Skip to comments.How British PoW swapped uniforms to sneak IN to Auschwitz so his Jewish pal could slip out
Posted on 12/14/2009 7:38:38 AM PST by MuttTheHoople
For 60 years Denis Avey remained too traumatised to talk about the horrors he had witnessed as a prisoner of war at Auschwitz. But when he finally felt able, he revealed an incredible tale of bravery and compassion.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
WW II vets are different. You have to get a crowbar to get them to open up to what happened with them.
interesting. why do you suppose that is?
My dad, God rest his soul, was in Europe in WW II, he never said much either and now that he is gone it is too late to hear his stories.
(Also see, Kerry, John)
My dad is a Vietnam vet...Marine chopper pilot. He thought nothing of telling us all the funny stories, or the ones that were touching. However, I noticed he never went into detail about the horrific things. He might've been better adjusted in that he went to war in his 30's plus he was a professional career Marine officer. Many of the men who don't talk about it were teenagers or in their early 20's when it happened.
My father was like that.
The mechanization and industrialization of war, completely changed war. War as seen from WWI and especially WWII on are completely different beasts than anything that came before.
With the absolute industrialization of war, survival or death was far more luck than skill, no amount of skill is going to keep you alive storming the beach at Normandy, or in the trenches at Verdun.
I can’t imagine anyone who has walked into such battles and came out alive waiving their bloody shirt as testament to their bravery as anything more than a sociopath.
I have (had) an uncle that was at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th. He would never talk about it, not even to his younger brother who was also in the navy, but about 10 years behind him. We later heard from other sailors he was jumping from a lifeboat into the burning oil to save wounded comrades, and was pulling half bodies into his boat. No wonder he never said anything.
I think all that changed after World War I, because that was such a traumatic war, with all the brutal inhumane killing. AFter WW I, much of the literature was anti-war and pictured the military as bloodthirsty, heartless fools (to paraphrase Stephen Ambrose). Then THAT changed after the National Socialists invaded the Soviet Union and the sneak-attack on Pearl harbor.
WW II was one of the few wars where there was little to no dissent, because Americans hated the Japs for being buck-toothed sneak-attackers, plus the Nazis invaded the left's hero-nation the Soviet Union so that Liberals and Democrats would do anything to save their favorite country.
I think WW II, Korean, and Vietnam vets were raised as pacifists and look at what they did as something absolutely necessary to do to stop evil, and that it was nothing to brag about.
I don't know what today's vets from iraq and Afghanistan will be like. With improved protection from body-armor, techology, and psychological services, maybe the 21st century warrior will be different.
WW II vets are different.
Now, though, soldiers are better protected by body-armor and technology that incorporates skill into warfighting again. I wonder if Iraq and Afghanistan vets will be a little more open about their service once they start running for office.
“My dad, God rest his soul, was in Europe in WW II.”
Mine, too, never said anything about it. The only thing he said was that he would never go to see fireworks displays. He said he saw enough fireworks on D-Day.
We know what he did though. It was written up in his citation for the Navy Cross, which he received from Pres. Truman. He detonated mines on Omaha Beach, and pulled floundering soldiers out of the water.
No hero will ever throw his medals over the White House fence, and then thirty years later stand on national television like a horse faced idiot and say, “Reporting for Duty.”
As a Viet Nam era vet, I found THAT traumatic.
God bless him, what a brave and simple generation. We are losing these men daily and soon they will all be gone.
Kerry is much like his “war decorations” - entirely a product of false pretences. It is a matter of continued embarrassment to me that he “represents” my home state.
America was a very masculine society then, when a man spoke to the voters or a politician campaigned, it was a man, speaking only to men, about building and protecting a nation in a hostile and dangerous world.
They don’t grow balls that big any more.
Body armor helps, but industrial war is unlike pre-industrial war.
Afghanistan and Iraq are also a different kind of war, other than the inital invasion where you did have some military on military engagements, most battles have been smaller affairs. (This takes nothing away from those involved in them) Neither of these wars have involved the scope or size of what was going on in the two world wars.
Lets face it, entire death toll for all of Iraq is as of this week 4369, that’s less than 14 days worth of average losses in WWII.
The United Stats lost 292,000 men (rounded) through roughly 2.5 years that was our active official involvement in WWII, that’s a daily average loss of 320.
I respect any soldier who’s served, but if you come back waiving a bloody shirt as proof of your bravery as part of a political stump speach, I simply view that as disrespect to those who did not return alive.
