Stalag Luft III Newsletter – October 2017

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – October 2017

Greetings Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

New POW Plaque

Below is the new plaque designed by Marek which incorporates the names of the POWs whose names have been added after the recent fundraiser.

The Stalag Luft III Clipped Wings logo is in the background of the plaque—special lighting shows it more vividly in the museum. It is so nice to see all these men honored. Thank you, Marek, for your work on this and thank you donors!

Donation Wall at the museum with new plaque added

Dick Butler, son of P-38 pilot, POW Richard Butler,

(Hut 56, Center Camp) visited the museum recently

paying tribute to his father by bringing this plaque

displayed below.

Dagger Brigade Arrives in Zagan

After nine months, U.S. soldiers from Fort Carson (Colorado Springs) are returning home. New troops arrived in Zagan to replace them, and they will stay for the next nine months. The Red Dagger Brigade came from Fort Riley, Kansas.

Colonel David W. Gardner, Commander,

2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry

Division (Big Red One)

Below:

3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, case their unit colors, and 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, uncase their unit colors during a transfer of authority ceremony in Zagan, Poland, September 29, 2017. That marked the end of 3rd ABCT’s rotation for Atlantic Resolve. The pictures below were taken at Gen. Maczek Square in Zagan. The new troops brought their own tanks and equipment which was unloaded on the railway platforms on the site of Stalag VIIIC. They will keep it in Karliki Military Camp, 500 meters from Stalag Luft 3.

Pictures by Lt. Krzysztof Gonera

The Polish Army participated in the ceremony.

Below:

Colonel David W. Gardner visited the museum on Thursday, Oct 5th. He was accompanied by the Mayor of Zagan, Mr. Daniel Marchewka.

 

 Dagger Brigade Event Day in the Camp

See link below for pictures and video of the Dagger Brigade that was such a big hit with the Polish people visiting the camp Oct. 21st.

https://www.army.mil/article/195723/

Marek: “Our display was a part of the big event organized by Lubuskie County authorities. It was called Scientific Weekend. Museums, schools, universities, etc. organized different types of meetings, lectures, presentations, and displays. My event was called, Open Day at the POW Camps Museum. We conducted several free guided tours called, ‘The Great Escape – Myths and Facts.’ Over 750 guests visited the museum that day! We were on the local TV evening news. Great success and publicity.”

Marek has also sent pictures of the day. Since he has done several projects for the Polish 11th Cavalry Division, spending six months with them, he has become one of them, and he is the only civilian with the permission to drive their tanks. The men in the pictures wearing camouflage are Americans. A few men are in WW2 American uniforms. They represent the Historical Association, Big Red One, Poland.

 

Marek driving the first tank. He is in the open hatch in the front of the tank.

Marek interviewed by local news

Unusual Storm

“We had a hurricane in Zagan last Thursday night. Much damage in the town. Fortunately, no damage at the museum (except one fallen pine tree). But we had no electricity for a few days. Hurricanes are very rare in Poland. This year we had one during the summer in northern Poland. Huge damage, terrible.”

(Just a few days ago, a second hurricane hit Zagan, and once more the museum lost power, so Marek closed it today.)

Interview with a Stalag Luft III Censor

On October 14th, Marek, along with German, Ingo Hauck, drove to northern Germany to interview Stalag Luft III censor, Gertrud K. (last name withheld at Gertrud’s request), spending five hours with her. Gertrud, 95, greeted them very warmly. Marek recorded the entire interview. The interview and its transcription will become part of the museum’s collection for researchers.

Gertrud left school at age 19 when she was called up to “Labour Service” (RAD – Reicharbeitdienst). She worked on farms for seven months and then worked five more months in an ammunition factory. Meanwhile, her parents found a language school for her in Dresden where Gertrud learned English, Spanish, and typewriting. In 1943, Luftwaffe officers visited colleges all over Germany looking for interpreters to work in the POW camps. Gertrud decided to take the job with two other friends from the Dresden school. They went to Stalag Luft 3 on 15th October 1943. At that time, there were about 25 censor girls there. The number rose up to over 100 in January 1945. Gertrud was censor No. 93.  In early February, 1945, all the censors were evacuated by train from the camp a few days after the POWs marched out. After the war, she worked as a secretary for the West German Government. She retired in 1982.

Gertrud mentioned all the names we know: Glemnitz, Major Gustav Simoleit, and Kommandant Friedrich von Lindeiner etc., but she had no chance to meet them personally as the censor girls were not allowed to socialize with the military staff. She remembered the Great Escape, saying there was much movement in the camp, and the censor girls did not work that day, being confined to their barracks in the camp. Marek took a big aerial picture of the German compound to show her, something she had never seen before. She pointed out the censors’ barracks for him and showed him the kommandant’s office, kitchen, and the guard barracks.

The censor girls had their own reunions. Von Lindeiner and his deputy, Simoleit, attended one in 1961. Then in 1988 the censor girls were contacted by the American POWs. POW Dick Schrupp called Gertrud one day. The group of the American POWs, including Schrupp and Lt. Gen. Clark, visited the censors in 1989 (in Frankfurt) at their invitation. In 1990, the censors were invited by the Americans to the Stalag Luft III reunion in Norfolk, Virginia. They had a great time there, and the Academy has a DVD of their panel discussion.

This interview and visit with Gertrud was the direct result of the many donations given by the generous SLIII families. She was so grateful for the visit with Ingo and Marek, knowing their interest in her work at the camp and learning that her words would become part of the museum’s growing research collection. Marek and Ingo were honored to speak with Gertrud and wish to thank  all of you who made this possible.

Gertrud and Marek

Gertrud examines the maps.

Gertrud in the barracks at Stalag Luft III

Frankfurt – 1989 – Censors Reunion – The man far right (next to Gen. Clark who is second from the right, back row) is Lloyd R. Shoemaker, author of “The Escape Factory,” the story of MIS-X. POW Dick Schrupp is sitting on the floor. Gertrud K. (light blue blouse) sits behind him. The others are “censor girls” and family members. More on MIS-X in next month’s newsletter.

Courtesy USAFA McDermott Library, Stalag Luft III Collections

Extra Pictures

A few pictures were inadvertently omitted from the last newsletter. Better late than never!

Warwick Thomas family visiting from Australia visits the replica hut:

Mary and Warrick at the Memorial to the 50 killed after the Great Escape.

Warrick and daughters

Below: 78th Anniversary of the Invasion of Poland Day: The mayor speaks.

Marek shows the visitors the new room.

Polish Lt. Piotr Gubernator, very pleased with the new room

Polish Army firing a volley salute

Schweinfurt, Germany Trip – 2019 – POW son, Robert McCaleb – US

The Second Schweinfurt Memorial Assoc. is planning to have a representative or representatives in the city for the 5th anniversary ceremonies on Oct. 14, 2018, the date known as “Black Thursday” in U.S.A.F. history. In 1998, veterans of both sides commemorated their reconciliation by dedicating a monument which included the inscription, “Dedicated by some who witnessed the tragedy of war, now united in friendship and the hope for lasting peace among all people.”

While members of the SSMA can give travel tips, all travel will be independently arranged by the travelers. SSMA will not be coordinating any travel plans. They welcome all to join them.

For more information contact Robert at step_ads@bellsouth.net or Sue Moyer at ssma43@gmail.com

Proposed activities: ceremonies and events surrounding the 75th Anniversary of the Second Schweinfurt mission, meeting local citizens, and possibly visiting crash sites. The trip allows visitors to travel independently to other sites at Nuremberg, Munich, or south to the Bavarian Alps.

Folded Wings

POW Primo Lursardi

https://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?CFID=09e1937d-5535-4e07-a8b3-606ce8fd4586&CFTOKEN=0&o_id=4413347&fh_id=14275 

POW John Harvey Henry – 2nd cousin, Robert Berry – U.S.

Mr. Henry passed on October 18th at age 94. John flew with the 348th Bomb Squadron, 99th Bomb Group. 

https://www.frenchfunerals.com/notices/John-Henry

 Condolences to both of these families from the Stalag Luft III Community.

 German Tribute – Bernd Schmidt – Germany

Bernd Schmidt with plaque placed at Buchenwald for the 168 Allied Airmen held there. The plaque was created by Mike Dorsey, filmmaker, who produced the “Lost Airmen of Buchenwald” award-winning documentary. Notice stones of remembrance left by visitors.

Thanks to Bernd for the following recent story:

Bernd found WWII airman, Victore Kinkade’s niece, Mary Kinkade Maddox, who visited the area of Weimar in Germany on September 3, 2017. Mary had written two booklets about the killing of her three uncles, including Victore. She visited to look for the location where on July 29, 1944, her uncle, together with four of his crew, was murdered by Nazi officials. Bernd had researched the crew and arranged for a monument to pay tribute to them. At the ceremony at the memorial that commemorates the murders, many attended including the German Prime Minister.

During an air battle over the village of Ottmannshausen, a woman looked out from her window and was killed by a bullet at the same time a B-17 was shot down. The crew bailed out and was captured by Germans. Then Nazi officials ordered the USAAF airmen to the house of the killed woman. They were accompanied by a truck full of Gestapo who called the airmen of the bomber murderers of the woman. The local farmers and citizens were very angry and believed the false charges, and they demonstrated their anger. Finally, two Nazi officials killed the five airmen with their pistols. It was obvious that the Nazi officials were planning to kill the airmen and tie it to the downing of the plane. According to the Geneva Conventions, the airman were designated POWs. They never had a trial, and it was preposterous to think that a B-17 bomber could shoot a woman in the head as she stood at her window.

It had been Mary’s wish for a long time to come to Germany to visit the location of the killing of her Uncle Victore and to thank the people of Ottmannshausen for the memorial which commemorated the tragic incident. The memorial was erected 17 years ago. She wanted to shake the hands of the family of the killed woman for the sake of forgiveness and reconciliation, the woman and the airmen  all being victims of the war, which was evidenced by their emotional meeting. Tears rolled down their faces.

One other airman had parachuted from the B-17 that day. He was Robert Fife, 100th Bomb Group, who landed in another area saving his life. He wasn’t captured with the others.  After his capture by the Germans, he was sent to Stalag Luft III.

Bernd had looked for the relatives of the killed airmen for 15 years. He found a relative of the pilot, Carl Gustafson, Nita Nell, who sent information but couldn’t attend the ceremony. She sent many greetings and regards.

He also found the ninth member of the crew, Robert Fife. Mary had written of him in booklets she wrote. Two other members of the crew were killed in the nearby village of Daasdorf by Nazi officials also. Another crewman died parachuting from the plane.

German newspaper coverage:

Letter to Bernd from Mr. Fife:

Below is Mr. Fife’s account. A few errors are corrected at the end of some pages. The account will be enlightening for those whose POWs were in Stalag Luft IV.

 

Bernd is interested in hearing from anyone who had family of crew or friends related to those crews involved in cases, crashes, missions, or KIAs who were in the area of Thuringia around Erfurt; Weimar, or Buchenwald. Let me know, and I will provide his contact information.

 

Bernd together with Mary in front of the Memorial

in Ottmannshausen at the ceremony

 

Officials of the county together with the Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow

(middle)

 

Member of Grave Registration Command Thuringia,

Henrik Hug, Bernd, Mary

 

Mary shaking the hand of the grandson of the killed

woman, Frieda Hochstein

 

Mary hugs the grandson of the woman killed.

 

One final photo of Mary and Bernd at the memorial in Ottmannshausen

SLIII POW Carl Groesbeck

I met Carl recently at the 306th BG Reunion in Indianapolis. He will soon be 100. He was in Center Compound. Susan O’Konski has provided his oral history below:

http://www.ww2history.org/war-in-europe/a-prisoner-of-the-enemy-the-story-of-wwii-b-17-navigator-carl-a-groesbeck/

306th Veterans Fly High

Below: Veterans of the 306th Bomb Group take a flight on B-17 Yankee Lady in Indianapolis. The Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb, and his wife joined them on the flight. The governor later presented the men with medals.

Sketch of Stump Puller – POW daughter, Carolyn Miller Clark – U.S.

The sketch below was drawn by Carolyn’s father, Lt. Col. Albert P. Clark, in his Log Book. Stalag Luft III had an ancient stump puller that was in constant use. The structure in the foreground is an incinerator.

 

“At Moosburg, Bavaria, fuel shortage was acute as well as stoves. With the popular kriegie tin can burner, wood had to be secured as paper burned too fast.  Guard fence posts were torn town, abort partitions, bed boards and floor boards split up, doors went—all utilized to provide us with one hot meager meal per day.”

Primitive Conditions at Belaria – Dave Champion – Canada

Belaria Compound, outside Stalag Luft III proper:

Toilets at Stalag Luft III – Belaria

100th Bomb Group Reunion – Washington DC

On October 23rd, several POW Kriegie Kids stopped by the 100th Bomb Group Reunion to visit with friends there. Congratulations to the 100th for a wonderful reunion.

