Prisoners 6/25/2005

Editor MNH:  6/25/05

After having looked at the Marshfield  public library exhibit “Hitler’s American POWs”  I pulled from my file “WWII veteran’s extraordinary tale makes it onto canvas, video” which appeared  on  Feb. 15, 2002 in the  Marshfield News-Herald. Here are the facts gleaned from the article. Mr. M., former sergeant of the US Air Corps, was stationed  in northern Egypt. The then 21 year old - in a 10-airplane raid – attacked a German air base Sept. 14, l942. His plane was shot down by the Germans. Mr. M. survived with a badly burnt leg. He was taken prisoner  and  transported to Germany where he was put in a hospital for several weeks. Healed he was transferred to a prisoner of war camp. Now to his own words: “Conditions at the POW camps were poor. Mattresses were filled with wood shreds and the POWs were fed rutabagas, potatoes and ‘very coarse’ bread. 

My comment. The Germans were pathetically out manned, outgunned and out provisioned. They nevertheless diverted valuable manpower and resources to transport Mr. M to Germany. He complains about a hard mattress. The German soldiers in Eisenhower’s camps did not have shelter,  much less mattresses,  but for months on end lived in  earth holes without adequate food and water. George Patton disarmed  the Germans soldiers and sent them home. Not so Eisenhower. It was in his camps, after the war,  that the real dying of the German soldiers began. The ‘very coarse bread’ Mr. M. did not like  ( I assume he eats Wonder Bread)  was and is the standard,  nourishing German army bread, the Kommissbrot. It is still sold in bakeries. 

Ingratitude is hard to take. You expect a thanks or at least a nod in your direction. Instead you get  a  kick. And that kick by Mr. M.  that hurt.