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  World War II Honor Roll

Daniel J. Kaas
 

Date of induction-September 2, 1941
Branch of service-Infantry; Ordnance
Trained at Fort Meade, Maryland; Camp Wheeler, Georgia; Fort Slocum, New York; Fort Hamilton, New York; Camp Gruber, Oklahoma; Aberdeen, Maryland
Date of Embarkation-April 6, 1942; November 24, 1944
Served in European Theatre
Engagements-Battle of Bulge
Medals Earned - Prisoner of War; European Theatre Ribbon;
 World War II Victory; Army of Occupation
Discharge Station-Fort Meade, Maryland
Returned to States-February 13, 1943; May 28, 1945
Discharged-October 27, 1945
Rank-Tech sergeant
Served-50 months German
Prisoner of War 4 months
Present occupation-Farming and Trucking
 


Daniel J. Kaas': The story of my prisoner of war life

"Friday, Jan. 5, 1945  Gamishine, Alsace Lorraine. Captured around 12 o'clock, taken across Rhine River to Tripsnett, Germany, strafed by our own P47 planes and artillery fire. Tough traveling. We were carrying one wounded boy on a blanket which I carried all through my traveling in Germany. I now have it at home.

After we crossed the Rhine we had to carry two dead Germans. They weren't nice to look at. The troops that captured us took my knives and most everything I had. After we crossed the Rhine we took the wounded to a field hospital and left them, and we stayed in an old school house the first night. The second night they put us in a dungeon under the school house. We were sleeping on top of one another. Some of the men were questioned here. We were all searched again. We had no food all day the 5th and on the 6'1' they gave us a 6'h of a loaf of bread and water.

Jan. 7, 1945 Sunday 0600 we started out on our march to our first camp which was to be near Baden, Germany, about 16 miles. The snow was falling and it was bad walking. In Baden we got hot coffee and a small cake of cheese.

Jan. 8, 1945 0800. Hot coffee and bread, noon meal. Soup, the first hot meal in 4 days, Russian style soup. Tasted darn good. After we ate we started to march to Gernslock Which was 16 miles, we arrived there at about 2000. Slept in R.R. station. Had to sit up as there wasn't enough room for all of us to lie down.

Jan 9, 1945 0800 Got on train and rode til midnight, getting off here at Ludwigsburg, cold as could be. We walked for two hours looking for the camp, which was to be Stalag V A. Slept in a big stable. Jim McCoy and I slept trying to keep warm. I had my blanket and he had his overcoat and I didn't have my overcoat. It was very cold. Next day they gave us three blankets apiece which was Jan. 10, 1945. We had coffee and bread to eat.

Thursday Jan. 11, 1945 We had watery soup two meals and one loaf of bread for 6 men, which had to last all day. We also signed our Red Cross cards to send home. That is what worried me and most of the other boys and that was to let our mothers know we were well. The weather was cold as the devil. No heat in the stable. Was searched again but didn't take anything but our money.

Jan. 12, 1945 Friday Hot coffee for breakfast and out first sugar, one teaspoon or a little more per man per day, but we still lived. Are living in hopes of getting our Red Cross boxes today. The guards treated us well so far. In bad need of a shave. You should see me a whole 8 days and no shave or wash. The men's morale is good, dreaming and talking about home and good things to eat, and how I will eat if I get back somewheres, and can get the eats. Jim and I are still together. We have beds now; they are some boards with wire nailed on. Most of them are two high.

Got word our R.C. boxes are here, the men are jumping up and down. Can't blame them if they are as hungry as I am. S 0 U P for dinner and it was sure darn good, nothing like fried chicken Mother makes, but it was something to eat. Thank God. All I have to do is wait for supper. Soup for supper and it was good, but more water than at dinner. No R.C. boxes yet. I guess the Jerries want to keep them, the lying devils. More men came in.

Sat. Jan 13, 1945. Coffee for breakfast. No sugar or jam. We were to have jam every morning but haven't sen any yet. Dinner soup, the best we had yet. They took one of our blankets which lets two and in this cold weather. They are very thin blankets but I still have my G.I. blankets. Supper soup.

Jan 14, 1945. Had Mass in our room. Hot coffee and jam for breakfast, the first jam we had. Still no R.C. boxes. McCoy was shipped out. Dinner, sauerkraut and I never did like the darn stuff. I hope they don't serve that kind of meal too often. Supper, one bite of meat (or 2 ozs.) and some kind of mouth wash (soup).

