NORWALK’S 45 RESIDENTS RELEASED FROM NAZI POW CAMPS

From The Norwalk Hour November 24, 1945

Red Cross War Prisoner Head Reports Her Task Completed

Mrs. Douglas E. Nash Offers Resignation; Says 45 Norwalkers
Held By Nazis Now Home; Tells About Conditions In Pacific

Of the 45 men in the armed services from Norwalk who were prisoners of war in Germany, all have returned home safely. Mrs. Douglas E. Nash, prisoner of war representative for the Norwalk Chapter of the American Red Cross, makes a detailed report tot he Board of Directors showing the work done in this area in connection with POW cases known to the Red Cross, and tenders her resignation because the work is now completed. The report is as follows:

This report is being presented to you of the work done by the Norwalk Chapter for Norwalk prisoners of war, from the inception of the work to the present date. On March 2, 1944, the National Red Cross asked that each Chapter provide a prisoner of war representative to advise and aid families of such prisoners. As the Representative of this Chapter, I am pleased to make this report. We have had 45 Norwalk boys who have been POWs in Germany. As far as it is possible to gauge, all such prisoners have been known to this Chapter, though it may possibly be that there is an ex-prisoner of war about whom we do not know. To the best of our knowledge, all of these 45 prisoners have returned home to their families, safe, and in most cases, well. A few have had nervous reactions, depending on their length of service, but this has been the exception rather than the rule. As you no doubt know, all prisoners of war are first reported as missing in action. If they had been taken prisoner, the message came through in approximately three months after the missing in action report. Up to December 1, 1944, boys were reported missing in action at a rate of two or three a month. We had in the Chapter, a report of only 12 boys who had been taken prisoner for the whole period of the war up to that date. During the months of December, January and February, the Prisoner Of War reports came in thick and fast, however, so that by the end of February 1945, there were 40 boys reported as Prisoners Of War. The five, making up the total of 45, were reported from that time on, and though they had been taken prisoner earlier, the report of their safety had not been received. May and June 1945, were the most exciting, since it was in those months that almost daily we received word that our POWs were free and in American hands. As far as we know, the first boys to return , were freed by the Russians before the general release of all prisoner, and reached this country on April 10, 1945. These three boys, Charles Leib, Lawrence Manzi, and Bramwell Phillips, all marched through a portion of Russia, to Moscow. They had all felt hardship and hunger, and had lost 25 to 30 pounds, but before returning home, regained a good portion of their normal weight. Another boy, Leroy German, formerly of Norwalk and now a resident of Westport, wrote to his mother directly after he was freed, stating: “The Red Cross and the American Army were wonderful… treated us like kings or new born babies… a present every day… eight days of Christmas… almost makes up for everything I’ve been through.” After V-E Day, the Prisoners Of War came home from the European Theatre with astonishing rapidity. Most of the boys were returned home by July 15, but the larger portion actually reached home before the first of that month. A very few, who needed more hospitalization and care, came in the latter part of July. We have had reports of three Norwalk boys who were prisoners of war in Japan. Jospeh Vargo, James N. Dunne, and Robert Arthur Burt. Of these, only Robert Arthur Burt survived to come home, and his family did not hear of his survival until shortly before his actual arrival in this country. There were nine individuals or families, represented by relatives in Norwalk who were civilian internees of Germany and Japan. The three in Germany, to the best of our knowledge, have returned to this country. Of the remaining civilians held by Japan, we have had the report of the death of James B. Rogers in April 1945 and of Mrs. Rogers in March 1945. She was killed by a bomb which demolished the hospital in Manila in which she was a patient. They were relatives of Mrs. Horace Bigelow. At least four of the remaining civilians have returned to this country, the rest as far as we know, remaining in China or the Philippines, since they had established homes there before the war. Mr. and Mrs. Howard Rather, who were interned in Santo Tomas Prison Camp, returned to this country, and they wished special mention to be made that the American Red Cross Blood Bank was the greatest lifesaver in their camp. The type of work done by the prisoner of war representative has not been merely that of keeping records, but has been a matter of visiting all the families during the period while their sons were prisoners of war, helping them understand the rules and regulations as they changed about sending packages, writing letters, etc., supplying cartons of the correct size in which to send packages, and becoming acquainted with the families, so that they might feel there was someone on whom to call for sympathy and guidance. In almost every instance, the POW Representative has had a long conversation with each of our returned prisoners upon his arrival home. It has been a great privilege and of real interest to have been appointed by you as Prisoner Of War representative of this Chapter, and now that the work is finished, I wish to tender my resignation.


Liberated prisoners of war, released from German camps are: SSgt Richard S. Adams, First Lt William H. Barnum, Sgt James L Beers, Corp Alexander A. Bellus, Sgt Bramwell G. Phillips, SSgt Lawrence Manzi, Sgt Charles Liebe, Pvt Frank Pratt Smith, Sgt Philip Bonenfant, Sgt Sidney C. Brown, Pvt Peter Bufithis, TSgt Harvey D. Cooke Jr., Sgt Frederick Definis, John Philip Blackman, Pvt George H. Britto, Pvt Anthony Damato, Nicholas M. Russo, Carlton Schilcher, John Slattery, PFC Joseph Dudas Jr., TSgt John R. Dudia, SSgt Frank Foley, PFC Thomas Gargiulo, John Boisseau, Corp Edward W. Franke, George E. Goldstein, Pvt Leroy Jerman Jr., Lt Joseph William Kiska, Sgt George Lang, PFC Arhtur Maestro, PFC Anthony Mastrianni, Lt Warren R. Mudge, PFC Walter Obuchowski, Pvt Anthony Ogrinc, Richard W. Perry, Pvt Joseph Ragueseo, PFC Gerhart Ristau, Sgt Otis Ross, Arthur A. Russell, PFC Sydney Steinberg, Donald Tuttle, PFC Venario J. Uccellini, Sgt Edward Von Castelberg, Lt Newton Wilbur, Pvt Henry Williams.

Published by jeffd1121

USAF retiree. Veteran advocate. Committed to telling the stories of those who died while in the service of the country during wartime.

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