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Once, a POW Sent Thanks to His American Captor

May 21, 2004

The following is excerpted from a letter sent by a World War II German prisoner of war to Lt. Frederick Lyon Dalton, an American who oversaw detainees assigned to work in an officer's mess in France. Dalton died in 1987, and his family found the letter Saturday among his military records. The original spellings and grammar have been retained. The POW's signature was illegible.

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Officers Mess Camp de Satory

Versailles 8 January 1946

Dear sir,

It is my wish to thank you for your fair and sincer position opposite me and all the other boys , I will never forget this. You may imagine that we have an open heart for eVRY kindness we receive during our time as POW, and that former emnemie people which show that position and beheaving you did will be noticed as the only way for the future of a new rebuilding of the common life all over the world. I shall not cease to put in all my influence to my boys and evrybody in realising that point of view, because I know that the peace of the world insist not only on money but also on human feelings. Sometimes it is not easy to do this work over here as a "life body" second class and feel the hate ... of the surrounding people, however one can understand realizing that 6 year war with all the consquenzes. But shouldn't the human civilized nature be able to get away at last from the usual conception before and after a war? It is the duty of the defeated people to show its best will, that's why many of the Officers in my Outfit entered voluntary working, proofing by that way that "even an German Officer" is good enough to do evry work without behaving himself as a proud and stiff fellow who can only click the heels.... We all remarked quite well the satification of many of our old guests, as they noticed we were officers who served the food as common waiters, and ones I told the former Lt. Corley why we did that job, and I think you will understand it. We don't care about and let them have their joy of Humiliated German officers.

I don't know when the time will come to go home. Anyway we hope the best.... I am glad your time ... came to a finish and you will join shortly the people you like. Let me send you my best wishes for your future.

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