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September 18, 2013

WWII POW recalls capture, German Stalag Luft 1

(Continued)

“The Germans left us pretty much alone.”

A small library filled with novels and room for exercise helped the prisoners pass the time.

“We had 10 or 11 people living in a small room,” Munn said.

FOOD GREW SCARCE

The men would get a weekly delivery of food that included a Red Cross box filled with five packs of cigarettes, bars of soap, and a can each of Spam, dried milk and cheese. 

The only vegetables were the occasional potatoes and cabbages the Germans provided. 

As the war drew to a close, the food came less often, and the box meant to feed one man had to be shared among three.

“Towards the end of the war, the train traffic had just about been destroyed,” Munn said.

A small stove fueled with coal bricks was tough to cook on, he said.

“We took turns as a cook. We’d be a cook a week at a time,” he said. “The guys would come up with these pretty outlandish recipes. 

“Some of them were pretty good. “

SLANTED WAR NEWS

The Germans would count the prisoners every morning and hand them a sheet describing the latest war news.

“It was always in the German favor,” Munn said.

But the prisoners listened to a hidden radio and got news from the BBC.

“It was fun to see the contrast in how the Germans reported the news,” he said. “They would put a victorious slant on the day’s activities.”

Released after the German surrender, the prisoners were flown to France and then home.

“I remember for years I carried the thought that no one’s going to escape the war,” Munn said, referring to all the scars and memories it created.

FAMILY TRADITION

Munn and his wife, Patricia, wed soon after he returned home, bringing up 11 children as they moved around the country to Hawaii, California and Texas. He attended college and, in 1949, rejoined the Air Force. 

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