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Ex-POW List of
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Stalag XVII-B
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DULAG LUFT
STALAG XVII-B
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 Stalag 17b in History

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(02/08/06)
Mystery Man of Stalag XVII-B

 

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- Year 2008 -
Military Ex-Prisoners of War Foundation
Awards Fourteen College Scholarships to Deserving heirs
of American Ex-POWS
Our Flame Keepers for Future Generations of Americans

    Scholarship Awards – June 6, 2008.   

          It was an honor and a privilege to serve as a member of the Military Ex- Prisoner of War Foundation scholarship committee.  We received sixty three(63) applications for the 2008-2009 awards.  Previously the Board of Directors had approved six(6) award recipients.  What a difficult task which each of our members took very seriously!
          We were each instructed to select twenty(20) and then proceed to the goal of six(6).  When the three(3) sets of twenty(20) were compared we were pleased that there were fourteen(14) out of sixty three(63) which we all agreed were most deserving of the awards.  Armed with this information our committee chairman, Bill Richardson, presented our findings to the Foundation Board of Directors at our meeting June 6, 2008 in Fayetteville, NC.  Without hesitation the board voted unanimously to award a $2000 scholarship to each of the fourteen(14).
          We were pleased to be able to award these fourteen(14), but without exception we felt disappointed not to have been able to grant all sixty(63) applicants.  They were excellent.  Their essays were outstanding.  Their love and admiration for their grandfathers was heart warming.  If there was a surprise result it was the excitement of the grandfathers when told of the awards. I wish it had been possible to publish the complete grandparent stories, however, time and space prohibited.  I sincerely hope the excerpts of these essays did not distort in any way the meaning of their stories.
          In addition to the scholarships awarded this year, we granted a second $2000 award to four students who were recipients last year.  They are Joseph Coleman  - grandson of Arnold A. Koehler,  Jared Haymie – grandson of Marvin Miller,  Benjamin Newport -  grandson of Coy Newport and Randall Simon – grandson of Arthur Bloomberg. 
          The only thing controlling the number of scholarships we grant is the amount of money we receive in donations.  I can think of no better way to perpetuate the legacy of our former prisoners of war than through our grandchildren. They will one day be the leaders of the world.
          If you would like to have a part in this worthwhile endeavor, please consider sending a contribution to our Treasurer, Doris Dallas, whose address is listed on page 2.
          Also, we invite those who were not selected this year to take the time and make the effort to reapply for an award in the 2009-2010 school year. Information concerning applications for all can be obtained by contacting any member of the board of directors. If you have a question, please contact me at the address listed on page 2.

Dorris Livingstone
Recording Secretary
 
                                                                 
Our Flame Keepers

    

Morgan Sherman - Granddaughter of Tony Sherman
University of Arkansas
           I have always known that my grandfather was in the Army in World War II and was a prisoner of war,  captured by the Germans.  Five years ago my family was at our house for Easter and granddad was asked if we would make a video of him relating his WWII an POW experience.  He reluctantly agreed.  I watched and was amazed at the stories he related.  Granddad was in the 36th Infantry Division.  His unit traveled by ship from New York to North Africa.  The trip lasted13 days.  His unit went by ship from North Africa to Salerno, Italy.  In January 1944 he was a platoon sergeant in charge of 42 men.  His platoon was involved in an operation crossing the Rapido River in Italy.  The river was near a town called Saint  Angelo which granddad said was ironic since he lived in San Angelo, Texas when he joined the Army.  While crossing this river the platoon was ambushed.  It was a bloody battle with many casualties resulting in his capture.  Granddad said he would never forget that day.  He actually felt fortunate to be captured since many of his buddies were killed making that river crossing. According to Granddad the worst part o being a POW was never getting enough food to eat. They usually got one bowl of soup a day with a piece of bread and sometimes a small potato in it.

Brittany Jordan - Granddaughter of Donald J. King
Butler University

It was decades before my grandpa would discuss what he went through while a prisoner of war.  After he began attending local meetings of prisoners of war he started to share.  The United States Army drafted my grandpa in February 1943.  After training he traveled to Great Britain and from there to France in early December 1944.  Two weeks after he arrived on the front lines he ate a breakfast of C rations, then later that day, he was captured during the Battle of the Bulge.  On Christmas day he arrived at Stalag IX-B Bad-Orb, Germany along with about  2,500 other captured soldiers.  I know he suffered under circumstances no one could imagine.  I appreciate and understand the sacrifices he made were for the freedom of our country.  I believe that he has taken his experience and made it into something better by being more loving and caring and living life to the fullest.  He is a true hero to me.

