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Students convalescing at the new Stillman Infirmary in Holyoke Center are being fed by Field Marshal Rommel's former cook.
Bruno Fricker, who during his career as a chef has cooked in German airships, prisoner-of-war camps, and Boston restaurants, came to Harvard only recently, according to an article in the February Alumni Bulletin.
Fricker was drafted in 1939 as a civilian cook to instruct German mess sergeants in the culinary arts. He was sent to Africa, where he concocted a special stew for Rommel, whom he addressed as "Pop."
He was taken prisoner by the English in 1943, then shunted back and forth among the Allies, ending up with the Americans. His profession having been discovered, Fricker was put in charge of the prisoners' mess.
On testing the prisoners' food one day, an inspecting sergeant found that the P.O.W.'s were eating better than American privates, and Fricker was immediately requisitioned for the GI's kitchen. A Captain stopped in one day to test his soldiers' fare, and Fricker was promptly promoted to the officer's mess.
From there, Fricker was sent to the U.S. as a prisoner of war where he headed the kitchens at three camps near Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He was later sent back to Germany on a prisoner exchange, but within three years he emigrated to the U.S.
Fricker now spends his time thinking up exotic German dishes for his Stillman patients. Dumb waiters in the Holyoke Center now carry such delicacies as Rahm schnitzel, Beef Stroganoff, Wlenerschnitzel, vol au vent and falsan aux asperges to hungry patients. Fricker also cooks for Holyoke's tenth floor dining rooms.
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