Stalag-VII-A Moosburg Bavaria
My father was held in a prison camp during World War II. He was an officer and his camp only housed the higher ranks. He never spoke about the war. He was a World War II navigator shot down in Poland and transferred to Stalag-VII-A Moosburg Bavaria. He returned home a broken man with PTSD, never took a bus, drove or flew on a plane again. His disability, like so many vets was untreated for 50 years. He worked as an advertising agent ala Mad Men and drank like Don Draper. Our family crumbled into a dysfunctional maelstrom, as most families do. Literally saved by the Palo Alto VA GRECC Program in his late 60’s, he lived a very good life with my family for his last 25 years.
Patton Liberates The Prison Camp
My mother told me that near the end of the war, his prison camp was abandoned by the Germans. Most of the men had dysentery and were skeletons. Patton liberated the camp, according, to the story I heard and he cried when he saw his officers so very ill, burning up the bunks they slept in to keep warm in the freezing German winter. My father would say verboten when we asked questions, as he learned German while imprisoned. We were told by my mother never to talk about the war.
Holyoke Soldier’s Home Prison Camp
In today’s New York Times front page there is another story of another soldier who never talked of the war. But this World War II soldier, James Leach Miller, lived to be 98. He survived D day the deadliest battle of the war but did not survive his own prison camp, the Holyoke Soldiers Home in Massachusetts. There was no Patton to roar up in tanks and save the 89 soldiers who died in the VA facilities that housed 210 frail older men. 74 were diagnosed with the virus. The state investigation shows there was limited staffing and workers that remained did double shifts. This was before the Pandemic hit. The Times reported that Holyoke had scarce PPE, was understaffed, and put veterans infected together with residents who did not yet have the virus.
Death By A Million VA CUTs
Erin O’Brien an associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts, said Massachusetts folk are outraged. Veterans programs require funding. President Trump has been making radical cuts in VA care and caregiver funding.
Trump Administration Batters The VA
The Trump administration has left the VA as battered as the fleeing Germans left my father’s prison camp. These poor soldiers in their 90’s were left as the Times headline says “to Languish in a Home Ravaged by Illness “with few staff , PPE a raging epidemic and no President Trump coming in to cry at his army’s plight and save them when he saw men who had risked their lives for all of us- and lived on – only to felled by VA cuts.