Bill Sykes' - In Retrospect
Sykes looks back in retrospect at material which has
been published in previous editions of "View from
America", in an attempt to determine whether the
subject matter written then is still applicable in
Article #18A. (May 2009).
When I started to write this current newsletter I decided that the time had come
for me to get away for a while from the never ending worldwide financial disaster
and political stories and concentrate on some other subject, and seeing that
I have not written any personal stories for some time I figured that it was about
time that I did.
Now the question arose as to what on earth was I was going to write about - well
an incoming e-mail solved my problem.
I’m afraid that it’s not a happy subject that I have covered - in
fact it’s a story of untold human misery, violent cruelty, and unbelievable
inhumane treatment of fellow human beings - men, women, and children.
Many people of this world have obviously achieved something that I have been
unable to do and that is to close their mind to events that I witnessed when
I visited a concentration camp, (as World War Two was coming to an end), and
saw for myself the unbelievably cruel and violent acts that the human being is
capable of inflicting upon its own race.
Memories of the past - lest we forget.
Recently I received by e-mail a series of photographs
showing the terrible scenes that had taken place
in a number of concentration camps in Germany prior to
and during World War Two. The photographs opened up stark
memories for me of a visit that I made to Buchenwald
concentration camp in April of 1945.
Sixty five years ago as a member of the British
Parachute Regiment I parachuted into Normandy on the
night of the 5th/6th of June 1944 and due to circumstances
beyond the control of myself and the five
other members of the stick that I landed close to,
it soon became pretty clear that we had landed at
the wrong location and we were in the middle
of the German lines. After thirteen days of trying to
make our way back to where we should have been, we got
ourselves into a situation where we came under heavy
machine gun fire and had the choice of becoming dead
heroes or live prisoners of war, and rightly or
wrongly we chose the second option and became guests
of the German government.
The full story can be found on the www.huddersfield1.co.uk web
site under the title "Bill’s WW2 exploits" (link
at the top, right hand side of this page).
A visit to Buchenwald concentration camp.
As I said in the
previous paragraph I recently received an e-mail which contained photographs
of the victims of the Holocaust and it reminded me of an incident where
I visited a concentration camp at Buchenwald a short
time after the camp had been released by American troops.
As this is more than sixty years ago since those terrible
events occurred I thought that maybe there are still
a few people around who would like to
read about the personal experiences of one person
who not only participated in the Normandy invasion landings
and came out of the incident with his
life and a reasonable degree of sanity, and some
time later visited the notorious Buchenwald concentration
All these years after the event I still have vivid
memories of a visit that I paid to Buchenwald, (a
few days after the camp had been released by American
forces), and the horrors that I saw that day still lingers
on in these aging memory banks.
Some of the information gathered for this news letter
has been gleaned from American and International
media sources, (Including the Internet), and as such
is quoted as accurately as possible. I try to obtain
confirmation on each subject from several outlets,
so the text is a mixture of composite news items
and my personal comments and therefore the reader
must make his/her own judgment as to the reliability
and degree of accuracy of the subjects discussed.
Eric (Bill) Sykes, (Southern California).
We welcome feedback about any of the contents
of these articles. Please send all correspondence