Monday Jan. 15, 1945. Got up at 6:45 had bread, sugar and ˝ tablespoon of jam, and a little of what they call coffee. We only had about half the amount of jam we had yesterday or about a half spoon full. Dinner, soup made out of turnips. Got our R.C. boxes today. 4 men to a box. We had stew, cheese and cocoa for a drink. We got cigarettes, 5pks. prunes and sugar. It sure tasted good. Good old American food. We are going to have cocoa and corned beef for supper and their soup.

Tuesday Jan 16, 1945. Breakfast, their bread, coffee and R.C. butter, jam and sardines. That Red Cross box is sure nice, but almost gone. I am trying to heat some water with a paper fire, so that I can shave for the first time in 12 days. Am going to use a knife. Well one of the fellows shaved me. We started to use the knife but it was not sharp enough. Found a box with a razor but it was still some operation. Hurt like hell, but feels good to have them off. Washed in ice cold water. That takes the sleep out of your eyes and I'm not kidding. Dinner, soup, sardines, butter, bread and snow cream flavored with cocoa.

Wed. Jan 17, 1945. Breakfast bread, butter and coffee. Dinner, potatoes boiled with the jackets on. They were really good, sauerkraut soup which was a lot better than what we had on Sunday. Supper, a little bite of cheese.

We are supposed to move tomorrow. It is still six men to a loaf of bread each day.

Jan 18, 1945. Coffee and bread for breakfast. Dinner, soup the best we had yet.

Jan 19, 1945 We got on the train and rode for 5 days. We got off the train Jan 24, sure was glad to get off We went to Hammelburg which was around 150 to 200 miles all in 5 days so you can guess how the trains operated. They had 40 of us in one of their small box cars and we didn't have mush room. They haul 40 men or 8 horses in them. We had some straw on the floor that was a big help, because it was awful cold. They gave us a little bread and cheese for the whole trip. It lasted 3 days, and we had no water the entire trip. We ate snow when we could get off the train which wasn't very often. We arrived at Stalag XIII C near Hammelburg at dinner time and they gave us hot tea and barley soup. It was really good to us as it was awful cold and snowing outside. We had to walk from Hammelburg after we got off the train to the camp which was about 4 miles. A lot of us had frozen feet, mine aren't too bad I hope. The guards treat us pretty good here and the eats seem to be better. The place is crowded. Ishee was shipped to another camp.

Jan 24 to 28, 1945. Just lying around killing time and hoping for the war to end. Too weak to work much. Wrote my first letter home the 27 of Jan. The first I have written for almost a month. Hope to get a R.C. box soon.

Jan 29, 1945. Tea, bread and jam for breakfast. Dinner, barley soup, it was good even if they did only pull the meat through it. I wouldn't want to feed it to anything but pigs now, but at the time it was darn good. I also got an overcoat, French army style, a pair of wooden shoes, that was alright as I would then take my rubber shoe packs off. My feet wasn't doing so good in them all the time. I also got a pair of underwear, but they were all rags so I never did wear them. They gave me 2 rags to use as socks, that is what the Jerry guards wrap their feet in.

There isn't much to do, read the Bible and say my Rosary, and wait for them to call us out to work. I should be a good wood cutter by the time I get out of this joint. I help to cut the wood and then steal it so we can keep a little warm. If a good bunch of boys went out we could sneak in enough wood to keep our home fire burning for two days. We had a big stove, they were big hearted. Some of the boys were afraid they would get caught bringing in wood but they were the first ones at the stove when the fire was made. That is the way some Americans act even I a place like that. Some of them even stole other fellows' Red Cross stuff. He was a pretty low guy whoever done it. That little food was all we had to keep us going, and every one had the same. They caught one guy and after the boys worked him over he wasn't too pretty to look at. They shaved his head. It sure did shine. Supper. Three small potatoes and a spoon of jam and bread. We still get one loaf of bread for every 6 men.

Jan 30, 1945. Breakfast, tea, get out bread at 10:30. Dinner at 12, Supper at 6, except when air raids are going on, which is often, then they give it to us when they are over. It is warmer outside today, hope the sun comes out today. We only got jam for supper, one spoon full. It doesn't fill up very much.

Jan 31, 1945. The weather is a little warmer. Nothing new, the menu is the same every day almost. I shaved and patched my socks. God how much longer have we got to spend in this place. So this ends one of the longest months in my life, one I shall never forget.

