Chapter 3 Posted

April 6, 2007 at 6:27 am (429th Fighter Squadron, 474th Fighter Group, Buchenwald, Fighter Pilot, French Underground, Joe Moser, P-38, Stalag Luft III)

This chapter deals with what happened to Joe after he was captured by the Germans. His initial interrogation by a Gestapo officer, his night in the cellar in Marchefroy. When written like this it looks uneventful, but I have tried to capture in this the fear and mental strain that he underwent in these first early hours of his ordeal. I don’t think I can fully capture the forty three years of torture he experienced as a result of these first three hours. It has become very clear to me that much of the pain Joe carried with him all these years had to do with his certainty of the fate of the French people he believed were impacted, first by his crash, and then by their attempts to help him escape.

I am so very grateful, once again to Remco Immerzeel for uncovering fascinating details about what happened during these hours and also the fate of those who tried to help Joe. Suffice it to say here that Joe was incredibly relieved in 1988 when he first found out about some of this. But thanks to Remco, lately he has been finding out even more. And it is quite remarkable. For that, you will have to stay tuned to chapter 4.

Once again, please, if you are visiting this site, please comment on the chapters. If you are going to lurk, at least be active!



  1. Remco IMMERZEEL said,

    Hello Gerald,
    Excellent story.
    I’m not sure Joe was interrogated by Gestapo while in Marchefroy, I’d rather think it was a Wehrmacht officer from the Berchères Kommandantur. Joe was locked in a cellar at Marchefroy, precisely because the Gestapo hadn’t arrived yet. The reason why he was not taken to Berchères was because the cells in Bercheres were already full after the hostages were taken there.
    I don’t know whether the SD came from Fresnes to bring Joe there or if he was taken by Wehrmacht and handed over. I’ll double check with the Vermeulens.

  2. gbaron said,

    Excellent info Remco. Whatever you can help with this would be great. How many hostages were taken? How far is Bercheres? Why were Francois and the mayor put in the cellar–because the cells were full?

    This is very helpful having you check it out.

    I must tell you that right now it looks like the plans for the documentary this summer are off. I haven’t talked to Joe about it yet but I am meeting with Joe’s cousin Frank–who is providing the money for expenses for this. I will see him tonight and will get back to you about what I find out.

  3. Remco IMMERZEEL said,

    Hello Gerald, I will be able to tell you more about this next week when I drive to Normandy and send the info on your email. Actually I don’t think we should use the term “hostage” to qualify those who were arrested. It is true that the Germans said they would shoot those who helped Joe, but in this case, this was to scare people. The population knew that several people had been shot in different affairs at other vilages, so a single threat was more than enough to dissuade the bravest. In fact those who were arrested were either the men who got caught red-handed (running with Joe to the forest for example) or because they were in the same field or related to those who escaped. In fact they were all suspects, rather than hostages and they were all released except the two in Marchefroy.
    Bercheres is the village next to Les Gatines, the Kommandantur was at the Chateau. It was not a prison, so they probably only had a room or two for suspects and had to lock them up elsewhere after interrogation.

  4. Ted Christie said,


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