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WOW! Last WWII POW died 3/30/04-50 YEARS as POW

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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:34 PM
Original message
WOW! Last WWII POW died 3/30/04-50 YEARS as POW
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 06:35 PM by underpants
Just saw this on BBC World News. Mods sorry for all the caps. I'm kicking this a couple of times.

Andres Toma a Hungarian.

Link and story below but apparently he was captured by the Soviets in Leningrad and languished in a Soviet mental institution (yikes) as no one could understand what language he was speaking and no one seemed to try to find out. A Slovak doctor just happened to visit the hospital and recognized the words he was saying. His family had given him up for dead such as the Siege of Leningrad was. Long years of isolation, and probably horrible drugs, caused him to forget his past and name. When returned in '00 80 families showed up to see if he was a relative.

Buried with full military honors and 2,000 people attended.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/World/2004/04/06/410919-ap....

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) - A former Hungarian soldier who spent more than 50 years in Soviet prison camps and psychiatric clinics as a forgotten Second World War prisoner was buried with military honours Tuesday, near his home in eastern Hungary.

Known here as the "last PoW," Toma was captured by Soviet soldiers in 1944 or 1945 when he fought with Hungarian forces allied with Nazi Germany. After becoming separated from other PoWs and apparently suffering from a mental illness, Toma became lost in the Soviet bureaucracy.

His native Hungarian was mistaken for gibberish, and in 1947 he was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in Kotelnich, 700 kilometres east of Moscow.

A Hungarian-speaking Slovak doctor met Toma by chance at the clinic in 1999 and thought he recognized his language. The Hungarian Embassy stepped in to fly Toma back to Budapest in 2000.

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bobbieinok Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. ain't war gra-a-a-nd <sarcasm>
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Ain't it?
:kick:
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
2. That's one of the saddest things I've ever read.
Finally a member of the Axis forces I feel bad for. I thought I'd never see the day.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I doubt he a "member" of the Axis forces
He was a guy who got swept up in it. You fought for your side, actually he fought for his occupiers.

It is sad and sort of "human spirit" thing at the same time.
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Wrong.
Hungary was a loyal Nazi ally. While I respect their efforts to forestall the deportation of their Jewish population, they still alligned themselves with Hitler prior to the war.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Was HE for it?
His age at death tends to tell me that he either was or they ran out of people and started clinbing the age list.

I don't know the story in total but this individuals ordeal is interesting to me.
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
7. KICK
:kick:
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
8. The Soviets were just lovely with POWs
I read way too much WWII history and the pattern on the eastern front is always the same. There is an incredibly fierce battler, the Soviets finally surround the Germans, the Germans surrender . . . and the Germans are marched away, generally to never be seen again.
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Of the 95,000 Germans who surrendered at Stalingrad
Fewer than 5,000 ever saw Germany again. Most of those few were released in 1955. They told amazing stories of starvation, brutality and epidemics.
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theboss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-08-04 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. The Germans and Americans were more than civil to each other
I think the statistic I read once was that if an American was captured by the Japanese, he had a 1 in 4 chance of dying in captivity. If we was captured by the Germans, he had a 99 percent chance of surviving. And Americans followed the Geneva convention to the letter of the law with the Germans, setting up huge prison camps in America and trained the low-level officers in how to run a democratic Germany after the war.

If a German was captured by the Soviets, he probably didn't make it to the prison camp before he was dispatched. And vice versa.
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