Tomorrow is my father’s birthday. He died in 2000, but had he lived, he would have been 100 years old. He was born on February 9, 1918, to Finnish immigrants in a lumber camp in Michigan’s heavily forested Upper Peninsula.
I’m dedicating this post to his memory.
The document pictured above, issued by the U.S. War Department, entitled “Amended Instructions Concerning Publicity in Connection with Escaped Prisoners of War, to Include Evaders of Capture in Enemy or Enemy-Occupied Territory and Internees in Neutral Countries,” is dated August 6, 1943.
The document stresses the need for secrecy about information relating to the POW experience, and it lays down guidelines.
It states, “Information about your escape or your evasion from capture would be useful to the enemy and a danger to your friends. It is therefore SECRET.”
Former prisoners, on their repatriation, were required to sign the form.
The poor condition of this copy suggests my dad carried it folded in his pocket or wallet for some time after his return to freedom.
The form instructs servicemen to not disclose, except to certain military personnel, the following information:
(1) The names of those who helped you.
(2) The method by which you escaped for evaded.
(3) The route you followed.
(4) Any other facts concerning your experience.
“You must be particularly on your guard with persons representing the press,” it says, and “give no account of your experiences in books, newspapers, periodicals, or in broadcasts or in lectures.”