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Manuscripts by Subject - Military - #11073

Title: Jay Monicken World War II POW Diary

Dates: 1944-1945

Collection Number: 11073

Quantity: .25 ft.

Abstract: Consists of one diary, "A Wartime Log: A Remembrance From Home Through The American Y.M.C.A." issued to Monicken following his capture by the German Army after the fighter plane he piloted was shot down over Austria on February 24, 1944. The diary contains Monicken's sketches, writings, pictures, and miscellaneous items he entered while a German POW from his capture until his release in May 1945. Separated from the diary and placed in a folder are loose newspaper clippings regarding his capture and release, a map of Austria, and prisoner entry form with his picture. Monicken was a POW at Stalag Luft I-Germany and is originally from Velva (ND). He passed away in Minot (ND) on April 1, 1995.

Provenance: The collection was donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by Monicken’s daughter, Angela Johnson, on October 20, 2010.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.   

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.

From Monicken’s obituary in the Minot Daily News, April 4, 1995

After a prolonged illness with cancer and heart disease, Jay Monicken died at home in the presence of his loving family on April 1, 1995. He was 76 years old.

Born on March 19, 1919 at his family’s home in Velva, Jay Monicken appreciated the “rootedness” and sense of place that Velva/Minot and North Dakota provided to him and his family. After graduating from Velva High School in 1936, he attended Minot State College until his admission to the service in September 1942. A pilot, he was shot down over Austria in 1944.

After his 1945 release from a prison camp on the Baltic, Jay returned to North Dakota. In 1946, he married Sylvia Ramstad. They had six children, and, until 1965, Jay commuted to Minot to work in insurance and financial planning.

Except for his fifteen-month internment as a German prisoner of War, Jay Monicken spent all of this live living in the Minot area and working to create better ND communities, more accessible health care, more responsive churches, healthy children, and, always joyful music.

A true democrat, Jay Monicken believed in the necessity and efficacy of civic involvement. He lived those beliefs. As a young man, he was a member of the Chamber of Commerce during the period that Velva was named first among improved ND cities. He was also a charter member and president of the Velva Lion’s Club. Later, he served as the chairman of the Velva Clinic Board – working to establish and maintain Velva’s health service for the next 40 years. After he and his family moved to Minot in 1965,Jay continued his civic service on the Minot School Board, the Minot Public Library Boar, St. Joseph’s Hospital Board, and the ND Area Health Planning Council. In 1995, he received the Melvin Jones Fellow Humanitarian Award from the International Lions’ Club.

At Oak Valley Lutheran Church in Velva and later on the council of the First Lutheran Church in Minot, Mr. Monicken was a committed and active Christian. Besides singing in the choir and teaching Sunday school, Jay was president of Oak Valley’s church council and chairman of its building committee. He also practiced his faith in Lutheran Campus Ministries, Masons, Boy Scouts and careful, environmentally sound management of land.

Jay Monicken’s love of music was “noteworthy” – a pun he would have enjoyed. He was instrumental in establishing and sustaining the Nodakord Barbershop Chorus of Minot. The first president of the Minot Chapter, he received the Mount Everest Award in 1994. From 1980-1983 Monicken served as president of the Minot Symphony Board. He was also a member of the North Dakota Chapter of American Ex-POW’s. Even during his long and often difficult illness, he persisted in singing – in choirs, choruses, quartets, and the annual family Christmas caroling.

Jay is survived by his wife of 48 years, Sylvia, his many friends, and his children/their spouses: Melodee Monicken and Richard Hamilton Smith; Deborah Monicken; Sue Kattas; Tim and Sheila Monicken; Angela and Steve Johnson; Michaella and George Arneson; and Theresa Monicken and Paul Johnson. An only child, Jay treasured his sister/brother-in-law Evinda and Harvey Johnson, his niece Pam, his nephews David and Steven. His seven grandchildren enjoyed their grandfather’s affection and humor, his songs about worms and goats, and his talent for calligraphy and cartoons.


Box 1:
1 Diary, 1944-1945           
2 Newspaper clippings, POW entry form with picture, map of Austria, 1944-1945

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