Adolph J. Laurick

1919 - 2017


Their Story

Adolph J. Laurick was born August 14, 1919, in East Moline, Illinois, to Charles and Antoinette Laurick.[1] In his younger years he loved to swim in the Mississippi, ice skate at Riverside Pond in Moline, and attend movies. He worked at John Deere Plow Works before joining the armed forces. On June 26, 1941, Adolph enlisted in the Army and served with the 58th Field Artillery in WWII in Tunis and Sicily where he was captured and held as a prisoner of war by the Germans. He spent 20 of his first 31 months in the Army in a German POW camp.[2] He was returned to US military control May 31, 1945, after which he had a 60-day furlough [leave of absence] at home.

In January of 1943, Adolph’s parents received word that Adolph had arrived safely in North Africa.[3] The 58th had sailed on the Santa Rosa, arriving in Casablanca. They remained there three months before entering combat in Tunisia.[4] The 58th Field Artillery was a battalion of self-propelled 105 howitzers attached primarily to the 5th Field Artillery Group (along with the 62nd and 65th).[5] From North Africa, they prepared for the invasion of Sicily. On August 10, at 0035 hours, landing was made near Brolo, Italy. The Germans were waiting on the shore, and 20 mm fire greeted the landing parties. A battalion of German infantry, anti-tank guns and a half dozen Mark VI and Mark IV tanks resisted the landing. The Germans threw everything they had at the landing party. Enemy artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire constantly swept the area. The Battalion Executive Officer was killed as was the forward observer and      7 others, with 14 captured, and 25 wounded. The 58th’s war in Sicily ended.

Although overshadowed by the Normandy invasion a year later, Operation HUSKY, which was what the Sicily campaign was called, was the largest amphibious operation of World War II in terms of the size of the landing zone and the number of divisions put ashore on the first day of the invasion.[6]

To learn more about Sicily and the Surrender of Italy, visit: Sicily and the Surrender of Italy (

Adolph was kept as a POW in Stalag 2B, a German World War II prisoner-of-war camp situated 2.4 kilometers (1.5 mi) west of the town of Hammerstein, Pomerania. In August 1943 the first American prisoners arrived, having been taken prisoner in the Tunisian campaign.[7] In August 1943 the Stalag was reported as newly opened to privates of the US ground forces with a strength of 451. The Hammerstein installation acted as a headquarters for work detachments in the region. At its peak in January 1945, the camp strength was put at 7,200 Americans, with some 5,315 of these out on 9 major Arbeitskommando (“Work Companies”).

Treatment at the camp varied, depending on the work detachment, but was generally bad. It was reported to be the worst American POW camp in Germany. Eight Americans were shot and killed while on work parties.[8] The major portion of POWs’ food came from weekly Red Cross parcels. German rations were insufficient, and consisted of: hot water for breakfast, water soup with 7 small, boiled potatoes per man for lunch, and 3 slices of heavy black bread and a slice of sausage for dinner. Food on work parties was usually better than in the base camp. All privates had to work. The majority of POWs were employed on large farms in Pomerania where the main crop was potatoes. Adolph, upon release, weighed 125 pounds.[9]

In April 1945 the camp was liberated by the Soviet Red Army. During a 60-day furlough home in June 1945, Adolph and another serviceman were honored at a surprise party given by friends of his family. Thirty-five family members and friends attended.[10] Adolph served a total of four years in the Army. After the war, Adolph married Dorothy McNeill on December 31, 1948. At that time, Adolph was employed by John Deere Spreader Works. Adolph and Dorothy had two children, Lana and Larry. Larry tragically died before them in 1995, after an extended illness.[11] Adolph was an employee at John Deere Plow Planter in Moline for 31 years, retiring in 1974. Adolph and Dorothy were members of the Moline Viking Club, where they enjoyed many nights of dancing together. In 2015, Dorothy died. They had been married for 66 years.[1] Adolph died at the age of 98, on August 12, 2017, at Hope Creek Center, East Moline.


[1] Obituary for Adolph Laurick

[2] The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois) · 18 Jun 1945, Mon · Page 11 – Released Prisoner Home

[3] The Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Illinois) · 5 Jan 1943, Tue · Page 9 – Private Laurick arrived safely in North Africa

[4] Hot Steel: The Story of the 58th Armored Field Artillery Battalion by Fran Baker

[5] 58th AFA Battalion – WWII Forums

[6] WWII Campaigns: Sicily (

[7] Stalag II-B

[8] Condition at Stalag 2B

[9]The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois) – 18 Jun 1945 – Page 11 – Released Prisoner Home

[10] The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois) · 27 Jun 1945, Wed · Page 18 – Service Men Guests at Surprise Supper Party

[11] The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois) · 14 May 1995, Sun · Page 8 –  Larry Laurick obituary