Good Morning—But The Nightmares Never End

Book Summary

by Charlie Dukes

Good Morning—But The Nightmares Never End"Good Morning—But the Nightmares Never End" is one combat soldier's experience as an infantryman on the front lines of World War II Europe, as a prisoner of war in a German work camp, then as a prisoner of another sort in a Russian detention camp and as a displaced, disillusioned veteran after the war's end. This is author Charlie Dukes' own story of his perilous, horrific and heart-breaking journey, but one that was also, ultimately, triumphant.

"A courageous personal account of the horros endured by American Prisoners of War at the hands of German and Soviet captors. A story that clearly confirms that our Soviet 'Allies' sent thousands of American POWs to slave labor camps at the end of WWII."

- Sam Cretaro, Heart of Illinois POW/MIA Association

The Author: Charlie Dukes

Charlie Dukes (Co. L, 413th Inf. 104th Timberwolf Div.) was one of the last documented World War II prisoners of war (POW) to be repatriated at the end of the war. He reached Allied lines at the Elbe river on May 27, 1945, some 20 days after the end of the war and after escaping from a Russian-controlled camp at Luckenwalde, Germany. After his discharge from the Army, Dukes finished college and married his college sweetheart, Gracie Schwab, and helped raise their family of two boys and two girls in his native Georgetown, Illinois. Now retired from banking and his own business ventures, this combat veteran and former POW spends his time carrying his message to students in area schools as a "living link to history." Emphasizing freedom and self-discipline, he speaks about his experiences, beliefs and convictions, cautioning young people to guard their freedom zealously. Dukes has also opened a World War II museum of memorabilia he has collected over the years.

Read an Excerpt

We stood near the pontoon bridge that had been built by American engineers, but we were barred from crossing by the Russian soldiers. The American officers explained the situation. This was one of the sites for the exchange of prisoners—on Russian terms.

An American truck would pull up on the far side of the river and discharge its cargo of Russian prisoners repatriated by the Allies. As one Russian would start walking across the bridge, one Allied soldier would be allowed to start from this side, the two passing in the center. It was a slow, agonizing process that had been going on every day since the declared end of hostilities and was just like the rumors I'd heard in Luckenwalde. ...

...The Bailey bridge was constructed primarily for the crossing of tanks and trucks. It consisted of two narrow steel treads about 18 inches wide, attached to floating rubber pontoons for buoyancy in the swift river. The bridge swayed a bit with the rush of the current. With no railings or supports of any kind, the bridge presented quite a challenge to the one navigating it on foot. This was especially true for this old infantryman. I was so excited and yet so physically exhausted that I fell to my knees several times and had to crawl a few feet before I was able to regain my feet.

I would have crawled on my hands and knees if I would've had to, but somehow I found that last bit of strength to proudly walk to Freedom. I'm sure I must have had a helping hand from the Lord above. He gave me the strength to stand up and take those final steps across the river. Tears of joy streamed freely down my face as I made those last unsteady steps across the Elbe from captivity and death to Freedom and life. Stepping off on the other side, I stumbled and collapsed into the arms of two American soldiers. As they were supporting me, my eyes locked in on the most beautiful sight imaginable: A big, silver Timberwolf insignia emblazoned on the door of the truck. I was home, back among my own. I had crossed the Elbe River and was Free. ...