A friend of the family inherited a tattered old book: it turned out to be a diary kept by his uncle as a POW in World War II. He knew my interest in these things, and let me borrow it. I scanned a few pages…
This is the front plate with his name, address, and other information. Stalag IIB was populated in part by American prisoners captured in North Africa. It was on the far eastern edge of Germany.
This is actually before the front plate. Stalag IIB was a brutal camp, but apparently they still had colored pencils.
There are a few cartoons in the diary, depicting life in the camp. There were also many poems and illustrations. I thought I scanned one of the poems, but it didn’t make it to my thumb drive.
One section is a diary describing what seems to be the evacuation of the camp and march west, to escape the advancing Soviet troops.
These are letters he received while a POW. Note the stamp of the US censors.
Photos from back home.
The diary is stuffed with ephemera — clippings, scraps of paper, currency. The packet on the bottom is sulfanilamide – an antibiotic medicine, still sealed. I am going to keep one of the Nazi bills for the next time I travel to Germany, so I can try to buy things with it. I can think of no better way to endear myself to the German people.
This is my favorite scrap: a cartoon that he cut out from a German newspaper. The cartoon headline is “Roosevelt’s Dive-bombers Against Women and Children”. The caption roughly translates to “North Americans? Murderous Americans?” It is a pun in German. Note the cartoon of the pilot: the Nazis were indeed a bit racist.