Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The POW Diary of John Teune: July 5, 1944. Recuperation, Dr. Petrescu, and the Iron Curtain

The Teune brothers in their Army Air Corps uniforms. John is second from right.

July 5, 1944

I began to get around on crutches and I exercised my arms and shoulders. I was getting thin and needed the exercise. Jacob Koppes was now living with us and occasionally several of his friends visited us. I read several books including "The Blue Danube," "Inside Asia," and "Inside Europe." I played Rummy with Katie, John, and Carmen many times. Dr. Petrescu came in regularly to change the bandages and to talk with us. I was treated very well at Spital Schuller.

When I recuperated and was ready to be dismissed from the hospital, I said goodbye to Dr. Petrescu and thanked him for the car that was extended to me. I asked, "Is there something I can do for you?" "Yes," he replied. "Send me the National Geographic magazine." After arriving home and settling down to civilian life, I remembered his request, but I was concerned that in some way I might expose him unfavorably by sending something from America. Some time later there was a name for that fear: it was called the "Iron Curtain." Years later, I found out that Dr. Petrescu had been sentenced to 10 years at hard labor in Siberia because he was pro-American and helped American servicemen. It was reported that he would sandpaper the tips of his fingers to keep them sensitive to touch and free from calluses due to heavy labor. Dr. Petrescu died in Siberia.

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