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My Uncle Paul, WW2 Prisoner of War, a Personal Family Experience


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#1 ncsammy

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 04:48 PM

 

My late uncle, Paul P. Levy, was born in 1905.  He was drafted into the Army at age 37 in April, 1942 and arrived in the ETO in November, 1942.  In Feb., 1943 Pfc Levy’s family was notified that he was reported missing in action in in North Africa and one month later they learned that he was a prisoner of the German government.  Uncle Paul spent 28 months in a German P.O.W. camp before being liberated at the end of the war.  Paul was a lifelong bachelor and lived the rest of his life in an apartment with his older bachelor brother.

 

I never had the opportunity to talk to Uncle Paul about his wartime experience before he died in 1961.  However, a short time before Paul’s older bachelor brother died in 1984 he gave me a cigar box filled with a combination of official military records of Paul’s Army experience, some of his very personal items and some of his family’s correspondence with the US military at the time of his capture.  What is interesting is that some of these items were saved by the family at the time Paul was captured and others are POW and other items that Paul kept after he was liberated.  Pictures of some of the items I discussed are shown in the following Photobucket file which you should be able to access by clicking on the following URL while holding down the Control button:

 

https://s832.photobu...206%2019?sort=9

 

A friend of mine who is interested in military history contacted various military archives and provided some confirmation of the dates of his capture and location of the German POW camp.  I would like to donate this package of info to an organization that will keep (and perhaps display) these items as a tribute to my Uncle’s experience.  Can anyone help me to contact an organization that will help to preserve what I consider a very personal family experience?

 

Sam

 

 

 



#2 Rakkasan187

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 05:50 AM

Sam,

 

Try contacting the National POW Museum run by the National Park Service. The museum and study center is located in Andersonville, Georgia.

 

I would recommend that you ask specific questions about donations as there are many museums that once an item is donated, the museum is under no obligation to retain the donation and your Uncle's items could end up somewhere else or may never be displayed. Your connection to a family story is then lost.

 

I don't want to sound negative about this, but this is a common occurrence and why many recommend that you do not donate to a museum...

 

As a museum professional I have to be an advocate for the donor as well as the facility I work for to ensure that they (the donor) understand the implications of releasing items and that there is no guarantee that said items will be displayed or even maintained in the collection. Museums transfer artifacts all the time if it is not specific to that institutions storyline.. I have been working very diligently the past 4 years in moving artifacts from my museum that will never be displayed based on the artifact and my specific storyline to museums that will and have displayed the artifacts I have sent them due to their relevancy with the receiving museums storyline...

 

I like to consider my self one of the curators that genuinely cares about the disposition of items after donation and communication and understanding with the donors is very important so that they will be satisfied with the end result of family heirlooms...

 

Others hopefully will contribute their experiences so that you can base your decision not just by what I have said/recommended..

 

Good luck with your decision..

 

Leigh  



#3 KASTAUFFER

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 07:06 AM

I collect POW material and am glad you are preserving his memory.  I have a lot of POW dogtags, and I have never seen that particular tag before from Villingen. 

 

The 168th Infantry was virtually wiped out as a unit when he was captured. The entire regiment took huge losses.  I have some material from the 168th including a POW diary from a Major who was captured the same day as your Uncle, but held in a different camp. 

 

Even just posting the images and telling the story  of your Uncle Paul on this website will be seen by thousands of people.  

 

Thank you for posting it,

 

Kurt



#4 KASTAUFFER

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 07:13 AM

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#5 ncsammy

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 04:48 AM

Leigh and Kurt,

 

Thank you for the very useful information about my late uncle's POW experience.  I guess the bottom line is that I really can't be sure what any POW museum will do with what I send them.  At this point, if I'm not confident in what will happen, I will hold on to what I have.  Actually, I never asked my two children if they would like to keep this part of our family history.   Thanks again.

 

Sam



#6 Rakkasan187

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 09:11 AM

Sam,

 

I believe you made a very sound decision, and if you have 2 children perhaps you can make scans of all the documents for each child and then you will ensure that they both have part of the family history.

 

The identity tag will be a challenge to see which child would get this item, but I am happy to hear that you are going to ask them..

 

Best regards

 

Leigh 



#7 KASTAUFFER

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 02:14 PM

Happy You are keeping it in the family. I would however keep it all together. Don’t split it up. Find out which person in your family should preserve it for further generations. Splitting it up means history will be lost.

Kurt


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