WWII Prisoners Of War Reunite

Sunday, October 14th 2007, 9:30 pm
By: News On 6

Veterans of war who survived unspeakable horrors at the hands of the Nazis reunite in Tulsa. They gathered at the Southern Hills Marriot to share stories and remember birthdays and Christmases spent in chains and solitary confinement. The News On 6’s Joshua Brakhage reports the soldiers were tortured to give up information, but learned that leaning on each other was necessary to survive.

"We were all locked up by the Germans over in Poland, said World War II veteran Bob Thompson.

Sixty-three years ago, these men were united in a Nazi prison camp. Now, Six decades later, these World War II warriors meet up in Tulsa. They say the years have not dulled their memories.

"These things, I guess, you'll never forget as long as you live,” said former prisoner of war Joe Barrett.

"We were always short of food, hungry, cold, and of course, under those conditions we found ourselves rather miserable,” added Colonel Jim Kanaya.

The veterans say camaraderie, and their faith in the Allies winning the war got them through almost two years of torment.

It's a bond they've worked to preserve through annual reunions.

"Every time we come to one of these, it seems as if one seems to be better than the other,” said former prisoner of war Joe Barrett.

And, for these men each reunion becomes more precious, because while they survived the hands of torturers, they can't escape the hands of time.

"Of course, each year we lose a few,” said Colonel Jim Kanaya.

"We recognize the men who have died in the past year. I think we've got about 10 or 12 this year,” added former prisoner of war Bob Thompson.

The oldest veteran to make this year’s trip to Tulsa is 95 years old.

"And because of age and infirmities and physical conditions, it's just becoming more difficult for some of us to travel,” said World War II veteran Joe Barrett.

"Eventually, we're gonna hafta quit. We're about to run out of men now. In the beginning, I think they'd have 75 or 80 men. We're down to about 15 now,” said former prisoner of war Bob Thompson.

Younger generations will pass on the stories and the legacy of a mission these men were willing to die for.

The Polish prison camp was liberated by a secret task force led by American General Patton.

Watch the video: WWII Prisoners Of War Reunite