“Eleven-Two,” written by Concordia of Monroeville resident Frank Kravetz, follows Frank’s life from a young boy through his time in the U.S. Army Air Corps and beyond. And while his time as a POW is arguably the main focal point of the story, his story doesn’t end with his freedom from captivity.
Throughout his life, Frank has been active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Ex-Prisoners of War (AXPOW). He retired early and devoted his life to being a national service officer, making himself available to any former POWs and their spouses.
Frank and his wife Anne dedicated themselves to helping veterans get the benefits they deserved. They would travel to people’s homes, or meet them halfway at a restaurant if it was too great a distance, and opened their hotel rooms at conferences to any who needed help filling out complex benefit forms from the government.
In short, it became a passion for them.
“He told me that once he got his freedom back, he couldn’t be selfish,” said daughter Cheryl.
Concordia of Monroeville recently honored Frank with a book signing event at the facility. In addition to giving his autograph, Frank and his family were available to talk and answer questions about his biography, and books were available on-site for purchase.
Frank had always wanted to leave something behind to serve as his family legacy, and aided by Cheryl, he transformed his wish into reality.
“It became apparent that the story he was telling was more than just a family memoir,” said Cheryl. “It was a book!”
When she mentioned this to Frank, he didn’t object to publishing his story in spite of the fact that the task ahead of them seemed like a daunting one. Shortly after this conversation, they began researching the steps it would take to share Frank’s story with the world, from chapter titles to finding a publisher and everything in between.
Cheryl remembers that when it came to choosing a name for Frank’s book, she had numerous titles bouncing around in her head designed to catch readers’ attention. But Frank had that covered. “Eleven-Two,” he had said, knowing instantly what the title of his biography should be.
Eleven-two, or Nov. 2, has been a recurring date of significance in Frank’s life. In addition to being the date of his capture in 1944, he first reported for duty with the Army Air Corps on Nov. 2, 1943, and on Nov. 2, 1945, he was honorably discharged.
Once they found a publisher in Silverbear Graphics, they stuck to a strict timeframe; the intention was to publish “Eleven-Two” to the Library of Congress on (you guessed it) eleven-two, or rather Nov. 2, 2010. Frank and Cheryl ramped up their efforts to meet the deadline.
Fast forward four years, and Frank has just celebrated the four-year anniversary of his book. He has passed the 70th anniversary of his date of capture, and he remains as kindhearted as he’s always been.
During a stay at the hospital, Anne discovered that she would need of skilled nursing, and the hospital referred the family to Concordia of Monroeville. Following her discharge from the hospital, Anne made the transition to Concordia. After speaking with his family, Frank followed Anne to Concordia, where he could be near her to provide support and cheer her on as she recovered.
“Concordia has really been a blessing to our family,” said Cheryl. “Mom loves her therapist and is making great progress. And Dad appreciates the daily assistance he is offered and adores the aides that help him.”
Check out a few pictures from Frank's book signing below, and feel free to leave a comment. And of course, Happy Veterans Day from the entire Concordia family!
For more information on Concordia of Monroeville personal care, short-term rehab or long-term nursing care services, call us at 412-373-3900, visit our website or message us through our online contact form.
In 1944, Frank was a staff sergeant and tailgunner in the U.S. Army Air Corps when his plane was shot down over Germany, and he was injured. That same day, he became a prisoner of war and spent six long months in captivity before being liberated on April 29, 1945. After receiving medical treatment for the physical injuries incurred before and during captivity, he was honorably discharged that same year.
But his wounds ran much deeper than what was visible on the surface. At the time, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was referred to as “Combat fatigue” or “Psychoneurosis,” and being an ex-POW was something that many looked down on. In his book, Frank recalls conversations he had with other soldiers where his time as a POW was compared to “taking it easy” during the war, so he refrained from speaking of his experiences.
It wasn’t until the culture surrounding ex-POWs changed that Frank became comfortable discussing his time as a POW with others. He was invited to speaking engagements at colleges and other events, participated in multiple interviews, and even provided some insight about what it was like to be in the U.S. Army Air Corps to the crew who worked on the movie “Memphis Belle.”
“It was a complete 180,” said Cheryl of her dad’s change in attitude toward his former-POW status. “Now, he proudly wears his POW blazers and hats. He’s become a proud, honored veteran, and proud of being a survivor.”
You can purchase Frank's book on Amazon.com by clicking this link.