Reviewing a Lifetime
(A Psychotherapist's Nightmare)
by John D. Sedory

Copyright© 2018 by Daniel B. Sedory, Editor. All Rights Reserved.

Appendix D-3

Experiences As A Prisoner of War
Philip A. Sedory

(The Author's Brother)


Daily Occurrences after the Liberation of Stalag VII-A

As elsewhere, notes [or guessed/corrected spellings] by the Editor are those within brackets ("[ ]").

May 1945

All diary entries in this section are from the month of May, 1945.

The date in RED was the day Phil actually left Stalg 7A.


  1-Tues.- Awoke at 7:30. Weather cold and cloudy (same as yesterday). Up to 11:00 this morning no one has been evacuated from camp. An air field is [to] be constructed 2 1/2 mi. from camp for this purpose. The latest B.B.C. news states 7th Army has taken Munich and advanced within several miles of Innsbruck, Austria. In Italy, fighting has ceased wtih thousands surrendering. Himmler in Stockholm once again to make peace negotiations with the three world powers. A total of 110,000 including attached Kommando partys [sic] liberated at Stalag 7A. Big ovation received by Americans in Munich. Transfer of troops, planes and supplies to the Pacific theater now in operation.

  2, Wed. Weather remains cold and cloudy with intermittent rain and snow. The only men evacuated thus far have been the hospital patients. Latest Allied Command orders say we move by truck to Landshut where we board transport planes and travel to Brussels, Belgium. Worked all night filling out registrations for our particular company (E Co. 11). For the last two days the camp has received the tasty G.I. bread and Argentene bulk ration and I can honestly say we are eating better since our liberation. A maximum of 45 lbs of luggage can be t[aken] with us when we leave. Went to sleep at 11:00.

  3-Thur.- Awoke at 7:30 A.M. Weather cold and cloudy with the sky clearing somewhat in the afternoon. Approximately 1500 men evacuated early this morning. At roll call we were divided into groups of 25. Each group will board planes in their respective orders. My group no. is 30. This morning we got deloused by the duster method and have been prepared to leave ever since. We may depart tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. This afternnon a Lieut. Colonel[1] announced there was no definite time set for us to leave, stressed cleanliness of huts and told us to hold on to whatever food we had which doesn't sound any too good. Latest B.B.C. news is Berlin has fallen. Americans continue to advace in Austria. The city of Kiel is an open city. Eight German armies said to be in Czechoslovakia. Avdvances in Burma and landings on Borneo in Pacific warfare. Went to bed at 10:30.

  4, Fri - Awoke at 7:30. Roll call at 8:00. Movement is delayed for some unknown reason and consequently everyone is disgusted. The longer we stay here, the more impatient we become. I met two boys from Cicero this morning - Ed Kasmar and Fred Svaboda (in my class in HS). Spent my time speaking to them and listening to the radio from the P.A. system. Intended to play catch, but all the gloves have disappeared. I read several copies of the Stars & Stripes. On May 3rd the Cubs were in second place [and played in the World Series that year!] and the Sox in first [but those 'bums' ended up far down the list]. Ernie Pyle, famed columnist and friend of the G.I., killed by a Jap sniper last month [take link and see 'Death' for the facts].

  5, Sat. Roll call at 8:00. Mikkelsen [Carl S.; 35010919] and I took a hot shower at 10:00. Weather cloudy and rainy. Speech by an American Col. in regard to delay of evacuation. Still no definite time to leave. As it stands we may still be here in two weeks. Promised he would do all in his power to promote action for our disposal; even to the extent to contact Gen. Eisenhower if necessary. An article in the Stars and Stripes declared PoW's would be sent to the Pacific Theater after a 21 day furlough, and examination and interview. This statement is contrary to the bulletin read to us a few days ago, stating we would receive 45 days leave. I wish someone would make up their mind on this matter. I wrote my first V mail in seven months today and sent it to mom. This evening I and several others had to be runners for our particular Btn. This detail lasted hours, terminating at 10:00PM, after which I went to bed. Latest news is that the Germans have surrend[er]ed in the southern occupied territory, also fleeing Norway and Sweden. There really isn't much left of Germany proper that hasn't been overrun by the Allies. Strategic bombing has completely ceased.

  6, Sun. No roll call this morning. Dorothy's birthday [Phil's youngest sister], but I'm not sure of her age (I think she is seven). Weather windy and generally cloudy in the morning. I attended a Prot. church service this morning at 11:00. A touching sermon was spoken with a fairly large attendance listening [at]tentively.

  7, Left Stalag 7A by truck for Lanshut airdrome. Planes delayed. I stayed in [A???don] overnight.