Daniel Kazanjian - Grandson of Kenneth Kazanjian
Boston University

                  My grandfather never talked about the war.  He had a few stories that he told us, but never got into great detail about his time as a prisoner of war.  He seemed to avoid the topic as if he was trying to forget what happened during that time in his life.  He kept all his secrets about the war to himself except for a diary which was published in his book The Armenian American in World War II,  When I read this book I learned a great deal about the experiences of prisoners of war.  Grandfather was captured in November 1944 in the woods of Alsace-Lorraine.  He and 12 others in his platoon were escorted to a German town where they were stripped of their personal belongings with the exception of a few items. The next day the 13 prisoners were taken to a larger city where they were grouped with more American prisoner, about 240 total.  They were taken by train, 66 to each small boxcar, to their stalag in Limberg, Germany.  The long weary trip involved few stops, very limited food, and very cramped areas. Upon arriving in Limberg the American prisoners found the stalag contained British, Russian and American soldiers.  The prisoners were fed only two rations of food a day.  A dry one and a wet one.  The dry one consisted of 200 grams of bread, a small piece of margarine, and a spoonful of molasses.  The wet ration was a very thin soup with diced vegetables here and there.  After reading the hardships he faced I can understand why my grandfather does not like to speak about his time as a prisoner of war.

Matthew Bright - Grandson of Dennis K. Evans (deceased)
Northeast State Technic
al College                                                                              
                  My Papaw has been deceased since I was two years old. Stories about him serving in World War II, being captured by the Germans, have been told to me by my Mamaw and other family members.
          He was captured in July 1944 along with 25-30 others.  As they were riding in a truck after capture, it overturned, breaking  his right shoulder.  Only 15 survived the accident.  These were transported in a railroad car for 21 days to their POW camp destination.
          Grandpa was isolated during this trip. Periods of fear, anxiety, depression, helplessness, nightmares and confusion from being separated from the other POWs resulted. His release came in May 1945 when Russian troops overran the POW camp,  I am so proud of my Papaw for what he stood for and went through for the freedom he helped give me and this great country.  America is truly blessed.
(Matt has a larger picture because he asked to show his Papaw's medals)

 

Chelsea Schneider - Granddaughter of Armondo Carboni (deceased)
Belmont Abbey College

                           My grandfather fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was captured by the Germans while hiding in the cellar of a house along with other US soldiers.  They were cold and hungry but had to keep quiet.  The German soldiers were checking all the houses and then yelling into the cellars ordering the occupants to come out. If the Germans did not get a response, they would throw down a grenade.  Fearing they had no way out, my grandfather and the other soldiers decided it was time to surrender. Now in German hands, they were ordered to march for three grueling days and nights.  When they finally reached their destination, they boarded boxcars.  It was a horrible, hellish ride, difficult to breathe, with little or no food or drink, no place to sit and no toilet facilities.  My grandfather arrived cold and hungry at the German POW camp, 9B Bad-Orb, Germany.  He and the other soldiers were ordered to enter a room and strip off their clothing. My grandfather thought they were all going to be killed.  He was relieved when the Germans proceeded to wipe them down with kerosene in order to keep away the bugs. Since it was getting toward the end of the war, the Germans were short of food, so very little was available for the prisoners.  The soldiers were given one piece of black bread and watery potato soup.  In April 1945 his camp was liberated and he returned to the United States.  I was only a baby in 1992 when my grandfather passed away.  Other members of my family told me these stories about him.  My mom told me that Pop didn't like to talk about his war experiences, but every once in awhile he would share and she felt he was a real survivor.

