Journals

Stalag Luft VI – Heydekrug, East Prussia

(Posted: January 10, 2012)

I’ve just completed the Lithuania portion of “my journal” recordings of my 2007 expedition detailing my visit to the former Stalag Luft VI Camp area.  It was Heydekrug, East Prussia, when my Dad was there and is now Silute, Lithuania.  Although Stalag Luft VI was the first of the three Camps in which my Father was interned, it was the last area that I was able to reach to complete the journey.  I was making a return trip, as part of a tour group, to the former Stalag Luft I and Stalag Luft IV areas and arranged to go to Lithuania before meeting up with the tour group in Berlin.  This entry about the first leg of the trip is detailed and maybe I’ll scale it down if I feel people are bored with it but for right now, it is what it was and that’s how I prefer it for the moment.  I’ve also added some of the dozens of photos that I took of the area.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words but the pictures can in no way do justice to the true value of my presence there.  I cannot even find the word that adequately describes the flood of feelings that I experience when walking where my Father walked as a POW.   From Lithuania, I traveled to Germany and that will be added at a future time.  This is the link to the page that I’m talking about:  http://www.remember-history.com/my-journals/my-journal-2007/.  The pictures are added at the end.

The End/The Beginning

(Posted: May 7, 2011)

I have always been one to write myself through things.  I’m not sure if it’s because I want to remember stuff or it’s therapeutic to write my feelings as a sort of release. I think in this case it may be the latter because some things that I have written about might be better forgotten; for example, the day that my father passed away. Shortly after his death, I wrote memories of my last visit with him on the Sunday, less than 2 days, before his death as well as the memories of his dying and death. I read them now and those sad feelings come flooding back yet there is something that brings me back to that composition periodically. It seems crazy to want to remember things that hurt you but you begin reading it and you can’t stop and then maybe you read it another time. I just read “The End/The Beginning” document for the umpteenth time and it’s pretty personal but it’s also pretty connected to the story and it didn’t really belong in the book. Maybe it doesn’t belong on this web site either but it really is where this story, my mission, began. So it can be considered a chapter before the book and for now I’m including it on the web site.

Poems – 2005

(Posted: March 29, 2011)

These are the poems that we read during our last dinner together…..

BOB

Looking fit as a fiddle – he walks every day.

Don’t talk to his right or he’ll turn it away.

In his B-17 shirt he was the envy of all.

A picture of fashion – he stood there so tall.

MARY

Mary is the envy of this tour we’re in.

Everyone has noticed the beauty of her skin.

What a devoted wife going where her husband goes.

It’s obvious of their love – everybody knows.

What interesting stories that she was kind to tell.

Always neat as a pin and as a person she was swell.

WALTER

What a charming upbeat personality – who’s really been so sweet.

We girls have all wondered – is it with Natasha that you sleep?

You’re such a “waste-not” person-your plate is always clean.

But just once for old times sake – Could we use your latrine?

Your driving is phenomenal – the places that we’d fit.

You’ve been a gem of a guy with a smile that just won’t quit.

SHIRLEY

She’s Joe’s constant companion and his main support.

A blond bombshell with nice legs – she could wear her skirts short.

Such a natty dresser – she really loves to shop.

She was the best stair climber and knew just when to stop.

CRAIG

He impresses his own wife with the German he can speak.

We all concurred that we’ve felt safer in his presence throughout the week.

In his treatment of the ladies, he’s patient and he’s kind.

His knowledge in astronomy and philosophy indicate also a great mind.

JOE

He was a main contributor to our special tour.

So full of jokes and stories – of that we all are sure.

It was noted he likes pink tea and he always carries salt.

He turned his POW experience to positive and negative to a halt.

JOHN

He’s a strong and silent person and at camp he was a cook.

It’s told he was like a bloodhound at Barth in knowing where to look.

An aspiring archeologist – he’s not afraid of dirt.

He’s used to desert weather donning his tropical shirt.

An amazing person with still the thirst to learn.

