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Camp near Siegberg Germany?

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Christoph,

 

I will not be able to finish this, but at least I can write for a couple of minutes.

 

I am looking at my send messages and I see them after the 24th. They are on the 25th, 26th, and 27th. I must be using the wrong address?

 

I will order the documents and for sure I want you to see anything that is useful to you.

 

I read the Ray R. info quite some time ago and I believe I had a problem with the dates. Don't want to go look now because then may lose this. Also I wanted to one day see what the history books on Siegburg provided.

 

My requests to St. Louis Archives have to be separated from way tried sending it. It was quicker for me but now have it in my queue to do it the proper way.

 

The wonderful gentleman I mentioned before at the Eisenhower Library is making quite an effort to find out what outfit could have been coming into the fields of Germany - (Two Men and a Jeep). I tried to figure it out as I mentioned the other day, but ran out of time. And even then who knows if I could have figured it out. I believe the 97th came after the 21st of March and I don't believe it would have been the 13th Armored, but who knows. He is also looking to see if there is any possibility debriefing records exist connected to the different outfits that were in Remagen at the time.

 

There is a great possibility that the debriefing records can never be found - and certainly not easily. However, I am prepared to stay looking for them for years to come. Thanks to the suggestion from the other wonderful gentleman at Carlisle I think I have a logical path to go down

 

Never heard from Abbey web site on the English issue. Or on anything.

 

When there is time, I am also working on the cemetery issues.

 

Bye for the moment,

Jean J

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Christoph,

 

I went back and quickly looked at the Ray piece. Thank goodness Marion and everyone went to the effort of preserving and sharing all of that information.

 

This is the part that makes me think it was not their group that Dad so luckily connected with. "At 1725, March 28, 1945, division headquarters rolled across the German border a few miles west of Aachen. A short time later, it passed through the streets of the battered city, which Hitler once said never, would be taken by the Allies.

 

The division's first assignment was taking up defensive. Positions along the western bank of the Rhine River opposite Dusseldorf. Here, 97th doughs captured their first prisoners"

 

It will be fascinating to find out the unit that sent out an advance jeep. Could they have been lost? Just a joke. Dad said he could not believe while hiding outside that in the distance he saw this American vehicle. He waved them down, which it seems to me certainly had a lot of danger associated with it. These men were shocked to find Dad and Gidrie!! I believe somewhere some additional documents will appear.

 

Good night,

Jean J

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Christoph,

 

With your help I contacted the Sister's Abbey by telephone. I decided that waiting for a response by email could take too long.

 

One very sweet Sister tried to help me and then she got another sweet Sister, Joanna, to come to the phone, one who knew a little more English.

 

My conclusion is that if a window of time opens when I can go (and that is sooo difficult) , and if you are on vacation at that time, I may chance it and still go there. It will be a very brief trip. The second Sister referred to Sister Edeltrud Koch as being old. But she is only 84 or 85. That sounds young to me! She also mentioned like you did about the deafness. I said no problem, we can write a question and she can say the answer. I will tape it.

 

I asked what could I bring her from America. She said nothing just the visit. Then I asked what could I bring Sister Koch and she said maybe sweets. She said the community is small - only 15 Sisters.

 

I called the German Embassy back in Washington to see what sweets they suggest. The lady there said maybe Reese's peanut butter cups (apparently some German's like peanut butter and others do not),a Snickers candy bar mixture, peppermint patties and for German ideas she said Milka Chocolato, Ritter Sport, or Ferrero Roche.

 

Joanna was adorable. She tried to tell me I might need a GPS to find the place. I told her not to worry I would come with one.

 

Now the other news is that I called Norton to give him the above update. Plus,..

 

Can't finish, more later.

 

Jean J

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Jean,

That sounds great, Ihope you'll find a window to come!

And I imagine the ambassador's face when you ask him which sweets he suggests for german nuns :drinkin: If you ask me I would recommend the peppermint patties sound good, peanut butter is not every one's cup of tea in Germany and Snickers, Milka and the rest can be bought in every supermarket.

 

If your dad knew that the Ludendorff bridge was under american control and also the direction to Remagen, they could find the way cross-country quiet easy. It's a way of about 20 km bee-line, not so much in peace but in war-times... They would have passed the Siebengebirge ("Seven mountains", but a trained person can climb them all in one day), and these mountains can be seen from the Michaelsberg so theyhad a landmark for their orientation - but if they were hiding in a farm I assume that they have not reached the mountains. After leaving the city of Siegburg most of the way was untilled at that time. There were heavy battles in the Siebengebirge, but on 21 March the area was under american control. I have ordered a book about the last days of the war in this area, I hope we'll find some information about the american units in the area. I have googled a bit, but it seems as if hundreds of escaped prisoners of all nations were hiding in farms at that time all over Europe, and there have been hundreds of (also forced) labourers in the area between Siegburg and the Siebengebirge, many of them working for the farms, and many also from Belgium.

