The internment of SSG Sinitsky
A brief summary of my military service:
I was a crewmember on a B-24 with the 15th Air Force stationed in Italy in 1944. I flew 50 bombing missions from our base in Italy. I was with the 459th Bomb Group, 759th Bomb Squadron.
On July 20, 1944, we were on a target in Germany near the Swiss border. The target was Friedrichshafen. We developed engine failure on two engines and other mechanical problems. We were not able to keep up with the formation, and were forced to seek other alternatives. We were preparing to bail out in a valley with nothing but mountains surrounding us, when we spotted a small airfield and headed there to land. Here we crash-landed in Switzerland, not knowing at the time where we were (due to all of the excitement and problems).
After crashing we were surrounded by armed Swiss Army Guards and taken to a building and interrogated by a Swiss Army Officer.
We were housed in a hotel kept under guard night and day. Myself and two other American bomber crewmembers tried to escape. We had a Swiss citizen who had agreed to help us. We were caught near the French border and placed in a Prisoner of War camp in a neutral country. This camp was more like a medieval dungeon. It was an Army barracks circled with barbed wire, electric fence, guard dogs, armed Swiss Army guards, floodlights, and tower guards. Conditions at this place were horrible; our clothing and other personal effects were taken and we were given wooden shoes to wear. The food was terrible; some cold liquid that was supposed to be soup, and a piece of dried bread was given out daily. It was not fit for human consumption. No heating, lighting, or washing facilities existed, and we slept on straw on a huge wooden platform in a cell. Toilet facilities consisted of a slit trench in the room. There were about 35 Americans in the same barracks as myself, and many more in other buildings. We could only walk around the side of the buildings, as they all had barbed wire surrounding them. There was nothing to do at this camp at all. Sickness was everywhere- dysentery, stomach problems, sores, and boils. If you became sick, too bad, no medical attention was available.
Conditions at this camp were comparable if not worse than conditions in Prisoner of War camps in other countries. I have spoken to quite a few POWs who were held in German Camps, and these conditions were worse.
I was involved in a Prisoner of War exchange with German prisoners leaving Switzerland in February of 1945. I am considered a POW by the VA.