Life As German POW

by Carl Lehman

Following is an account of my PW period which I wrote to some one a few months ago:

I was with C Company of the Third when captured at Cisterna. The first question asked was: "You haff a Churman name Carl, Sprecken zie Deutsch?" Answer: "Nein." Assembled with other Allied prisoners after a few days, we were marched past the Colosseum in Rome for the benefit of propaganda cameras. It was one of the worst days of my life. After short times in Northern Italy, and in Mooseberg , near Munich, we were sent to Rummelsberg (Stalag IIB). As we debarked from the boxcars (40 & 8s), we were informed that we were to be deloused, and directed to put all our clothing on hangers for transport through a gas chanber to kill the fleas and lice, while we went into a communal shower. This detail is relevant (to me) because many years later, I watched movies of Jews put through a similar routine, with the identical understanding of purpose--fumigation of clothes and cleansing of bodies--except that, for the Jews, their shower-heads spewed Xyclon-B.(?) Stalag IIB was a "work camp" where non-coms and others were assembled, and, if reasonably fit, sent to work parties, mostly on Pomeranian farms.

I joined a farm party of 22 American POWs at a place called Fairczine--a huge Feudal estate complete with a mansion, extensive farm buildings, a dairy with hundreds of cattle, a schnapps factory and a group of residence buildings for the peasant workers. The prisoners were housed in a small two-story building; where the first floor contained a kitchen (also containing the bread oven for the whole estate), and 2 sleeping rooms for the prisoners. The building was surrounded by barbed wire. Two German Army guards occupied the second floor. One was fat, fairly jovial, middle-aged, and clearly unfit for front-line duty. The other was a blond, handsome Aryan with severe combat wounds and a very bad attitude. He had accompanied me on the train which transported us from Rummelsberg and displayed a particular dislike for me; this became evident from time to time during my service at that place. Other prisoners there were named John McMahon, Paul Sapsara, Hardenberg, Barnhill, Jackson, and Bill Space.

There was an opening in the cow barn and I took it, qualifying because of summer stints milking cows for Aunt Bea and Uncle Wilbur, near Betterton, MD. I milked about 30 Holsteins in the morning, 30 in the evening and a few at midday. The cows, confined to stalls, were fed but chopped straw and some liquid from the schnapps factory. Without pasture (it was March) they gave very little milk, so the "milking" amounted to "stripping." I was assigned an oxen (whom I promptly named Ferdinand), to clean the stalls and haul the offal. The Kuhmeister, a German, oversaw operations and the work of another American (Barnehill, a farmer from Utah-- called "Utah," ) and a Frenchman, Jacques called "Jock". 1. The Kuhmeister had one of the most disagreeable duties of all, he had to grease his arm and reach in every Kuhrectum up to his shoulder and pull out that which usually came with absolutely no Kuheffort. A camp joke, shared with the Kuhmeister, was that he was grooming me for the "Kuhshitpull."

My path to the offal-dump took me past the loading dock for the drums of booze from the factory. I studiously cogitated, devising and abandoning schemes for getting some of that hooch without being discovered (it would have been regarded by the Krauts, not as mere theft, but as sabotage!). Finally, in desperation, I simply jamed the tine of a pitchfork near the bottom of a drum, plugged the hole with a stick, and commenced the process of rounding up containers of all sorts--including some waist-high milk cans, bottles and jars--filling and burying them. Fortunately, the Krauts assumed that the loss of the booze was due to accident, certainly not expecting much of it to be buried nearby (where, I expect, most of it still lies buried).. Theorizing that my fellow prisoners couldn't handle the booze as wisely as me, I kept it my little secret whilst imbibing daily in moderation.

The only person with whom I shared the secret with was my chess partner, Jock, the Frenchy. It was with him, over the chess board when the cows had been fed and cleaned, and before the evening milking, that I devised the escape scheme: with one other American , Bill Space (selected because of his experience with boats) it was intended to make way due North to the Baltic Sea and the town of Stolpemunde which harbored a halibut fleet that put to sea twice a week. There we were to observe the fishermen, and at the proper time, steal aboard, wait until we were at sea (at night), surprise and kill or imprison the two fishermen, and sail to Sweden, 80 miles across the sea. Jock, who was sort of a trustee with priveleges to go to town to movies and fraternize with other Froggies, got me a compass and the necessary maps to get about, and told me what he knew about the fishing fleet.

