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One Mother's Ordeal

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This is a unique collection of letters and paperwork kept by the mother of Pvt Fred E. Lewis, who was taken POW while serving with the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division. He was in Company H and he and most of his battalion were overrun by German troops on February 23, 1944, in what is known as the "Battle of the Caves." This was near the Anzio Beachhead. Fred was eventually sent to Stalag 7B.


The collection is contained in a small metal and wood box that looks much like an Army footlocker. A list of the better items is as follows:


Western Union telegram stating Fred is MIA

Western Union telegram indicating Fred is now a POW

Original newspaper clippings telling of Fred being MIA and later a POW

Mother's lists of all telephone calls and visitors received upon the news

Mother's list of all correspondence received, as well as the original letters and postcards

Western Union telegrams advising mother that Fred was one of the POWs name in a German radio broadcast

Letter and postcards received from SWR operators who also heard the broadcast

Card received by the War Dept indicating Fred is a POW and to be moved to a permanent camp

Seven postcards and letters written from the POW camps

Two handwritten lists of items to be sent in packages











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Thank you for posting this. In my book "Small Town, Big Sacrifice" I write about Lt. Alfred Bohny who was with Company H of the 157. He was captured the the same day, February 23, 1944 at the battle of the caves which was a very brutal fight. I was not able to confirm one story that after the men came out of the caves to surrender the Germans killed the wounded. In my book I do details what the men went through after being captured, paraded through Rome, and where they were sent.

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