Feb 1-6. Have been sick. Had a bad cold and the G.I.'s. Was on work detail carrying clothing from one building to another. I am so weak I can hardly walk. The food is getting worse. Was issued 9˝ cigarettes. Cut our bread to seven per loaf. I guess they mean to starve us. We are so weak and the morale is getting low, we don't care much what happens.

Feb 8, 1945. Wrote another letter home. Hope they get home. Am still sick, but better than I was.

Feb 9, 1945. Received a Canadian Red Cross box. One box to three men. It sure is a big help. It has meat, milk, raisons, prunes, salmon, sardines and jam. Ten big crackers, spam, corn beef and cheese. Am feeling better. Have written two cards and two letters home so far. One card to Mother and one to Anna Margaret Sayler. I wish spring would soon come.

Feb 14, 1945. Valentine's Day, what a way to spend it. Sure is a beautiful day. Air raid is now on. I helped to close two graves of our boys, thanking God I wasn't one of them yet. Their names I cannot recall. I hope their folks are notified, but I hope they never learn he hell their boys went through. They made us dig another grave so they could bury another boy that had died. Sure was hard to work on the eats they gave us. I didn't know I was so weak. I could hardly lift the shovel, out on shoveling that mud. Barley soup for dinner, just a few ozs. Seven men to a loaf of bread.

Feb 18-23, 1945. Hungry as the devil. Can't get enough to eat. Still cutting wood, and doing odd jobs. Wrote a card to Mother and Marts. The weather is nice. We had to give up a blanket. I still have my G.I. blanket. It was sure a big help to me so far.

Feb 24, 1945. Got another Red Cross box. Two men to each box. It is sure good. We still get a little soup that is fairly good. They didn't open our cans in our Red Cross boxes so we didn't have to hurry and eat everything in one or two days. The reason they open the cans is so that we can't keep the food and then try to escape. They aren't as dumb as they look.

Feb 25, 1945. Sunday, went to Mass and Communion. Had an air raid. They are wearing their siren out blowing it.

Feb 26, 1945. Was on a work detail. Cold and damp outside. Still enjoying the Red Cross box. That is better than a turkey dinner right now. Morale is 100% better. The Germans seem to be treating us better. I guess they think they will soon be in our place. From what we heard, it won't be too long.

March 7, 1945. Received another Red Cross box. Four men to a box. Supposed to get another one Monday.

March 8, 1945. Sunday morning and we are to have an inspection by a German General at 9 o'clock. It is almost that time now. The weather is cold and damp. Starting tomorrow we may get 8 men to a loaf of bread. Things are getting tough all over. I hope we are eating G.I. chow by Easter Sunday. I have a bet of a steak dinner that we will be. I hope to get to Mass and Communion again this Sunday. I did the last three Sundays.

Monday March 13-22, 1945. Went on a strike. They took us to Hammelburg to unload railroad cars and we refused to work. They talked of shooting us, but I guess they decided they better not as out boys were getting close. We could hear the art. Fire several days now. They marched us back to camp and that is the last we heard about working. We received a Red Cross box. They opened everything up so that we had to eat if I guess we made them mad by not working. Eight men to a loaf of bread 3 days this week and seven to a loaf the other 4. We were paid this afternoon five marks and 60 phenigs. Nice spring day. We ate two good messes of spuds that we got with our cigarettes, and had cocoa and raw cabbage that we stole.

March 23, 1945. Received a British Red Cross box. Four men to a box. It is pretty good, but not as good as ours.

March 27, 1945. We are sweating Patton out. They say he is 12 miles from here. I hope it is true. They cut our ration of bread 10 men to a loaf. I was offered 10 dollars for ten cigarettes, but kept them to trade for chow, which we have always been short of. I gave 20 cigarettes for 24 potatoes. Feldhaus and I pool our food together and we make it alright. Keep those wheels rolling Patton.

March 28, 1945. Things are kind of mixed up around here today. The Jerry has his machine guns set up in the fox holes they made us dig. They said tanks were right over the hill. We could hear their guns. About noon the Jerries took off. The camp was ours, but not for long.

