Not only did he escape from the Nazi’s, Ed Beck has survived 70 more years, but the nearly six-months he spent as a prisoner of war were some of the hardest days of his life.
“No one who’s never been there knows what it’s like,” Beck said. “You never know what they’re going to do because you’re just a number.”
Beck was able to escape from Stalag IV-G using wire cutters he grabbed from a Russian prisoner.
“I asked him for his wire cutters and my friend said what are you going to do with them? I said I’m going to go home. He said you’re going to get killed,” Beck said. “He said that because if you escaped they just killed ya.”
Beck cut the wires and escaped with two other American POWs. Miraculously they were able to make it to safety.
But that was much different war.
The only U.S. serviceman taken prisoner in the Afghanistan war is on his way home, under much different circumstances than Beck.
Bowe Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban in 2009 after he walked away from his post at a U.S. base in Afghanistan. His return is coming at the cost of five top Taliban military commanders held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. Chief among them is Mullah Mohamed Fazi. He is the Taliban’s former Army Chief.
Some are condemning the President for violating long-standing U.S. policy not to negotiate with terrorists.
Senator John McCain spoke on the issue on Face the Nation.
“These individuals would have the ability to re-enter the fight and they are big, high level people, possibly responsible for the deaths of thousands,” Sen. McCain said.
Seven decades later, Beck remembers his own homecoming.
“My mother always said I’d be back. Everybody else said they’d never see me again but my mother said he’s going to come home, he’s going to come home,” Beck said.
So Beck believes he understands both sides, and doesn’t think he would have made the trade.
“As far as their family it’s a good idea but we’re not supposed to negotiate,” Beck said.
A decision by the President to save one POW that Beck worries could affect those in the future.