Alf’s desire to spend his saved-up cigarettes on a guitar moved up the chain of command and was approved.
and it was never enough. As his group reached Gresse, east of
Hamburg, their long-awaited deliverance arrived.
“They were on the road, and it was miserable because it was
wet and raining,” she says, “but all of a sudden the guards all left,
and then they heard that the war had ended. He and this friend
went into this small town and took this soldier’s motorcycle. The
Americans were coming towards them, and they [the prisoners]
were waving at them. They had a white flag. They stopped that
first night at a German farmhouse and took a ham [from it].
They stayed in the barn and they weren’t bothered. But those
guys were something—they took the ham, but they left cigarettes
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