Much later it was reported to me by Sapsara, that, in a diary kept by one of the other prisoners, the Kuhmeister stated that he "knew" that I was going to escape, because he oft observed me looking at the horizon with a faraway look in my eyes. He mistook alcoholic euphoria for the yearning for freedom. The escapee partner, Space, was a loudmouth who constantly bragged about his prewar career sailing fishing boats between Seattle and Alaska, and his skills as a boatman. This led me to devise the scheme to get to Sweden and, I thought, sold him on it.

We crawled through a transom and cut our way out through the wire one night in early May and made our way, traveling nightly for short distances due North. It took us near the remainder of the month, avoiding human contact, to negotiate the some 60 miles to the coast. Once we were forced to double back when spotted by a motorcyclist and fired at, and another time, desperate for water, stole into a village and alerted the watchman and his dog. We got away, but Space lost the seat of his pants to the dog. The watchman turned out what seemed the whole populace of the town, which proceeded noisely along the only road out of town, and by us, as we lay by the side of the road, filling our canteens from a ditch. Another time we were treed for a night and day by a wild sow whose progeny we took for the pot. There was constant friction between Space and I as to who was the leader of this expedition, me contending that it should be me, since it was my idea and he, because he was so much bigger than me. Eventually however, he turned the reins over to me, when I demonstrated that my hearing was much more acute, and that his partial deafness near got us caught. A particular episode is bright in my memory: coming round a sharp turn in a path through deep woods, I came face to face with a magnificent buck. We both froze, staring, until with a great leap he disappeared. Shortly, we came upon a beach house and broke into it for a night in a bed--the first mattress for either in years. We were then about five miles East of Stolpmunde, and, next day proceeded West through dense woods bordering the shore. Shortly we came upon a boathouse containing a small sailing vessel . I immediately opted for stealing the boat, but Space said it was impossible.

It was then that I suspected that he had not near the expertise in sailing as he had boasted, and, after a time, he admitted that it was all bullshit. It seemed that boredom rather than a thirst for freedom had caused him to join me. He nevertheless assented to going along to see what was happening in Stolpmunde. After three or four day's watching, we determined that the routine of the fisherman was as how we'd been told, and we resolved to steal into the hold of one of the boats the next night. However, the storm which lashed the beaches in Normandy on D-Day Jun 6, was also raising hell in the Baltic and the wind and rain caused us to seek shelter in a beachhouse closer to town.

It was fully dark when we approached the house, and I stuck my head partially fhrough a window with a missing pane, and immediately drew back whispering, "There are Germans in here! "Howinhell can you say that? You kin see right through fuckin' house--it's empty!" "I smell 'em." What I smelled of course, was their rotten cigarettes, which were made of God know's what--not tobacco. Anyway, I retreated to the woods, but Space elected to go in. I waited at least an hour, then decided that he must have found a bed, so I sneaked back. At the same window I could hear what seemed a friendly conversation between Space and another man. After a time, I quietly entered and climbed the stairs towards a light shining through a door crack. Putting my eye to the crack, I was astounded to see and hear Bill holding forth to a crowd of Luftwaffe enlisted personnel filling what seemed a small amphitheater. As I turned to creep away, I made a noise that brought the Krauts down on my back. From then on of course, I joined in the palaver, which these airman were enjoying immensely, for most of the rest of the night.

