Saturday, October 10, 2015

Our second world war -- Part 6

Editorial cartoon from the Brookville paper
I came across this article from an April 21, 1949 issue of the Brookville American. I had no particular reason to read it, other than "war news" was still part of my search agenda.

Funeral Services for
Pvt. Charles G. Lohrey
Held Wednesday

"Funeral services for Pvt. Charles Graydon (Bud) Lohrey, 27, were conducted at the Brookville Christian Church, Wednesday afternoon, with Rev. Gilbert Schreiber in charge. Burial was in Maple Grove Cemetery.

"Pvt. Lohrey was killed in action in Germany April 9, 1945."

The obituary adds the survivors and other standard details.

It took four years to locate Pvt. Lohrey's remains and have them sent back to Brookville.

Sometimes, the war didn't end the day the enemy surrendered.

*   *   *

A curious item from June 21, 1945, or just after the Nazis surrendered:

Liberated from
Prison Camp
in Germany

Sgt. L. Rosenberger
Tells of His Grim

"Sgt. Laurence Rosenberger, who was liberated by the Russians on April 29th of this year from a prison camp near Munich, Germany, is visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Rosenberger, on the Dixon farm east of town.

"Rosenberger, who was a turret gunner in the Air Force, was shot down over western Germany on Aug. 4th of last year and tells a story, the grim details of which this newspaper regrets it does not have space enough to print in its entirety.

"Their plane aflame from anti-aircraft fire, Sgt. Rosenberger and his fellow crewmen bailed out and came down in a hail of flak and flying debris, landing in a tree top. He was forced to jump down and was severely injured in the landing.

"He was rescued, if it could be called that, from irate civilians by German forces and was taken with other prisoners to a Russian prison camp with little or no medical treatment. They were subjected to the most inhuman treatment in an effort to extract information, but were eventually moved on when this proved useless."

Rosenberger told the newspaper that the prisoners were constantly moved ahead of the Allied army's advancement in Germany. The prisoners were moved by rail, in box cars.

"The greater percentage of the prisoners did not survive.

"Among the more hair-raising experiences Sgt. Rosenberger was forced to undergo was that of sitting in a box car in the Frankfort yards while they were being bombed. At another time they were herded into crowded buildings in the heart of the military target of Nuremberg and held there at gun point."

Today, they'd refer to that as the "human shield" defense.

*   *   *

Sometimes, the families knew what had happened to their soldiers, which perhaps made it worse. John Lang of rural Brookville, was captured in early 1944 and was apparently given permission to write home.

County Soldier
Is Held Prisoner

John E. Lang Writes
Parents from German 
Prison Camp

"Dear Mom:

How are you getting along, fine I hope. I am. Feel great. Prison life isn't so bad as you think. I'm treated fine. I sure hope you believe me and don't worry about me. I will be home some day, just like I always told you.

You can send me cigarettes and candy if you want to. Just see the Red Cross, who are really great. I hope the work is about finished for the spring. I'll help with the next one.

My buddy and I are going to make a cake now out of our parcel. It weighs ten pounds and we get one once a week.

Well Mom tell all hello, and lots of love, from your son,

    --   Junior"

One may interpret this as one wishes.

Presumably. Lang made it back home in one piece.

War truly was Hell.

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