Sunday, September 9, 2007

Words from Germany

An e-mail arrived this month from one of the former German POWs who was held in Camp Aliceville during WWII. The e-mail was in English, and his English is on about the same level as my German--readable and understandable, with a few quirks here and there.

Wilhelm wrote that he has been reading Guests Behind the Barbed Wire with great pleasure, while keeping his German to English dictionary to hand. I smiled when I read this, because while writing the book, whenever I wanted to communicate with one of the former POWs, I definitely kept my English to German dictionary to hand.

Wilhelm wrote that Walter, another former POW, has told him he keeps his copy of Guests on his writing table and goes back to it frequently. Wilhelm also expressed the thought that it is a shame so many others of their war comrades have passed away and cannot read the book.

Finally, he wrote that he thinks often about Aliceville and especially about what he calls his "hospitable house," which is the home of a couple named Chuck and Jane who have been his and his family's gracious hosts on several occasions when they have returned for visits and reunions. He also said he thinks often about Mary Bess, whom he describes as "the soul of the museum." (This is the Aliceville Museum in Aliceville, Alabama, which is a wonderful repository for records having to do with Camp Aliceville.)

No comments: