Stalag XVII B

My Father's Diary

Like all the other American prisoners, my father received a "Wartime Log" - a hardbound book with numbered blank pages, donated by the YMCA and distributed through the Red Cross - and a set of colored pencils. Many of these diaries were either confiscated by the Germans or left behind when the prisoners began the long forced march across Austria in April, 1945. My father kept his diary. 

The book measures about 10 inches long by 7 inches wide and contains 150 numbered pages, and has a section of unnumbered, stiffer, dark pages in the middle. My father drew or wrote in only 44 pages, and used some of the middle pages for various "souvenirs" - German matchbox covers, pieces of aluminum chaff dropped by American bombers to fool German radar, and a party hat from the 1944 Christmas show put on by the Cardboard Playhouse (a group of prisoners who put together music, plays and other entertainment).

My father also made a protective cover for his diary. It consists of a single piece of heavy, dark blue wool fabric (perhaps a part of a British airman's uniform) and a metal zipper (with olive drab herringbone cloth, perhaps part of an American airman's flight suit zipper) that was hand-sewn to the dark blue wool and goes around three sides of the book.


My Father's Stalag XVII B "Wartime Log" Diary



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Front cover

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This book belongs to...

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Contents

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Crew of the Linda Ball

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Invasion prayer

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"Hard Luck"

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Anklam, Germany, October 9, 1943 (when my father was shot down and captured).

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"Through Strife and Danger"

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This book belongs to...

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"It's a Rrough Game"

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"Do I Remember..."

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"Flying"

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Typical  menu for American prisoners at Stalag XVII B.

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"Bombs Away"

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"So Long"

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B-25 Mitchell

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B-26 Marauder

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"Six O'Clock -- High"

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"Head Up and Locked"

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"Freedom"

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My First Letter

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The "Boob"

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"Here They Come"

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"The Ides of March"

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Bedbug collection

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Pieces of chaff, used to fool German radar systems

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Customs tags attached to packages from home, stating contents and value.

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Customs tags attached to packages from home, stating contents and value.

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Leaflet in a package from home. Note that it took about seven months to reach my father.

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List of letters to and from my father's parents and his sister.

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List of letters to and from other people back home.

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List of letters to and from home.

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Tops of German matchboxes my father saved. They were made of thin wood and held 10 safety matches.

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A package sent from T. B. Richards. Germans used Stalag Luft 3 to process letters and packages for Americans at Stalag XVII B.

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A package from home. Germans used Stalag Luft 3 to process letters and packages for Americans at Stalag XVII B.

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List of packages received from home. Four were cartons of cigarettes, three were an assortment of items.

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Cardbosrd Playhouse Christmas Program, December 1944

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Cardbosrd Playhouse Christmas Program, December 1944

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Cardbosrd Playhouse Christmas Program, December 1944

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Cardbosrd Playhouse Christmas Program, December 1944

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Cardbosrd Playhouse Christmas Program, December 1944

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Cardbosrd Playhouse Christmas Program, December 1944, Christmas Hat