Alex Corre - Grandson of Harry Corre
University of California-Berkeley

                            My grandpa witnessed a brutality beyond anything most can imagine. After his capture along with myriads of other soldiers and civilians, he was forced to march on what is infamously known as the "Bataan Death March." They marched for days without food or water, in severe heat and humidity, while witnessing the murders of fellow soldiers around him who were shot, bayoneted, or beheaded for being unable to keep up. One night during a rainstorm, he risked his life during a rainstorm when a guard turned around to something. He jumped into a ditch at the side of the road laden with dead bodies. There he stayed until it was safe to move. Alone, without food or water, he moved through the jungle eating whatever he could find. In order to avoid Japanese encampments, he could only move at night. Once he reached the coast, my grandfather built a small floatation device out of wood and swam four miles across the shark infested bay to the American held island of Corregidor. After being reunited with fellow Americans, he began to tell them about the atrocities he witnessed at the hands of the Japanese soldiers. At the same time, Japanese had taken Bataan and were launching heavy artillery on Corregidor and he was again forced to surrender to the Japanese as a POW.
      Editor's Note:  The full Harry Corre story is told on the official Stalag 17 web site www.pownews.com.    A fascinating story well worth the read.  

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Ross Lehmann - Grandson of Clarence Lehmann (deceased)
University of Texas at Austin

                    My grandfather "Papa" was shot down and captured in November 1943.  When he told me about his experiences in Stalag XVII-B, he would often get quiet and seem like he was traveling to a far-away place in his mind. For this reason I did not ask very many questions.  I knew some of these memories were very painful for him.  My grandfather was a very unpretentious gentleman.  H was constantly looking out for others before himself and never complained about anything. I remember one time, when I was five years old, he shared an experience with me. I was complaining that I had to share a queen size bed with my sister on a vacation and she was hogging all the covers.  He quietly told me that when he was a prisoner of war he slept on a cot.  He barely had room to turn over without bumping his head and was lucky if he had anything to "snuggle" under, unless he was sharing it with two other prisoners so they could all stay warm in the winter. I remember he did not like cold weather and often had cold hands and feet.  When his plane was shot down, he had to jump out in a hurry and left his gloves next to the gun he was firing. He also liked his coffee hot in the morning. I believe this was one of the few pleasures they had in camp.  My Papa died when I was eight years old, but I will always remember how proud I was of him and the fact that he served our country.  I hope one day he can look down from heaven and be half as proud of me as I am of him.

 

Kevin O'Mara - Grandson of John L. Fenton
College of the Holy Cross

                      My grandfather will stutter every now and then when trying to make an important point in a conversation.  There is one subject, however, in which he will not fumble over a single word.  That topic is war time and his experience as a prisoner of war in Germany. Showing up on Omaha Beach a month after D-Day the front lines were five miles inward. Shortly after the fight at St. Lo, a night attack was planned in their third attempt to get across the St. Lo causeway.  The troops were able to get across, however, the next day a counter attack started. After losing a good portion of the troops in the battle my grandfather was captured when the Nazis made a successful counterattack against his unit.  For six weeks they were forced to ride in a train with 40 men and 8 horses in each boxcar.  Food was scarce.  They were transferred from camp to camp. He was assigned to a workforce on the railroads in Czechoslovakia rather than working in the barracks.  While on this workforce my grandfather befriended a doctor that worked in the aid station in the top of one of the barn.  One night the doctor asked my grandfather if he would like to try to escape as some of the French laborers were leaving. That night, dressed as a French doctor, he walked out.  After a 10 mile walk through woods, he came to a village with white flags.  He was taken to an outpost and eventually got to Paris. My grandfather was not back under American control until he got to the airport.  After weeks of rest to recuperate he was back in Indiana. The newspapers described Grampie's escape as a "self accomplished liberation"  He survived! Grampie loves to share his past.  I am fortunate he is here to share.  I am fortunate he is here.
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Abby Daniel - Granddaughter of Charles Murray, Sr.
Clemson University