 

Christoph

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Christoph,

 

You are asleep but you won't believe it - I did not get the peppermint patties! Instead I purchased about 10 pounds of other things. That included 3 lb. 6 oz. (1.53 kg) of the peanut butter cups. You must be of the group the Embassy warned me of - that doesn't like peanut butter. But the lady I talked to was of the group that loved them and she seemed hesitant on the peppermint patties. Then I got 5 lbs (2.27 kg) of a combination of Snickers, Milky Way, Butterfingers, Musketeers, Baby Ruth, and Milky Way Midnight (something new to me). And I got 21.2 oz (600 g) of the Ferrero Rocher. I hope no one is diabetic at the Abbey.

 

My husband has already reminded me that since I have a bad back and can not lift much, this could be a big problem - for him!. Also with each of us taking only a carry on, I am wondering what I won't bring where the candy will now be located. If I do not stay very long, I won't need much but I will need some things and he will too.

 

I have not been to Europe this century, and it shows, because shopping was limited in the "olden days." Now my husband has to hide this candy from me. And I need to see the Nun's fast before I figure out where he is going to hide it.

 

What I was going to tell you about Norton: I relayed the 2 Nun stories that you shared with me, and he remembers being told about the Red Cross on the roof of the building at Siegburg when he was there. He heard about it when they first started to get bombed. He has no memory of the Dec. 23rd bombing and we discussed that because of discussing Dryden.

 

I am so excited about the book you are acquiring. I do not know what Dad knew about the Ludendorff bridge on March 15th, he never mentioned that. I do recall he said because of the kind of planes going overhead he knew the Americans were close. I recall that he said they did a lot of hiding during the day. I will one day get out the notes I have on that. But I never heard what group he first met up with.

 

Have no clue as to my schedule yet.

 

Good Morning,

Jean J

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Christoph,

 

I wrote you a fairly long response could I of lost it?

 

Now quickly, Yes, Mallory recently died of Cancer. What a horrible loss for humanity. An absolutely super human being!

 

Eisenhower Library, did fabulous job of research but no luck. Will take many many hrs. and the thing to help them the most is knowing what outfit my Dad met up with in the German Countryside on around the 20th of March.

 

You will never believe it - I called Stolz. Long story made short he does not understand me and I do not understand him. But, after just writing him a letter, I did get a test email from him. When it became obvious that I had no clue what the letters were that he was trying to tell me for his email, I tried telling him mine. That was almost as bad but he did it! If you had gotten my last message, you would have probably called him. Anyhow now I will go and copy over the letter to send to him. I mention your first name but now without your approval I will go ahead and mention your last. I assume you will not mind. Everyone should know about you as a researcher!

 

Candy still unopened. I started craving peanut butter and fortunately had some here. Will be a long week with those sweets here.

 

Bon Voyage!

Jean J

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Christoph,

 

I hope you are enjoying the Sun and Surf!

 

Thanks to you I hit another jackpot! You are truly amazing!! Mr. Stolz sent me information on Dryden and with it came an answer we have both wanted - a little map of where the Cemetery was located! and more! When I return, I will make copies of it. More to follow when you are back. I am thrilled with what all he sent!

 

I still am rushing and hoping to go see the Nun on a preliminary visit.

 

Jean J

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Christoph,

 

Thanks to you Christoph, Mr. Stolz even got me a translator! Can you believe it! And to top it off, the gentleman is often booked by the American war grave commission as an interpreter. I have a lot of questions for him on that topic.

 

Hope you are having a great time!

 

I will let you know the results of my trip. Mr. Norton is anxious to know what happens too. Maybe nothing War wise, but what a privilege to get to meet Sister Koch and the other 14 Sisters.

 

Jean J

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Just when you think it can't get any better...

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Hi Guys!

 

I got back 2 days ago and the trip was wonderful. Before I wrote anything about the trip I wanted to see Marion's No Bridge Too Far. I was too busy before leaving on the trip to see it. I have learned so much about Combat Engineers thanks to this site. My DVD player had a little problem and now will hope to see this tomorrow.

 

I was lucky to find Ernst as an interpreter. He was great. Ernst came through Mr. Stolz that Christoph had referred me to. The Sister was adorable! I learned some things about the Camp but she was kept completely away from the Allies. She never saw my Dad or any one.

