So begins the journal of Lieutenant Donald R Waful ’37, G’39 which he kept during part of the “3 Christmases and 3 birthdays” he spent behind enemy lines. Captured by the German army and held captive from 1942-44, Waful recorded details of daily life, diversions the prisoners employed to pass the time, and his burgeoning love for Cassie, the enlisted nurse he’d become engaged to weeks before his capture.
The journals, narrated by Brett Barry ’98, G13, tell just part of the story: four interview sessions conducted between 2018-19 gave Waful, then 103 years old, a chance to fill in gaps (such as his thrilling escape and the subsequent search for Cassie), and reminisce on his experience 75 years after the war’s end. A third part, voiced by famed broadcaster Sean McDonough ’84 , provides reference through a historical timeline. McDonough, who began his career calling games for the Syracuse Chiefs baseball team, (of which Waful was President) also gives the audiobook’s prologue and epilogue.
This two-hour production provides remarkable insight into the psyche of a captive soldier set against the backdrop of one of the most compelling events of the 20th century.
Access Audio is a part of the Special Collections Research Center at the Syracuse University Libraries. Don’s journal was transcribed by Mahala Nyberg. You Don’t Surrender was recorded at WAER and Newhouse studios, mixed and mastered at Silver Hollow Audio. Thanks to our production assistants Tyler Youngman, Gabriella Iannotti and Ian Coe. A very special thank you to our partners at InclusiveU for their generous support. Read more about Don Waful in this beautiful article by Mary Elizabeth Horsington, Senior Writer and Content Specialist in Marketing and Communications.