Mike Eberhardt, Carol Godwin, Marilyn Walton, Ted Miller, Carolyn Clark Miller

Links

Doolittle Plane Recovered POW nephew, James Castle – UK

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM_1IL-dD3I

Bob Hope Tribute – POW son, Ed Wheeler – US

https://biggeekdad.com/2011/02/bob-hope-christmas/

Did You Know? – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

The German siege on Leningrad cost the Germans military in 300,000 soldiers killed — the U.S. had 292,000 combat deaths during the entire war. (Another 113,000 Americans were killed in non-combat related actions.)

Final Thoughts:

On a recent visit New Orleans for the 8th A.F. Reunion, I saw a new VA Hospital facility built after the flood. It is state of the art and enormous, over a mile square. On a marker there are these words:

“The Price of Freedom Can Be Found Behind These Walls.”

Beautiful words that say it all.

Until next time,

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers

 

 

 

 

 

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Stalag Luft III Newsletter – September 2017

 

 

 Stalag Luft III Newsletter – September 2017

Greetings Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

The new plaque for the donors of the last fundraiser Mike Eberhardt and I did for Marek’s new room addition at the museum is finished.  The plaque below is the final version in gold that now hangs in that room. The original flag plaque is now completely filled. Marek, who designed this one as well as all the others, is just finishing redesigning it to hold the POW names designated by recent donors, so all the POWs will be honored with their fellow POWs. I will post those names in the next newsletter with a picture of the plaque. It is within days of being completed.

Flight Lt. Don Edy and F/Sgt. Ed Carter Edwards have been added to the RAF plaque in the museum after their recent passings, always to be remembered at Stalag Luft III.

Tribute Letter

Last month’s U.S. Congressional visit to SLIII garnered the following letters to Marek:

Remembering Polish Veterans

On September 1st, Marek organized the 78th anniversary of the invasion of Poland.

“The ceremony was held at the Stalag VIIIC Victims Memorial near the museum. After Hitler’s invasion of Poland on September 1st, 1939, thousands of Poles became POWs. Many of them were sent to Stalag VIIIC Sagan. In Poland, September 1st is also National Veterans Day. Polish Army WW2 veteran Lt. Piotr Gubernator (93) was an honoured guest. The Mayor of Zagan, Mr. Daniel Marchewka, and the new Commander of 11th Armoured Division, Gen. Stanislaw Czosnek, attended the celebration.  Mr. Marchewka and veteran Lt. Gubernator gave speeches. After the ceremony all the guests visited new display.”

           

Lt. Gubernator and Marek                 Viewing the new room

Recently, the Polish Remembrance Institute released this brief but moving film of remembrance (Polish and English versions). It so clearly marks the struggles of Poland over the years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q88AkN1hNYM&t=76s

National Reading Day in Poland

“We had a National Reading Day on Saturday, Sept. 2nd. The whole of Poland was reading the famous Polish drama, “The Wedding” (1901) by Stanislaw Wyspianski. The play was based on real-life event: a Krakow’s poet married a peasant girl. The plot is set at the wedding party which is the meeting of the two different social groups: intelligentsia and peasantry. The drama was shown multiple times on stage. It was also made into a movie by Oscar-winning Andrzej Wajda in 1972.

The National Reading Day was held directly under the auspices of the President of Poland.

The reading was organized on Zagan’s main plaza, and I was representing POW Camps Museum. I presented my acting skills as the “groom.” The role of the priest was read by one of Zagan’s Catholic priests. The mayor’s spokeswoman, Agnieszka Zychla, was the bride. Other roles were read by the Director of Zagan’s Public Library, teachers, a City Council member, the  Director of Zagan’s Public Transport Company, the Director of Zagan’s Cultural Centre,  and officers and NCOs of 11th Division etc.”

I asked Marek what the object was on the bale of hay:

“It is bread. When bride and groom are coming back from the church, they are welcomed and blessed by their parents with bread and salt–an old Polish tradition.”

September 10th, marked the Annual St. Michael Festival in Zagan with a parade on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, Marek organized free guided tours of the camp and museum for all the guests.

Folded Wings

 SLIII POW Robert J. Huels

Many will remember Mr. Huels from the Dayton Reunion. He kept a wonderful journal of his POW experiences and shared it with me. Condolences from the entire Stalag Luft III family.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/hamilton/obituary.aspx?n=robert-j-huels&pid=183605592&fhid=16466

Australian Visitors to the Camp – POW son, Warwick Thomas – AUS

Leaving Australia – Warwick and wife, Mary, with daughters,

Rosie and Lucy

Family in the replica hut

Warrant Officer Gwynne Pryce Thomas, RAAF, father of Australian, Warwick Thomas, passed away in July 1965. Due to losing his father at such a young age, it was an emotional visit back to Stalag Luft III for Warwick, where W/O Thomas had once been held prisoner.

http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/Veteran.aspx?ServiceId=R&VeteranId=1010495

In 1963, W/O Thomas was invited as a special guest at the premiere of the film, The Great Escape, in Melbourne.  He is pictured in the photos below. His son is still finding out more of his father’s story.

Middle row second from right – Stalag 383 – Hohenfels (near Nurnberg)

3rd from left – after liberation

Marek showed the family around the camp. They brought money W/O Thomas had brought back from the camp and also letters that Warwick’s mother sent to him when he was in the camp, some photos taken in the camp, and a newspaper article from the day of the premiere of the movie in Australia.

“I feel Gwynne is traveling with us,” said Mary of her father-in-law.

Von Lindeiner’s Secretary’s Daughter– Andrea Hatfield

Many will remember Andrea from the German panel at the SLIII reunion in Colorado Springs. For those who watched Hogan’s Heroes, Andrea’s mother, Lisa Knüppel, was the true “Helga,” Commandant von Lindeiner’s secretary. Lisa was also a censor in the camp.  I had the privilege of writing up Lisa’s story for the book Mike Eberhardt and I did on von Lindeiner. Lisa’s story is the stuff of movies.  At one point, Lisa bicycled the twelve miles to von Lindeiner’s manor house to help his wife, Barnoness Henriette van der Goes, pack up and flee from Germany. Marek located the bridge Lisa crossed and took pictures. Mike and I decided to present the pictures along with Lisa’s story to Andrea.

Lisa’s daughter, Andrea

Jeschkendorf

Von Lindeiner Manor House

Two German roads led to a wide heavily-traveled bridge that in its day crossed the Golden River (Zlota Struga) in what is today Jaszkowa, Poland. The bridge was on the way to the country home of Stalag Luft III Commandant Friedrich von Lindeiner and his wife, Baronesse Henriette van der Goes, a Dutch aristocrat, living in the village of then Jeschkendorf, Germany. Close enough to the camp, the commandant could join his wife on weekends. Stalag Luft III censor, Lisa Knuppel, also von Lindeiner’s secretary, was often invited to join them.

The estate, glorious below the war torn skies, was about twelve miles from the camp and belonged to a von Lindeiner family relative. The commandant had a car, and Lisa either drove with him or rode her bicycle there. Sometimes she joined the von Lindeiners for dinner, after which, the commandant’s servant drove her back to the camp. Coming and going, she crossed the sturdy bridge.

On March 24, 1944, Lisa went to a movie with a young tank commander about to leave for the Front. To get back to the camp that fateful night, they descended the steps at the Sagan railroad station and walked over the tracks. The station held far more people than were normally there. The Great Escape had begun. The fate of Commandant von Lindeiner was sealed.

With head held high, and flanked by two officers, von Lindeiner was taken out of the camp. Lisa trailed behind him. Fearing the Gestapo, he commandant turned suddenly and tossed her his keys. “See to it that my wife gets out before the Russians come; try to see if you can get her to go to Frankfurt.” And then he was gone.

Greatly alarmed at the circumstances that were unfolding, Lisa left for the estate, racing across the bridge that fall day on her bicycle. She conveyed von Lindeiner’s words to his wife, emphasizing the need for her to get out before it was too late. Mrs. von Lindeiner was reluctant to leave her beautiful possessions. Lisa talked her into locking everything into an empty water tower or silo. Lisa got her to the train station, telling her that maybe later she could go back and claim her belongings. But the Russians soon occupied Jeschkendorf, and Mrs. von Lindeiner never returned.

The German people left the village in January 1945, and Jeschkendorf was never resettled by the Polish people. The village, like Stalag Luft III, was looted post-war by locals for building materials and by the government needing bricks to rebuild Warsaw. The beautiful estate disappeared.

The bridge stood for years, and the old foundation still stands solid after seven decades. A smaller new bridge rests on the original foundation and covers the shallow Zlota Struga as the bridge before it did. Lisa’s bridge stood as a silent witness to the drama that played out in Jeschkendorf in 1944. The road through the woods now leads to the small Polish village of Siodlo. The sky keeps no wartime memories, once written across the blue so many decades ago. The tales of war before that area of Germany became Poland disappeared like the wisps of vapor trails in the sky along with the story of a young woman who crossed the bridge in Jeschkendorf on her bicycle during the darkest days of the war on a mission of mercy.

Bridge to the Past

Bill Would Honor Local WWII Airman

Rep. Brad Drake, Florida House of Representatives, has introduced Bill # 109 to honor former SLIII POW 1st Lt. Ewart T. Sconiers, formerly of Walton County, by naming the stretch of U.S. 90/State Road 10, between State Road 285 and State Road 83 North, the “Lieutenant Ewart T. Sconiers Highway.”

Message from France

One of my father’s roommates at SLIII was Morris Jones. His nickname was “Available Jones.” Through the newsletter, his daughter found me and now through the newsletter, I have received an email from Jean Francis Carbonnet who lives near Normandy. He told me that Morris’s plane, also called “Available Jones” crashed next to his home during the war. I have put him in touch with Morris’s daughter so she can learn more.

B24s – Willow Run  Hugh Carter – U.S.

B-24 Liberator Willow Run Assembly Plant – YouTube

“Apparently, the factory sat empty for years after WW2 and is only recently being restored as a museum. Even so, only a small portion of it for historical purposes.

The long hanger at Willow Run, Michigan has a 90 degree turn in it so Henry Ford would not have to pay taxes in the next county.  That short end is being saved and restored today as a museum.  The big hanger doors are still operational after all these years.

This is one of the best and most informative clips about a great American accomplishment, thanks to the Ford Motor Company during WWII. 

Production began here 6 months BEFORE Pearl Harbor!  Henry Ford was determined that he could mass produce bombers just as he had cars, so he built the Willow Run assembly plant and proved it.  This was the world’s largest building under one roof at the time. One B-24 every 55 minutes — and Ford had its own pilots to test them!  And no recalls!”

Liberation Video – POW nephew, James Castle – UK

For those unfamiliar with Critical Past videos, they are well worth watching. There are several showing the liberation at Moosburg (no audio) of some of the 120,000 Allied POWs, and it seems some newer videos have been added. Thanks to James for sending this latest one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5O6Mfca194

There are also many interesting links grouped with this one. One I found was this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7rxhug4hUw

I had this picture of POW Russian generals at Stalag VII-A in Moosburg in my possession for years. It was taken on liberation day and shows them posing and enjoying their freedom. I see many of their faces in the video! Unfortunately, when they returned to the Soviet Union Stalin had them all shot.

New Stalag Luft III Book  –  POW son, Ric Martini – US

Thanks to Ric for this. Professor Ric Martini’s father was a SLIII POW who was also held at Buchenwald.  After years of research, he was able to find documents that contributed to the telling of his father’s story contrasted with the story of Werner von Braun. Stunning cover for this book and a sensitive and compelling story based on his impeccable research. Ric has published numerous books. See website below. He has graciously shared his extensive research on the current book with others who are seeking the documents he has found.

While the official government story has always been that no Allied POWs were held in German concentration camps, 168 Allied airmen were beaten, experimented on, and otherwise mistreated in Buchenwald, where the famous rocket scientist Wernher von Braun obtained slave labor for his V-2 factory, the Mittelwerk.

After the war, the US Army brought von Braun and his associates to America, as part of the ultra-secret Project Paperclip. The US government concealed von Braun’s wartime activities, and promoted an alternate history that sheltered him from prosecution for war crimes. This involved suppressing information about Buchenwald, Dora-Mittelbau, and the Mittelwerk. In the process, the records of the Buchenwald airmen were classified, and they would be inaccessible for decades. While the government was endorsing a fabricated history for von Braun, it treated the accounts of the Buchenwald airmen as delusions or attempts to obtain undeserved benefits from the VA.

The author didn’t intend to write a book about a massive government cover-up. He simply wanted to honor his father, Frederic C. Martini, an American airman who was shot down over occupied France in World War II and then imprisoned in Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Over seven years of research, an even darker picture emerged: that an unconstrained military intelligence operation disrupted the lives of American ex-POWs.

Frederic H. Martini has published ten undergraduate textbooks on human anatomy and physiology, five of which won Textbook of the Year awards. He is also the author of Exploring Tropical Isles and Seas, which was a selection of the Book of the Month Club in 1984. However, Martini’s latest book, Betrayed, is especially dear to his heart. It is the story of his father—a POW in World War II—and a great historical wrong. Martini spent seven years securing declassified documents from archives in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany to reconstruct the events detailed in this book.