 

The Dr. for the German's was not the same as for the Allies. Their Dr. was SS. The Allied Dr. she said was Polish (not Russian.) She did not seem to know or understand anything about red pills.

 

More to follow, and wonder how sunburned/tanned Christoph is.

Jean J

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Woohoo! Jumping up and down here with you! I am so excited and happy for you, woman!!!

 

:bluejumper: :bluejumper: :bluejumper: :bluejumper: :bluejumper:

 

:clappin2:

 

:huggybears:

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Marion,

 

I am looking at your video No Bridge Too Far and had to stop it to tell you IT IS AWESOME! I had no idea that you had created such a spectacular production! I do not want it to end! Not only am I stunned at the contents but the quality of it is amazing!

 

I am going to order several copies of it to send to people that also have your passion for honoring WW2 history and the people who were part of it!

 

I can hardly wait to finish looking at it!

 

Thank you for all you do for us!

 

Jean J

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Well, holy cow Jean. I can't thank you enough. Saw this post and was so overwhelmed by your enthusiasm. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Now, can I ask a favor from ya? Since you obviously loved it, would you be willing to add a review on Amazon.com? If so, you can find the link here:

 

http://www.amazon.com/No-Bridge-Too-Far-Part/dp/B003V5WM70/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343056962&sr=8-1&keywords=No+bridge+too+far

 

Thanks so much. Really appreciate your very kind comments.

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Marion,

 

That is so funny, because I wanted to tell you that others need to know about it! I wondered if they had a copy of it in the WW2 Museums Bookstore, or in any of the other War Museums. It is Outstanding and I did not want the first disc to end. I am holding off on seeing the 2nd because I do not want that to end either. It is absolutely a First Rate Magnificent production! And,of course, I will tell Amazon and others that too!

 

More to follow,

Jean J

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I returned this morning from Croatia, and it was wonderful again! But it it is to be regretted that I was there while Jean's trip to Germany! I hope you'll write more about it!

 

I found a letter of the NARA in my postbox with the red cross report about the hospital! While the visit in May 1944 there were inly two Americans in the hospital, George Fulton and Robert Kritzner. The name of the head physician is also mentioned: Oberstabsarzt (head surgeon major?) Dr. Smeeds - is this the name you have been looking for, Jean? Attached the two main pages.

 

I also got an answer of the archbishop's archive in Cologne. They have about 30 files about the hospital in the abbey, mst of them can be looked at at the archive in Cologne, only 9 files with personal personnel data are confidential. There are also two cassettes of 1991 with reminiscences of former inmates of the hospital which will be digitizes this month and then they are also accessible.

 

Christoph

ResLaz_Siegburg_report.pdf

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Hooray Hooray! You are back Christoph! It was really sad with you not there when we were there! The next visit, you are the priority, and your schedule is what we should start with first!

 

Now before I say anything else, I just finished my Amazon review on Marion's production. I would not allow myself to visit this website until I had done so. The DVD is absolutely fantastic! Next on my to do list is to order more copies of it. My To Do list is actually frightening.

 

Christoph you did not give many details from your vacation but you sure got into your Siegburg research mode fast! I hope you had plenty of sun. Your Siegburg weather was wonderfully cool and it did rain and was overcast a lot. But we loved that. Germany looked beautiful with all of the flowers blooming everywhere, everything was so clean and tidy, and there appeared to be no pollution. The drivers of cars and trucks were excellent and we never saw an accident anywhere.

 

Our hope is to come back maybe as early as late September based on your schedule as well. Sister E. Koch is adorable! She seems to be in good health and had the energy to talk for long periods of time. Sister Joanna was terrific too and between the 2 of them and our interpreter, Ernst, we had no difficulties.

 

I gave Sister E. Koch the small pictures of the Abbey that I brought with us, and that we took sometime in the late 1980's. She was thrilled to have them. So what we plan to bring next time is a lot more of the photos in 8 x 10 size plus some large aerial views that we have already experimented with printing. The Sister can show us what area was the German Hospital portion and what areas she knew and their function.

 

Since our 1980's trip (and the photos) the Abbey has stuccoed over what was once all stone. It also appears that steps were removed from the back of one side of the building. You will see this when we compare the current structure to these old photos. I will make a set for you. I also want to ask Mr. Norton to make a copy of the photos he took on his trip to Siegburg which was maybe a year or 2 before we went in the 80's.

 

What you sent is fascinating Christoph! This report was in May of 1944 before D Day on Normandy. I have to go back to the recording from our visit, which I have put in the queue, but the Dr. for the German side had a name that started with S. So it was probably this Dr. Smeeds. Sister E. Koch said he was SS. She also said her older brother was SS too.

