Kriegie Life

Kriegie Life: The Book, Part Four

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Kriegie Life: The Book, Part Four
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Here are the last pages from Carl Holmstrom's Kriegie Life book: 
 
Liberation.jpg 
 
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.
 
    Bull-sessions covered 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.  

PORTRAITS
 
 HoneyWagonManWeb.jpg
 
The Honey Wagon Man
 
 
 

Portraits1.jpg
 
(Lef to right, top to bottom):
 
Alvin Vogtle; Birmingham, Alabama
 
Cliff Pearson; Cleveland, Ohio
 
Major Houston; Dundalk, Maryland
 
"Tex"  Newton; Cameron, Texas
 
A.  Kramarinko; Chicago, Illinios
 
R.  C.  Miller; Chicago, Illinios

I.  G.  McDaniel; Hot  Springs, Arkansas

Don  Eldridge; Chicago,  Illinios

Hank  Keller; New Kensington, Pennsylvania

Portraits2.jpg 
Left to right, top to bottom:
 
W. Billig; S.  Miami,  Florida
 
Bill  Gravins; Richmond,  Virginia
 
Russ Lyons;  Beverly Hills, California
 
Colonel C.  Goodrich; Atlanta, Georgia
 
Major  J. C. Ega; Manitowoc, Wisconsin
 
Paul  Fauerso; The  Dalles,  Oregon
 
"Casey"  Jones; Parkton,  Maryland
 
Ray  Grim; Olympia, Washington
 
Joe  Boyle; Teaneck, New Jersey

 
 

  KRIEGIE JARGON
 
   Appel----roll call
 
   Around the bend----mentally deranged
 
   Bash----coffee or  tea
 
   Condendo----sweetened condensed milk
 
   Dobie stick----used to wash clothes
 
   Ersatz----(Ger.) synthetic
 
    Ferret----guard assigned to escape activities
 
    Foodacco----canteen of food and tobacco
 
    Goon----German
 
    Goon baiting----teasing the Germans
 
    Goon box----guard box
 
    Green Death soup----dehydrated vegetable soup  
 
    Honey wagon----sanitation wagon
 
    Jam 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
 
    Sack----bunk
 
    Sack artist----habitual sleeper
 
    Silent treatment----refusing to converse with an individual
 
    Stalag---- (Ger.) P.O.W. camp
 
    Stooge----person elected to do chores
 
    Stroller----moving guard
 
    There-I-Was stories----stories of one's capture
 
    Weasel----ferret's assistant
 

Kriegie Life: Sketches by a Prisoner of War in Germany
© 2009, by Elizabeth Holmstrom, John Holmstrom, Susan Kohnowich and Anne Shumate.