Martini received a doctorate from Cornell in 1974. Now retired from teaching, he still retains a research affiliation with the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is married with one son. He and his family split their time between Hawaii and New Zealand.

www.fredericmartini.com

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0999155806/

New Book Honors Pearl Harbor Heroes – Col. Charles Jones USMC Reserve/Ret. – US

 https://www.amazon.com/Pearl-Harbors-Hidden-Heroes-Hawaiian/dp/0692780742/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506211584&sr=1-1&keywords=PEarl+Harbor%27s+Hidden+Heroes

December 7, 1941, the date of the attack on Oahu, Hawaii and Pearl Harbor, is one of the moments indelibly stamped into the collective American consciousness. The events of that day changed world history and brought the United States into World War II.

In this exhaustively researched historical chronicle, military historian Colonel Charles A. Jones, US Marine Corps Reserve (Retired), shares untold tales of bravery and fortitude in the Hawaiian Islands during World War II. He chronicles the horrors and heroism of war through the stories of the eighteen Medals of Honor (MOH) awarded to Navy and Marine officers and men. Fourteen were awarded for bravery during the Pearl Harbor attack. But that’s only one part of the story.

Jones also addresses MOHs awarded for bravery at Kaneohe Bay on December 7, Midway in 1942, and during rescue operations in the West Loch of Pearl Harbor in 1945. He includes the story of Billy Mitchell, who made incredibly accurate predictions about the Japanese attack on Oahu and who advocated the military importance of air power in warfare.

While Jones commemorates the heroism of the men who risked their lives to save others, he also argues that not every Medal was earned. His controversial stance challenges two of the three MOHs awarded to officers on the USS Arizona.

Colonel Charles A. Jones, US Marine Corps Reserve (Retired), is from Greensboro, North Carolina. He attended Oak Ridge Military Academy, Wake Forest University, and Campbell University School of Law. Jones joined the US Marine Corps in 1981. He earned a Regular commission and served on active duty as a lawyer in the Marine Corps. Jones left active duty in 1992 to research and to write military history. He joined the US Marine Corps Reserve in 1993. In 2011, Jones retired from the Reserve, completing a total of thirty years in the Regular and Reserve Marine Corps. Jones’s knowledge of Oahu and World War II led to his 2002 book, Hawaii’s World War II Military Sites. His work has appeared in many different magazines and newspapers. He is an expert on Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II and has given several classes and lectures about Iwo Jima and the Oahu attack.

New Book Honors Vietnam Soldiers – Jerry Whiting – US

 

After writing five books about WWII, author, Jerry Whiting, has turned his attention to the Vietnam Veterans.

This is Jerry Whiting’s sixth book. Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota he moved to Pleasant Hill, California (San Francisco Bay Area) when he was in high school. He obtained a Bachelor’s Degree at U.C.S.B. and later a Master’s degree at John F. Kennedy University. He worked as a counselor for a few years and then began a 25+ year career in law enforcement, working in a variety of assignments including patrol and the detective bureau. He was also a hostage/crisis negotiator during the last 15 years of his career. During this time he had the unique opportunity to work with several European police departments. In addition, he worked on a special project with the tribal police on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Jerry has always enjoyed investigating history, culminating in his first book, I’m Off To War, Mother, But I’ll Be Back. He ultimately took an early retirement to pursue his passion, resulting in other books, including Don’t Let the Blue Star Turn Gold, Veterans in the Mist, and Of Broad Stripes and Bright Stars. In addition, he published Missions by the Numbers, a group history of the 485th Bomb Group, a group that flew B-24 bombers out of Italy. Along the way he found the time to produce two documentaries, In the Shadow of Mt. Vulture and New Year’s At Ramitelli: A Safe Haven for Change. The Ramitelli documentary tells the story of a unique relationship between one American bomb group and the Tuskegee Airmen. All of his previous works are about WWII and are non-fiction. His interest began while researching his father’s story, resulting in that first book. He became the Historian for his father’s bomb group association and during the research for some of his books, while working with European researchers, he located crash sites in Europe that were previously undiscovered, some with remains of American servicemen. This information was shared with the Dept. of Defense, resulting in the recovery of remains. Several years ago Jerry was invited to the Pentagon to give a training seminar to Dept. of Defense investigators on the recovery of MIA’s. In March 2016 he co-hosted a conference in Krakow, Poland, which resulted in the gathering of some of the best European researchers with Dept. of Defense MIA investigators. Jerry is often called upon as a guest speaker and has spoken to groups in Germany, Italy and Poland, as well as in venues across the United States.

“The best place to get the book is on Amazon. It’s also available on Kindle. The price is $20 and it’s about 320 pages. I wanted everything in the book to honor those good Vets who faithfully served and who deserve to be honored. I wanted everything in the book to be representative of their service, including the title. The title painting was done by a combat artist whose story is in the book and the Forewords. Miss World 1969 wrote one of the Forewords. She entertained thousands of the men and women in Vietnam when she was on the 1969 Bob Hope Christmas tour.”

For Those Whose Fathers Were in Oflag 64 (Szubin) – POW daughter, Susanna Bolten Connaughton

Susanna has been a recent visitor to the camp where Marek showed her around. She is heavily involved in research and paying tribute to the Americans held in Oflag 64 (Szubin). See link below for more information. She would like to get in touch with others whose fathers were held at the camp in Szubin.

http://www.oflag64.us/

Links

British Man Saved 669 Jewish Children – Colin Heaton – US

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-33350880

Spirit of ’75 – POW niece, Pamela Sconiers Whitelock – US

http://www.spiritof45.org/advisors0.aspx

Did You Know? – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

Japan actually held U.S. territory for over one year in WWII—two Aleutian islands near Alaska.  1500 American soldiers were killed during the 13 months necessary to reclaim the islands.

Until next time,

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – August 2017

 Stalag Luft III Newsletter – August 2017

 Greetings Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

 U.S. Congressional Group Visits SLIII

 On August 6, at approximately 4:00 p.m., a U.S. delegation consisting of five members of Congress, 3 family members, 2 members of their staff, and some people from the U.S. Embassy visited Marek. Representative Joe Wilson (Republican from South Carolina), Chairman of Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Madeleine Bordallo (Democrat from Guam), Ranking member of the Readiness Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Paul Cook (Republican from California), Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative John Garamendi (Democrat from California), Member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Representative Jackie Walorski (Republican from Indiana), Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Craig Collier, House Armed Services Committee Readiness Subcommittee, Majority Lead Staffer Mr. Brian Garrett, House Armed Services Committee Readiness Subcommittee Minority Lead Staffer, Colonel Warren Barlow, U.S. Embassy Warsaw, Office of Defense Cooperation, and Mr. Thomas Zia, Political and Economic Consul, U.S. Consulate General Krakow all toured the camp.

Guests arrive

Marek shows the guest the layout of the original camp.

New room display in the background

Marek answers many questions.

Posing by the exit of Tunnel Harry

L-R – John Garamendi, Jackie Warloski, Paul Cook,  Marek, Madeleine Bordallo, Joe Wilson

Madeleine Bordallo and Joe Wilson sign the guest book.

New Names on Plaques at the Museum

Next month’s newsletter will show the nearly-finished plaques of POW names from our last fundraiser!

 Artifact Theft

Readers might recall that Polish police, in 2016, arrested and convicted a thief at the Stalag Luft III Museum in Zagan, and that a thief was caught by U.S. Federal Agents just a few months ago involving the theft and eBay resale of Stalag Luft III related artifacts (dog tags) taken illegally from our own U.S. National Archives.  Also, for those of you who track eBay and social media sites, you have probably seen a number of offerings or claims of Stalag Luft III artifacts taken from the camp site. A relative of a POW, who has contacts with the FBI in Washington, D.C., decided to alert various embassy representatives of the nations whose airmen were held at Stalag Luft III.  I obtained a copy of that letter and thought it should be re-printed.

(Joint letter to American, Canadian, British and Australian Ambassadors to Poland, and the Polish Ambassador to the United States

Ambassador Paul Jones                                           Ambassador Stephen de Boer

U.S. Embassy                                                             Canadian Embassy

Aleje Ujazdowskie  29/31                                          ul. Jana Matejki   1/5

00-540 Warsaw, Poland                                            00-481  Warsaw, Poland

Ambassador Jonathon Knorr                                  Ambassador Paul  Wojciechowski

British Embassy                                                        Australian Embassy

  1. Kawalerii 12                                                         ul. Nowogrodska 11

00-468  Warsaw Poland                                            00-513  Warsaw Poland

Ambassador Piotr Wilczek

Polish Embassy

2640 16th Street

Washington, D.C.   20009

Dear Ambassadors:

Recent years have continued to see the plundering and theft of artifacts from historical sites, museums and archives around the world.  Recent occurrences at Auschwitz in Poland and the National Archives in Washington, D.C. underscore the seriousness of this problem.

In the case of the artifacts taken at Auschwitz, a leading Polish historian and Board Member of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, which investigates crimes relating to WWII, expressed his personal outrage and signaled more efforts to curtail what he called “shocking” conduct.

In the case of the National Archives, a historian was recently arrested for his theft of WWII artifacts from the Archives.  Following an arrest and search warrant executed by federal agents, he was found in possession of dog tags originally seized by the German Luftwaffe from captured U.S. airmen who were subsequently sent to prisoner of war camps, including Stalag Luft III, the site of the Great Escape in 1944.  This theft was discovered after the stolen dog tags were offered for sale on eBay which was being monitored by federal law enforcement.

I am the son of an American POW and my father was held at Stalag Luft III.  That camp site is commemorated by a wonderful museum in Zagan, Poland, dedicated to the airmen of many Allied nationalities—American, British, Canadian, Australian and Polish. The museum and camp site, which are largely supported by public funding in Poland, are visited each year by thousands of people from all over the world.  Unfortunately, this site — which covers many acres of land — has not been immune from thieves.  Over the recent years, eBay has seen numerous offers to sell artifacts from Stalag Luft III.  And, a Facebook page dedicated to Stalag Luft III recently had a post from an individual stating he had taken more than 400 artifacts from the Stalag Luft III site over three separate visits.  Given the camp size, its wooded character, and limited staff, catching these thieves has been nearly impossible.

While Polish law has specific penalties for theft in such situations (and indeed one individual was prosecuted recently for trying to break into the museum building), there clearly needs to be more enforcement to prosecute those who commit these thefts from the more remote sections of the camp.  While greater detection is needed at the camp site, there are actions that law enforcement organizations in various countries can take as well if they are alerted to eBay offerings (like in the stolen dog tag case), social media communications regarding artifacts, and to displays of SLIII artifacts at public events and reunions.  Confiscation of stolen artifacts should be a remedy, along with prosecution.  A copy of this letter is going to INTERPOL and the FBI to enable greater law enforcement sensitivity to this problem.

Finally, I am encouraging all the other stakeholders in the Stalag Luft III site, and particularly, sons, daughters and relatives of all POWs, to join me in supporting greater detection measures and reporting instances of theft.  As a former federal prosecutor and son of a Stalag Luft III prisoner, there are measures that can and should be taken. For example, a group of us with fathers held at Stalag Luft III will be offering written statements in support of the sentencing that results from the theft of the dog tags in the National Archives case. We will also be monitoring public offerings and displays more closely to alert law enforcement to make arrests and confiscations.  In addition, we will seek confiscation of stolen artifacts from those who buy them.

I hope that each of you can lend your support to maintaining the important integrity of the Stalag Luft III site.  Your strong encouragement to your respective national law enforcement organizations is certainly appreciated.

The Stalag Luft III Museum Director in Zagan, Poland is Marek Lazarz. His email is lazarz71@interia.pl.  Like me, he appreciates any assistance.

 Holmstrom Family Seeking I.D. of Two Sketches – POW daughter, Susan Holmstrom – U.S.

POW Carl Holmstrom was a very well know artist in the camp. His family holds the two sketches below that meant a lot to their father.  If anyone can identify them, they would appreciate it.

Folded Wings

Lt. Robert Fortnam – Condolences to the Fortnam family from the entire Stalag Luft III community.

http://www.wmur.com/article/world-war-ii-veteran-remembered-for-telling-stories-of-war/11655522

http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Robert-Fortnam&lc=1704&pid=186266869&mid=7507512&Affiliate=concordmonitor&PersonID=186266869&FHID=4796

 Letter of Commendation for Marek – POW niece, Gayle Brown – U.S.

TO BE SENT TO: Polish Embassy in Washington DC & the American Embassy in Warsaw.

“I am writing about the fine work being conducted at the Muzeum Obozów Jenieckich (Museum of P.O.W. Camps) in Zagan, Poland.

In July 2017, my wife and I (and other family members) visited this facility because my wife’s uncle, Mr. Alvin W. Vogtle, was an American POW Airman that spent most of his internment here between 1943 and 1945. Mr. Vogtle was known as “Sammy from Alabamy” in the camp, and he later became President of the Southern Company (a large electric utility) after the war. He wrote a summary of his time there and his various escapes immediately upon his return to the United States in 1945. This document is treasured by his extended family.

Mr. Marek Łazarz is the Director of the Museum. He and his staff treated us with the greatest respect and he personally spent 3.5 hours showing us the facilities and the work he and his staff and volunteers are doing there. We were very impressed with his leadership and passion for the mission of the museum. I was especially impressed with his efforts to conduct research digs at the site and the work to preserve the remains of the camp structures. The museum’s work to create and maintain a library containing information about each POW is outstanding as well. He has made a commendable effort to interact with not only Polish armor units stationed nearby, but an American armor brigade as well.

