I read a few months ago in one of the military history publications an article about Europe’s version of the death march. The term death march when applied to World War II is generally understood to be Bridge Over the River Kwai stuff and Bataan. But the European theatre did have its death march and Joe Moser was in along with about 10,000 other Allied flyers. In late January they were marched out of Stalag Luft III for 65 miles in minus 28 degree snow to the city of Spremberg. A number of them didn’t make it. Joe almost didn’t. While he had regained about half of the weight he lost in Buchenwald, he was still undernourished and weak from that ordeal. I’ll let you read the story but leave it to say that Joe remains hugely grateful to his two American roommates who risked their own lives to save his.
I tried to imagine and convey to you the misery of those six days on the dark, bitter roads of eastern Germany. I know that I can neither imagine it nor can I summon up the words to describe the bone-gripping cold, hunger, exhaustion and overall misery. I hope your imagination is stimulated to at least try to understand what these young men endured. I can think of no better way to honor them now.