            During World War II my grandfather was held captive as a transient prisoner of the German forces. His unit traveled through the Voges Mountains, crossed the Meurthe River and captured St. Die.  After one of his shifts at Battalion Headquarters, he returned to his platoon in Shillerdorf, France.  Pending an oncoming advance the platoon Lieutenant and the officers at Headquarters retreated to safer ground.  My grandfather took up a defensive position at the kitchen window of their building.  Soon after, a German soldier appeared.  My grandfather fired on him but the German had already thrown in a concussion grenade.  My grandfather fell to the floor to avoid its impact and was struck by metal in one arm and hand.  Thinking that the American troops had pulled back, and because the building was surrounded with ammunition trucks, U.S. forces began shelling the building to destroy the trucks before the Germans reached them.  There were eight American soldiers left in the building who were taken prisoner.  They were held the first night in a coal bin and then made their way to German Division Headquarters to be interrogated.  Since my grandfather was from Headquarters Co., the Germans suspected that he might know more so his interrogation was more intense than others.  He was hung upside down until his nose bled.  The German guards often tried to find ways to lower the prisoners’ morale, and took great joy in informing the prisoners when President Roosevelt died. My grandfather says it was then his endurance was at its lowest point and he prayed the end was in sight.  They traveled to a small town of Ettregen, near Munich, and during the night the guards were taken away with retreating troops.  Before daylight the next morning an American tank stopped on the road and one of the men walked over to their barn, opened the door and asked “Are there any GIs in here?”  It was an American Lieutenant and he was immediately welcomed with open arms.  After the battle was over, a jeep came to check on the prisoners and my grandfather noticed on the front bumper, “409th Battalion, 103rd  Infantry Division”.  He had been liberated by his own division.  For the amazing courage he showed overseas, and his tireless dedication to his family and friends throughout his life, my grandfather will forever by my hero.

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Matthew Borgmann – Grandson of William B. Herndon 
North Carolina State University

                 My grandfather enlisted in the Army Reserves shortly after graduating from high school and was sent overseas to active duty soon after his nineteenth birthday.  After landing on Omaha Beach, he proceeded with his unit before being captured near the border of France and Germany.  On the day that he was captured, my grandfather, along with five or six men, was surprised by a German company and a tank hidden behind a stone wall.  After deciding that he would be jeopardizing all of their lives if he took action, my grandfather was captured by the Germans along with the others. Even with all the hardships that he experienced at the hands of the Germans, my grandfather tells of a few instances when the German people, and even some of the German guards, showed some degree of kindness toward the prisoners.  First, while moving from camp to camp, my grandfather and those being transported with him, often had no shelter.  On one occasion, a German farm family allowed them to sleep in a barn and provided them with hay to attempt to keep warm.  Only the next day did my grandfather feel the depth of this gesture.  After sleeping the night in the barn, the prisoners observed the lady of the farm going about her early morning chores crying.  One of the prisoners who could speak a little German asked her what the matter was and she told him that they had just received word the day before that their own son had been killed in the war.  My grandfather said that he found it very touching that even after receiving this news that the family provided Allied prisoners with small comforts that they could not have expected.  My grandfather also tells of a German guard who took a group of five prisoners, including my grandfather, out to gather sticks to burn for heat.  On the occasion, the guard followed the prisoners and was looking around nervously as he went. When he was sure that they were well out of sight of any other Germans, he shared an apple with the prisoners. Amazingly, despite the destruction of the war and the conflict, there were instances of human kindness that form some of the most vivid memories of my grandfather’s time as a prisoner of war.  While this was a horrible experience for my grandfather, it played a role in shaping his character, integrity and love for his family that would define the rest of his life.

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Michael O’Shea – Grandson of Michael F. O’Shea
University of North Carolina  at Chapel Hill
           
 My grandfather’s home base during the war was Polebrook, an American air force base outside of London.  From here, the Eighth Air Force B-17 bombers took off on their raids on occupied Europe.  In July 1944 he navigated these planes on bombing missions into the heart of the Third Reich, facing Messerschmitt fighters and 88-millimeter flak guns.  On August 9, during his fourteenth bombing mission over Germany, my grandfather’s plane received a deadly amount of anti-aircraft fire and lost its mechanical ability to return to England.  The crew decided to bail out over the North Sea, and a British Air-Sea rescue boat picked them up after three hours in 56 degree water. 
           Just ten days after this frightening experience, my grandfather flew on his next combat mission.  On October 7, 1944, during his twenty-fourth bombing run, enemy fire once again badly crippled his plane.  His crew was bombing a target deep within Prussia at Politz, and an escape to the sea or a neutral country was impossible.  He bailed out knowing that he would be captured.  German police quickly arrested him.
           In Stalag Luft III my grandfather faced numerous guard towers, the presence of both German military and Waffen SS troops and very high barbed wire fences.  The chances of escape were not promising.  Conditions in the camp were very undesirable and they continued to worsen throughout the latter days of the war. Prisoners had to sleep virtually on top of one another – little medicine or medical treatment was available. 
          Although my grandfather knew he was in poor health he did not know that his illness would plague him long after the war ended.  
         Early in 1945, as the Soviets approached Germany from the East, Stalag Luft III’s SS leadership decided to send the camp’s prisoners on a forced march deeper into the heart of Germany.  Cold weather and shortages of food and clothing plagued the men on this seven-day march.  Soon after, German guards loaded the prisoners into cramped boxcars for a journey to the destination city of Nuremberg.  After two months my grandfather and his fellow prisoners had to move once again, this time to a camp called Moosburg – Stalag VII-A.  As General Patton’s American forces approached the area, the fanatical SS guards fought to their deaths, allowing for a long-awaited liberation of the Allied prisoners. In less than a month my grandfather began the long journey home. 
               Upon his return to the United States he entered a military hospital where doctors diagnosed him with tuberculosis.  He spent five years in various hospitals.  He is a genuine American hero.

