OUTSIDE THE FENCE: Stories of An Army Officers Kids and WWII POW Camps

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This was perfect for us, as there were ghost towns in the desert nearby. Adventures were around every corner. After retiring from a career as a Mathematics teacher, she has directed her attentions to writing. She has loved and written poetry for most of her life. He works in oils, watercolor, sculpture, stained glass and pottery.

Today they make their home in the Colorado mountains, where they enjoy observing the beauties of nature. The three daughters in this After July , "the food at the camps became extremely inadequate, weight loss, weakness, edema, paresthesia and beriberi were experienced by most adults. One internee was jailed by the internee police for 15 days for harvesting pigweed.

Some of the hardship could have been alleviated had the Japanese allowed the camp to accept food donations from local charities or permitted internee men working outside the camp to forage for wild plants and fruit.

Gardens, both private and community, for food had been planted shortly after the internees arrived at Santo Tomas and, to combat the growing food shortages, the Japanese captors demanded that the internees grow more food for themselves, although the internees, on a 1, calorie per day ration by November were less capable of hard labor.

In January , a doctor reported that the average loss of weight among male internees had been 24kg 53 pounds during the three years at Santo Tomas, Forty percent loss of normal body weight will usually result in death. On January 30 four additional deaths occurred. That same day the Japanese confiscated much of the food left in the camp for their soldiers and the "cold fear of death" gripped the weakened internees.

From January until March , total deaths from all causes in Santo Tomas were recorded, a death rate about three times that of the United States in the s. People over 60 years old were the most vulnerable. They comprised 18 percent of the total population, but suffered 64 percent of deaths. The Santo Tomas internees began to hear news of American military action near the Philippines in August Clandestine radios in the camp enabled them to keep track of major events. On September 21 came the first American air raid in the Manila area.

American airplanes began to bomb Manila on a daily basis. On December 23, , the Japanese arrested Grinnell and three other camp leaders for unknown reasons. Speculation was that they were arrested because they were in contact with Filipino soldiers and guerrilla resistance forces and the "Miss U" spy network. On January 5, the four men were removed from the camp by Japanese military police. Their fate was unknown until February when their bodies were found.

They had been executed.

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Five American tanks broke through the fence of the compound. The Japanese soldiers took refuge in the large, three-story Education Building, taking internees hostage, including internee leader Earl Carroll, and interpreter Ernest Stanley. Carroll and Stanley were ordered to accompany several Japanese soldiers to a meeting with American forces to negotiate a safe passage for the Japanese out of Santo Tomas in exchange for a release of their hostages.

During the meeting between the Americans, Filipinos and Japanese, a Japanese officer named Abiko reached into a pouch on his back, apparently for a hand grenade, and an American soldier shot and wounded him. Abiko was especially hated by the internees. He was carried away by a mob of enraged internees, kicked and slashed with knives, and thrown out of a hospital bed onto the floor.

In the words of an American military officer, the British missionary of the " Two by Twos " Ernest Stanley was "the most hated man in camp. Always in the company of the Japanese, he spoke to none of the prisoners during all the years of incarceration. On the eve of the liberation, he conversed and laughed with everyone, including high-ranking American Army officers. Speculation arose that he was either a spy or a member of British intelligence.

Stanley became the essential mediator in the negotiations between the Japanese in the Education Building of Santo Tomas and the American forces ringing the building and compound. His negotiation efforts initially failed, and American tanks bombarded the building, first warning the hostages within to take cover. Several internees and Japanese were killed and wounded.

The next day, February 4, Stanley, going back and forth between Americans and Japanese, negotiated an agreement by which the 47 Japanese soldiers in the building would release their hostages but retain their arms and be escorted by the Americans to a location of their choosing in Manila and released. The total number of internees liberated at Santo Tomas was 3,, of which 2, were Americans and most of the remainder were British.

The American force that liberated the internees at Santo Tomas was small in numbers, [43] and the Japanese still had soldiers near the compound. Fighting went on for several days. The internees received food and medical treatment but were not allowed to leave Santo Tomas. Registration of them for return to their countries of origin began. That night and again on February 10, 28 people in the compound were killed in the artillery barrage, including 16 internees.

The evacuation of the internees began on February Army and Navy nurses interned in Santo Tomas were the first to leave that day and board airplanes for the United States. Flights and ships to the United States for most internees began on February The lingering effects of near-starvation for so many months saw 48 people die in the camp in February, the highest death total for any month.

Most internees could not leave the camp because of a lack of housing in Manila. The American military pressured all American internees to return to the U. Tensions between the remaining internees and the American military were high. Slowly, in March and April the camp emptied out, but it was not until September that Santo Tomas finally closed and the last internees boarded a ship for the US or sought out places to live in Manila, almost completely destroyed in the Battle of Manila.

American intelligence investigated and detained about 50 internees suspected of being collaborators or spies for the Japanese. Most were cleared, but a few, although repatriated, had their cases referred to the FBI. He later went to Japan as an employee of the U. Army and became a Japanese citizen. He married a Japanese woman and took up residence in Tokyo and adopted a son.

Everybody had to join the Hitler Youth. When you went in a store, you had to say " Heil Hitler ," and I hated it. I hated to be bossed around. One time my older brother and I didn't go in the cellar when we heard the siren going and the English or Americans were over us, flying around. We lived on the third floor, and it was fun to look out and see the bombers. We could see them sometimes in the searchlights.

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Every youth of 14 was required by Hitler to do one year of work on a farm or in a coal mine. It was in Duisburg. I had a pretty good time then. The family had a couple cows, two horses and a lot of pigs and chickens. I had to work real hard. It was good for me. It made me strong. When airplanes bombed our town, we went to Poznan [in present-day Poland] to get away. My father took all his money and bought a big farm. I worked in the office at the German railroad as a Junghelfer [an apprentice] and was learning how to handle tickets, everything.

