"Cigarettes for Bread" (2007) is a lively, easy-to-read book written by a World War II POW, the late Paul W. Church, about his imprisonment in Germany. In his book, Church frequently mentions a fellow POW: "Al" Trause, 19, who was from New Jersey. Trause helped provide comic relief.
One wintry day, the POWs were digging near a sidewalk in Munich. A beautiful young Fraulein walked past. Church wrote: "Al Trause, the New Jersey lyricist, working on top of a pile of dirt, was moved to compose a song on the spot. It went: ‘Hello, young lady, how do you do? How about a stroll down the avenue?' The young lady looked at him, ventured a smile, and said, ‘I speak English, yes.'" Trause was so shocked that "We picked Al up out of the hole and revived him with applications of snow on the forehead, down the neck, and on the midriff."
On July 19, Vito Trause of Washington Township, Bergen County, celebrates his 85th birthday — he adopted the "Al" and ditched the "Vito" because he had heard that the Germans had it in for Italian POWs.