Next day, the police force of Stolpmunde, consisting of the Chief and one man, came to collect us, The Chief was a dead-ringer for Kaiser Wilhelm, the star of WW I. His snazzy, bemedaled uniform and brilliant boots were topped by a decorated Kraut helmet topped with the spearhead worn early in WW I. He even had a monocle. The fierce old man screamed at us from beginning to end of the short walk to town, the streets of which were then lined with the populace. By this time his tirade was directed towards the spectators, and contained some references to "Swine bomben die Frau and Klien Kinder,." --with me trying to suggest that we were infantry not airmen. We were "handcuffed" together with a length of chain inscribing a figure-eight about our wrists and secured with a padlock, the Chief holding his Luger to my temple, the whole way. Arriving at his headquarters, we stood to one side whilst he made a telephone call, standing at attention. After a shouted but clearly respectful exchange on the phone, I was mildly surprised when he hung up without saluting. He tidied his desk--quite tidy already, checked his hair and mustache in a small mirror, and. flecked the dust from his boots. "Some body's coming." I whispered, as the Chief rearranged his writing materials and adjusted the photos and his helmet on the desk for the umptieth time. Sure enough, a small motorcade slammed to a stop outside, as heels clacked throughout the neighborhood.. The Chief was standing at attention when an Oberst burst (OK?) through the door. After several shouted exchanges between the Chief and the Colonel, the latter turned to me and spoke in near-perfect English on several subjects including: "How did you expect to get out of Germany." Me (At attention and looking straight ahead): "Carl H. Lehmann, Sgt. 33130245" (I sensed that this made the right impression on the Colonel, and kept at it through the next several question concerning my civilian occupation, by Army unit, etc.) He asked if I had any complaints as to how I was treated as a PW. I replied that I had had no complaints until now when (as he could observe) we were chained in violation of the Geneva Convention. With that he tore the Chief a new one and the old boy freed us from the chain with shaking hands. With that the officer turned and left! I had assumed wrongly that we were going with him. Not so, we were left in the custody of the police, and were deposited in a cell in the town jail, with the Chief sitting near, toying with his Luger. "Dumb sumbitch," said Stuck, ". .yore gonna get us killed yet!".

The next day was June 7 and the big news was that the Allies had landed in France. We were "saved" from the further ministrations of the Stolpmunde Police by a couple of guards who returned us to IIB. At the Stalag, we were sentenced to a month in the "Kooler" on bread and water, however, there was no room in the Kooler so we were temporarily segregated with about thirty guys of rather mixed ethnicity, all captured while serving with French forces against Germany in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. Their origins were such that the Germans were uncertain how to deal with them. Had they been of French origin, they would have been dealt with similarly to the hundreds of thousands of Froggies bagged during the first Blitzkreig; had they been of German origin. they'd have been shot. Some were Alsatians, a few were Poles from German Pomerania, others were of likewise uncertain lineage but had German names, others, born in Germany of citizens of other countries. One Frenchman was born on a train going through Germany. The rumour was that the Camp authorities had appealed these troublesome questions to higher authority for guidance as to the treatment of these oddballs.

The most unforgettable character I met there was Fredo--a cheerful little guy, no more than five feet five--German-born of Italian and Spanish parentage, and who'd fled Germany and the Nazis when his mother died and his father was taken away as a suspected Jew. He'd been bagged in Tunisia when his French Foreign Legion unit was overrun. He taught me to sing "Belle Ami" in French, excised some awful ragged warts that covered near my whole chin (by tying each with pieces of cotton thread, tightening each a little a day, until they dropped away), and cheerfully accepted defeat as I became chess champion of the barracks and he became the runner-up. He was deep in study of English and Russian languages, convinced, so he would declare, that those would be the only significant languages post-war--since the World would be divided between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He was tireless in conversation with me and with a Russian-speaking prisoner. A resolve was to become an American, live in New York City and eat "Ameddington HamBURGers" . We exchanged addresses (his was that of relative in England), and vowed to make contact after the war, but never did.

During the time I was in the Kooler, the Foreign Legionnaires were taken away--somewhere. After a couple of weeks with the Frenchmen, a cell in the Kooler opened up and Spear and I were put in it. During the time with the French, relations between us got worse.. In the cell for a short time, our arguing became physical and he beat me pretty badly. Had there been room to move around, my boxing skills would probably have influenced the outcome. As it was, he beat me badly enough to be sent to the so-called hospital, where under treatment for cuts and bruises, I had an attack of chills and fever diagnosed as malaria--doubtless contracted in Sicily or Italy and held in check by daily Attabrine.. By the time I left hospital, Space was released in the general population of the camp, and I went back in to serve my near three weeks.

My cellmate was a Frenchman who spoke no English, but we were able to pass time with chess. I can't remember what he was punished for, but it was not for escaping. I also spent much time in such strengthening excercises as I could in the confines of the cell and in the hour outside in an exercise yard, biding the time I could get even with Stuck for the beating.

On bread and water, our rations were served by a Ranger--Joe Phillips. Joe collected meat, cheese and other stuff from the camp population and brought it in to us each day in the water can. With this sustenance and with push-ups and chinning, my arms soon regained their strength. When my sentence was complete, I went looking for Space and found him playing cards, leaning back on the rear legs of his chair, his back to me. I wound up one from the third mezzanine, and hit him below his ear. When he regained consciousness, we agreed that we were now even and to have no more truck with the other.

