XMAS 1943

Dream MenuFood for ThoughtAutographs

During Christmas, 1943, I made copies of the above, "only in our dreams", Xmas menu as a Xmas card to give to each member in my room and my card was signed by several of them.

Red Cross Parcel

In an attempt at some kind of celebration we did the best we could by utilizing the contents of our Red Cross parcels and also managed to have a bit of a party with the help of some draught beer that the Germans gave us and a strong wine that we laced with a little alcohol obtained from the British doctor.

It was all pretty grim, really, although we were allowed to visit friends in other huts and there were also shows in the theatre.

In general, all this activity was ignored by the German guards although some of their Senior Officers attended the theatre shows (not knowing that the stage sealed over one of the tunnels that was under construction at the time).

This photo was taken in the Polish Block on Boxing Day, 1943, by Hans Peiber (an Austrian Hauptman in the Luftwaffe). Myself and Tom Trotman are seated in the centre with Valerie Mishiakawitz behind. Both Valerie and Paul Tobolski were good friends of mine.
Paul Tobolski is on the far left of the picture. He was one of the fifty escapees in "The Great Escape" murdered by the Gestapo on Hitler's orders. He went out in the escape tunnel dressed as a German Luftwaffe Corporal in charge of "Wings" Day. However, he was caught somewhere near Lubeck on the Baltic. Paul had a sister married to a German in that area and tried to get help, but someone talked and they were recaptured. Paul was shot by the Gestapo, but "Wings" was moved to Sachsenhausen concentration camp (where the only escape was said to be by way of a coffin)!

My Polish Friends
Identification of most of those in the photo was given
to Tobolski's son, Paul, by Ted Blicharz, who now lives in California.
Paul then forwarded them on to me.

1.Tyrecki; 2.Wyzykowski; 3.Ted Blicharz;
4.Tobolski (one of the "fifty"); 5.? ; 6.Koronowski; 7.? ; 8.Mishiakawitz ; 9.? ; 10.? ; 11.S/L Przykorski;
12.Porter; 13.Trotman;
14.? ;
15.Roman Pentz; 16.Krol (also one of the "fifty"; 17.?

Paul and his friend, Valerie, used to visit us in camp. Valerie had been a professor at Warsaw University and I believe that he returned to Poland after his release, although I don't know where he is now. All the rest in the picture were Polish Officers. Sorry, but I can't recall their names although, hopefully, some of them might still be traced.

When I re-enlisted after the conclusion of the war, "Wings" Day ended up as my Commanding Officer at Netheravon.

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