The following is reprinted from "The Lyon Tale" published in 2003, author Ellayne Conyers.
Snow fell, roads became slippery and dangerous from heavy traffic. The snow became deeper and the temperature dropped steadily. Not only the enemy, but another equally tough adversary - was the extreme cold weather. Now Robert fell into the hands of his enemy and the days ahead were long and painful. May 3, 1945, Robert walked away from the barbed wire fences and armed guards. He was liberated by his old regiment and now was a free man. The months that had passed is something he would like to forget, but the nightmarish feelings lingered on.
However, the feeling inside were mixed emotions. Perhaps a bit happy - and a bit angry. But now he could take a hot shower, sleep in a real and comfortable bed. He could ear nourishing food. The lice were gone and he didn't have to worry about maybe being marched into a gas chamber. He also knew that he would be able to keep warm and definitely not have to wear the same clothes for another six months. No more forced marches.
June 10, 1945, was another important day in Robert Bouressa's life. He arrived on the shores of America, and could now walk on American soil. He was looking forward to family reunions. The worry was over for the family and the many long anguished days of waiting to hear from Mrs. Bouressa's son were past. Three brothers, who kept in close contact with the family, were enroute home from their overseas duties.
The returnees were will fed and gained considerable weight, as was the case with Robert. But upon arriving home, although he looked healthy, he was a very nervous young man who had endured a tremendous amount of emotional stress. He could not eat the food he had waited so long for, nor could he sleep in his comfortable bed. On the 4th of July he decided to celebrate his homecoming and went to a big celebration. The noise of the fire-crackers was too much and forced him to leave the noisy scene and retire early.
Robert said, 'Now I am a bit wiser. I learned to understand a bit more about man. My buddies were left along highways and trails of other nations. Those once strong-fibered America-loving men gave their lives or limbs that victory may be ours. We owe our stature, our existence to the blood that was shed, the cries of pain. They are gone from us now, but we shall never forget them.'
AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN GERMANY
Prepared by Military Intelligence Service, War Department (Nov. 1, 1945)
HOHEMARK HOSPITAL, SECTION OF DULAG LUFT
As soon as the Luftwaffe took over the Oberursel installation in December 1939 it became obvious that a high percentage of POWs would be in need of medical attention. To meet this, the camp authorities requisitioned part of Hohemnark hospital one mile west of the interrogation center. This hospital had been used since World War I as a health resort and clinic for all types of brain injuries and contained a large number of German soldiers wounded in this war. The wards for POWs were on the second floor and comprised one single room, two double rooms, and several rooms with four beds, totaling 65. Discipline was very mild. The doors of the wards were not always locked at night, and the only guards were the German medical orderlies. German medical treatment was excellent, as was the food, which came from Red Cross special invalid parcels and from the hospital kitchen.
Walking cases were frequently allowed to meet and take meals together. Other ambulatory cases, as soon as their condition permitted, were allowed parole walks through the surrounding grounds and countryside.
Wounded men were sometimes interrogated directly during their stay at the hospital. At other times, they were not interrogated until after their convalescence when they were sent to Oberusel. The comparatively luxurious single and double rooms were set aside as places where high-ranking Allied POWs could be interrogated in circumstances which the Germans considered appropriate to their rank. These POW's did not have to be wounded to gain admission to Hohemark. Several British and American orderlies formed part of the hospital complement. They were headed by an Edward Stafford, an American who was captured while flying in the RAF Ferry Command and called himself "captain." His assistant was Captain Kenneth Smith, who was receiving treatment for facial burns during his stay. Inmates of Hohemark received the normal allotment of outgoing letters, but only the permanent staff received incoming letters. A POW's only religious activity was listening to the Bible readings of a Hauptmann Offerman.
Hohemark was liberated simultaneously with Oberrursel.
(Continued next week)