I soon learned that there was a so-called Escape Committee--"so-called" because it never helped any escape. My application for its help was initially turned down, ". . . because you don't speak German." I returned after learning that it had never helped anyone, and demanded its help on the ground that I indeed had a record of an escape, and if they were not going to serve me, then who would they serve. I also threatened to report them when the War was over. They reluctantly decided to "help." I was given identification papers as a paroled French POW, a document purporting to give me permission to travel to the next town, money, and a map and compass. I stuffed all this in my underwear and shoes and, soon after was assigned to a street work detail in a nearby town.

One clear memory remains of the work (mostly ditch digging at the side of a street, for storm water pipe repair and replacement): prominent in the fill which we excavated were myriad broken black marble stones, such as are used for store fronts. One side of the slabs had Jewish characters scribed into the polished surface. Clearly, the "Final Solution" here as elsewhere, included eradication of Jewish characters on store fronts. This then added substance to reports of the horrors of Jewish prosecution of which we'd read and heard and in newspapers and broadcasts back home. One of the fears we all had was for the Jews among us prisoners. Oddly, I know not of a single instance of mistreatment of Jewish P.Ws.; actually many were in superior positions because of their abilities to speak the language.

Another memory which endures is of the sometimes multiple "funeral" processions down the street where we worked. The procession invariably consisted of a horse-drawn hearse, a carriage for the elderly among the mourners, with most trailing, black-clad, behind. These were part of the ceremonies for Krauts killed on the Russian and Western Fronts; of course, there were no remains in the caskets, but all had a Kraut helmet riding atop them. The same caskets were used over and over. As the hearse went by, we all stood to attention, with bared heads and solemn faces, singing softly, muting the words: "The little black hearse goes riding by And you may be-ee the next to die." The mourners as they passed, smiled and nodded, "Danke. . . Danke. . .Danke" in appreciation of our "respect" for a fallen foe.

My exit from these premises was similar to that at Fairszien; weighing but about one hundred thirty pounds, I squeezed through a narrow transom and between strands of barbed wire, then out into the streets. I had been issued a spanking new "Class-A" uniform by the Red Cross at Stalag IIB which, with a red dye, turned the O.D. to an attractive reddish brown, and which, with a change of buttons and topped with a beret, made me one of the best-dressed Froggies in German captivity.

After one and a half night's traveling, mostly through woods, I got to the town with the railroad station where I was to entrain for Berlin and the "safe-house" nearby. I walked to the station in broad daylight, bathed in admiring glances from Frauleins unaccustomed to such finery on a Froggie or anyone else, for that matter.. Unchallenged, I approached the ticket window, presented my "credentials" and requested a ticket. I immediately saw, from the expression on the face of the old man at the window and from his haste to get to the telephone, that a large stack of shit was about to hit the fan. I sprinted for the door, out of town and into a deep wood again where I kept going until nightfall. A change of plan was in order: the first one was resurrected and again--North and the Baltic beckoned.

After a few days though, skulking through the night country side, subsisting on raw potatoes and carrots dug from storage trenches in the fields, I became hopelessly sick with the malarial chills and fever again. I have no memory of how I got to a doctor's office and then back to Stalag IIB and hospital again, but was told soldiers had found me at roadside. Again, after convalescence, I went before the Commandant and was sentenced to two weeks in the Cooler. He inquired as to my surprised expression and I answered that I expected more than three weeks, because that is what my sentence was the last time I escaped. He smiled and said, "It is a soldier's duty to escape--but don't do it again, verstehen?

This time I was alone in the cell, but had access to the library every other day. I read the Trilogy of the Bounty, a Short History of Greece (3 Volumes) and a couple of others I don't remember. I also tried to learn some of the German language, without much success. It was during this time that, through the fence of the exercise yard, that I met Jack "Woody" Fisher, a tail gunner in a Royal Canadian Halifax, which, downed in Rotterdam harbor, drowned all the crew except Jack. He was plucked from the tail which remained above the surface. Imprisoned in a Stalag Luft, as were all airmen, he managed somehow to change identities with a "Woody" Fisher, an infantryman scheduled for transfer to Stalag IIB. His reasons stemmed from his desire to escape which he learned would be easier from a Stalag IIB work party. He was attracted by my experience in escaping, and questioned me endlessly about it. He eventually made a successful escape through the Russian lines late in the War.

