NoSmoke wrote:So in the Fall of 1943 the POW's, Guards and my Great-Grandfather commenced to partake in a little hard cider. It was the first alcohol the guards and POW's had taken in large quantities in awhile, so about 9 PM they decided to keep the party rolling and run a few more barrels out of the barn. They had a roaring good time until the wee hours of the morning when they went back to the POW camp in Bangor. The commander of the camp was quite perturbed and even more upset when he saw how sloshed both the POW's and the Guards were. That day he set out for my Great Grandfather's farm to inquire about the irrational behavior, and when asked my Great Grandfather admitted what he had done.
"But you have seven boys fighting them over in Germany. What in the world are you doing getting them drunk?"
"Well the tradition here is, when the potato are in the barn, we have a little party by getting the cider barrels out, and they did a fine job of harvesting the potatoes and German or not, they deserved a little fun." As they talked however, the Commander of the Base had to sample some of the cider in question, and it is my understanding that not a word of this ever reached the War Dept down in Washington DC.
Hey that's the feel-good story of the week!
Here's how the Germans treated our boys...
"If the hell inflicted on the Americans was different from the hell inflicted on the Russians, it was only by degree—especially during the war’s final months. A series of long, single-story buildings housed the fliers. Each one was divided into halves shared by 150 to 240 men (and sometimes many more), who also shared straw-filled, flea-ridden mattresses in triple-deck bunks, a single stove with scant fuel (54 pounds of coal per week), wash basins into which cold water ran only a few hours each day, and a single indoor latrine for use after dark (for daytime use, there were multi-hole latrines a short walk from the barracks). Hot water and showers were as rare as toothbrushes, combs, and toilet paper. Together with diarrhea and dysentery, the poor hygiene made life at Stalag 17-B precarious."