[In what appears to be more original notes, which Phil dated as "May 7" and added what seems to be an abbreviation for "Tues" (but the day was a Monday), we found these detailed words:]

  Awoke at 3:00 A.M. and shaved. At 5:30 we stood roll call with our kits prepared to move out. Everyone is excited and talkative because this is the day we looked forward to with anxiety. We left the camp at 6:00. The estimated number evacuated was over 4000. After a fifteen minute walk, we boarded American trucks at the outskirts of Moosburg. Forty men were put on each truck followed by an hour wait. The ride to Lanshut airdrome was uncomfortable due to the numerous curves of the road. As we rode into Lanshut the result of the numerous bombings was revealed. Craters appeared generally in the vicinity of the railroad, although many buildings were also hit in town. One thing that should be mentioned in regards to Germany is the beautiful scenery in this section of Germany; namely Bavaria.
  Upon arrival at the airdrome, we ate our ration of an American R.C. parcel which amounted to 7 per box. The weather was fair in the morning with the sky becoming cloudy to partly cloudy in the after noon. Over two hundred planes (C47) were needed to evacuate the ex-prisoners of war, but to our disappointment only 60 or so were available that day. We then marched to a nearby town (A???don) and groups found shelter wherever possible with many invading homes and barns. The next morning [This would then be May 8th] everyone congregated at the designated area to await the planes once again. In a few hours the transports came from every direction and landed upon the soft and soggy field of grass. Within three hours about 200 planes descended before us and lined up in several columns similar to cars in a parking lot. Groups of 28 boarded the planes and then left somewhat later. At 12:30 the air field was the scene of an accident involving five planes. The accident occurred when a plane failed to make the takeoff and consequently as a result crashed headon into the nose and side of two planes awaiting takeoff and damaging the wings of two others. I never actually [saw] the crash, but this is the story that was passed to me. One plane burned completely, another partially and three slightly damaged. This no doubt lowered the morale of me and the boys who never rode a plane before. My plane took off at 1:30 and we went directly to Metz, France for refueling two hours later. In the vicinity of Metz the results of war are conspicuous to the eye from the air indicating shell and bomb craters of various sizes and descriptions including a [chorus?] of trenches and emplacements. Twenty minutes lapsed and we took off once again and continued west until we landed at Le Havre in two hours time or 6:30. After leaving the plane, we were served doughnuts and coffee by the ARC. From L[e] Havre airdrome we boarded trucks that took us to Camp Lucky Strike 40 mi. away. En route we passed beautiful coastal cities such as Cany [possibly Cany-Barville, though he may have meant the large city of Caen] for example. We were informed and later confirmed reports stating that today, May 8th, the war in Europe was officially ended.

  8. Planes (C47) arrive. Fly to Metz, refueled, and then to L[e] Havre airdrome. Via trucks to Camp Lucky Strike 40 mi. from L[e] Harve at 9:00 P.M. Shower and delousing at camp - registration - assigned tents D76-10 and went to sleep at 1:30 A.M.

  9 - Wed. Awoke at 7:15, had G.I. breakfast, the first in eight months. Moved to area D67 in afternoon. Met Soucek, formerly of Stickney, and we speak of past experiences back home. He now lives on Lombard & Ogden [in Berwyn, IL]. Went to bed at 10:00. Weather cloudy and cool.

 [Editor's Note: At this point Phil got the dates mixed-up somehow, and wrote "May 9," again, but followed by "Thur." He continued using the 10th as Fri., 11th as Sat., etc. We may find it difficult to believe, but it appears he knew what day of the week it was; especially since chaplains would hold services on Sundays, yet somehow kept using the wrong date even after boarding a ship. However, his "May 20 to May 22" and following entries no longer state what day of the week it is, so not really sure either way. We're going to use the correct numbers in brackets from here on, so you know what day of the week was what calendar date in 1945.]

 [10]. Thur. Awoke at 7:00. Roll call following. Immunization, interrogation in afternoon. This camp I'm told houses 100,000 when full.

 [11]. Fri. Awoke at 7:45. Received 1000 francs as partial payment. Read books and magazines most of the day. Moved to shipping area in afternoon. Weather quite warm throughout day. Nights are cool.

 [12] Sat. The day is unusually hot. Went to the gift shop and bought sewn handkerchiefs as souveniers. Total cost 7,20[?]. Read books and magazines during the day. Had physical examination in afternoon. No physical defects shown. Weight 159 with GI shoes. Went to bed at 11:00.