I also can’t believe folks returning from some of these actions are going to be exactly thrilled to talk about what they had to do. We are fighting a people who have no qualms strapping bombs to mentally disabled people to use them as bombs.. and sending children onto the battlefield. I fortunately can’t imagine what it would be like to knowingly kill a child because that same child would kill you if you didn’t, but I know if I had been involved in that sort of thing, I surely wouldn’t be jumping up and down to talk about it.
Seeing that dad is a Vietnam vet, I have no grounds to disagree with him.
"For God's sake, you've done enough. Just go home."
My husband’s father was in the Battle of the Bulge. Husband said he NEVER talked about it when he was a kid, and finally opened up when our son discovered that Gpa had a wooden leg and held his socks up with thumbtacks. He thought that was so very cool.
My husband then contacted a man his dad had spoken of, who had carried him off the battlefield. He told many stories of their times there. Husband connected the two and they had a grand reunion.
It just must have been horrific. Plus, men are prone to keeping things inside. Friend’s dad, a Navy pilot, told many stories about his flying adventures tho.
...The Real Most Interesting Man In The World.
Same with WWI vets. My grandmother's brother fought in WWI. When I tried to get him to talk about it, he got all funny looking and I thought his skin even turned a litle more gray
So that's what happened to the ER surgeon. Imagine the farm kid, aged 18, who watches the carnage of D-Day. I could see them not wanting to talk about it.
I think they do, it’s just that the media won’t report it any more.
My grandfather went ashore with the second wave at Okinawa. It was well known to these Marines what had just happened at Iwo Jima to the second wave there, and he did speak of the worry they all had. Fortunately, the landings at Okinawa were unopposed.
He did tell several tales, snapshots of events. His remembrance of prayers on deck the evening before the invasion was touching. His capture, with a buddy, of 2 or 3 Japanese officers hiding out among the population of a local village (the locals ratted them out) and being worried about being reprimanded for not having more than a .45 with them was humorous. But he also talked about a bullet taking off the heel of his boot (the closest he came to a wound), how he disposed of a sniper by organizing the loading of a jeep with explosives to obliterate the tree the sniper was in, totally against regulations for such situations, and how he got caught in the open when the big banzai attack took place (the one that killed a Brigadier) he and two buddies and a truck, one driving like mad with him and the other in the back tossing grenades into the path of the oncoming enemy. Never did he speak of any of his pals who were killed or wounded, the misery of the campaign or the fear he must have felt. He completed all 85 days of the campaign, unscratched, a member of the sixth Marine Division. And, I never heard him utter a negative word about Japan nor Japanese people. He did his duty and came home to let bygones be bygones.
He gave me a few more stories as well, and I remember them still, these 40 years after the telling. I didnt realize until after he was gone, how precious it was to be given these few stories when it became evident to me that so many stories like them must have gone, with their owners, to the grave.
God bless him, and all heroes of all our wars.
WW II vets are different. You have to get a crowbar to get them to open up to what happened with them.
I think it is because the WW2 vets are the so-called "citizen soldiers" who were just ordinary guys who did a tough and dirty job in the war and tried to return to normalcy after the war.
In the 19th century there were many professional soldiers who thrived on war and danger, particularly in Queen Victoria's armies. Those men actually sought out danger, and were bitterly disappointed if they missed the hottest firefights.
My great-uncle was field artillery - went right up into the Rhineland alongside an infantry unit (212th). I have letters he wrote home from Europe as they went. Talked about sleeping on a hay bale when the going was getting good, then about eating a meal in a farm house. A weird disconnect because they were fighting the whole way - probably part out of the need to get around censors and partly a psychological compartmentalization.
I know that he went through some satellite work/concentration camps, from my research, but other than these letters, he never spoke about serving or the war. I always read it as duty, and shared experience with fellow vets in the community, but never story fodder.
Wow! The officer must have been Major Stones. Thanks hennie pennie!
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My father-in-law was captured at the Battle of the Bulge. He never spoke much about it except that the movie about it was pretty accurate, but there was a lot more snow.
I guess its partly the old saw - “those who know the least talk the most” - but I guess also a lot of what went on was pretty traumatic.
Most of the men who joined Queen Victoria’s army did so because it was better than starving in the gutter. Discipline and conditions were brutally harsh in those days and they only earned a shilling a day (or 1/20th of a pound, and even then after stoppages it was more like sixpence or half a shilling).
Having said that, the US Civil War was fought be citizen’s armies as well, and the home population suffered from the devastation that was wreaked by the the two contesting armies..