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Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1939-1945
  • Branch of Service: Army
  • Unit of Service: Company I, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division
  • Location of Service: Italy; France; Germany
  • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant

View full service history

"The thought of ever becoming a prisoner of war had never previously entered my mind." (Diary)

When infantryman Aben Caplan was taken prisoner on the German side of the Rhine in January 1945, he was lucky in that he spoke German and could communicate with his captors. What he didn't want to tell them, however, was that he was Jewish. Caplan found other Jews among the prisoner population, and in one of the many camps in which they lived, they were even able to hold religious services. His stories are vividly told in a series of letters he wrote to his wife and son in the last two months of the war, many of the details culled from a coded diary he kept.

[ Manuscript diary. ]

More Resources

[ Typed copy of original POW diary in letter form. ]
[ Maison Rouge. ]
[ Postcard from POW camp to "Most Gorgeous Twosome" [April 8, 1945]. ]
[ Telegram to Mrs. Sophie Caplan [May 12, 1945]. ]
[ List of telegrams, letters, P.O.W. items ]
[ Telegram to Mrs. Sophie G. Caplan [Dec 1, 1944]. ]

Show more resources (5)

[ Telegram to Mrs. Sophie Caplan [February 16, 1945]. ]
[ Letter to Mrs. Sophie Caplan [February 18, 1945]. ]
[ Telegram to Mrs. Sophie Caplan [March 20, 1945]. ]
[ Telegram to Mrs. Sophie Caplan [May 7(?), 1945]. ]
[ Artifact, POW tag. ]

About this Item

Title

  • Aben S. Caplan Collection

Names

  • Caplan, Aben
  • Caplan, Aben S.

State of Birth

  • IL

Home State

  • IL

Headings

  • -  Caplan, Aben S.
  • -  World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Army.
  • -  Prisoner of War -- United States

Repository

  • Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Gender

  • Male

Status

  • Veteran

Service History

  • World War, 1939-1945

    • Branch of Service: Army
    • Unit of Service: Company I, 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division
    • Location of Service: Italy; France; Germany
    • Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
    • Dates of Service: 1943-1945
    • Prisoner of War: Yes
    • Military Status: Veteran

Materials

  • Manuscript: Unit histories [1 item] -- Typewritten document (collected unknown)
  • Manuscript: Correspondence [7 items] -- Mixed (handwritten and typewritten documents) (collected 1944 - 1945)
  • Manuscript: Diaries and journals [1 item] -- Mixed (handwritten and typewritten documents) (collected 03/19/1945)
  • Artifact: Artifact [1 item] -- (collected unknown)

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/5190

Cite as

  • Aben S. Caplan Collection (AFC/2001/001/5190), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Online Format

  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

Using VHP Material in Publication or Exhibition

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand recollections of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service. The Veterans History Project Collection includes oral histories along with documentary materials such as original letters, diaries, photographs, and memoirs.

Veterans and interviewers contribute these materials to the Library for scholarly and educational purposes, retaining any copyright they may hold. Therefore, permission must be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibition or publication. Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these materials should contact the Veterans History Project for assistance.

As a publicly supported institution, the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Please contact us with questions.

Obtaining Copies of VHP Materials

In order for VHP materials to be duplicated, we must receive written permission from the interviewee for you to obtain a copy of the recording unless the proposed use is limited to personal use, research, or other uses permissible by copyright law. If the interviewee is deceased, their next-of-kin may grant written permission.

Please contact VHP for assistance if you need to contact a veteran for permission to use their materials in exhibition or publication, or if you have received permission from the veteran and need access to high-resolution copies of VHP collection materials.

Citing VHP Materials

Please use the following formats when citing Veterans History Project materials (substituting the appropriate name and collection ID number).

Materials as a whole:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Manuscript material:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Memoirs (MS02), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Transcript (MS04), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Correspondence (MS01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Recording:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Audio recording (SR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Video recording (MV01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Photograph:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH01), photographer unknown, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH03-PH14), Ralph Williams photographer, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Computer file:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Computer file (CF01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Artifact:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Artifact (AR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Caplan, Aben, and Aben S Caplan. Aben S. Caplan Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.05190/.

APA citation style:

Caplan, A. & Caplan, A. S. (1943) Aben S. Caplan Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.05190/.

MLA citation style:

Caplan, Aben, and Aben S Caplan. Aben S. Caplan Collection. 1943. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.05190/>.