American POWs of World War II: Forgotten Men Tell Their Stories

By Tom Bird | Go to book overview

John Fellows

John Fellows was one of the non-Jesus who were taken to Berga-Elster. Concerning his incarceration, John said: "Faith is definitely an important element in survival, no doubt about it. I think that the basic belief that man is not bad, that element that might come of faith, is really important."

I was captured at the Battle of the Bulge. I guess it was on the 18th or 19th of December. We ended up being corralled with, I would guess, 1,000 other Americans captured. Then we walked about 35 miles back to a town, Gepolsteim or Paum, and were put on trains with a large number of other Americans: people from the division that I was in, the 106th, plus the 28th Division had a large number. We finally unloaded after seven days and nights at Bad Orb near Frankfurt. We arrived sometime around the 27th or 28th of December. We were in barracks 23. There was no question in my recollection that they segregated the Jews when they checked us in by looking at our dog tags, which identified what religion we were. They had C on for Catholic, P for Protestant, H for Hebrew. But we didn't think too much of the fact that they segregated the Jews, although we had heard that Germany was certainly anti-Semitic. But I don't think we had heard anything about the death camps.

So they segregated all the Jews, about 120 men, and they put them in another barracks. There were innumerable barracks at Bad Orb, and in addition to the American units, there were Russians in separate compounds. There were also some other nationalities that they had segregated and put in separate compounds. There were virtually no work details for

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