A story for Veteran's Day, November 11, 2008
Acevedo diary from CNN article
LOMA LINDA, California (CNN) -- Anthony Acevedo thumbs through the worn, yellowed pages of his diary emblazoned with the words "A Wartime Log" on its cover. It's a catalog of deaths and atrocities he says were carried out on U.S. soldiers held by Nazis at a slave labor camp during World War II -- a largely forgotten legacy of the war.CNN story with video
Anthony Acevedo served as a medic during World War II. He was captured and sent into a Nazi forced labor camp.
Acevedo pauses when he comes across a soldier with the last name of Vogel.
"He died in my arms. He wouldn't eat. He didn't want to eat," says Acevedo, now 84 years old. "He said, 'I want to die! I want to die! I want to die!' "
The memories are still fresh, some 60 years later. Acevedo keeps reading his entries, scrawled on the pages with a Schaeffer fountain pen he held dear.
He was one of 350 U.S. soldiers held at Berga an der Elster, a satellite camp of the Nazis' notorious Buchenwald concentration camp. The soldiers, working 12-hour days, were used by the German army to dig tunnels and hide equipment in the final weeks of the war. Less than half of the soldiers survived their captivity and a subsequent death march, he says.
Acevedo shows few emotions as he scans the pages of his diary. But when he gets to one of his final entries, the decades of pent-up pain, the horror witnessed by a 20-year-old medic, are too much.
"We were liberated today, April the 23, 1945," he reads.
His body shakes, and he begins sobbing. "Sorry," he says, tears rolling down his face. "I'm sorry."...
Lest we forget.