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"The War" Episode 6

alec vanderboom

Tonight is the last night of the latest Ken Burn's saga "The War."If you've missed any episode, check out the survivor's accounts here

One of my favorite eyewitnesses in this series is Sascha Weinzheimer (pictured above with her brother, Buddy). At age 10, she was living in the Philippines on a huge plantation with her mother, father, an older sister and a brother age 3 months. Her paternal grandfather lived in California. When Sascha's mother wrote to ask if she and the grandchildren could move in with them, the grandfather wrote back that the rumors of World War were over-rated. Within a few months, the Japanese captured the Philippines. Her family spent the entire war in a POW camp called Camp Santo Tomas. Her diary excerpts get me a little teary. I'm reminded how terribly vulnerable I am as a mother, but also encouraged by how much her mother's attitude was able to shield her children during this desperate time.

Sascha Weinzheimer: Diary excerpts "We got our chow from the lines in tin cans, then we would eat in our shanty, and Mother said that no matter what happened we would eat off our bridge table with a table cloth with our colored dishes and small bowl of flowers so long as we could."

"Thanksgiving: We had half a can of Spam, cooked one extra cup of rice and got enough talinum from our garden for a salad with three whole garlics chopped up in it. We thank God we are all together and not really sick like so many people in here are. As usual, we talked about our next Thanksgiving. Buddy wouldn't know what a turkey was anyway, but I still remember what good food we always had."

"Christmas: Mother said it was best to forget Christmas this year but we can't on account of the little kids. She told them because of the anti-aircraft guns in Manila, Uncle Sam told Santa to keep away this year and leave his gifts for the kids in San Francisco."

Finally, Ken Burn's has been able to find the actual columns from this amazing
small town newspaper reporterAl McIntosh. Here's his description of a war time4th of Julyin Laverne, MN. Watch and be reminded of how kind words can uplift the morale of a tired solider.