Some of you may know, as I have spoken of this before- that my father was in world war 2 - and that for 3 years he was a pow in Germany. When he was captured, as all of the military had been told, was to be observant, which my dad was.
Dad was able to hide a square of cardboard on him, and on it, he wrote the cities and towns that he was in, and he wrote down service men name whom he met- they all did- if you got freed some how, to get word back to their families.
I learned three days ago, that my cousin Tom's son David, was over in Germany with a copy of the paper and he had started his own Journey, on his own time, following in my fathers footsteps, walking across Germany, and following the map that my dad had made after his return.
Yesterday, I learned, that my cousin had received documents from the government, the mission reports that are now over 50 years old (the freedom of information's act allows government documents that are that old to be released to the people involved.
My mum was aware of these documents, and had a copy of them from the US Government, but what she didn't know, until last night, that David was able to get copies from the German governments records of my dads ime in the pow camp- its in German, but David was able to read what they contained, and passed it on to his mother yesterday morning who told us last night.
Something that Dad didn't - really tell - any of us.
My aunt told my mum about him getting access to the documents, and in a quiet voice, with tears in her eyes she let mum know that dad had been chosen for interrogation. The report of what they did to him was in the records- and she said that David wouldn't go into details, not over the phone.
Mum had never known that. Dad never spoke of it, but I remember when my grandfather was very ill he said "That damn Hitler, what he did"
and there were tears in his eyes. I had thought it was from the first war, which my grand father was in, but now it makes sense, as he was holding my dads hand and looking at him, what he was saying.
We have heard from other POWs who were interned with my father, that he saved many of their lives with the things that he made- stoves and gadgets, and he risked his life many times to share with the POWs.
To the day that he died he wouldn't eat brown bread- only the white bread because during the war, they would mix the flour with ash to extend it.
My brother knew, about the interrogation, bits- that my dad kept wondering how they knew the stuff- knew about my dad- and the things that they were doing. Dad didn't tell anyone, everything that happened, though there were nights dad would have a nightmare and thrash in his bed and mum would have to wake him up, and hold him.
My mother finds it very touching, that her nephew, and his son have chosen to honor my dad in this way. I don't know what David intends to do with this information, but, someday, I would like to be able to share it with you, that which I can.
My dad was an extraordinary man, and I am proud to be his daughter.