Prisoners: A Novel of World War II

By Meilinger, Phillip S. | Air & Space Power Journal, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

Prisoners: A Novel of World War II


Meilinger, Phillip S., Air & Space Power Journal


Prisoners: A Novel of World War II by Burt Zollo. Academy Chicago Publishers (http://www .acadernychicago.com), 11030 South Langley Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60628, 2003, 275 pages, $22.50 (hardcover).

In the months following the Normandy invasion in June 1944, the German army began its long retreat east. As it did so, an increasing number of German prisoners of war (POW) fell into Allied hands. Because resources were earmarked for Al lied forces prosecuting the war-to end it as quickly as possible and thus save lives-the care of tens of thousands of German POWs became a low priority. Undoubtedly, the fact that many of them suffered and died in captivity gave rise to James Bacque's stunning accusation, appearing in his inflammatory book Other Losses in 1989, that Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower deliberately tried to starve to death and otherwise murder German POWs. Reputable military historians quickly examined Bacque's assertions and concluded, convincingly, that no such policy and no such massacre ever existed. Now comes Burt Zollo, a former US Army soldier who served at one of those POW camps near the end of the war, to write a fictionalized account of such a camp. By doing so, he gives credence to the ridiculous charges of an Allied policy of deliberate starvation.

Zollo's story line is lackluster: "Sandy" Delman, a young American soldier and Jew working at one of the POW camps, is so outraged by the treatment of the Germans that he decides to take action, going straight to lieutenant Colonel Nelson, camp commander, to propose a plan. …

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