 [13] Sun. We are alterted to move into another area of the camp, and consequently didn't attend church services. The day is warm and windy. S & S [Stars and Stripes] proclaimed bad weather in U.S. Snow in N.Y. & "Chi"[cago]. My group no. is 492-7 with over 190 men, all bound for Ft. Sheridan, Ill. Moved to packet no. 48 in afternoon. Went to bed at 12:00. It gets dark here at 10:30 P.M. [as in, not until, is what I'd guess he meant].

 [14] Mon. Awoke at 8:00 and shaved after breakfast. Weather is cold, rainy and windy. Awaiting for orders to ship, but the orders do not arrive. I had to take a second immuni[iz]ation because my records are lost. Spent the rest of the day reading. Retired at 11:00 P.M.

 [15] Tues. Weather is the same as yesterday. Rumors that we might leave today but at evening we're still here. Group leader states we definitely leave tomorrow in afternoon which naturally relieves everyone, & thousands of RAMP [Recovered Allied Military Personnel] arrive in camp the past few days. Length of lines to the ARC [American Red Cross] for beverages increases daily.

 [16] Wed. Awoke at 7:00 and ate breakfast early for a change. Weather windy and cloudy, clearing in afternoon. We board trucks at 2:30 and leave at 3:00, arrive in L[e] Havre harbor at 5:30. At the dock an LCT is completely filled to capacity. [Takes] us directly to a transport, the SS John Ericsson. The number[?] embarking about 1500. We are directed to our quarters [of ?] which is the bottom deck as usual with the officers [???] quarters on the main deck. (Class distinction still continues.) Had chow at 9:30 (beans, potatoes, wieners, coffee & oranges). Went to bed at 10:30.

 [17] Thur. Awoke at 7:30 and shaved after a very good breakfast, in fact the best breakfast in [over] eight months. The food served on this boat is of the best quality, variety and abundance. We ordered P.X. rations this morning and retrieved them this afternoon. There was no limit to the purchase of candy and some boys bought several boxes at a time. Spent my time wandering on the deck and reading. Went to bed at 10:00.

 [18] Fri. Awoke at 7:00. Breakfast at 8:00. Last night the boat pulled out [finally left Le Havre] and this morning we neared Southampton, England to pick up sick and wounded hospital patients. Arrived at dock at 1:30 PM. Remained in harbor all day. Some [???????] passengers disembarked. Southampton is situated at the inner [?????] of a long narrow bay. Had chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffings, pickles, olives, ice cream and cookies, coffee for supper - the best meal. Went to bed at 10:30.

 [19] Sat. Awoke at 7:30. Breakfast at 8:15. Boat left dock and anchored in bay all day. Boat drill at 3:00 P.M. Will remain at anchor all night as there isn't any black out restrictions tonight. Weather has been fair and warm for the past two days.

 [20] Sun. Today marks the day of our departure as we left the bay of Southampton at 7:00 P.M. this evening. Weather fair.

 May 20 to May 22 [21-23; Mon.-Wed.] The weather [??????] rainy and windy, the water was rough and extremely choppy, causing me and many others to become sick and miserable for over two days. I ate one meal day during this period and then I had to force the food down. Our boat being the largest in size did however sail somewhat smoother than the other boats in the convoy of eleven ships.

 May 23-24 [24-25; Thurs.-Fri.] Both of these days the ocean was much calmer and te sun broke through the low flying clouds. In accord with fairer weather, everyone was well again and began to devour the candy which was abundant. Instead of eleven vessels in the convoy as heretofore, there are now only nine. Should be in the States by next Tuesday, God willing.

 May 25-26-27 [26-28; Sat. - Mon.] Weather generally fair these three days. Water quite calm. My meals are sometimes hampered by eating too much candy. To date I'd say this has been my best voyage overseas considering the benefits of this boat in regard to food, sleeping quarters, cleanliness and entertainment offered. To date I've seen four movies. Church services are also conducted. May arrive in New York sometime tomorrow.


Appendix D-2



1[Return to Text]   This reminded me that then Lt. Colonel Albert P. Clark who had been a prisoner at Stalag Luft III during the Great Escape was transferred from there along with other airmen in JAN, 1945, since Russian forces were about to seize the camp. It came to be known as The Long March: Following a grueling winter trek of 86 kilometers and an equally unpleasant rail journey in cattle-trucks, they arrived at Stalag VII-A (Moosburg) in Bavaria. They were finally liberated by the 3rd Army at the same time my Uncle Phil was. However, it would be highly improbable that the "Lieut. Colonel" Phil heard was anything other than a US Army officer who'd come with or shortly after the liberating forces; not one of the prisoners.