 

More to follow, afraid I will lose this, Hooray Christoph is back!

 

Jean J

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Christoph,

 

Your getting me in touch with Mr. Stolz was incredible. In next couple of days I will scan his little drawing which has the map of where Dryden and the others were buried. What a shame that Mr. Stolz was in hospital and now in recovery he said that would take several months. I hope he will be okay!

 

Sister E. Koch said the Russian Dr. was not Russian but Polish! There is a Polish Dr. mentioned in the Dryden paperwork and that must be who they thought was a Russian Dr; and he was still there after the War was over.

 

Sister E. Koch said that the Cook would never of told my Dad and the Allies to take down the Christmas tree. She was in disbelief when I told her the story about the Cook. She said It had to be the SS German Dr. who maybe told the cook. I think she said 31 wounded Germans in the hospital were killed in that bombing Dec. 28th. It must have been horrific! Dad was still talking about it in a Jan. 3rd Vmail.

 

Mr. Norton never knew of a Christmas tree. So now I know the tree story was from up in the Allied section of the Hospital. Mr. Norton did not realize there was an Allied Hospital up there. He realizes now that he never saw my Dad at night - it was always during the day. Mr. Norton had his leg surgery done by a German Dr. behind the front lines and before coming to Siegburg. And the Polish Dr. came to see them in the Barracks.

 

So Dad slept with the Allies in the Allied portion of the Hospital up above and not down in the barracks where Norton was. .And Walter Brinegar was handled up at the Allied Hospital and not down below in the Barracks. And it was my Dad who told him to be careful of his language. All the other men that were up at the hospital were too sick. They were too sick to qualify to go down the hill to the Barracks section or to get moved on to another camp. And because there was only room for so many at the Allied hospital section and even German section had limits of maybe 125 to 150 men? at some point they moved you on to a different camp. Wow, finally thanks to Norton, the Sister,You - Christoph, Walter, and Dad I am getting a full picture of what was happening!

 

And when I asked Norton about inspections - he could not imagine such a thing - so now we know the inspections were not done at the barracks but up at the hospital. It will be interesting to see if from Dad's documents I can figure out an approximate date an inspection occurred at the hospital and then see if there is official documentation for that inspection. Your newly sent documentation shows they had instpections!

 

No luck on debriefing info. Had Eisenhower Museum and First Division Research Library both see if there was anything. The answer was no. Thus my conclusion is that he was not rescued by the First Division.

 

I have gotten lots of the Newsletters from the 78th Division, so kind for someone to send them to me, and maybe there will be some clues there.

 

Found a great researcher Mr. Kleemann in Remagen, he works at the tourist office. He was fantastic! I think I could live in Remagen. It was such an idyllic town. What a story with the bridge crossing and loved the Museum and the plaques outside. Those 78th Division newsletters have pictures of some of the Veterans returning to celebrate putting the plaque up to recognize their efforts.

 

Made it up to the Hurtgen Forest and saw the Museum and also the home that has the WW2 medical hospital in its basement. I am so glad that was preserved. It would be hard to envision such a thing. I do not know if you know Mr. Esser but he is another great human being who tries to help all of us, both German and Allies, locate information from up in that area.

 

I am so anxious to see what you find from the Cologne documents.

 

Oh I left the candy with the 2 Sisters and the Mother - but I Confess I did eat some.

 

Good night!

Jean J

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Hello Christoph!

 

I have just sent you an email and wonder if it worked. It has the Map of the Siegburg Cemetery attached to it.

 

I checked the names you sent me of Fulton, Kritzer, and Reavill and they are not one of the 22 names on list of who was buried in the same cemetery which included Dryden. Oh I hope they lived. They were referred to as all air-men but could have been Army. Maybe I will sent your document to the Marauder fellow.

 

Now I did have a stroke of good luck last night as I read the Jan. 2004, edition of The Flash, the newsletter that was put out by the 78th Division. In it someone was requesting information on Waldbrol, Germany. Once again I do not know how to attach it to here and so I will email it to you until I learn how to handle attachments without depending on my husband who is not here right now.

 

Anyhow, as a reminder, Waldbrol is where Mr. Norton was transported to from Siegburg. I will have to find editions after Jan. 2004 to see if anyone responded.

 

Also the First Division Museum Research sent me many pages on what the First Division was doing during the period Dad would have escaped, and there is no mention of escapees. If you want me to, I will send you that information

 

Bye for the moment,

JJ

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Christoph,

 

I did not get a chance to tell you that the people at the Michaelsburg Abbey were kindly towards us. The one gentleman gave us a brochure that said after the Abbey was bombed Dec. 28, 1944, the Abbey was closed. If you would like, I can find it, and scan it for you.