He is looking to make the museum more accessible for persons using wheelchairs. There is also a project for the restoration of a monument within the grounds that commemorates soldiers buried there during the Napoleonic Wars. We hope he gets support for those purposes.

Poland, and the city of Zagan are to be congratulated for honoring and preserving the memory of the American, British, Canadian, Polish, Czech, Norwegian, French, Belgian, Dutch, Australian, Lithuanian, New Zealand, South African, and Greek airmen that were kept as POWs there. It is a connection and a history that both Americans and Poles share.

Sincerely yours,

Steven Brown and Gayle B. Brown

Higher Resolution South Compound Sketch

Roster Stalag Luft IV

Many have asked about the Luftwaffe enlisted men’s camps, one being Stalag Luft IV where many of the SLIII officers’ gunners went. This website might be helpful in tracing them:

http://www.stalagluft4.org/sorted%20roster%20cup.html

 Purple Heart Award

For those seeking the award and having proof of injury, please contact Dr. Gordon Sumner of the Military Order of the Purple Heart:

From: Gordon Sumner [mailto:gordon.sumner53@gmail.com] Sent: Tuesday, August 01, 2017 3:51 PM Subject: Purple Heart Medal Review Process

The organization I belong to is the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH).  Our website for anyone interested in learning more about us, the medal, and how to join the Order is: www.purpleheart.org

Also, regarding authorization. The Medal was awarded by the US Air Force after being reviewed by the Department of the Air Force Review Boards Agency.  I only helped review the documents as from my past experience in helping veterans to be awarded a Purple Heart Medal I know fairly well what the Review Boards for the Military Services are needing to verify the award and make the recommendation that the Secretary of the Military Service award the Purple Heart Medal to the veteran.

I just wanted to make sure that the information is correct should others read the story and think that the MOPH awards Purple Heart Medals, which we don’t.

Gordon Sumner, PhD Home/Office:  703-455-4527

Cell:  703-595-8800

Gordon Sumner [gordon.sumner53@gmail.com]

Any Familiar Faces?” – POW daughter, Sally Remington – US

 

If anyone sees a familiar please, please email me, and I will connect you with Sally.

1st Lt. Ellis J. Sanderson, her father, in the front and middle with hat on.

Newspaper article specifying how 1st Lt. Sanderson’s loss was revealed to his family.

Somber Anniversary – SLIII/Buchenwald POW Jim Stewart – (KLB78416) – Canada

“ Just a spot of trivia…. 15 August today, Tuesday, was also a Tuesday, 73 years ago,  in 1944….that unforgettable day when the goons shipped that last convoy of boxcars (90 to 100 in each} from Paris to Buchenwald in conditions that I have yet to find words to describe…….six days of pure hell!

Of those who arrived on 20 August, only 300 returned home out of 3,000: we allied airmen were lucky enough to have 166 out of 168.”

Links

WWII POW Wants His $13 Back – John Lanza – US

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/local/shot-down-captured-escaped-jacksonville-wwii-vet-says-hes-still-owed-13/459302209

SR-71 Pilot

If the link in the last newsletter for SR-71 Pilot – Brian Shul, did not work for you, try this one. Well worth watching:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wigZsFypdyI

USS Indianapolis Found After 72 Years – Joe Lawrence – US

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/20/544839125/wreckage-of-uss-indianapolis-sunk-by-japanese-in-wwii-found-in-pacific

Did You Know? – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

At the start of the war, the U.S. had 1000 military nurses; by the end of the war the total was 40,000.

Until next time,

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers

 

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – July 2017

 Stalag Luft III Newsletter – July, 2017

Greetings Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

POW John Pedevillano – Youngest Man in His Squadron Becomes Oldest Man to Receive a Purple Heart

After John’s son-in-law, Bill Vucci, received requested records from the archive in St. Louis, with the help of an archivist there, John was finally able to receive the prestigious award. John’s medical files supplied the needed proof of injuries sustained when he was shot down and on the march from Stalag Luft III.  Bill brought the documents to his father-in-law, and John’s daughter, Barbara Pedevillano, and Bill pointed out these were the medical documents needed as evidence to support the claim to pursue the Purple Heart. Barbara took them to her workplace, Walter Reed Hospital, to give to John’s doctor to verify his injuries. The evidence was then given to the Order of the Purple Heart for consideration and approval.

Maj. Gen. James A. Jacobson, Commander, Air Force District of Washington, presented World War II Prisoner of War, 2nd Lt. John R. Pedevillano, with the award at a special ceremony at the Air Force Memorial, July 14, 2017. The general’s father had been a B-17 pilot during the war. According to the USAF, John is the oldest living WWII veteran ever to receive the award 72 years after the end of WWII.

Pedevillano, who turned 95 on July 19, 2017, was a bombardier on the B-17 “Miss Carriage.” As part of the 306th Bomb Group, he flew his fateful mission on April 24, 1944. His plane was shot down by German fighters, and he was captured by German soldiers and became a POW at Stalag Luft III.

Below is a link to the ceremony which has now been broadcast around the world.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Maryland-Man-Awarded-Purple-H

Thank you to my son, John Walton, broadcaster for the Washington Capitals Hockey Team, for these pictures since he attended the ceremony in my place. He had arranged a salute to John at a Cap’s game last year.  John Pedevillano is a big fan of the Caps and listens to my son’s play-by-play of the games on the radio.  Being blind, he knows my son’s voice the instant he hears it. So it was a nice reunion surprise at the ceremony.

  

Program

John with Major Gen. Jacobsen

The award

The general pins on the Purple Heart

The salute

Salute returned

John, with my son, John Walton

Talking with the press – Since the award, John has

received calls from all over the world.

Folded Wings – Richard Bedford – Bonnie Bedford White

 

P-47 pilot and SLIII and Buchenwald POW passed away early the morning of July 6th. Dick will be remembered fondly by all who attended the Dayton Reunion with his extended family. A kind and gentle man, he lived out his days surrounded by a large loving family. Condolences from the entire Stalag Luft III community to Dick’s family.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/democratandchronicle/obituary.aspx?n=richard-bedford&pid=186023474

More Excavation in South Compound – Marek Lazarz – Poland

During the last month, Marek has been working hard excavating part of South Compound. A group of volunteers from the local Exploration Association, “Nadodrze,”  (Nadodrze means “area at the Oder River”) has been working with Marek. Initially, they all spent two days cleaning foundations of huts #135 and #134.

Marek and volunteers prepare to excavate the huts in South

Compound.

Septic tank between Huts #134 and #135

Volunteers work on Hut #134

Volunteers

Hut #135

Marek: “As you remember, we did some GPR (ground penetrating radar) on hut #135 last year. We’ve found the tunnel. According to POW Mitch Cwiek’s drawing, the tunnel was discovered in February 1944. I decided to find the possible entrance of the tunnel. My first thought was the drain of the bathroom. We cleared it but found no traces of the possible tunneling. After we cleared the whole floor, I discovered a collapsed floor of the small room near the bathroom. It was the kitchen or small bathroom. they look similar. The whole big floor is fine except a small part that you can see in the picture below. The only reason to find such a collapsed area was that the entrance was there. By the way, TOM was built in the same spot of  hut #123 (North camp). Red arrow in the second picture below shows possible entrance of the Hut #135 tunnel.”

POW Mitchell Cwiek’s map of escape attempts in South Compound showing the location of those escape attempts and of the tunnels. Lower resolution copy with the two barracks numbers show below:

#135 “finds” are lined up at the edge of the excavated area.

Hut #134 finds:  From L-R: rims (for the bulb), junction

box and the socket—electric wire at the bottom

Hut #134 – wash basin cap

Hut #134 – Half of bombardier wings

Hut #134 – cigarette lighter

Hut #134 – soap box

Hut #134 switch

Hunt #134 – sink  tap

These are such interesting finds by Marek. I did a quick check for names of men who lived in those two huts, and some of the readers of this newsletter are related to many of them.

#134 –

Jack Schmidt

Paul Fauerso

William “Dusty” Runner

Bob Slane

Don Hillman

Col.  James Luper

Russell Reed

#135 –

John Embach

Martin Plocher

Mel McNickle

Hal Diamond

Frank Ronzio

Paul Gordy (Lt. Sconier’s friend)

Wilfred Boyle

Don Casey

William C. Connor

Carl Holmstrom

James Crouch

 

New Items Donated to the Museum

On her recent visit to the museum, Debbie Boyle donated precious items including three of her father’s hats:

 

Dog tag

    Bombardier wings

 

 

  

Lt. Wilfred Boyle wearing the hats

Challenge Coins – Marek

Marek has designed a collector’s “challenge coin” for the camp. He provided the history of such coins below

http://mentalfloss.com/article/12630/brief-history-challenge-coins

Marek: “Looks like the tradition started in Germany after the war. There is a military tradition to present the coin to the other person in very special way. The coin is hidden in your palm, and you present the coin while you are shaking the hand of the other person. The trick is then the other person should repay with the same. When the other person has no coin – you will get the beer instead.”

More from Col. Keeffe’s “Vault of Treasures” – POWs Visit the Camp in 1976 – POW son, Jim Keeffe III US

American POWs who accompanied Col. Spivey

Names:

Rare pictures taken inside the church in Halbau where Center Compound stayed along the march route in Jan. 1945:

Col. and Mrs. Spivey

Col. and  Mrs. Spivey lead the way.

German Guards, Willi and Franz

Marek sent these ID papers for the two guards, and we were curious as to what some of the words said. I asked my German friend, Ernie Hasenclever, to translate:

Willi

Willi’s blue card says:  10 Commandments as to the behavior of  German soldiers during war time. His uniform is lower rank  Air Force

#4   Refers to enemy PoWs

#5  Refers to the forbidden use of “Dum-Dum” bullets  —  (A method whereby the tip of the rifle bullet is filed off so that the bullet, upon hitting the target, will tilt sideways and thereby inflict terrible wounds.)

#8 Refers to respecting neutral countries

# 9 Refers to behavior when taken PoW. ( pretty standard for all nations )

Franz

Personal ID card for a fellow born in Wien (Vienna).  However, he was at the time considered a German national .

Recent Dedication of Bushell/Scheidhauer Memorial  – Ingo Hauck – Germany

On July 1, near the Ramstein Airbase in Germany, a memorial stone for Squadron Leader Roger Bushell (Royal Air Force), the Mastermind of The Great Escape, and his escape partner, Sous Lieutenant Bernard Scheidhauer (sub lt.) (Free French Air Force) was unveiled by the niece of Roger Bushell and the great niece of Bernard Scheidhauer.

By invitation of Air Marshal Stuart Evens and Wing Commander Alan Jones, Ingo attended. The Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the US Air Force, and the German Luftwaffe attended to pay tribute to the brave men. After an opening prayer, the British and French National Anthems were played, and flowers were placed at the memorial stone by the family and Air Forces that attended.

The following is the memorial’s inscription:

On 24 March 1944, 76 Allied Airmen escaped from Stalag Luft III prisoner of war camp at Żagań, Poland. Near this spot, on 29 March 1944 the Gestapo executed two of the airmen who took a part in this ‘Great Escape’. They were the Escape´s mastermind Squadron Leader Roger Bushell (Royal Air Force) and Sous-Lieutenant Bernard Scheidhauer (Free French Air Force). Having made it as far as Saarbücken, Germany, they were arrested on 26 March and interrogated. On 29 March, the prisoners, on the pretext of returning to their prison camp, were driven to a bridge near this spot and shot. Throughout the following days, on the direct orders of Adolf Hitler, a further 48 of their fellow escapees were executed.

The memorial was funded by: RAF Community Ramstein (2017), 92 Squadron Association (RAF), The RAF Historical Society, Le Souvenir Francais, and After the Battle Magazine. At the remains of the concrete bridge that research suggests is where the executions took place, one of the concrete blocks is adorned by another memorial plaque. Only the research of Dr. Silvano Wüschner make this project possible after he found the place of the executions.

See this link on dr. Wüschner’s website for more information:

http://www.wueschner.org/academic/Great%20Escape%20English.htm

Pictures below by Thomas Tiltman

Caroline Kennard, niece of Roger Bushell  – (Her mother was his sister.)

RAF representatives on the left and French on the right. Two Luftwaffe

representatives are on the far on the right and two are on the far left.

The great niece of Bernard Scheidhauer is on the left.

Crematorium in Saarbücken where the men were cremated

Handling Red Cross Parcels

Marek has found some old pictures taken at Stalag Luft I, Barth, the alternative Luftwaffe camp for Allied Airmen.  RAF POW Alfie Fripp worked in the Red Cross parcels distribution center at Barth, and he continued the same job in Stalag Luft 3. (Fripp is fourth from the left in the first picture below.)

Germans and POWs take charge of the parcels.

Marek: “I think the German is examining contents of the parcel. Standard procedure. They knew that they were being photographed so they are posing I think and pretending doing something .”

Germans with Fripp and fellow POWs

Program from North Compound “Excerpts from the Messiah” Presentation – POW son, Mike Netherway – AU

The faded program below belonged to Mike’s father RAAF 409580, SL3 2627, Len Netherway, who sang in the choir.

