Air Medal/Purple Heart group, Gerald Gerber, 381st Bomb Group, "Stalag 17" actor
Group to Sergeant Gerald Gerber, 381st Bomb Group and cast member in “Stalag 17″: Air Medal, with oak leaf cluster, wrap brooch, unnamed, unnumbered; Purple Heart, slot brooch, unnamed; Army Good Conduct Medal, slot brooch, unnamed; Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal, with three stars; World War II Victory Medal, slot brooch. With a set of clutch-back aerial gunner wings, unmarked; a single dog tag to Gerber and a small photo of Gerber in uniform as an aviation cadet. Plus, his original contract to play “A prisoner of war” in the movie, “Stalag 17″; an original contract as an extra at the Metropolitan Opera; several photographs from his stage and opera careers and a copy of “Contact”, Gerber’s March 1943 pilot training class book from the 5th AAF Flying Training Detachment, Hemet, California (signed on the cover).
Gerald Gerber was born in 1914 in Kingston, New York. He attended, but did not complete, pilot training in 1943. His crew was assigned to the 534th Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group in February 1944. His aircraft was hit by flak on a mission against Eschwege, Germany, on 19 April 1944 shortly after dropping their bomb load. Six men, including tail-gunner Gerber escaped by parachute, but four were killed. Gerber was held at Stalag 17B, in Austria until he was released in May 1945. While in captivity, he gave voice lessons to his fellow POWs. Among the other prisoners were Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski, who later wrote the play and movie, “Stalag 17″. In the movie, Gerber appears as the lead singer when the POWs sing Christmas carols. He also appears in the “rat races” scene. After the war, Gerber returned to his singing and voice coaching career. He died in Kingston, New York, in 1997.