Here are the last pages from Carl Holmstrom's Kriegie Life book:
LIBERATION ! ! The time for which many P.O.W.'S
had waited five long years. Others more fortunate had measured their time in months. To all, however, it meant the parting
of many friends---bonds cemented under conditions that proved a man's worth. It became more than generosity when one shared
his only crust of bread with a comrade when he, himself, was hungry.
The War ended, and
the time to recall the humorous phases of the adventure has arrived.
Every Kriegie remembers the "raisin brew" when he stored up his sugar and raisins for months to properly celebrate
Christmas, New Year's Day and the Fourth of July. After the raisins had fermented thirty days, an old trombone attached
to a jam bucket was used as
a still. Holidays also meant "Bashes" and concoctions made up of everything
in the cupboard. Occasionally potato-eating contests were arranged when the winner consumed four and a half bowls of
mashed potatoes to win six chocolate bars. Some individuals with large appetites wagered that they could eat the contents
of a Red Cross parcel within a day only to find their capacity smaller than their imagination.
Life in camp was never without its humorous moments even during the blackest days. Some Kriegies, after boiling white
laundry, found a blue sock had been overlooked and
dyed everything a tropical pattern. Like all communities, it
was customary to make weekly social visits. Close friends were asked to come down down to the room for a "brew".
As a group, the Kriegies were very talkative and argumentative in their early months of imprisonment. The "There-I-Was"
stories were told and retold whenever an audience was available.
every possible subject as no prisoner hesitated to give his opinion on anything. Incidents of one's life were of
interest, but personal problems or
complaints usually brought on the remark, "See the Chaplain and have your
ticket punched !"
During the summer months, the dice game craze became the camp
pastime. Chocolate bars were used as the medium of exchange because they were considered the most valuable camp possessions.
Mail, the main interest every day, was never lacking in surprises. Practically all
letters had words deleted by the censors. The bulletin boards were used to display humorous mail as well as "Dear
Lieutenant" letters which informed all Kriegies how "the girls they left behind" were being entertained
by the boys at home. Many parcels from home arrived with much-needed tooth powder spread over the contents or with the
major portion removed by the omniscient censor.
“Baiting the Goons” was always enjoyed,
especially when the search by the Gestapo ended with the Kriegies appropriating more German gear than was confiscated. Once
the Germans, in an attempt to destroy a tunnel, blew the roof off of a barracks. It always amazed the Germans that Kriegies
could work, endure, play and laugh all at the same time.
Right there in barren Nazi Germany with its tragedy,
pathos and humor was, still, a little bit of America.
The Honey Wagon Man
(Lef to right, top to bottom):
Alvin Vogtle; Birmingham, Alabama
Pearson; Cleveland, Ohio
Major Houston; Dundalk, Maryland
Newton; Cameron, Texas
A. Kramarinko; Chicago, Illinios
C. Miller; Chicago, Illinios
I. G. McDaniel; Hot Springs, Arkansas
Eldridge; Chicago, Illinios
Hank Keller; New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Left to right, top to bottom:
W. Billig; S. Miami, Florida
Gravins; Richmond, Virginia
Russ Lyons; Beverly Hills, California
C. Goodrich; Atlanta, Georgia
Major J. C. Ega; Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Fauerso; The Dalles, Oregon
"Casey" Jones; Parkton, Maryland
Grim; Olympia, Washington
Joe Boyle; Teaneck, New Jersey
Around the bend----mentally deranged
Bash----coffee or tea
Condendo----sweetened condensed milk
Dobie stick----used to wash clothes
Ferret----guard assigned to escape activities
Foodacco----canteen of food and tobacco
Green Death soup----dehydrated
bucket----large pail originally containing jam
Kein Drinkwasser---- (Ger.) no drinking water, lead container
Kriegie---- (Ger.) from "Kriegsefangener" meaning P.O.W.
Logging sack time----sleeping
Luft----(Ger.) air corps
Oflag---- (Ger.) P.O.W. camp
P.O.W. ---- prisoner of war
Raisin brew----alcoholic beverage made from raisins
to converse with an individual
Stalag---- (Ger.) P.O.W. camp
Stooge----person elected to do chores
stories----stories of one's capture
Kriegie Life: Sketches by a Prisoner of War in Germany
2009, by Elizabeth Holmstrom, John Holmstrom, Susan Kohnowich and Anne Shumate.