“He’s listed tenth of the thirteen First Tenors from “Excerpts from Handel’s Messiah” on page four of the program – Dad said that there were no guards posted and that the commandant was in tears and was quite speechless after the concert. I think he [Mike’s father] was quite proud that he’d been part of the whole show. He used to sing at local concerts, receptions etc. before the war but after, he kept his voice for the church choir, eventually stopping in the mid- sixties.”

[Photoshop enhancement did not work on the document.

Also from Mike – Celebration of ANZAC Day in the camp:

                                     

                                                     Australian POWs at SLIII

I have previously posted this list below, (further down in this newsletter) and also the Fordyce cartoons. Mike and POW daughter, Barb Edy, both worked at correct spelling of names, but I wanted to include the list again for the many new readers from Australia so they could see the cartoons, and also hopefully  correct more names on the list for #119.

The Men in Hut 19 – North Compound.  From Mike: “Corrections so far: Rice is really John “Jock” Bryce.  In Room 15, the Blake Petersen is most likely Peter Bjelke Petersen. Room 15 – Buckinsdale should read Clayton Beckinsale.

Szymon’s Tour – Visit to Stalag Luft III

POW Col. James Keeffe’s daughter, Kerry, recently went on Szymon Serwatka’s tour, which included Stalag Luft III. Szymon is an early member of “Ewart’s Army” helping to locate Lt. Ewart Sconiers.

“We had a wonderful time and Szymon is a fantastic guide. We got to see some places that most tourists would not see. He has various friends who have their own museums of Polish and WWII things. One is dedicated to the 15th Army Air Force. They also continue to look for lost downed planes and airmen. I highly recommend his trips to anyone.”

Fin 

Finding her Father’s Name on the Flag – Col. James Keeffe

Kerry with Marek

Hunting for the correct barracks

                                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kerry with Mirek  Barracks #43 Center

POW son, Dick Olsen, and his wife also went on the tour and sent pictures:

North’s fire pool

West Compound’s fire pool

Dick: “I added the fire pool pictures to show the difference between the North and West compound pools.  North has some really nice brick work but West is concrete.”

Dick and Kathy Olsen sitting on the foundation of West’s theatre

Dick and tour leader, Szymon, at West #163, where Dick’s father lived.

The memorial the RAF POWs built to honor The Fifty. It is always adorned with remembrances visitors leave.

West Compound Barracks Numbers

For anyone seeking the number of their West Compound father’s barracks, be aware that some records fail to add the “one” at the beginning of the number designation. West Compound barracks numbers were all three digit. They started at 157 and ended with 173.

Wendover Field – Utah  POW daughter, Diane Stamp – U.S.

Thanks to my sister who recently visited Wendover Field in Utah where our father trained as a bombardier.

Bombardier training

The pool

 

The base was well hidden, surrounded by mountains.

The Enola Gay was also taken to this base.

Control Tower

Officer’s Club

B 24 hanger

Dilapidated barracks

SLIII Cartoons  – POW son, Mike Maxwell – AU

From the pages of Mike’s father’s Log Book:”  This cartoon by Bill Fordyce of dad doing “stooge” duty in the kitchen of their hut.”

Below is another Fordyce cartoons. Note the clever signature of the POW artist.

From a Center Compound POW diary: March Route for Center Compound

Left Stalag Luft III – 4am Sunday, Jan. 28, 1945 Arrived Halbau (Lutheran Church) – evening Sunday, Jan. 28 (??km) Left Halbau – Monday, Jan. 29 Arrived Freiwaldau – 4:30pm Monday, Jan. 29  (14 km) Left Freiwaldau – Wednesday, Jan. 31 Arrived Muskau (pottery factory) – evening Wednesday, Jan. 31 (34km) Left Muskau – Saturday, Feb. 3 Arrived at Graustein – Saturday, Feb. 3 (20km) Arrived at Spremberg – Sunday, Feb. 4 (7km) Left Spremberg – Sunday, Feb. 4 Arrived Stalag VII A – Wednesday evening, Feb. 7 Stalag VII A Snake Pit – Feb, 8,9,10 Stalag VII A moved to perm location in camp – Sunday, Feb, 11

Video of Recovered Tulsamerican B-24 off the Coast of Croatia – POW niece, Pam Whitelock – US

DPAA that worked with the Lt. Sconiers case is also working with the Croatian Government on this fascinating case of the Tulsamerican recovery off the coast of Croatia’s Vis Island in the Adriatic Sea. The B-24 is pretty famous as it was the last one to roll off the production line in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the war and was funded by the workers, so it was appropriately named the Tulsamerican.

Divers have recently located human bones near the wreckage. The plane was hit after a bombing run over German-occupied Poland. It crashed into the Adriatic Sea on Dec. 17, 1944. The crew apparently tried to get the plane back to its base in Italy, but they eventually decided to ditch it in the Adriatic. The wreckage itself was found at the bottom of the sea at a depth of some 40 meters (130 feet) near the island of Vis in 2010 after a 17-year search. Three members of the 10-man crew were killed in the crash. The U.S. is still looking for some 200 Americans who perished in Croatia during WWII. An effort to recover and return pieces of the wreckage to Oklahoma for display at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum has been underway for several years.

See link to some interesting and haunting undersea footage.

https://vimeo.com/224784178

Standing Guard POW daughter, Carolyn Clark Miller –  US

This picture was taken at the Fort Snell National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN, on a June morning . The eagle had landed on the grave of Sgt. Maurice Ruch, who had been a member of the St. Anthony Kiwanis Club. Maurice graduated from college in mechanical engineering in December of 1941 and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Known for his keen eye, he became a rifle marksman and was stationed in the Aleutian Islands. He served four years in the military and earned a bronze star

Links –

SR-71 Pilot – Ross Greene – US

Excellent and humorous

Salute to Vets Ad – POW nephew, Ross Greene – US

https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=yzMSzLkOkJA

 Model Airplane – Concorde and 747 – Joe Lawrence – US

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVfH36za2qI

Doolittle Raider Ross Greening’s Art – Tom Colones – US

Interesting story from Stalag Luft I – the alternative officer’s camp

http://www.merkki.com/art.htm  (thanks to merkki.com)

POW Jerry Sage

The most likely American model for the Cooler King in the Great Escape movie, Sage was known as, “Silent Death” at SLIII. Gen. Clark appointed him to train a handful of POWs on how to kill silently if the German guards every turned against the POWs. Jerry was a member of the OSS caught behind enemy lines, passing himself off as a member of the Air Corps. He was eventually thrown out of SLIII for his “bad behavior.”

https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=19750124

Did You Know ? POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

During WWII, the U.S. provided enough food aid to Russia to keep 6 million people fed through the war.

And a Bonus Did You Know from Marek:

In 1945, the total number of Poles in the RAF was about 17,000 men.

Poles were the biggest group of the foreigners in the Battle of Britain – 145.

Until next time,

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – June 2017

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – June, 2017

 Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

The new room is finished!  Marek has completed the building of the replica room which now sits inside the museum at the camp. He has been successful in searching for artifacts that are original and would have been used in the camp.

keintrinkwasser pitcher on the left

KLIM cans and original record player

The portrait of P/O Robert M. Buckham made by Polish POW Kazimierz Zakrzewski-Rucinski hangs on the wall. Marek received the scans of his works from his daughter Helena Zakrzewska-Rucinska and then made a high quality reprint on canvas.

The view from the window is South Compound, a street named Stillman Strasse that Lt. Col. Robert “Moose” Stillman created. As a POW, he got to work creating a main street in South Compound, where it had been previously difficult to walk. With a small crew of workers, he dug out an area and cleared it and then filled in the holes to create, “Stillman Strasse” [Stillman Street] making life just a little easier for the prisoners who now walked instead of flew.

The plaque below hangs by the room to thank all of you who donated to the room’s development and construction. Your funding enabled Marek to construct the room and to purchase the artifacts that make it so authentic. The names of POWs associated with these families will soon be placed on the POW plaque, as well, and he will send photos of that plaque to the families. Beautiful work, Marek!

Plaque for the new room – thank you donors!

 

Marek’s letter explaining how he came up with the idea for the new room is below:

New Guitar and POW Camp Sagan

Marek recently purchased a guitar for the museum made by a French POW formerly in Kriegsgefangenenlager Sagan (POW Camp Sagan), a WW1 camp that existed in Sagan from 1914 until 1920 when it was dismantled. This is where the museum sits today. The guitar was made in 1915! The self-made guitar was constructed by Auguste Naranowski, a French POW of Polish descent.

“A musical instruments collector from Warsaw contacted us after he discovered that the guitar was made in POW Camp in Sagan during WW2.”

Below, are two pictures of the general view of WW1 POW Camp Sagan. It was built on the so-called “excercise place” – the Army training field of the German Field Artillery Regiment from Sagan. The camp held Russian and French POWs during WW1. In 1939, Stalag VIIIC was built on the same spot.

Name on the guitar

Marek’s Incredible Co-incidence:

Satisfying the requirement for the U.S. Air Force Academy’s research grant to Marek last summer, he has now written about the American men who flew in the Eagle Squadrons during the war, getting into the war early flying with the RAF.

“The man who is helping me to build the POW room is a good friend of the museum. He donated several items. He is a president of the local historical association, and he is owner of the construction/plumbing company. He is currently restoring a private house in Zagan. The owner of the house is a local collector, and he has a small collection of dog tags and buttons. He found them years ago somewhere near the camp. My friend saw the collection and told me about it. I asked him to take a pictures of the dog tags (I need the POW numbers for my archive.). The collector just gave the dog tags to my friend, and my friend brought them to the museum. Dog tags are from Stalag VIIIE Neuhammer (20 km from Zagan), but one is a US Army service dog tag and belonged to George Carpenter! Carpenter was No. 121 Eagle Squadron and in 1942 was transferred to USAAF 335 Fighter Group. He was shot down in April 1944 and was held in West Compound. What a find! I will put it in my article. Today was the last chance to do it as the periodical is almost finished.

Carpenter’s dog tag – no explanation as to how it got left behind in the camp

Read about Carpenter here:

http://www.4thfightergroupassociation.org/uploads/8/2/0/3/8203817/335_carpentergweb_a.pdf

http://www.americanairmuseum.com/person/7389

Lt.  Ewart T. Sconiers

Following up on Lt. Sconiers, our Belgian friend and member of “Ewart’s Army,” Ed Reniere, visited Henri-Chapelle, the American Military Cemetery in Belgium. It is at this cemetery where Lt. Sconiers’ name is engraved on the Wall of the Missing. Traditionally, when one of the men who was missing is found a stone rosette is placed next to that name. Ed was there for Memorial Day to see that rosette, and he has sent the following pictures which were taken by Patrick Demaison.

Ed standing as the Wall of the Missing paying tribute to Lt. Sconiers on Memorial Day. He points to the new rosette.

Ed’s floral tribute

Visitors to the cemetery that day came up to read Ed’s words. The four flags on the panel Ed made, below, represent the four countries that ended up participating in Lt. Sconiers’ recovery.

[graphics would not copy from original newsletter]

Remembering

 

 

1st Lt Ewart Theodore SCONIERS Bombardier – 97th Bomb Group/414th Bomb Squadron

 

Born 29 November 1915, DeFuniak Springs, Florida

Died as a Prisoner of War – 24 January 1944, Lubin, Poland

 

… After 73 long years, finally recovered and

brought home thanks to the efforts

of the DPMO / DPAA.

In name of the SCONIERS and HARRELL families and of “Ewart’s Army

MEMORIAL DAY – 27 May 2017

 

 

Ed:  “I attended the Memorial Day ceremonies yesterday at two American cemeteries. The first event was at the Ardennes one in Neupré, the one in the afternoon was at Henri-Chapelle. I was at the cemetery long before the ceremony began and put flowers and paid my respects to Ewart. I was particularly moved seeing and touching the rosette that has been applied recently next to his name on the Walls of the Missing there. Afterward, many people, Belgians and Americans, looked at the flowers and the small panel. Some took pictures, and I could tell part of the fantastic story to a few of them. I had mixed feelings standing there at the foot of the wall. Emotion. Respect. Gratitude. A joy tinged with sadness. Thinking of all of you and those watching us from above, with a certain pride of what the global team has achieved in this very special journey.”

We hope Ed will be able to join us at the funeral in Florida next January.

 Sconiers’ Trip Home – POW niece – Pamela Sconiers Whitelock

It was a poignant moment for Pam and all of us seeing the picture below of her uncle being brought home from Poland through Germany to Offutt AFB for DNA testing. Delta, with great respect, flew him back to the U.S. with his army escort, the pilot announcing the WWII POW’s remains were on board.  See Pam’s words below for everyone reading this newsletter:

Delta ceremony honoring Sconiers

 

Sconiers’ proud escort from Europe

Pam: “We hope you will help spread the word about the fundraiser to support the “promise keepers” of Lt. Sconiers’ recovery.  Please use your social media platforms, email distribution lists, word of mouth, etc. to share the link.”  http://www.youcaring.com/KeepingThePromise

Children’s Day in the Camp

Marek: “On 1st June, we had a big event at the museum–actually two events in one– International Children’s Day and also attendance by the 11th Repair Battalion from Zagan. The soldiers organized a big display of their equipment for the local kids: tanks, heavy trucks and recovery vehicles. There was also a special military ceremony to honor Battalions Day. Several soldiers were promoted or awarded for their service. It was great publicity for the museum as well. I organized several guided tours during the whole day.”

