Monday, September 27, 2021

Review of "A Holiday in Hitlerland: A War Journal," by James F. Stone

 Review of

A Holiday in Hitlerland: A War Journal, by James F. Stone

Four out of five stars

A memoir of being a POW in Germany

 The author was the member of an American bomber crew flying missions over Europe in World War II. In early April of 1944 Stone was on board a bomber that was badly shot up and managed to execute a controlled crash landing in northern Germany. The crew was easily captured, and this book is a chronicle of his experiences as a POW.

 Relative to many others, his experiences and those of his fellow prisoners were rather mild. Stone mentions several times how the German guards were rather friendly. There was an instance where they encountered some members of the SS that seemed determined to punish the POWs. That attempt was thwarted when their German guard drew his pistol and backed them off.

 Other than the fact that the author lived through these experiences, there is little that is completely unique about this history. One exception is that the men interrogating the POWS had often spent significant time in the United States. One POW even met a man that worked with his father, used to bounce him on his knee and occasionally give him treats.

 Another amusing point is about the Ukrainian woman that shoveled the raw sewage into a wagon for transport to the fields to be used as fertilizer. She was a cheerful woman and when asked why, she said that her job here was easier than what she had at home, and she received better food.

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