A Familiar Accent

Arriving at Stalag Luft III

"Beautiful because it was home."

“We left off there at Stalag III. This was about the 7th or the 8th of June. We went down the 30th of May. This is the 7th or 8th of June and we were standing there by the loading platform and this real mean looking German guard came out hands on his hips and I thought ‘oh boy.’ Because all we had heard at this point was ‘raus mittem’ and ‘maach schnell.’ Raus mittem of course you know what that means – get with it – and mach schnell means hurry. And they were screaming at us and sign language worked so that’s all we had heard up to that point. And he stood there and he said in the most beautiful Brooklynese – beautiful because it was home you know – ‘Jesus Christ fellas, where you guys from?’ He had been raised in Brooklyn and had gone to Germany to visit and got impressed into the army so he was an army soldier.” 

Editor’s Note: In this quote, Hicks describes his arrival to Stalag Luft III. The guard who greeted them was a German American who had been conscripted into the German army while visiting family in Germany.