                            Polish Battalion

Story of a Stalag VIIIC Guardgrandson, Heinz Kahan

Through the newsletter, I was contacted by the grandson of a German guard trying to find out which camp his grandfather had been assigned. Marek was able to determine it was Stalag VIIIC that sat next to Stalag Luft III.

 “Back in the ’60s, my mother told stories of her father (my grandfather) part of Landesschützen Btln 314 being guard at ‘a prisoner of war camp’ and him taking extra food to the prisoners in the pockets of his uniform to Frenchmen and Russians. Her village was Kunzendorf about 5 miles NW of Luft III. I have searched archives, and his unit was, indeed, assigned to prisoner camp duty there. Are there any stories like his that have been saved in your archives?

 His name was Günther Czernotzky. He was already 40 at the time. He died in March 1945. The front had moved through Kunzendorf in Feb., and he along with two others ended up behind the lines. He knew the area well and held up in a brick factory outside of town. They managed for a couple weeks by sneaking into town at night to get food from his family. His plan was to ride out the next few weeks until the war was over. Someone in town told the Russians. They sent soldiers out to the brick factory. They ran in three directions, 2 of the 3 being killed. The lone survivor told the family later what had happened. He [Heinz’s grandfather] was not found until spring 1946.The Russians had setup a supply/ammunition depot outside of town, and the road leading to it was off limits.

When they closed the depot in 1946, the road re-opened, and a man saw a roadside make-shift grave. My mom and great-grandmother (his mother) went along with some men to see if it was him. Not much was left after a year.His mother identified him by his gold tooth and the tatters of the sweater he was wearing which she had knitted for him.

My mother did the same stretch to Spremberg in a civilian trek. Kunzendorf – Sorau – Triebel – Bad Muskau – Spremberg About 25 miles, like I wrote earlier, Kunzendorf was only 3-4 miles west of Luft III. She likely walked in the steps of your father a month later. I am now the keeper of the Erkennungsmarke (dog tag).

Günther’s German dog tag

If anyone has information on Gunther, his unit, etc., I can put you in touch with Heinz.

POW Bill Styles Silk Map Comes Home to his Daughter – POW daughter, Linda Berkery, US

Following up the story of Linda’s quest to find the fisherman who picked up her shot down father in Denmark, she just received the silk map her father gave to that fisherman. Until she found contacts in Denmark, Linda had no idea the silk escape maps had been given.

The note accompanying the silk map:

Dear Linda,  

Hereby the legendary and beautiful scarf. 

 Note after she thanked him:

 Hi Linda,

 I am so glad to convey the scarf to you it got its last oversees travel back home . Best regards,

Jesper

   

Linda, pleased to have “part of her father” back

SLIII POW Bill Styles’ story has gotten lots of publicity lately both in Troy, NY, for Memorial Day and also in newspapers in Denmark where he was shot down and rescued from the North Sea. The City of Troy hung a special banner to pay tribute to him.

Banner

Below is the article in the Troy newspaper:

 

“My father’s Memorial Banner is now hanging in our local hometown of Troy, NY. (Home of Uncle Sam!) They put up all the banners this week, and Dad’s was the first – his banner is fittingly located out front of a German Bier Garden – which used to be called “Bombers” – A good spot for a POW B-17 pilot- he is flying high! Our family plans to go down and toast Dad with a German beer on Monday afternoon. Now that’s a new Memorial Day tradition for us.”

The Danish flag accompanies the American flag this year.

Bill Styles’ Rainbow Story

 

Bill’s touching letter to his wife:

 Linda also came across the YMCA letter below and sent it to Marek for explanation:

“There are several addresses of the YMCA offices at the bottom including German–Berlin. The letter was written in late August 1943. Just a few days later, in early September, Berlin was bombed, and the YMCA headquarters for Germany was evacuated to Sagan. I’ve never seen that kind of letter, very interesting. I only saw the reports written by YMCA representatives (including Henry Soderberg.

More Visitors for Marek – POW, daughter, Deborah Anderson – US

Deb and her son, Erik Anderson, recently visited the old camp to locate the hut of her father, Lt. Wilfred Boyle:

Deborah and Marek

Deborah’s son, Erik

“Other pictures were taken at the site of my father’s hut #135 where one of the tunnels was located in the South Compound. The other tunnel that Marek located was from hut #137 where my friend, Allister Carlson Webster’s father, lived (last picture ).”

Hut #135

Hut #137

Jim’s Training Accident – SLIII POW Jim Stewart – Canada

“Cannot be certain but believe this was my first landing on HMS Argus, 24 Feb. 1943! No self-centering wires back then and “batsman” landed me with drift….that’s my story. Just another one of my foolish experiences! Google CAM ships and MAC ships through Wikipedia for fascinating picture of how little we had back then to eventually win “Battle of Atlantic. It always was a one way ticket on the CAM Ships, ditch or bail out, but in 1942 and 1943 the MAC ships were coming into service and, with the remote chance that one might be available, we practiced all sorts of Dummy Deck Landings on the runway at Speke and actual landings with Royal Navy on Firth of Clyde.  The carrier was supposed to be moving directly into the wind, but a crosswind meant you were slipping to the side at point of landing, “drift.” Me and my gremlins…….only my pride was hurt!  They just got me another aircraft and after that, I made 3 successful landings. Most disappointed that Hitler did not award me an Iron Cross.  After all, German losses, 1 Focke-Wulf 200 destroyed; compared to my British, one Hurricane destroyed, one damaged; two Typhoons destroyed.  Hardly cost effective!”

Luv,

Jim

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAM_ship

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_aircraft_carrier

Copies of Our Books Available Again

Information on the books:

https://www.amazon.com/Interrogation-Liberation-Photographic-Journey-Freedom/dp/1491846887/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498427814&sr=1-1&keywords=from+interrogation+to+liberation

https://www.amazon.com/Commandant-Captive-Friedrich-Lindeiner-Interviews/dp/1483425398/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498427916&sr=1-1&keywords=from+commandant+to+captive

100% of the proceeds go to the museum.

Mike Eberhardt and I supply the museum in Zagan with our two books with all proceeds going to the museum. Marek has told us he just sold the last two copies of the von Lindeiner book to Zagan’s Military Police unit who bought them (with some other items from the gift shop) as souvenirs for their counterparts from the US and Czech Republic who all will visit Marek at the museum. Mike has discounted copies again of both books, From Interrogation to Liberation, and From Commandant to Captive—the Memoirs of Commandant of SLIII Col. Friedrich von Lindeiner.  Contact Mike at: Mikeceber@sbcglobal.net

Memorial Day – POW son, Alan Hopewell – US

For 142 years, Americans have taken the last Monday in May to remember those who have died in our wars. Like all deaths honored by the state, flags fly at half-staff.

However, on Memorial Day, the U.S. flag only flies at half-staff for the first half of the day, and then is raised to full height from noon to sundown. This unique custom honors the war dead for the morning, and living veterans for the rest of the day.

No one knows the exact date this tradition began, but an Army regulations book from 1906 carries instructions for the procedure, so it predates the 20th Century, said Clark Rogers, executive director of the National Flag Foundation. In 1924, Congress codified the tradition into U.S. Code Title 4, Section 6, with the proclamation, “For the nation lives, and the flag is a symbol of illumination,” explaining how the noon flag-raising symbolizes the persistence of the nation in the face of loss, Rogers told Life’s Little Mysteries.

“The first part of the day honors those who sacrificed, and the second part of the day honors those who are still with us,” Rogers said.

Also, if you experience difficulty from your HOA flying our nation’s flag, the federal law of 2005 provides that owners of residential property have the right to fly our nation’s flag.  Some HOAs have tried to target a “flagpole” as a violation of HOA rules as a means to skirt the issue, but court cases have ruled against HOAs for this interpretation, stating that a pole is necessary to fly a flag, which is protected by federal law.  There are also some states that specifically prohibit HOAs from attempting to restrict property owners from flying our nation’s flag; Florida is one such state.

Col. Keeffe’s Filing Cabinet – POW son, Jim Keeffe, III – US

35th Stalag Luft III Reunion – Jim has come across the program from the 35th reunion which shows some of the names of very prominent POWs in the camp. The program has humor and is very clever. Some might remember many of these names:

                 Cover page

Inside cover page

Cartoons from POW camp Artist Joe Boyle were also featured:

 

POW Joe Boyle’s cartoon

Sketch of Hut – POW nephew, Hugh Carter – US

“Attached is an actual sketch made by Steve Pritz, my Uncle John’s cooking partner in Stalag Luft III. He was an artist and did many sketches while in POW camp. This is only one that survived as he tore it out of his sketch pad as they headed out the door for Spremberg and Moosburg. These are John’s own words from ‘Pilot Missing…’ A shame the entire sketch pad did not survive.”

            “Steve was good enough to provide a drawing of Combine 3 he made while in Stalag Luft III “ –  Steve relates:

“I tore this out of my ‘drawing book’ just before we started our forced march from Stalag Luft III as the Russians were moving in on Berlin. It was sudden departure to the unknown and we took only what each of us considered extremely usable for self survival! The drawing book did not fit in with our ultimate objective!! The drawing does not show all of the two tier bunks that outlined the actual size of the combine. There was only one layer of floor boards with cracks between. In the winter, we had cold air blowing in from underneath the building. I really don’t know why I kept it, along with my POW dog tags, POW spoon and knife, etc.! But it is here somewhere for my grandchildren to find sometime in the unknown future. We were housed in Barracks No. 43 in the Center Compound.”

 

Because We Flew – SLIII POW Leonard Spivey – US

 Because We Flew

Once the wings go on, they never come off whether they can be seen or not. It fuses to the soul through adversity, fear and adrenaline, and no one who has ever worn them with pride, integrity and guts can ever sleep through the call of the wild that wafts through bedroom windows in the deep of the night.

When a good flyer leaves the job and retires, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder. We wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times. We know in the world of flying, there is a fellowship which lasts long after the flight suits are hung up in the back of the closet. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

Because we flew, we envy no man on earth.

~Author Unknown

Links

POW and Boy Who Turned Him in Reunited after 50 Years – Dr. Susann Meinl – Germany

 http://www.wfmynews2.com/news/features/world-war-ii-enemies-become-friends-50-years-later/446153969

 Pearl Harbor and D Day Documentaries – Tom Colones – US

Tom with DVD covers

Over the years, Tom, a friend of Stalag Luft III, has filmed some incredible documentaries. Below are some of the most recent ones.

http://www.wwiifoundation.org/2016/07/08/pearl-harbor-trailer-ii/

http://www.wwiifoundation.org/2014/12/16/omaha-beach-honor-and-sacrifice-trailer/

 All the excellent films the foundation produces are available on this link:

https://wwiifoundation.intelivideo.com/

 Thomas Colones [tcolones@yahoo.com]

WSPA TV – CBS – Spartanburg, S.C.

Plaque for Roger Bushell Dedicated

[Please note the error that the camp was “in Nazi-occupied Poland.” The camp was in Germany and that area was given to Poland after the war in war reparations.  MW]

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4613262/Man-dreamed-REAL-Great-Escape-honoured.html

Why We Fly – Joe Lawrence – US

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNlx9y-DEtc

Raising the Hunley – 19th Century Submarine – POW nephew, Hugh Carter – U.S.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsIz8phe21Y

Ground Version of Honor Flight – POW son-in-law, Bill Vucci – US

https://www.vetsroll.org/

Did You Know? – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

The number of lost planes in WWII:  U.S. 94,000, Russia 106,000 and Germany 76,000.

POW Humor

I leave you with a poem from Stalag Luft III:

A DREAM

Last night I held a lovely hand A hand so soft and neat I thought my heart would burst with joy So wildly did it beat No other hand unto my heart Could greater solace bring Than that dear hand I held last night Four Aces and a King.

Author Unknown

Until next time,

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers

 

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – May, 2017

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – May, 2017

 

Stalag Luft III POWs, Families, and Friends,

There are many stories to report this month, one involving my co-author, Mike Eberhardt, and his recent return to Germany to his father’s crash site.

 From Poland, Marek has notified me that within about ten days the new room he has constructed in the museum, a replica of a typical POW room,  will be complete. He has designed special thank you cards for donors and with each he will include a picture of the finished room. Shortly after that, all the donors’ names will go on a plaque he has specially designed to hang in the new room, and POW names will go on a separate plaque.

 Other News from Marek

Stalag Luft III had well-stocked libraries in each compound. Marek is in the process of collecting authentic books to simulate what was there at one time.

“We bought this book recently. It is from the No. 1 Library of POW Camp Oflag II D. The book was sent to the camp by the Polish section of the YMCA (see stamp). Oflag IID was in Gross Born (Borne Sulinowo today, Northern Poland). Many Polish officers (Army) were held there.

 

 Newest book

“Here is my personal find. I found it at the hut 137 (South Camp) Stalag Luft III. Actually, it was with the help of wild boars in the camp who disturbed the surface around hut 137. There were many POWs in Zagan wearing non-SL3 dog tags.” 