The next Sunday, on the same damned bus, there was Jack Fisher, newly citizen of Baltimore, and quite agreeable to having "a few." It took a while before I could successfully explain the coincidence and my conduct to my wife. Jack was my first client after I was admitted to the bar: I arranged a legal name change from Horace Reginald Fisher to Jack R. Fisher..

Back in the Stalag population, I soon made contact with old friends. One was Wayne Ruona, a Finn then and now from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Older than most of us by four or five years, "Pop" was a BAR man in "B" of the old First and a staff sergeant in "C" of the Third. Joe Kiernan was a new replacement at Pozzuoli when we were training and refitting for Anzio and OK as a soldier but a star salesman and con man in the prison camp. He could get more for a pack of cigarettes or a can of Spam out of the Red Cross parcels than any one else especially when he was trading with a Kraut.

Arnold Johnson was out of the First Armored Division, I think: we teamed as buddies, sharing food, chores and generally looking out for one another. There was a prisoner government of sorts, whereas a man was elected the barrack's chief by the residents of his particular barracks, and there were an elected overall chief and deputy, all exercised limited authority over the population. The principle perc enjoyed by the incumbents was that they no longer need be concerned with menial tasks and, most important to most, was that they need no longer be concerned with be assigned to Kommando Ruona had contracted a serious disease before imprisonment, and its effects and the treatment of it--such as it was--had kept him free of assignment to Kommando. There was much dissatisfaction with the way the elected persons were running things, and opposition developed to their continuance in office. The coming annual election promised to be a close contest.

Ruona was the ringleader of the opposition and he chose me as his running mate--he for Chief, me for his deputy. After some serious campaigning, it became clear that we were a threat to win the election. As a result we were summonsed to the office of the then Chief, Bob Ehalt, a Sergeant-major out of the 1st Rangers, and were told that since the present administration was in direct contact with the Secret Service, we had to cease our activities--that this was order directly my the Secret Service. They convinced us that they had already been assigned specific duties to be carried out at War's end, one of which was to place identifying legends on the roofs to alert Allied aircraft. As a part of their demonstation of the truth of the matter, we were allowed to listen to a clandestine radio, smuggled in part by part, inside bars of G.I. soap from Red Cross supplies. We heard a BBC broadcast and a Bob Hope show. We withdrew from the election of course, and from then were part of the inner circle. I benefitted from this is short order; when I was summoned to stand inspection for another assignment to Kommando, Ehalt had a medic shoot something into my arm that made my temperature rise dramatically. I was taken to hospital and thereafter was never again called for work.

By this time, at about the end of 1944, the Russians were getting close and we were alerted to prepare to abandon the camp and be marched west with the population of IIB, and the populations of its work camps in the area. The warehouse had a goodly amount of Red Cross parcels, and we were allowed to take as much as we could carry. We were put on the road, four abreast, with guards on either side from about January, 1945, and marched west with Russian guns sounding in the distance. We kept on the road through January, February and about the middle of March, taking shelter at night in barns and abandoned shelters of many descriptions. A few escaped early and got through the Russian lines (one was Jack Fisher). Ruona, Kiernan, Johnson, Weakes and myself escaped from the column about mid-March.

The escape occurred this way: uncharacteristically, the column halted half way through a day's march and we languished on the side of the road for an extended period. Then, we saw the head of the column, a half-mile ahead, doubling back--we were reversing direction! I said something to the effect, "Shit, I ain't gonna take one step back!"-- "Waddahya gonna do?", said Ruona, Johnson, etc., It did not take long: I proposed that when the "curl" of the column got to us, to run a few steps off the road to the right of column and flop in the knee-high vegetation. The guards on the left side would be unable to see through the column, and those on the right would have their backs to me. The other four immediately proposed to go with me, and we set about alerting the others in the column that we were leaving so's not to give us away. We were the last Americans in the column, behind us were about a hundred Serbs. The Serbs were great; when the "curl" reached us, we hit the brush after a few steps, and the column just walked away from us, with the Serbs stomping in step with their hob-nailed boots and looking straight ahead.

