The Prisoner of
I have written this page in the hope of discovering further information on the Prisoner of War Camps described below. If you can help with any information please contact me.
My father was shot in the leg in northern
Dad was held captive in a prisoner of war camp for the first time, at Alexisdolph (Stalag 6c). He arrived here from hospital in Tournais, by train, on
Dad was then moved, on 21st September, by train to Hemer, to a camp consisting of marquee tents in a quarry (Stalag 6a). He was there until 2nd October, sleeping in blankets on stones, until the tents were flooded. This caused a transfer into some new but incomplete barracks, lacking glass in the windows. French prisoners were doing the cooking here. Somehow Dad obtained a French overcoat, and came up with a plan to join the French food queue which promised better sustenance. Encouraged by success, he tried a 2nd time but made the mistake of saying "thankyou" for the food! A Frenchman swiped at him with a ladle, and Dad had to make his escape without his illicit extra soup ration.
Next came a journey by train to
On 16th December he arrived at Munsingen (apparently also designated Stalag 5d), and stayed there until
Then Dad was transferred to Zimmeren (Stalag 5b), near Rottweil in the
Schildberg and Deutchepresse
After a longer train journey to the German/Polish border, Dad arrived at Schildberg (Stalag 21a) on 15th March. He stayed here for about two weeks, being transferred to Deutchepresse (Stalag cz?) on 1st April. A certain amount of thieving appeared to be taking place over a period here - it transpired that this was largely in preparation for his 21st birthday party
After 3 months at Deutchpresse the next move was on 4th July to Wollstein (Stalag 21c/h). Quarters were huts with thatched roofs, built on stilts in an unsuccessful attempt to keep out rats. A high spot here was the issue of Turkish Red Cross eiderdowns, one of which Dad won in a raffle. On settling into this new acquisition he found that he was sharing it with an army of fleas. He managed to remedy this in the middle of the night by dragging thr eiderdown outside and turning it inside out, before returning to continue his sleep.
Work at this camp consisted largely of filling "palleyasses" with straw, but Dad volunteered for some car work. He remembers lifting the engine into a Ford with a Frenchman and working on a front wheel drive Audi.
The camp was also memorable for the concerts which took place, with an organ being played by one of the prisoners which was similar to that of his father Oscar's back home
Although Dad seems to have some tolerable memories of this camp, the final days there were more unpleasant. Prisoners were lined up to leave the camp with the exception of 24, one of which was Dad. Russian prisoners were now held at the camp ("they were worked to death"), many of which were suffering from typhus. Two or three wagons of their dead left the camp every day. The 24 British prisoners had been selected to feed the Russians.
But then Dad became ill with yellow jaundice, so avoiding this onerous task. He remembers that a Polish doctor was going to operate for appendicitis. Before moving further, He had to spend 2 weeks in quarantine at Gratz, because he had been in contact with typhus. They were accommodated in a tall building with bunk beds stacked seven high. Subsequently they moved to the main camp at Gratz.
According to his "Black
Book", Dad was moved between 3 different locations at Wollstein,
leaving the first on 21st July, the second on 25th July, and finalyy for Gratz,
Dad was imprisoned at Gratz (Stalag21e) until
Posen - "Fort Eight" and "
Dad was moved on 7th December to "Fort Eight" (Stalag21d), a fort on the German Polish border which dated from the Franco Prussian wars. The water pump there pumped up rats! "Fort Eight" was closely followed on 13th December by "
It was only a local move to Kuhndorf, (still Stalag 21d), and Dad continued to work as a mechanic at the Daimler Benz agent. He remained here till..............?
Next, he was moved to Lamsdorf 344, which was a large camp dating from the 1st World War; housing 5 or 6000 prisoners. The buildings were brick but in bad condition with many broken windows. Here, a popular activity was to construct a contraption called a "blower" which was a fan driven cooker in a tin can. Dad remembers spending some time here in the sick bay with a South African, but his main recollection is of the amount of tunnelling that went on. An Australian, adept at bartering and called "Trader" Horn was tunnelling under his table, and the football pitch was levelled in the day time for tunnel diggings. The summer of 1944 was spent at this camp. Dad found it preferable to sleep outside where the bug population made its presence less felt.
Finally Dad arrived at Fallingbostel, and it was from here on
From Hanover Dad embarked for