M-Stammlager (Stalag) XIIIC is stamped into the dog tag, and that camp was in Hammelburg, Bavaria. Apparently, the dog tag belonged to one of the USAAF NCOs who served as orderlies in the officer’s compound at Stalag XIIIC, the camp where Gen. Patton’s son-in-law was a POW and was later injured during an attempted rescue by Patton’s forces. According to Marek, the man who owned the dog tag either volunteered or was transferred to Stalag Luft III to again serve as an orderly.

Rare Buchenwald Currency at the Museum –  This 2 Reichmark banknote belonged to a Polish prisoner.

In 2004, Tunnel “Dick” in North Compound, was excavated by a British team. They found some artifacts now displayed in the replica hut #104, constructed by the British. Below is the trap door of “Dick.” The entrance of “Dick” was inside the drain of the shower room of hut #122. 

   Trap door

American Visits Marek – Kevin Pearson – U.S.

 A research friend of mine for years, Kevin, is an expert at identifying B-17 parts and has travelled to many WWII historically-significant places in Europe, sending me pictures. He has also excavated a B-17 in Germany. Recently, he visited Stalag Luft III.

 Marek and Kevin at Tunnel Harry

After visiting Stalag Luft III, Kevin went on to the cemetery in Poznan to see the grave markers of the 50 murdered POWs after the Great Escape. Their ashes were moved from the camp to Poznan after the war. Below are Kevin’s pictures taken at the cemetery of the grave markers.

  Remembering the 50

Stone marking the ashes of Roger Bushell,

mastermind of the Great Escape

German Town Commemorates Three B-17 Crew Members Killed in March 1944POW son, Mike Eberhardt

Two years ago, with the assistance of some German researchers armed with only one vague clue, Mike was able to discover and then visit the crash site of his father’s B-17 (“Little Audrey”) which crashed on March 18, 1944, outside Munich, near a small town named Aschheim. His 2015 visit included a personal meeting with a man, who as a thirteen year old, witnessed the crash, which resulted from another B-17 (out of formation) dropping a bomb on the plane in which Lt. Charles Eberhardt served as bombardier. Following the 2015 crash site visit, Mike also recovered pieces of his father’s B-17 with the help of the German researchers who scanned the site with metal detectors.

 While seven of the crew parachuted and survived (three of whom, including Lt. Eberhardt, being aided by local German farmers before being turned over to SS troops), those who perished included Sgt. Vincent Mellina, Sgt. James Schmitt, and Sgt. Franklin Baier.

 On April 23, 2017, at the invitation of the Aschheim Veterans Group, Mike returned to the crash site where the three deceased crew members were honored in a ceremony. The event was attended by a large number of local citizens, Mike’s researchers, the mayor of Aschheim, and the president of the Aschheim Veterans Group, both of whom delivered moving speeches. A bugler played while a canon was fired, and Mike was honored with an opportunity to be photographed standing behind makeshift crosses from which photos of the three deceased crew members hung.  In the photo below, Mike is flanked by the eyewitness he met two years ago, and another eyewitness discovered since his initial visit.

 Mike also visited the local Catholic Church where, in the courtyard, the three were buried by the citizens of Aschheim until their bodies were recovered and moved to national cemeteries after the war.

 Mike was made a member of the Aschheim Veterans Group.  The ceremony was covered by the Munich newspaper which featured a photo of the crew.  A large dinner, with lots of beer, concluded the eventful day!

 [Some pictures below were sent by Dr. Susanne Meinl who lives near Munich and also attended.]

 

                       Lt. Charles Eberhardt’s Stalag Luft III ID card

 

IMG_5016IMG_5014

The Germans greet Mike (middle of photo) in front of the Town Hall.

 

 

         The tree at the right is one Mike’s father would have

         seen. It was the landmark the Germans used to

         determine where the plane crashed.

 

Remembering one of the crew, KIA that day

 

 Mike, second from right

 

Mike is flanked by two eyewitnesses who said they went to the

B-17 that day to steal a bag of uniforms and chocolate from the

co-pilot. Mike holds Edelweiss flowers given to him in the name

of the three crew who died.

 

    The bugler plays for the ceremony.

 

 The ceremonial canon

Mike presents researcher, Josef Eimannsberger with a certificate

of appreciation from the Friends of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The three lost crewmen

 Attendees pose with Mike

Kriegie Konnections:

Devon Geiger Nielsen – Douglas Bader Connection – [Kriegie daughter of William D. Geiger, Jr.]

 Who tied the knots in bed sheets dropped from Douglas Bader’s hospital window in St. Omer, France, after his capture? – Mystery solved.

Devon has submitted the story below after her research on her father connected her with the story of famed RAF legless flier and SLIII POW Douglas Bader, who was eventually thrown out of Stalag Luft III for starting trouble and frequent escape attempts. Lt. Col. A.P. Clark was given Bader’s bunk in North Compound that day after he witnessed Bader’s removal from the camp as Bader walked through a gauntlet of German guards, strutting defiantly as if he was inspecting the troops.

  Douglas Bader – RAF

 Bill Hall Ties Sheet Rope for Douglas Bader Hospital Escape

by Devon Geiger

As a WWII history buff, the name Sir Douglas Bader was one I knew well. I had collected photos and articles about the famous “legless” Royal Air Force ace. Bader was in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain before being shot down and taken captive in the summer of 1941. Douglas became an equally famous POW for his brilliant and courageous escape attempts. My father, William Geiger, was in Stalag Luft III with him until the Germans moved Douglas to Colditz Castle, a camp for “incorrigible” Allied officers. Dad spoke of this amazing man who had lost his legs well before the war, but still became a fighter pilot ace.

 It wasn’t until recently, however, that Marilyn Walton introduced me to Bader’s relative, Wendy McCleave in the UK.  And this is why she did: I had been telling Marilyn about my long-overdue success in finally locating the Canadian family of William (Bill) Hall, my father’s best friend during his long stay in Stalag Luft III. I relayed to Marilyn how wonderful it was that Bill Hall’s son had sent me his father’s recollections of being an RAF Eagle Squadron pilot and prisoner of war. (Shot down on July 2, 1941, Bill Hall was the first Eagle Squadron pilot taken captive). One of Bill Hall’s stories was about his time as a hospital patient in German-occupied St. Omer, France. Bill had to have several operations on his shattered knee during the summer of 1941. In August of that year, Douglas Bader was admitted to the hospital in St. Omer, too, and became a ward-mate of Bill Hall’s. In early September, Bill assisted Douglas with an amazing, one-man escape from their hospital room by tying sheets end-to-end and hanging them outside the 4th story window.

 

Tied bed sheets that facilitated Bader’s escape hang from Bader and Hall’s window at St. Omer hospital.

 I sent the excerpt to Wendy in February. Reading a firsthand account is a very moving and poignant experience for any family member, and I’m very glad she got this opportunity.

 Wendy had known of the hospital escape, but this recounting chronicled interesting details and allowed her to realize it was the Eagle Squadron Pilot Officer Bill Hall’s knot tying that helped Bader successfully reach the ground.

 Although Douglas was recaptured, this courageous escape attempt set the stage for his future activities in captivity and also inspired other POWs. Both men were freed in 1945, and continued flying.

 This is an excerpt from Bill Hall’s own memoir:

 Bader had been shot down near St. Omer, and there was great excitement amongst the Germans. The German officers from the squadron based nearby, came in every evening. Bader flew with artificial legs, and he had lost one when he bailed out. The Germans found it jammed in the wreckage of his aircraft and brought it to the hospital. It was all twisted to hell, so they took it away and repaired it for him. Bader persuaded the Germans to request over radio to the British, to drop a new leg for him. The RAF dropped it over St. Omer en route to a bombing mission.

 Our nurse, Sister Erica, was very kind to us. She could speak only a few words of English, but she would occasionally bring us a lemon, a couple cigarettes or pieces of candy. She sewed a button on Bader’s tunic, I remember. There was also a French ward maid who had connections with the French underground. When Bader planned to escape, she plugged the sink in our room, and a French plumber who was part of The Underground came to fix it. What transpired from that meeting, I never knew. It must have been Sept. 9 that Bader made the plans to escape. I tied several bed-sheets together for him with square knots, and he secured this to a bed-stand. Sometime between midnight and one o’clock, (it would have been between guard changes), Bader threw the rope of sheets out the window, and told me there was enough and even some to spare. It was a very calm night, and the courtyard below was all cobblestones. I heard Bader slide down a sheet, step on a knot, and slide down another sheet, and step again on a knot until he reached the ground. In the quiet of the night, every step he took his legs squeaked like the devil, and I could hear him squeaking off up the cobblestones, and making quite the racket. How he got away with it I’ll never know.

 The next morning when the Germans found him gone, all hell broke loose. The other English chap and the Pole were shipped off to Frankfurt en Maine. I was rushed to the operating room to have my body cast changed to a traveling one, and the next day, Sept. 11, I was shipped off to Hohemark Hospital in [near Oberursel, Germany, near the interrogation center. [ sic – Originally read near the Belgian border, but correction was made for the sake of accuracy and clarification.] Bader had been recaptured, but I didn’t see him in St. Omer. We did pass at the gates of [Stalag] Luft III in January 1943. He was moving out as I was being taken in.”

 Credit: William (Bill) J. Hall’s autobiography, courtesy of Bill Hall’s son and family

 

Portrait of Canadian P/O William (Bill) J. Hall

 

German holds the box that was dropped containing the leg.

 Germans inspect the newly-dropped prosthetic leg.

 British military report on the mission to drop the leg

 Linda Berkery –  Danish Connection [Kriegie daughter of William J. Styles  Jr.]

In trying to figure out her father’s wartime history, POW daughter, Linda Berkery, knew two things. One was that on the 1945 evacuation march from Stalag Luft III  that her father pushed his POW journal into the hands of a German housewife while on the long march from Stalag Luft III to Spremberg, Germany. Styles had written “forwarding” information at the front of the book, and it was returned to him by the woman in August, 1945.

 

Styles’ notation in German requesting return of the journal

And Linda also knew that a nice Danish fisherman saved him from drowning after his B-17 crashed into the North Sea. Co-pilot Styles was on his eighth mission to Germany and flew on Duration Plus Six that day. Unable to bomb the intended target, Warnermunde, Germany, the crew flew to heavily-defended Kiel, and was hit by intense flak. The No. 2 engine smoked and failed and another engine went out. The plane plunged into the sea about 50 miles from Denmark and 150 miles from their 100th Bomb Group base at Thorpe Abbotts, England.

Styles and his pilot, Richard Carey, got out. Two gunners, escaped the ditched fuselage through the overhead hatch, but they were severely injured. Six crew members were trapped in the radio compartment and went down with the plane. Above, a friendly bomber circled low intending to blow the rubber dinghy toward the survivors, but instead it blew the boat further away.

The skipper on a small Danish fishing boat named “Bertha,” saw Styles’ plane go down and went searching for survivors. Within the hour, he found the four Americans floating in their Mae Wests and pulled them to safety, using splints from a wooden fish crate to set broken arms and legs.

Decades later, Linda flipped through her father’s returned Wartime Log and stared at original photos showing her father and his pilot right after the rescue. She wondered who took the photos and how her father got them. She found an aged newspaper clipping with the same photo, her father’s name appearing in the headline. He was marked with an X, and the skipper was marked with XX in the newsprint.

  

Original newspaper article

Taped inside the journal was a handwritten letter from Denmark posted August 3, 1949, and Linda felt the need to know more and to try to locate the fisherman’s family.

After posting everything on Facebook, a translation came the following day. VESTJYDEN, the local paper in Esbjerg, reported:

      “The fisherman explains that the cutter “Bertha” was fishing on Sunday

       afternoon on the 25th of July [1943] when the crew observed a large formation

       of American airplanes. The last of the airplanes continued to lose altitude and

       had to do a water landing some distance away from the cutter, which immediately

       set course for the airplane, and saved four men of the airplane crew.

       The cutter remained at the crash site until midnight since it appeared possible

       that the Americans would send a floatplane to rescue the crashed crew. One of

       the crew of the airplane was seriously wounded, and since the cutter during the

       evening had been observed by a German fighter plane and also did not have

       enough fuel…[he]decided not to set course for England but instead went

       in the direction of Esbjerg…and arranged for medical help and ambulances. These

       were waiting at the dock…Unfortunately the Germans had gotten wind of the activity

      and demanded to have the four American fliers turned over to them once they

       arrived. Despite protests and demonstrations, the Germans took them in their

      custody…” [The article was torn right at the end.]

 The letter dated August 1949 was from Sven Lundager Pedersen:

           “I remember you very well. Also your three friends I remember well.

            Parson[s] was one of them and I believe that one was named Lepper.

            I forgot the name of the third one. [Carey] I am sending you a newspaper

            article and have marked you with an X and myself with XX.

            I am also sending you two pictures…I hope you remember me and ask

            you to write to me and tell me how you have been doing in the past years.

            Also please information about your three friends. I will end the letter with

            the warmest greetings to you and your family.”