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Adam Bross – Grandson of William H. Kline
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

            My grandfather was a gunner on a B-24 bomber in World War II.  He was part of the 376th BG in the 515th bomb squadron.  He flew 21 missions.  On May 30, 1944, his crew flew to Hardendorf, Austria to bomb a factory.  The mission was successful, but on their way back the plane was hit where the wing meets the fuselage.  One man was injured severely, but they all got out of the plane.  Immediately after landing my grandfather was captured and turned over to German officers.  After interrogation and two days of solitary confinement he was sent to Stalag Luft III.  This was an officers’ camp and he served as an orderly and cook.
            In January 1945 the POWs were sent on a forced march.  It was bitterly cold and many men suffered from frozen feet and hands. Men would fall over in the blink of an eye, and no one was allowed to help them. Approximately 10,000 POWs marched for six days about 62 miles from Sagan to Spremberg. From Spremberg they traveled by train , in boxcars – to Nuremberg.  Conditions there were very poor. After two months at Nuremberg they were ordered to go on another forced march, this time 91 miles to Merseburg.  On Sunday, April 29, 1945, General George Patton took over the camp.  Days later my grandfather was flown to France and from there, on a ship, home to America.  My grandfather said he was never as happy and relieved as when he saw the Statue of Liberty from the ship.

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Donovan Reed – Grandson of Jack Fred Springham (deceased)
East Tennessee State University
 
            I missed the opportunity to know my grandfather.  An all too early heart attack stole him away from his family a month before I was born. Though absent, he has been a major part of my life.  I know through those whom his life touched that my grandfather was a great man and true hero.
             Serving as an engineer in the Big Red One – First Infantry, First Division, my grandfather survived four years during WWII, ten months as a prisoner of war in Germany. After two years of service, including landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day, on a routine bridge investigation, my grandfather’s platoon was overcome by Nazi soldiers.  Most of the platoon was killed during the firefight.  The rest, including Pop, were wounded and captured.  My grandfather lost his thumb to a rifle shot and received shrapnel wounds from an exploding tank.  Following the capture, Pop and his men were loaded into extremely overcrowded boxcars.  Packed like sardines, the men were huddled so close that those who died in transit stayed standing. Food was scarce.  Often each prisoner received only a slice of bread and a small glass of water in a day. He stated that nothing was spared.  Every surface was scraped for crumbs.
            Ten months after being captured, with the help of a Nazi guard, my grandfather escaped with two other men.  The guard was the father of a German soldier who had been captured by American forces.  He was receiving Red Cross care-packages from his son who described his good treatment by the American soldiers.  The guard told Pop and a few others to “watch the dogs”.  Upon studying the dogs my grandfather and the men realized the dogs would walk next to the electric fence if it was turned off, and walk on the other side of the Nazi guard if the fence was hot. When the dogs were walking next to the fence, Pop and the others made their break.
            Instead of traveling west into Germany in an attempt to regroup with Allied forces like the other escapees, Pop decided to travel east towards Russia.  This decision saved his life.  He met up with the Polish Underground Resistance and eventually ran into Russian forces. After weeks of intense fighting along side the Russians, my grandfather was liberated by American forces. 

Note by Donovan: "His story still continues to impact my life.  He lived to help those who could not help themselves.  His life inspired me to strive to be a person of strong will and good character.  Because of him I remember to be thankful for everything I have been blessed to receive and take nothing for granted.  The amazing stories of the determination and heroism of my grandfather will continue to be told as long as I am around to tell the them."

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