Monday, January 5, 2009

Daughter of Aliceville Guard Reviews Book

This is what downtown Aliceville looked like when twenty-year-old Stanley Pendrak arrived in May 1943 to help guard German POWs. Stan was a native of New York state who, before World War II, had never left the northern town where he was born.

As an army sergeant at Camp Aliceville, Stan was in a company that escorted POWs from the train in June 1943. He worked in the camp mess hall as first cook until late in the war.

One day, Jeanne Holliday took a break from her job at the Aliceville Hotel beauty shop to get a cup of coffee. "I just followed her," Stan told me in an interview. "I started talking to her and invited her to the bowling alley. We just went together from that."

After the war, Stan and Jeanne made their home in Aliceville and raised their family there. This week, I was delighted to discover a review of Guests Behind the Barbed Wire written by the Pendraks' daughter for She writes that, as a child, she was sheltered enough not to be greatly aware of the German POW story unfolding around her. She also notes that, when her father passed away in October 2007, he was the last living Aliceville resident who had served at Camp Aliceville.

"I feel so honored to have been raised in a town that truly embodies 'a slice of Americana,'" she writes. She describes her father as a 'misplaced Yankee' who ended up in the South and embraced Aliceville after meeting the love of his life there. She is grateful to have the legacy of her parents' story, as told in Guests, to share with her own grandchildren.

Pendrak's daughter notes that the book has enriched her knowledge of just how special Aliceville was and still is today, " small town that shone brightly through its caring residents, its contribution to the basic values that have made our country great, and service to our nation during 'the war to end all wars.'"
Thanks so much to this proud daughter of Aliceville for sharing her thoughts.