|Horace Greasley Source|
Horace Greasely was an Englishman who fought in World War II and was taken prisoner in France, marched across the country, and held in a Polish prison camp. Greasely, with the help of a ghost writer, began writing his memoirs in 2008 and published them under the title, Do the Birds Still Sing in Hell.
In the book, Greasley tells of having an affair with a German girl who interpreted for his captors in the prison camp. He claims he sneaked out of the camp more than two hundred times to see her, and then simply sneaked back in. Often, he would bring things back for his fellow prisoners, such as food or radio parts. Eventually he managed to bring the BBC news to 3,000 prisoners daily.
He also claimed to be the unidentified soldier in a famous World War II picture, standing defiantly against Heinrich Himmler.
For me, I don't see that it makes a huge difference. No one but Greasley can say for sure whether he's telling the truth. Maybe he embellished his experiences. Maybe not. For a World War II veteran who spent time in a Polish prison camp, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He went through trials and made sacrifices most of us can't even conceive of. Even if he was just looking for fifteen minutes of fame (he passed away in February of 2010) why not give it to him? He surely earned it. I haven't read his memoirs, though I'd like to now, so I don't have an opinion on the book itself.
What do you think? Is this story good fodder for historical fiction? Do you think Greasely was telling the truth?