Hidden Hell: Discovering My Father's P.O.W. Diary

Overview

Robert Miller's father, World War II veteran Herbert Henry Miller, died in 1994. A month later, Robert and his mother discovered the Red Cross diary he had kept while a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany. It became the catalyst for Robert's quest to learn more about his father's war. The result of that quest is this remarkable book, a story of terror, horrific despair, and Nazi depravity. But it is also a tale of survival against astonishing odds, of the deep bonds that develop between men at a time of war, and of ...
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Hidden Hell

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Overview

Robert Miller's father, World War II veteran Herbert Henry Miller, died in 1994. A month later, Robert and his mother discovered the Red Cross diary he had kept while a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany. It became the catalyst for Robert's quest to learn more about his father's war. The result of that quest is this remarkable book, a story of terror, horrific despair, and Nazi depravity. But it is also a tale of survival against astonishing odds, of the deep bonds that develop between men at a time of war, and of choosing to leave hate behind. Captured by the Germans at Mortain, France, on August 6, Miller endured a punishing fifty-four-day march to Moosburg, Germany, where he survived for seven months in Stalag VIIA, the largest POW camp in Nazi Germany. During his stay at Stalag VIIA, Miller became good friends with a Nazi guard named Heinz, who eventually disappeared from the camp.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780984637409
  • Publisher: Patton Publishing MI
  • Publication date: 4/30/2011
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert H. Miller spent three years researching and writing the story of his father’s experiences as a POW in World War II. Soon to be published in its second edition, the well-received book Hidden Hell is the story of an American soldier who greatly suffered as a POW in Nazi Germany. For the last sixteen years, Miller has worked in advanced LED lighting and technology design that is centered on the global auto market. He travels extensively in Europe and in the emerging auto markets of China, India, and Brazil. In August 2010, Miller accepted the newly created position of Executive Director of the Patton Foundation. In this role Miller will oversee the foundation’s efforts in America to put into practice General George Patton’s concerns for the welfare of American soldiers and their families. Miller has been a professional photographer for thirty-six years and has won several international awards.
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Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Thoughts from Helen Patton xi

Preface xv

Prologue xvii

Discovering the Diary 1

West Virginia Childhood, Getting Drafted, Meeting Eleanore 13

Dad Goes Off to War 21

Omaha Beach 23

Normandy and Hedgerow Country 31

The Wooden Shoes 37

St. LO and Operation Cobra 41

Mortain 55

Finding the Relic and Capture by the Germans 59

Nazi Depravity 69

The Fifty-Four-Day March to Germany Begins 79

Driving through Paris 91

Illness on the Road 95

Crossing the Border into Germany 99

Arriving at Stalag VIIA 103

Interrogation 107

Prison Camp Life 141

Heinz, the Good Nazi Guard 147

Work Detail in Munich 149

POW Soup and Dad's Mothballs 153

Munich Dealing and Stealing Potatoes 159

The Christmas Tree, POW Pie, and a Charcoal Drawing 163

Morale Plummets and Mail Arrives 171

Heinz Disappears and Dad Plans an Escape 177

Dad and Bert Escape 181

Captured 185

The Second Escape 189

Captured Again 197

A Second Stalag and the Hole 207

The Truth about the War Is Revealed 215

The War Ends and the Camp Goes Wild 219

The Allies and the Red Cross Arrive 221

The Former POWs Leave for France 223

Camp Lucky Strike 227

Farewell to Stephen 229

Off to America, Where Dad and Bert Say Goodbye 231

Reunion 235

Bert and Dad Reunite in 1947 237

Epilogue 243

Acknowledgments 253

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

    As an educator, I have devoted much of my life to studying the e

    As an educator, I have devoted much of my life to studying the effects of World War II upon the world. With my students, I have spent many years interviewing veterans and Holocaust survivors. This book hit home for many reasons.

    Robert Miller's story about his father really stopped me in my tracks. Here is man who, like many of us grew up in a "quote-un-quote" normal, post World War II childhood, with a mom and dad and a picket fence, but who also understood that somehow Dad was different. Why won't Dad ring the back yard with the standard fence that all the neighbors have? Why doesn't he like fireworks, and why must he drive us around the tall hedgerow lined field to go to a fishing spot? Dad's idiosyncrasies were not necessarily a cause for alarm; in fact, it was a point of honor when together with young school mates. "My dad was in the war"...

    After his dad passed on, Robert found his Dad's POW diary. He began to sit with his mother, as she unleashed her own catharsis of what his father has gone through as a soldier and a prisoner of war. Robert's narrative moves quickly, and absorbs you as you go with his dad through the landings at Omaha, the Norman hedgerows, the push at St. Lo, the cluster SNAFU of Operation Cobra, and his capture at Mortain. Then, you really enter the world of Herbert Miller as he struggles to survive.

    Robert has written a moving narrative of his quest to truly discover his father's war, which is really every American's war. We can't afford to forget what our soldiers went through, and what our military families and their offspring go through. Thanks, Robert, for reminding us of that, and for this moving tribute to your parents of the World War II generation. So many lessons can be learned from this book. Pick it up and read it. Especially the chapter entitled "The Wooden Shoes". His dad brought home a pair, marked by him "June 21, 1944". When young Robert would put them on to clank around the house and play, he learned that he could not play with them. A young man's life was changed forever on that day. You need to read this book, and find out why.

    Matthew Rozell
    Award winning History Teacher.
    USA

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  • Posted February 29, 2012

    Incredibly Important Historical Story

    Hidden Hell tells the story of a man who, in his lifetime, could never express what he endured to anyone. It’s also a story about his son, who in many ways became closer to his father after his death. The story begins with Robert Miller’s discovery of his father’s World War II POW diary and goes on to chronicle its harrowing contents. Rich with historical insight and integral research, this book offers a unique view of survival during World War II, delivered with poignant narratives and unforgivingly brutal detail. The writing style allows you to feel as though you personally know Herbert Miller, both as a middle-aged man so haunted by his past that baseball games and fireworks triggered PTSD, and the young man fighting to stay alive in a Nazi prison camp. There have been many World War II stories as well as Holocaust stories, but few that I know of that go into such depth about what it is like to be a prisoner of war, and the toll it takes long after a person comes home, gets married and raises a family. As a journalist who has had the opportunity to work with World War II veterans, I have never come across a story as compelling, devastating and inspiring story as Mr. Herbert Miller’s.

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  • Posted February 27, 2012

    Great story about the war from a POW perspective

    I love to have a book in my hands that I cannot put down. This is one of those good reads that you think about long after the final chapter. Beautifully written, the author invites you to see the goodness of a man who lived the hell of WWII. So much of the soldier's experience is too dreadful to remember. To find this man's experience as he had recorded it gives a window into his life during the war and for years after. Thank you for this great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Everyone must read!

    I am an avid book reader (I read about 30 books a week approximately), and have read and re-read this book many times. It is an extremely well-written book that was a true joy to read despite my lack of interest of reading books of this time period. It is obvious that the author did extensive research to ensure accuracy and the ability to paint details to further enhance the book, which is why this book makes my top 3 books to read ever. This is the first book with the subject matter about World War II that I have ever enjoyed reading and wanted to re-read over and over again. Robert H. Miller's style of writing is insightful, eloquent and spell-binding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

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