In your recent summer 2013 magazine issue you ran an article about a captive Jewish airman. I, as a former Jewish prisoner of war, cannot understand why you picked this individual—perhaps he is a friend or close relationship. It is obvious you failed to do adequate research on Jewish POWs in Nazi Germany before printing this article. I happen to personally know Mr. Horn, and he is a fine gentleman. I did not discuss the article with him.
In his 36 days as a POW, I assure you, he barely had sufficient time to recover from the normal shock of being captured or suffered the loss of freedom, the indignities inflicted by the Germans, the hunger and accompanied loss of weight and much more. If you had done your homework and investigated POWs who did not deny their religion, you could have come away with a decent piece of journalism. For your own information, why don’t you check the website about Berga and see how the Germans gathered American JUDEN and used them as slave labor.
Let it suffice to say that I am very upset at the article and the portrayal of Jewish POWs who did not deny their religion and were incarcerated by the Nazi regime.
Irving S. Schrom
Served as Platoon Leader 3rd Platoon, “C” Company, 423rd Reg., 106th Infantry Div.
Captured and wounded at Battle of the Bulge—was POW Dec. 19, 1944 through April 29, 1945.
Writer Bruce Wolk responds:
In the course of preparing my book, “Stars on My Wings,” I interviewed 14 Jewish POWs. Each man had his own set of experiences and each witnessed his captivity in different ways. No man denied his Jewish faith. No one hid behind a mask, and no one ever denied the experience of another. I interviewed a Jewish POW who was placed in front of a mock firing squad, another who was whipped with a riding crop, some forced to run through gauntlets and others who were sent on brutal forced marches. It is unfair to say that one man in captivity had it better than another in captivity.
What makes Harvey Horn's experience unique is that he was never in captivity and in the end, he actually helped save his guards. He was the only Jewish POW I interviewed who was captured at sea. In his march, three different sets of guards accompanied him. He was always in fear.
As to Berga, it was a terrible, tragic and awful situation. Books and documentaries have been written on Berga. It was clear that in the end the U.S. Government looked the other way. Yet, it was outside of the scope of this article. The writer should also be aware that gentiles as well as Jews were subject to the horrors of Berga. That said, I also interviewed Jewish POWs who claimed they were hardly affected by their captivity as POWs at all.
I appreciate the writer's passion and our nation should always be grateful for his service and sacrifice. The Jewish community, especially, should hold its WWII veterans dear.