On April 20, , Hitler's birthday, I was drafted. I didn't want to go in the war at all. My training took about eight months. I was a radio and telegraph operator in a Beobachtungs Abteilung , an observation unit, at Meissen on the Elbe River. The equipment was very heavy on my back. After Meissen, I went on a train full of our soldiers from my unit. We were going to Russia, the Eastern Front, and there was not one soldier who wanted to go there. That was like punishment. We came into Russia through Poland and traveled for two or three days. The train stopped and we were thirsty.

We were standing around. I said, "There is a house about a mile away," and I went away alone. I said, "I'm going to get some water. Suddenly I heard something. It was a Russian patrol. There were 40 or 50 of them, and they saw me, I bet you — I was in the open — but they didn't care. They probably didn't shoot me because they didn't want to make any noise.


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I lay down in the grass real good and kept quiet. It was pretty scary for me. We got under fire from the Russians at Mykolaiv. Then I was a long time in one place where we dug ourselves in and kept observing the enemy. We had big glasses, like a periscope, called Scherenfernrohr [scissors telescope].

A guy was looking at me from a church tower a few miles away. I saw the glare from his scope; he saw my glasses.

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I called in to the Auswertung. They were guys from my outfit and they were all educated; they were from universities and they measured exactly. The artillery shot at the church. One shell was exactly over it. I said, "Hit him! That was the only victim I killed in the war. The Russians were shooting too much. I had lost my outfit and was going to Romania [a minor Axis power]. I was sitting with another guy in a railroad car, and there was thermite on the train. Thermite is a chemical they have to fuse railroad tracks together. We were crossing a bridge over the Prut River and suddenly I saw a flame in the wagon, and it got bigger and bigger, and we hollered.

I couldn't jump out; I would have hit a bridge post. But we got over the river and I jumped off. He emigrated to Allentown in In Romania, we were running away from the Russians. In one place we were observing them and we had to sit one man to a hole. Down in the valley, tanks were coming and they shot at us. The guy beside me was shot in his hole — my sergeant. And a friend of mine got a splinter in his knee. He must have had terrible pain.

I lifted him and carried him back over a hill. The whole front broke apart. That was in Galati.

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The Romanians were here in one line, and the Germans in another line, and a group of Italians. Suddenly the Russians came through and they infiltrated the whole line, and the Romanians were running away and giving up. I was lying on a hill and observing. I could overlook the whole place.

The Russians came closer. They were coming up the hill. I was with a lieutenant, a young guy. He said, "I have to go now. I said to hell with it. He jumped in a jeep and took off. I was holding onto the back, otherwise I'd be dead. When we were reaching the German line, I went off on my own. Suddenly there was a German general standing there.

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He was collecting a big group of Germans to kill the Russians. We had over a thousand people. We were marching on the sides of a road, and in the middle came a car, and there was the general standing in the back of it. He had a fence post and hit me on my back. I hadn't done anything. I had marched all day and was dusty and hot. I got so mad, I knelt down and aimed my rifle at him and said, "I want to shoot the son of a bitch. I was a good soldier. I did my duty. But I didn't want to be bossed around, even by a general. I dropped out of the march and lay in a field.

I found a big can of butter and ate it with a spoon. My uniform was heavy for the summer, and the Germans left stuff lying around in the field, so I picked some clothes that suited me and changed into them. I found a shirt from an officer. It had a silver eagle; I ripped it out. I was a plain soldier, a Soldat , and didn't want the Russians to think I was an officer. They probably would shoot me.

And I got a pair of blue jeans that had holes on both knees. I was with seven other guys when we were captured [in ] by a drunken Russian with a machine pistol. He took us to where there were other German prisoners. One day the Russians had us along the Danube River and it was raining.

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We were 11, guys. Don't stand up; you stay sitting there. One guy lost his head and he got up and said, "Shoot me. When we were marching, on my left and right were officers of the German army. We were in a mile-long line of prisoners, five guys abreast, and on the left and right were Russian guards. If you walked off, you could catch a bullet.

There was a little forest coming. I was going to run away. The officers said, "It could be you're dead. They fired pretty many shots. I crawled fast on my belly and heard something. What is that, now? I thought the Russians were right there, but no. I looked, and I looked right into my friend Rudi's face. He was in my unit. He had escaped from the line, too. Somewhere near railroad tracks on the edge of a village I got separated from Rudi. I was with seven other guys — they were nervous, older Germans — and we lay along the track bed, hiding in the darkness.

There was a swamp on the other side of the tracks and Russian soldiers on patrol, and they all had machine pistols. One was walking up and down the tracks, looking out for Germans. An older guy with us started coughing. I said, "You can't cough now. You have to hold still. I got up and ran across the tracks and jumped into the swamp. The Russians shot at me. The bullets were hitting the water. I turned around and saw one of the Russians firing at me, but he missed. I walked in the water for a long time.

It got up to my throat and I thought I would die, but it never got higher than that.

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Then ahead of me I saw trees rising out of the water and slowly I got out, and there was a big island. He'd had the same idea I had — to cross the tracks and go in the swamp. About 40 Germans were there, and they had a fire going. They were celebrating because they'd heard we were free to go anyplace we wanted; we weren't in the army anymore, that Hitler had released us. I said, "We can't stay here. The Russians saw me. They will come in the morning and shoot us. One guy, an Unteroffizier [sergeant], asked me, "Can you help me?

I can't swim, but I want to go away, too. We made a float. We found a door and tied a barrel on it with a piece of barbed wire so he could lie on the door. And when it just got light, Rudi and I got into the water and we pushed him along.

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