March 29. American tanks came into camp, but the Krauts were driving them. They had captured or killed all of the spearhead that drove into camp. We talked to some of our boys they said the main force was only between 40 and sixty miles away. We thought sure the Yanks would get us there, but the new bunch of Jerries that took over the camp decided to march us out. Here Feldhaus and I were split up. I went out the day before he did. We walked to Hammelburg, the boys sure did a good job with the tanks while it lasted. We got to Hammelburg after dark and they put us on 40 and 8s again and we rode to Nurnburg. The trip wasn't too bad. We had good guards. Nurnburg was a beautiful place. Looked like our Air Force took all their planes and loaded them with bombs and dropped them on Nurnburg. We went to a big camp at Nurnburg, the first two nights we slept outside, then it started to rain, so we moved into the tents. How we got in I don't know, but we did. It was cold too.

Wed. April 4, 1945. We marched out of Nurnburg, where to we didn't know. I don't think the Krauts knew for sure. At 12 noon we started, there were between 20 and 30 thousand of us, Americans and British some Serbs. We were only a short distance from camp when 2 P47s strafed and dropped a few bombs on a train near us. Two of out boys

were killed. We took cover in woods. Stayed in barns first night, had marched 24 klms.

April 5, 1945. Large raids on Nurnburg. Made American flag and POW signs out of clothing so our bombers could see it, our P47s were out again. They kept track of us on our whole march.

At Newmarkt, Jerry gave us a little soup and bread. Camped in the woods in rain 2nd night, "rough". Went through Belingreis, at Berchine we received a Red Cross box and Jerry bread. They were bringing Red Cross boxes to us on trucks. We stayed at Pauloshofen, third and fourth nights, had some soup. We marched to Pondorf, two hour stop. Hot water. That was April 9th. We then went to Sandersdorf, then to Mindelstetten, slept in a church yard that night. Had bread and some spuds we stole. We went to Forcheim, then to Neustadt on the Danube River. The Jerries were all excited the Americans were getting closer and we didn't march very fast. After we crossed the bridge at Neustadt they blew it up. Our bombers were out every day. Wave after wave of them. We went to Muhlhausen then to Leigenburg where we got another Red Cross box, two men to a box. We slept in a barn the 5th night. We walked to Irlach then to Schweinbach which was 117 klms from Nurnburg then to Pfeffenhausen, at Holtshausen we stayed in barns and got another Red Cross box. Three of us had buddied up. Sgt. Roles, Helmonick and myself. I carried about a half bushel of potatoes and they carried the blankets and Red Cross boxes. We all had a load, but we made out very well. We were eating like kings. Potatoes 3 times a day, what a diet, but I gained weight and got a lot of my strength back.

Friday April 13, 1945. Heard of Pres. Roosevelt's death, couldn't believe it was true, but Jerry said it was true.

April 10-11-12-13 Big raids all over Germany. We walked to Obermunchen, then to Gammelsdorf where we stayed in barns Friday night. 13-14-15 Jerry didn't know where to take us.

Monday April 16, 1945. We headed for Moosburg, we arrived at noon. Big raids on Regensburg and Landshut, we stayed in tents at Moosburg. We were thick as flies in there. At night you couldn't walk around without stepping on someone. We didn't have any work to do here. Just laid around hoping and praying Patton would catch up to us. We got one Red Cross box for every six men. It wasn't much, but it was better than the crap Jerry was feeding us.

April 29, 1945. The Americans were coming. The Jerries most of them had taken off. An American officer was in charge. I went to an outdoor Mass and two P47s came low and buzzed the camp. Jerry opened up with machine guns, but didn't hit them. Then we heard tanks and small arms fire and we knew Patton was coming. It wasn't long until a tank was in our back yard, the best looking piece of machinery I ever saw. At 25 minutes to one Old Glory was flying over Moosburg.

We stayed there until May 8, when they took us to Landshut and there we got on C-47 and headed for France. Landed in the good old U.S.A. May 29, 1945, was home June 1St 1945 for 65 days.

From home I went to Florida for 122 days then back to Aberdeen until Oct. 24 when I went to Ft. Meade for my discharge which I got Oct. 27, 1945. Four years 1 month and 25 days. A long time."

If you knew this individual, and would like to see them remembered in
the next History of Emmitsburg, Please send us any stories or
anecdotes about them to us at: history@emmitsburg.net
 


Ruth Richard's: Emmitsburg During World War II
LtCdr Hillman's: 50 Yard Line Seats for a Show I Would Rather Have Missed

Revolutionary War Honor Roll
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