This image, from the corner of my eye with face pressed hard to dirt, remains bright as yesterday's. 'Course, we were not quite free. I'd been out there before and brought back. However, this time we could hear Allied guns way off and the rest of the plan was simple; we'd march to the sound of the guns--not to the beat of drums, mind you. Actually slink rather than march was the mode of travel, because there were many unfriendlies about. Much time was spent collecting food, since by this time we were completely out of the supplies we had originally. We dug through covered trenches in the fields, not knowing whether we would find the potato, carrot or, most likely, the hated rutabaga or sugar beet. Hated or not we ate them. In a barn, we loaded up with wheat, and learned, after much trial and error, there is no way to eat wheat, unless it is ground. Fortunately, in another barn we found a mill with which we ground our wheat by pulling the belt meant to be driven by an electric motor. A lowlight (heaven knows why such is so clearly remembered) of our scrounging was the discovery of a part packet of caraway seeds which we carefully separated into five equal piles, for flavoring our (unleavened) biscuits, i.e. cakes of flour, salt and water baked in the coals of a fire.

One day in April, we were deep in a forest, when we awoke to the sound of small arms fire. We decided to hunker down right there and let the War pass us by, however, late in the day, there was a crashing through the forest by three soldier hurrying along. To my amazement, they wore the green beret--they were a lieutenant, a sergeamt and a private out of No. 1 Commando, the unit we had trained with in Scotland! I ran after them and after some hasty consultation, they decided to adopt our plan and wait for the lines to come over us. Their outfit had been in a fire fight the night before and they were separated and quite lost at the time we found them. During the two days we laid low in that forest, we saw hundreds of retreating Germans using the paths through the forest. There was little danger of our discovery by them; they were quite intent in fleeing the front lines. After a time though, there came an extended lull in the small arms fire--it seemed to get no closer--we told the commandos that, because we were starving, we had to try to make it through the lines. The lieutenant had us select branches, put them on our shoulders, and march out like an armed party. After a careful couple of hours, I welcomed the sight of the next helmet--it was that deep-dish pie-plate the Limeys wore. We'd made it! We were welcomed by the British, and offered food and drink.

A great day for us but a sad one too--April 12, 1945, the day the President died. The front line soldiers offered to share their rations with us, but we declined, and asked instead for directions to the nearest farmhouse. I walked into one nearby and told the man of the house that we wanted some meat and eggs. This old clown had a light patch on his upper lip directly under and limited by the width of his nose, from which he had just shaved a Hitler mustache. He pleaded that they were poor people, hated Nazis--particularly Hitler--and that they had no spare food. I flicked the safety off the Kraut burp-gun which I had recently acquired, and he immediately produced an egg apiece. "Nicht Genüend, "-- "Not enough," I said, and motioned him towards the cellar steps, following him down into the basement. It was loaded! Sausages, pork chops, vegetables--lots of glass jars full of goodies lined shelf after shelf! I had him load a large basket of these things together with eggs, eggs and more eggs! I ate three large breakfasts and vomited each, one after the other.

Further inquiry among the British relative to transportation to the rear, produced the choice to hitchhike back with empty lorries, OR find the residence of the Burgomeister of the next village, and steal his automobile. We found the garage with the Mercedes, which had obviously been retired for the War years, up on blocks with a very dead battery and a very empty gas tank. Again, inquiry of the British produced a new battery and a full tank, enabling us to cruise to Brussels in some style. We sold the car in Brussels, getting enough money for a week at a hotel wine, food and a few sessions at the dog-track, before, becoming broke, we reported to the British. They put us up for a few days in comfortable quarters, issued us new British kit and sent us, by C-54, to Paris. We were weighed before the flight; I then (after 2 week's fattening) weighed 135 pounds. On the flight to Paris, I was allowed the co-pilot's seat for a time. Half-way there the pilot told me to look down and there, plain as can be, were the old front line trenches from WWII!

From Paris we were taken to Camp Lucky Strike in Le Havre where, after a few days we were shipped home. In Lucky Strike the chow line was tended by Kraut POWs and, when I reached into the pot for another baked potato, a Kraut rapped my knuckles with a heavy spoon. I lost it; I wrested the spoon from him and beat him about the head until he was near unconscious. Until I was able to reflect upon this, I had been unaware of the hate that had built up in me. Much lasts.