Soren Flensted from the site, AIRWAR OVER DENMARK agreed to contact the newspaper in Esbjerg to share Linda’s story. Finn Buch, from Denmark, sent a photo of the fishing vessel and located the address from Sven’s letter. Unfortunately, the home of the skipper was now part of the town hospital. Finn sent a declassified listing of what was taken from her father at the time of rescue: two ID tags, one crucifix, one crucifix with a chain, one watch, one pocket lighter, and two maps. Michael Faley, archivist for The100th Bomb Group Foundation, introduced Linda to Jeanne Carey, daughter of Pilot Richard Carey, telling her she now had a sister.

The Danish newspaper printed Linda’s search during last Easter week. In just hours, she and the fisherman’s family were connected. She expressed her gratitude and told them her father had lived a good life and had four daughters. Pilot Carey had nine children. The  Danish family never saw the photos before but rapidly shared the story with children and grandchildren.

 

The Danish newspaper has run several articles about Linda’s quest

to find the family of the fisherman who rescued her father.

 

Bertha – the ship that rescued the downed airmen

 

Original picture from the day of the rescue – Linda’s

father, Bill Styles on the right

 

 Carey and Styles

 

 Pilot Carey with injured crew member

Linda soon located and communicated with the son of one of the fishing crew. He said he listened to the story wide-eyed as his father shared about the rescue. It is his father who took the photos and is in the photo that Linda couldn’t identify. The son told Linda that her father gave him maps, and he still has them, and agreed to send Linda one of the silk escape maps that passed from her father’s hands to his that day.

Linda will return the original letter to the Danish museum, and as all of the story had enfolded and continues to, Linda is overwhelmed to realize that the son of a Danish fisherman has something her father gave at the time of his rescue, and with its return into her hands, it is like getting a small piece of her father and his history returned to her.

Silk escape map Linda will receive from the

Danish fisherman’s son.

 Photos Now Attached to U.S. Graves in Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial at Madingley – POW son, Mike Woodworth – U.S.

 The American Cemetery will be posting pictures of most of the Americans buried there including some children and the body of a “Red Cross Lady” turned spy.  See link below:

 http://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/cambridge/moving-project-scheduled-for-cambridge-cemetery-over-bank-holiday-1-5022101?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social_Icon&utm_campaign=in_article_social_icons

 Historic Letter Found – POW daughter, Anne Bettinger – U.S.

 I was looking at the latest issue of the newsletter (thank you for all you do!!) and wondered if you would be interested in seeing a 2-page letter my dad, George C. Bettinger, wrote to his parents after liberation at Camp Lucky Strike.  

 I found it buried in a box in my garage a few years ago. Pristine condition, never opened or touched since 1945 except being moved from my grandparents’ house to my folks’ house to mine at some point. I’d never seen it before. Talk about shocked!”

 

Letter from the Past – POW niece and author, Louise Williams – sent by POW son, Mike Netherway – Australia

 “Marilyn – This was on the news a couple of days ago, and  I thought you might like to see it – some interesting German images of Rusty Kierath & John Williams, shortly before their executions [after the Great Escape]. I guess the expressions on their faces say it all? The story of locating Williams’ last letter is highlighted by the story of the pilot and his ground crewman’s daughter.”

 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-25/the-mystery-of-australian-pows-final-hours-in-nazi-germany/8465800?WT.mc_id=newsmail&WT.tsrc=Newsmail

  •  Account of North Compound POWs’ Experiences on the March –  Ed Reniere – Belgium

 http://www.trasksdad.com/PopsProgress/Stalag3March/March.html

 More on the march:

 https://wallyswar.wordpress.com/stalag-luft-iii-sagan-and-the-winter-march/

(cut and paste this link.)

Folded Wings

 With condolences to the families –

 Wallace Kirkpatrick – POW daughter, Joe-Beth Kirkpatrick – Texas

Died on March 3, 2017, at the age of 96.

 

Wallace Kirkpatrick  Postwar 1945

 

Kirkpatrick second from the left at Stalag Luft III

 

Finding his khaki blouse in a cedar chest, Wallacegrumbled when he couldn’t get it buttoned.

 One is the funeral home’s obituary and the second is an article from the San Antonio Express-News because of an earlier feature story from 2015:

 http://grimesfuneralchapels.com/obituaries/wallace-b-kirkpatrick/1395/

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/religion/article/

 Arnold Wright

 

Arnold Wright

 

POW 05 Arnold Wright & Tuskege Airman Alexander Jefferson

Arnold with Alex Jefferson at a Stalag Luft III reunion

 A bright light in the Stalag Luft community has dimmed with the death of Arnold Wright, who transcribed the secret ledger from South Compound, containing over 2200 names, and put it into book form, naming it Behind the Wire. This book has been an invaluable resource for researchers, and it also helped Arnold acquire 18 Purple Hearts for Stalag Luft III POWs, including one for a dear friend of his, Tuskegee Airman, Alex Jefferson.

Arnold attended Stalag Luft III reunions for many years and counted the original Stalag Luft III Board as his best friends, including Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark. Doolittle Raider, Major General Davy Jones, was also a dear friend, as was Major General Lewis E. Lyle. Arnold knew everyone. I am one of the many who will miss his many phone calls and mailings of pictures and articles from his vast collection of material he recently donated to the A.F. Academy. Award-winning journalist, Mary Hargrove’s last article, done in cooperation with Arnold, was about the POWs at Stalag Luft III—her favorite piece she admits of her entire lifetime journalistic career. Mike Eberhardt drove to Arkansas several times just to sit and talk with Arnold. It was our joint pleasure at a Stalag Luft III Reunion to watch as Arnold was named the second recipient of the Lt. Gen. Albert P. Clark Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Keeping the Story of Stalag Luft III Alive, presented by Lt. Gen. Clark’s daughter, Carolyn Clark Miller. Anyone who knew Arnold knew his sense of humor and love of pranks that endeared him to so many. We are all better for having known this soft-spoken and hilarious man and will miss him tremendously. Below is the text of his award that was read by Carolyn Miller for the presentation:

 “I have heard a great deal about Arnold from my father and, although I had never met him in person, we have corresponded. So we have met via snail mail.

 When my Dad met POW Ewell McCright, captured early in the war, he was told McCright had received some bad news in a letter from home and became despondent. As his despondency continued and grew deeper, my father recognized that he needed a meaningful diversion, so he asked Ewell to undertake the dangerous job of recording detailed information on each new American POW who entered South Compound, carefully recording each man’s name, rank, serial number, and other pertinent information, including his shoot-down history. McCright carried out this mission, scrupulously recording the information in detail for 2200 POWs. The ledgers were kept hidden from the Germans and secretly carried on the forced march in the winter of 1945, disguised as food hidden in a pair of pants draped around Ewell’s neck. He carried them 52 miles to Spremberg and onto the box cars that took him to Moosburg, Stalag VIIA, where they were nearly confiscated twice. Only a sympathetic guard in one case and a bribe to another guard in the other saved them. Eventually, the ledgers were flown back to the States, and later they were used at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

 Upon Ewell’s death, his heirs learned that he had willed this treasure trove of information to Arnold, a man whom he had never personally met, but knew by way of Arnold’s reputation and affection for WWII veterans.

 Over the course of more than two and a half years, Arnold laboriously transcribed the information, and published the ledgers at his own expense, and the transcriptions became the basis of his book, “Behind the Wire.” Based on the documentation in the book describing many POWs’ injuries, this labor of love also allowed 18 former POWs to obtain well-earned Purple Hearts, including Tuskegee Airman Alex Jefferson, whom you heard earlier today, when their military records burned in a fire in the St. Louis repository. Informational books for Center, West and North Compounds followed.

 The recipient of awards too numerous to name, Arnold also received the Presidential Appointment Selective Service System award in 2003, and in 2004, he received an award from VFW Post #2256 commending him on the publication of his six books, including My Country Called, which told 685 stories from Saline County, Arkansas, WWII vets, and Out of the Blue, a compilation of acts of heroism by WWII airmen.

 Arnold is the first person from Arkansas to receive an Air Force Scroll of Appreciation, the highest honor given from the A.F. to civilians. As a WWII historian and author, and an honorary member of Stalag Luft III, Mr. Wright’s contribution to keeping the story of Stalag Luft III alive can only be described as outstanding.

 http://benton.smithfamilycares.com/obituaries/Arnold-Wright-3/#!/Obituary

 Penn State Grant Recipient – POW daughter, Dr. Marla Okner – U.S.

 Hello, Marilyn!

 This is Marla Okner, and as you can see from the “email trail” below, we briefly corresponded a couple of years ago, prior to my research trip to the Netherlands. At that time, I signed up for your Stalag Luft III newsletters, and I’ve been enjoying them ever since.

 The reason I’m writing now is to thank you. It was in the March edition of your newsletter, I think, that you mentioned the Eighth AAF Archives that are housed at Penn State, and the opportunity to apply for a summer travel research grant to use those archives. I decided to apply for the grant, and I just found out yesterday that I won the award!! I’m so excited! 

 Thanks again for your marvelous, informative newsletter! My plans are to visit Penn State in early August, and I’ll contact you again once the trip is complete.

 Best regards,

 Marla

 Links

 One Life, One Flag, One Mile – POW nephew, John Lanza – US

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ GJokaiyJNVA

 Book Recommendation – POW son, Mike Woodworth  – US

 To Kingdom Come An Epic Saga of Survival in the Air War Over Germany by Robert J. Mrazek.

 https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Come-Epic-Survival-Germany/dp/0451235754/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1495575021&sr=1-2&keywords=to+kingdom+come

 Book Recommendation – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

 I highly recommend “Given Up For Dead” by Bill Sloan.  This is a riveting and exceptionally well-written account of the oft-forgotten Battle at Wake Island in the two weeks following Pearl Harbor where Americans defended this tiny atoll before finally surrendering only after inflicting enormous casualties on the Japanese invaders.  Survivors then endured a POW experience worth remembrance.  Bill Sloan wrote this book in 2002 when he still had personal access to many Wake Island survivors.

Corrections from last newsletter – I inadvertently left out the fact that the books being sold by Martyn Rees, son of the late RAF POW Ken Rees, are signed by Ken. So sorry.

Martyn

martyrees@gmail.com

The deal:

I will need an address. Pay by PayPal using

kenlathangue@gmail.com

Cost is: £20+ £5 P&P UK. Outside UK £8 P&P

 Also, the second daughter of Bob Doolan, pictured with her father on his 100th birthday, is Patti Schoborg with her sister, Mary Lance

 Did you Know – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

 At one point early in the war, France had 3000 more tanks than the Germans.

 Finally,

 As Memorial Day approaches, and we pause to pay tribute to all our wartime veterans who lost their lives, take a moment and remember the men lost on D-Day.

 Remembering D-Day – 9,000 Fallen Soldiers Etched into the Sand on Normandy Beach to Commemorate Peace Day

 A British artist, accompanied by numerous volunteers, has a unique way to remember those lost on D-Day.  At the beaches of Normandy, with rakes and stencils in hand, the artist and volunteers etch in the sand 9,000 silhouettes representing the fallen. Titled, The Fallen 9000, the piece is meant as a stark visual reminder of those who died during the D-Day beach landings at Arromanches on June 6th, 1944, during WWII. The original team consisted of 60 volunteers, but as word spread, nearly 500 additional local residents arrived to help with the temporary installation that lasted only a few hours before being washed away by the tide.

 

  cid:image132.jpg@01D2D4A6.C989DA00   

 

 

 

 

Until next time, 

                 Marilyn Walton                                                    

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers              

 

 

Stalag Luft III Newsletter – April 2017

 

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!

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0LB_3F5jHE&feature=youtu.be

https://www.army.mil/article/184953/prisoners_of_war_ceremony_commemorates_international_heritage

 Polish Children Learning about the War – The Great Escape Historical Contest

Marek:

“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

 

 

                                            Glemnitz Grave 

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:

 Marilyn,

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

 

                                Capt. Adamina

 

         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.

 http://local12.com/news/local/gallery/local-wwii-veteran-celebrates-a-century

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 “

 

                  Bernd and Craig

Craig is proud to provide the following link—Ed putting his experiences into his own words:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/ed-carter-edwards-recalls-buchenwald-so-cruel-so-savage-so-brutal-1.3056580   (some graphic content)

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.

Martyn

martyrees@gmail.com

The deal:

I will need an address. Pay by PayPal using

kenlathangue@gmail.com

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.   

https://www.army.mil/article/78318

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.”

Russ Mosely:

“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.”

Folded Wings

P38 Fighter Pilot – Jack Moak – POW nephew, John Lanza

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/islandpacket/obituary.aspx?n=jack-lynch-moak&pid=184729165

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.

Links

P 51 Pilot Shoots Down Nazis, Japanese, and One American Plane – POW son, Mike Eberhardt – US

http://southernarizonaguide.com/pima-air-space-museum-bad-angel-mysterious-kill-markings/

Link to Wartime Logs – POW son, Mike Woodworth – US

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4563-ymca-wartime-logs-pow-diaries/

Losing a Wing Ross Greene, US

https://www.facebook.com/TheDisclosureZone/videos/1757574007905700/

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

 http://www.virtualwall.org/iStates.htm

Until next time,

Marilyn Walton

Daughter of POW Thomas F. Jeffers