And in a conversation he always takes his turn.

GIB

He’s our leader, caretaker and it comes from his heart.

A knowledgeable tour guide with hair that’s so smart.

How thoughtful to pass out the cookies and gum.

And how about learning that he plays a mean drum.

The words “Listening, listening” would echo through the air.

And at Nurnberg we could visualize Gib on a tank there.

PAUL

He’s a walking history book with information he’s retained.

His presence on our tour results in knowledge that we gained.

The ability to think of ways to keep each trip unique,

With the record on his coasters – he continues quite a streak.

DON

The epitome of fatherhood and a model to us all.

A man who makes you feel that on him you could call.

We never heard the likes of it – we probably shouldn’t say,

But a rumor has been floating ‘round that he peed in the bidet.

He could put his French to practice on this remarkable trip.

His love of ice cream and naps on the bus have really been a rip.

JOAN

Our precious Joan soon became everyone’s mom.

The widow from Minnesota here in memory of husband, John.

She’d pose for daughter, Nancy, with her cover girl smile.

If we became sick we’d surely pick her to stroke our head a while.

Remembering our friends who left early:

BUD

Such a kind and gentle man and easy on the eyes.

Hearing of his football scholarship was really no surprise.

We heard his fifth of vodka disappeared before Berlin.

His obvious admiration of Anita – so proud it’d make you grin.

Lucky for us Bud joined our trip – he was as special as he could be.

How great to hear of the parachute jump on the anniversary of his jump in ’43.

RUTH

The fifth of 7 children, she’s a long tall drink of water.

It was obvious from conversation she took after her father.

She’s an avid walker and has climbed the highest peak.

And if that’s not enough – you should know that she can teach.

JIM

 With his grand sense of humor – he could make us smile.

Although arriving late it felt as though he’d been with us all the while.

The amazing fact that women changed his life was a story we were told.

We plan to gather at his health clinic and spa before we get too old.

2005 – May 5

(Posted: March 24, 2011)

I’ve just added our visit to Dachau to “my journal”. It may seem that I am straying from what this is all about. I have branched from the main focus of this web site but the fact is that even though it may equate to twigs off of the tree, I still equate any area that we traveled (that was not central to my mission) to my father’s experience in one way or another, however small that may have been. After all, he is the reason that I was there. He was always on my mind even though we were venturing through areas that he hadn’t physically been. Although they were places that he hadn’t been, he certainly knew of them. He never forgot the horror of the Concentration Camps. I can remember, when I was young, the programs that he would watch about the Holocaust. Our stop at Dachau would have brought painful memories back to my father: his being well aware of the atrocities that occurred and the fact that he was in Germany at the time that these horrific events were taking place.

I am not sorry that we visited other historic areas during our tour. For me, it broadened my knowledge of that era, an era that my father knew well. So I will chance it that it’s not too boring and continue to add the journals that may only be of interest to a few readers. Some may find it to be of value so it will be worth my time. At a later time, it may be removed if I feel that it’s not necessary. I view it as background information to the writing of the story. Once all of my diaries are added maybe I’ll scale them down to leave only the areas that are the focus of my dad’s journey. I guess I’ll wait to see if I get any kind of feedback from any visitors once, hopefully, people learn of ‘Remember-History’.

My Diary

(Posted: March 12, 2011)

I have always been a writer.  That’s just how I’ve handled things good and bad.  I’d write about them; never really for anyone to see but I guess as an outlet for me to express my feelings about things.  That was how I handled my father’s death; I wrote about everything – my thoughts and my ideas.  So, I have been posting these journals under the ‘My Journals’ tab.  I don’t know why I feel the need to add them but I do.  They may seem insignificant but it is all relevant to my mission.  There is so much that could not be included in the book and that is one of the purposes of this web site; to feel that I have told about everything that seems important to me to include.  I love remembering.  I now have memories of my own of the places of my father’s past!  I want to add a segment every day and I hope that it is found to be of interest to anyone reading.