Wednesday, September 20, 2006

John Stefanek Memorial Display

Here is the second shadow box we created for my father, John B. Stefanek.
The flag with the one star was displayed in the window of my grandparents. This flag signified that they had someone missing in action. Otto and Trudy Schwarz traveled back to the prison camps and brought the two railroad spikes back for my father. They are displayed on either side of the flag. Then there is also a picture of my father, a picture of the bridge, Houston lapel pins and Australian lapel pins. There is also a brass plate with his name, Japanese POW, 1942 - 1945. (Hope this is what you were looking for.) We also have his first shadow box with his medals, picture, and flag that was on his coffin at Arlington. Best Regards, Jane Matthews (Jane and Matt).

Friday, September 15, 2006

POWs Not Yet Repatriated

I think this is in Saigon. My father (John Stefanek) is to the left of the nurse. Otto Schwarz (with no shirt) is standing to the right of the nurse. Phil (Joe) Gans is standing to the right of Otto (with a cigarette or cigar in hand.) I don't know anyone else in the picture. The photograph was taken in September of 1945. Photos courtesey of Henry (Matt) and Jane Matthews ( USS HOUSTON -Next Generation). -- Comment from Vic: Note there is some meat on their bones at this point. Otto explained that once they were out of Burma (the Death Railway) and in Vietnam - the food, climate and most conditions improved greatly. The Japanese could ship little rice or other foodstuffs from any port in the last year of the war, so food within Vietnam was plentiful. Of course, after Japan capitulated, and the time this photo was made (probably a few weeks), there was excellent treatment and even better food. In most cases, the former POW's were gaining weight very rapidly.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Otto Schwarz in Good Company

Arlington Cemetery, September 11, 2006: The funeral of Otto Schwarz. As other events focused the nation on remembrance of this date, 5 years ago, The USS Houston Family focused on the life of Otto Schwarz, founder of the USS Houston Survivor's Association. Many attended. The evening prior was enjoyed with a dinner and remembrance of Otto. An audio recording of most of the remembrances will be posted on the website later, along with a short video of the Arlington ceremony. The photo here and many more are available for comment and download on the me3tv account at Others with photos from this celebratory gathering to honor Otto, are encouraged to upload their photos to share if they wish.