East Texan Publishes WWII Diary - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/01/09-Longview

East Texan Publishes WWII Diary

64 years after he was held in a Nazi POW camp, an East Texas man has put the diary of his experiences in print. 87 year old Freddie Ward of Kilgore kept a log of every single day of his captivity in a World War II Nazi prison camp, so that future generations would not forget.

"My imprisonment was 21 months. Winter months were very cold. We had no heat in the buildings and the food they provided was very poor" Ward said.

His B-17 bomber was shot down over Germany in 1943, he was interred at the notorious Stalag 17, popularized in a 1953 movie, where at the risk of his own life, he kept a diary of everyday of Nazi captivity which he has now published.

"If the Germans had ever picked it up and read it, I probably would have been subject to trial" he said.

He kept an account of Nazi cruelty on everything he could write on, even cigarette papers.

"I hoped that the manuscript would survive even if I didn't" said Ward.

They suffered malnutrition, disease and cruel treatment, things ward wants generations to learn from.

"We suffered from hunger and from cold" he said.

His diary will live on as a testament to the strength of the human will to survive.

"I certainly hope that this generation coming on would read this book and know what the conditions actually were. Really, what I'd hoped for is the story would not be lost" Ward says.   

Ward's publication, titled "Stalag 17-b Diary", is in limited printing and can be bought through his Kilgore church Highland Park Assembly of God.

Bob Hallmark, Reporting

bhallmark@kltv.com

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