Stalag Luft VI and IV Notebook – Kriegsgefangenen Harris

(Posted: July 29, 2011)


I’ve seen this poem written in several places but the title has been “Kriegsgefangenen Kelly” rather than what my father has written of “Kriegsgefangenen Harris”. I haven’t seen the name of an author and could think that my father was the author and the others just changed it to Kelly. It is hard to say but one thing for sure they were all together. My father was with a William B. Harris so more than likely he is the Harris in this poem. It’s a rather humorous poem and it sounds like Harris or Kelly had been without food for so long that now with the ample parcels he had a hard time tearing himself away even if the War was over and he could go home. How could he abandon this beautiful food? His life had changed in a number of months and the poor fellow was probably afraid of the adjustment he would have to make and was just satisfied to stay with the precious Red Cross parcels that had been so sparse for so long. He would no longer have to be hungry or have to share. He was listening to his stomach. They were his – all his – and he was content to stay with these lovely rations rather than set sail with the others. Perhaps some day he would want to return home but the sight of these parcels was too alluring to abandon. This is another example of the great imaginations that these fellows had. Because food had been so scarce for so long I’m sure that every one of them for a fleeting moment hated to leave these Red Cross Parcels behind. That’s why even though it took great imagination to write such an outlandish story, the idea of it made so much sense.

Note:  “Kriegsgefangenen” is German for Prisoner of War and it was shortened also to “Kriegies.”

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