POW camp life – and death – captured with a Sheaffer

Normally, we save random pen-related stories for one of our Totally Random Pen Stuff features, but this one, about a POW with a fountain pen and a journal, seemed like it deserved its own space, especially with Veterans Day coming up in the US.

Anthony Acevedo Diary Page

A page from the diary Mr. Acevedo kept as a Nazi prisoner of war.CreditAnthony Acevedo/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum collection

According to CNN, Tony Acevedo was just a kid right out of high school when he was sent to Europe as an Army medic during World War II. He was captured by the Nazis at the Battle of the Bulge and sent with about 350 other soldiers to the Berga slave labor camp, where they were brutalized and subjected to forced labor.

Acevedo felt it was his duty to keep records of each POW death. The lengths he went to were extraordinary.

He used a diary and a Sheaffer fountain pen that came as part of a Red Cross care package. He had to hide the journal from the Germans by tucking it into his pants because he was afraid he would be killed if it was discovered. And he had to really stretch his writing materials by mixing snow, among other things, with his fountain pen ink to make it last.

It’s a moving story, and we recommend it to anyone interested in the power of journals to chronicle history, small and large.

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Tony Bridges

As a seasoned journalist and freelance writer, I've spent over three decades telling stories and exploring the world through the written word. With a passion for writing instruments, I found my niche at The Pen Vibe, a blog that shares our collective fascination with pens, pencils, and other tools that have shaped the art of writing.

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