I saw a prisoner of war name from Omaha, NB one day so I wrote this guy a letter if he would please look up Bob Krager for me cause I didn't have his address. We were corresponding for a while and then that was the end of it. I got a letter back from this guy saying that he had married and had passed away.
I guess I am the only one left. We were in the prison camp eleven months. We got out when Italy capitulated. One morning when we woke up and by the front gate there was shooting going on - machine gun fire, rifles and a guard up on a wall hollered "Tenesce Vences" that means the “Germans are coming” they were coming to take us to Germany to transfer us. We went out the back way. I would very much like to find out how many guys made it back to the front lines. There must have been a thousand guys in the camp - I think there were 8 huge barracks.
The first two days after we escaped we headed for the mountains - it was inland - I could remember that from school. The mountain range runs down the center of Italy and we traveled, by night those first two days, - I told Bob we can't travel by night - we're going to bump into an outpost or something and get picked up and taken to Germany. So we started traveling by day-for 46 days.
I'm of polish descent and I could speak Polish but that didn't help. But I did learn an awful lot of Italian in camp and we got by. I'm naturally dark complectioned and I wasn't questioned ever. I had occasion to use the Italian language too, I had to.
There was a Jerry patrol we bumped into one day. I bluffed my way out of that. We were in a vineyard eating grapes and I told Bob there's a bunch of Jerrys coming on patrol or something - just hang low here and let me go talk to them. Bob couldn't speak Italian or any foreign language. I had it all set in my mind this guy is German and doesn't speak any better Italian than I do. He said to me "Bon Jorno" and I said "Bon Jorno' he asked "corporal Distante~- he didn’t use the word distant something which I surmised he meant and he named a village or town and I said "Poco Distante qui". He said "Gracias" and I said "Prago" and he left and I left, but I left faster than he did cause it was down hill. We found our way to Campo Basso – that’s about directly across from Naples but on the opposite shore. That was the