there, and I was born while he was there. I know nothing more of him. My mom died, and I have nothing else to help me know anything about him. I don’t even know what he looked like.”
The old pilot asked her what his name was and when she told him, things got real quiet. He asked his new bride to trade places with the lady. When they were together, the old guy said to her with a palpable solemnity, “Your dad was part of my ground crew, and he was killed in a Japanese attack. I want to show you something.” He brought out a photo of his unit that he intended to use in his presentation. He pointed to a man in the crew and said, “This is your father.”
I must tell you here that there wasn’t a dry eye in the front three rows of that aircraft. I myself was so emotional and so grateful to stand witness to the moment when a lady in her 60s was able to see her father’s photo for the very first time. For the rest of the flight, the old guy held her hand and told her stories about her dad, what he was like and that he remembered his crew chief talking about a daughter he’d never seen yet.
This was the best day of my career. What’s the odds a lady boards an airplane, overhears a conversation, and has the courage to ask the question that answers the biggest question of her life? You know because you did all your amazing research, dug up lost info, wormed out people you didn’t know who had info you did not know and needed to clarify a history that was so important to so many. The result was your book. The best day of my career.
And by the way, I myself, have found and put my hands on the very P47 my dad was flying when it was shot down. I have spent many happy hours with the very family who hid my dad, listening to the stories and sharing tears of joy and sorrow of that time and place. And I have seen the First Communion dress that family made from dad’s parachute after the war. It is now in a museum in Paris.
Thank you for your book. Thank you that through it I was able to learn so much that I failed to ask my dad when he was alive. … Russell Moseley”
Ross: “I can add nothing else to this moving story. I truly believe that the entire sequence of this encounter was a God-ordained event.”
P38 Fighter Pilot – Jack Moak – POW nephew, John Lanza
SLIII POW Robert G. Ries – POW Tom Wilson – US
Two days before his death, Mr. Ries contacted POW Tom Wilson, 97, asking him to visit. Ries, also 97, was co-pilot to Col. Charles “Rojo” Goodrich, Senior American Officer of South Compound. Ries had not seen Tom for years. Tom was able to visit with him. Robert died a few days later on April 5, 2017, in Wisconsin. Condolences to the Ries family.
Blechammer Tour Dates Announced for 2018 – Szymon Serwatka – Poland
The 2018 dates and details are published on Szymon’s new website: http://www.blechhammertour.com/
The dates are: May 13-19 and Sept. 9-15
Did You Know – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US
Of men born in Russia in 1923, only 20% survived the war.
P 51 Pilot Shoots Down Nazis, Japanese, and One American Plane – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US
Link to Wartime Logs – POW son, Mike Woodworth – US
Losing a Wing – Ross Greene, US
Vietnam Wall – Ross Greene – US
The link below is a virtual wall of all those lost during the Vietnam war with the names, bios and other information on our lost heroes. Those who remember that time frame, or perhaps lost friends or family can look them up on this site.
First click on a state. When it opens, scroll down to the city and the names will appear.
Then click on their names. It should show you a picture of the person, or at least their bio and medals
Until next time,
Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers