General Commentary (May be military related) email: Kudzuacres1@juno.com
Friday, May 14, 2004
The Iraq prisoner mistreatment story reminds me of a conversation I had with a German former POW about twenty years ago. I was Volksmarching with my faminly when an older gentleman asked us if we were Americans. We said yes and he walked and talked with us for the next six miles. Seems he had been captured by American forces during WWII and held prisoner of war for several months before being turned over to the French who held him for several more months after the war ended. He spoke English with a high Brit accent and told me he had been a diamond dealer working out of London prior to the war . When things started going bad in the late 30's, he returned to Berlin and was drafted into the Wehrmach. After being released by the French, he restarted the family diamond business and had had a successful career.
I found his stores about the war and the time leading up to the war to be very interesting in that I had never heard it from a German who was older and well educated when the war started. One thing he said really caught me by surprise. He said that the German POWs were relieved when they were turned over to the French because the Americans had been so cruel. It seems that the Ameican camp guard's approach to prison discipline problems was to have the prisoners do such things as stand with their noses on a circle drawn on a building or tree. He said the Ameican punishments were very degrading to the POWs since they were not the type of punishment that should be meted out to an adult. The French POW prison was much better.
"How did they punish offenses?" I asked.
"Oh, they shot the offender!"
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Yep to number one. We didn't have running water until I was about ten. I don't remember it being all that bad, but then again, at my age (late young adulthood) I don't remember much of anything. As an added bonus, my elementary school also had outhouses. A couple of the brighter boys tried hiding in the girl's outhouse (down the holes) for nefarious reasons that may have worked if they hadn't miscalculated the essense of 30 years of "stuff". Their screams for help brought our the whole school and a couple of the older boys were commissioned by the teachers to save them. The head (no pun intended) teacher made them walk home and even saved their beating for the next day. It was probably the only time where the first beating was administered by the parents and then the teacher got seconds. I seem to remember that their "saviors" also added a few bruises of their own.
Yep again. The houses without running water were mostly surrounded by pastures full of hogs and cows. I remember something like: "here pig, pig, pig, pig, soo pig" but I don't remember that it was very effective. The slop bucket worked a lot better.
Yep again. Tractors were a big part of life where I grew up. My buddy Billy Wayne could hit 40 MPH on his Dad's M Farmall. Think high tricycle with marginal steering and you can get a good idea of how exciting that was. I figure that it was the equivalent of about 200 MPH at Indianapolis. Amazingly, Billy Wayne survived to die of diabetes in his thirties. I think he would have preferred to go in a stupendous endo off Grassy Road.