 

They showed us around a little bit and things have been changed since we were there in the 80's. I have some interior photos from that time. Even then, it was hard for Dad to figure out how the place had been during the War. They told us in 2 years they are going to do a major renovation inside.

 

Sister Edelrud Koch said there was no mortuary there. But Dad said there was and obviously what he did to bury the men could not be done at the Hospital for everyone to see. I wonder now if that area that they are making the liquor in today, was the mortuary.

 

I just wrote to the 2 addresses that the First Div. lady suggested I write.

 

Bye for now,

JJ

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What should I say to our vacation, the weather was sun and dry, we were on a camp ground, or tent 10 meters to the Mediterranean Sea, first bath before breakfast every day… but two days of Bora with a braking tent pole and some ruptures in our tent – the next time we’ll need a new one.

 

Jean, you’re writing about a christmas tree, but I did not find this story, have you sent it to the forum before? After 122 postings I'm loosing the overview.

 

I got the mentioned book about the end of WWII in the Siebengebirge now. It’s quiet interesting, but written from a german point of view, with some quotes of civil contemporary witnesses, unit numbers etc. are only rarely mentioned. American prisoners are not refered.

 

You have mentioned commander McNair. Which McNair was it? I first thought Lesley McNair, but he was already dead at that time, commander “Buck” McNair was Canadian... Maybe this could be a way to find the unit who picked them up.

Thank you for the map. It is the Nordfriedhof of which I had posted some photos here. I'll have to go there again and look for the marked place. It seems as if John H Reavill survived the wa, worked as leather merchand and died in Nottigham in 1996, following to the London Gazette which has published several information about him over the years - in 1943 that he got the Distinguished Flying Medal and finally in 1997 the notice about his death.

 

Waldbröl is not so far from here, but I don't have information concerning the fights there. Ley was not only a war criminal but also a notorious drinker, known as "Reichstrunkenbold" (Imperial boozer), and he called his daughter "Lore"!

 

I see in the background another mail from you, Jean! Of course I'd like to see what Mr Stolz sent! Shall I publish it here if you have problems to do so?

 

There have been several changes at the Abbey made while the reconstruction after the war for different reasons, for example because they found the grave of the founder of the abbey St Anno.

 

Christoph

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Christoph,

 

Your vacation sounds great! Lots of adventure, and oh wow, to be so close to the Sea. Where you live is so charming - I love the little center square area. I do not remember that at all from the 1980's but maybe we just did not go there.

 

Yes, me too, I need to go back and reread each thing you sent and be sure I followed up on everything. I guess I did not tell you the Christmas tree story. It is short. They were allowed to have a Christmas tree, up at the hospital, not in barracks because Norton did not know about it. The bombing was so horrible that the cook came in furious and made them take it down. My Mom remembers the story too.

 

Mc Nair was a mistake in my trying to recall who Dad had mentioned. You are right he was dead - would have been a real miracle if it had been him. I am continuing that search by researching but also I am in process of cleaning out my storage unit - maybe there I can find some more of my old notes.

 

When I see you in Siegburg, is there a place I can purchase the book about Siebengebirge. No I will not have learned German by then. Actually, if I started right now, I could not learn it in my lifetime. It is very difficult to pronounce so many of the sounds. I am still struggling with the Good Night or Good Morning in German.

 

Gad the news on Reavil is exciting! Fantastic! He lived! Amazing! How I wish my Dad was alive to hear each of these new discoveries! Do you suppose he ever told his family or the outfit he was in, about his Siegburg experiences. I am sending Mr. Norton a copy of what you recently sent me on these guys plus a copy of what you wrote about it on here.

 

I sent the Marauder organization your news on those 3 men and maybe they will know something about the 2 Americans. Maybe they will say they were Army and not Air Force. Who knows.

 

I am also going to mail to Mr. Norton (I wish he had email) the 78th Division Waldbrol request and your comments about it as well. And then I have to unearth the 78th Div. newsletters from after that date and then I have to review them.

 

I do not understand about the grave of St. Anno. Was it under the building?

 

I need to go back to your earlier post to see Nordfriedhof photos. Because Stolz is ill I can not ask him any questions at this time. That might have been a stroke of good luck for him.

 

You should be asleep. And I am working away so I can justify taking a little time off so I can see the last show in a new series of "Dallas." JR is back.

 

Gosh so much more to write about. I should keep a list of what I still need to share.

 

JJ

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