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Twice To Freedom
By Authors:  Edwin & Mary Suominen

This compelling WW2 true story is centered on an American soldier who was a prisoner of war for two arduous years and two traumatic escapes. Entwined are enthralling episodes of many other Prisoners of War
Many Illustrations and Photographs

Twice to Freedom is an inspiring acclaim to the strength and courage of our American Veterans and Ex-POWs. This part of World War II should not become lost to our younger generations, and for all of us, to understand those who have survived through human conflict at its worst and most tragic form.

Book Review: Twice to Freedom
by Bob Price

Captured within these pages is the story of the POWs of Stalag IIB during WWII. The book was co-written by Edwin and Mary Suominen; and what comes across the pages is a love and respect of Mary towards Ed and his POW story; and Ed's contribution includes the obvious pain and angst he suffered as a POW himself in this Prison Camp and in the Death March which led up to the end of the War.

Stalag IIB has been called the worst POW camp in Germany during the Second World War, and Ed's story helps bring to life the day to day activity of a POW trapped between two worlds at war. This story was not easy to drag out of Ed.  As with most if not all the POWs; these stories remain hidden away in the dark recesses of the mind where, fear and terror and hopelessness have a home in the mind of man. Ed would write in a note-book he kept in the car and Mary would sneak out and use the notes to write her story.

The Suominens have managed to take the official records of the experiences of the POWs in Stalag IIB and weave a personal story around events and situations which make the reports more personal and much clearer to the historian and the average reader alike.

Some of the most astonishing things is so much of Ed's story survived his ordeal in photos.

By taking a YMCA scrap-book and saving a piece of history here and there and adding it to his small book of treasures; Suominen has managed to bring to light a very important part of the POW history.  For those historians who like to collect photos; Twice to Freedom has photos of many of the men in Stalag IIB.

Suominen was in a position to collect the photos and his efforts survived the ordeal he and his fellow POWs faced walking hundreds of miles throughout Germany; as the Germans moved the POWs daily; keeping them out of the hands of the Russians and the advancing allied lines.  How many times one wonders...was it tempting to burn the notebook for just a moments heat...

Instead, because of Suominen and the other POWs who gave their stories to Mary; we have a much clearer picture of the camp and the character of the men of Stalag IIB.

The excellent research job of Mary Suominen in collecting letters, and making phone calls and interviewing former POWs expands the story beyond just one viewpoint. The story takes on a character and a flavor not found in the official record;  and even though I had just read the records end to end; the book still managed to capture my imagination and I could not wait to find out what happened next...

One of the significant areas of historic value within the book are the photos of course; but also some of the documents such as the POW Newspaper; "Barbs and Gripes", the existence of a Monthly Bulletin published by the Red Cross for POW Families at home, the Warning Notice to all POWs about escaping and a reproduction of the POW pay or script received in the Camp. These are just a few of the items that peaked my personal interest. Being an old Newspaper man I was delighted to see the "Barbs and Gripes" especially...

I highly recommend this book as an addition to the Official story of Stalag IIB as it concerns Darby Rangers and other Allied troops held in Germany.

The book is of historical value and is a testament of Christian faith and fellowship under the most extreme situations of War; and the inhumanity and senseless hardship one group of people can place on another.  

It is clear by the end of the book that many of the Germans did not want to be in their position any more than did the Americans; and it is also clear that the tyranny of a few can destroy the lives of many; I would suggest you add this book; Twice to Freedom to your collection and read it from time to time just to remind yourself how much worse things could be; and what the human spirit can endure if it puts its energy towards survival.

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 If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the story of Stalag IIB
Mary and Edwin tell us you can Contact Valiant Press at:
PO Box 11454
Scottsdale Arizona 85271

This Page Provided as a Public Service in honor of all POWs of STALAG IIB
A Special Recognition to Edwin & Mary Suominen for allowing its use