Our Conditions Worsen

In February and March of 1945, the Germans had been moving an increasing number of prisoners into Stalag VII-A. We were all forced to double up in the already cramped bunks. Milt Moore and I slept together in the space where just one of us had slept before. Because of crowded conditions everywhere in the German prison camp system, for the first time, some of our downed officers were also brought into Stalag VII-A. When we lower-ranked GIs pulled detail to work in the officers' compound, they begged us to trade places with them. They wanted to swap their uniforms and bars with us for our working clothes so they would have the opportunity to get out of the camp to work. Officers, under the Geneva Convention, could not to be forced to work, so they remained in camp, enduring the conditions and the waiting.

Finally, in late March, we were actually squeezed out of camp by the overcrowding. We lived in boxcars on a siding in Munich for over a month. We rested in a nearby area when we weren't working. The guards allowed us to form large POW letters out of stone on the ground. This was supposed to help keep our own planes from bombing our position, but it didn't. We were rousted from our boxcars as many as four times a night to be shuffled into a nearby air raid shelter. Security was lax enough that we could have escaped many times, but it wasn't worth the effort. We were caught in the path of the retreating German Army and the advancing U.S. forces.

 Stalag VII-A