AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN GERMANY
Prepared by MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE, WAR DEPARTMENT 15 July 1944
STALAG LUFT 3
STRENGTH 3,363 AAF Officers.
LOCATION Pin point: 51° 35' North latitude. 15° 19' 30" East longitude. Camp is situated in pine-woods area at Sagan [now in Poland], 168 kilometers Southeast of Berlin.
Three of the camp's 6 compounds are occupied by Americans, 3 by RAF officers. Each compounds is divided into 15 buildings or blocks housing 80 to 110 men. The 12 rooms in a block each house 2 to 10 men. Barracks are one-story, wooden hutments resembling old CCC barracks in this country. Beds are all double-deckers.
An American p/w in this camp was fatally shot and another wounded under circumstances appearing to be in violation of the Geneva Convention. Fifty British Ps/W were murdered in March. Prior to these recent incidents, treatment had been excellent.
Food is adequate only because of regular arrival of Red Cross food parcels although for a time during March, 1944 Ps/W received only German rations insufficient for subsistence. Vegetables from individual garden plots lend variety to diet. Food parcels are pooled and men in each room take turns at cooking. One stove is availa9le [or each 100 officers. A food exchange is maintained by Ps/W. Cigarettes serve as the medium of exchange.
Clothing is furnished by the Red Cross. Germans issue only booty and very little of that. Men need summer issue underwear.
Health of Ps/W is good. Calisthenics are compulsory by order of the Senior American Officers. Adequate medical care is provided by British & French doctors. Dental care is not satisfactory, and difficulty is experienced in obtaining glasses. Washing & toilet facilities are adequate although hot water is scarce.
Complete religious freedom is observed. Services are held in specially constructed chapels by 9 chaplains, 7 of them Protestant, 2 Catholic. One chaplain is Lt. Eugene L. Daniel, an American; the others are British.
South Compound - American Sr. Officer: Col. Charles G. Goodrich.
Center Compound- American Sr. Officer: Col. Delmar Spivey.
West Compound – American Sr. Officer: Col. Darr Alkire
German Commandant: Oberst von Lindeiner.
Airmail from camp averages 1~ months in transit, surface mail 3 months. Next-of-kin & tobacco parcels average 2~ months travel time. Sometimes they are pilfered.
This camp has the best organized recreational program of the American camps in Germany. Each compound has an athletic field and volleyball courts. The men participate in basketball, softball, boxing, touch football, volleyball, table tennis, and fencing. Leagues have been formed in most of these sports. A fire pool 20'x22'x5' is occasionally used for swimming. Parole walks are sometimes permitted. In each of the compound theaters built by the Ps/W, plays & musical comedies are frequently presented. Top-flight swing bands & orchestras perform regularly, and several choral groups take part in religious services & camp entertainments. Other recreational activities include bridge tournaments, building of model planes, visits to occasional movies, listening to phonograph recordings. Competent instructors teach a wide range of cultural & technical subjects, & lectures & discussions are numerous. A-newspaper posted 4 times weekly is edited by the Ps/W. Each of the compounds has a well-stocked library.
Officers are not required to work. However, a small tin-shop voluntarily make plates and cooking pans from biscuit and other produces brooms largely from Red Cross wrapping cord is staffed by Ps/W who tins, while a broomshop – produces brooms largely from Red Cross wrapping cord.
Men are paid on a sliding scale according to rank. Lts. receive 81 marks monthly in lagergeld of which 40 are deducted for food & orderly services. The remainder may be used at the canteen which has weak beer 4 times a year and a meager supply of harmonicas, pottery, and gadgets.
AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN GERMANY
Prepared by MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE WAR DEPARTMENT
STALAG LUFT 3
(Air Force Officers)
1 November 1945
Until 27 Jan. 1945, Stalag Luft 3 was situated in the Province of Silesia, 90 miles southeast of Berlin, in a stand of fir trees south of Sagan (51°35'N latitude – 15°19'30" East longitude).
In the Jan. exodus, the South Compound & Center Compound moved to Stalag 7A, Moosburg (48°27' North latitude – 11°57' East longitude). The West Compound & North Compound moved to Stalag 13D, Nürnerg-Langwasser (49°27' North latitude – 11°50' East longitude) and then proceeded to Moosburg, arriving 20 April 1945.
On 14 April 1942 Lt. (j.g.) John E. Dunn, 0-6545, U.S. Navy, was shot down by the Germans and subsequently became the 1st American flyer to be confined in Stalag Luft 3, then solely a prison camp for officers PW of the Royal Air Force. By 15 June 1944, U.S. Air Force officers in camp numbered 3,242, and at the time of the evacuation in Jan. 1945, the International Red Cross listed the American strength as 6,844. This was the largest American officers' camp in Germany.
When the first Americans arrived in 1942, the camp consisted of 2 compounds or enclosures, one for RAF officers and one for RAF NCOs. The rapid increase in strength forced the Germans to build 4 more compounds, with USAAF personnel taking over the Center, South, West and sharing the North Compound with the British. Adjoining each compound the Germans constructed other enclosures called "Vorlagers" in which most of the camp business was transacted and which held such offices as supply, administration and laundry.
Each compound enclosed 15 one-story, wooden barracks or "blocks". These, in turn, were divided into 15 rooms ranging in size from 24' by 15' to 14' by 6'. Occupants slept in double-decker bunks and for every 3 or 4 men the Germans provided simple wooden tables, benches & stools. One room, equipped with a cooking range, served as a kitchen. Another, with 6 porcelain basins, was the washroom. A 3rd, with 1 urinal & 2 commodes, was the latrine.
A "Block" could house 82 men comfortable, but with the growth in numbers of PW, rooms assigned for 8 men began holding 10 and then 12, and the middle of Sept. 1944 saw new PW moving into tents outside the barracks.
Two barbed wire fences 10' high and 5' apart surrounded each compound. In between them lay tangled barbed wire concertinas. Paralleling the barbed wire and 25' inside the fence ran a "warning wire" strung on 30-inch wooden posts. The zone between the warning wire & the fence was forbidden territory, entrance to which was punishable by sudden death.
At the corners of the compound and at 50-yard intervals around its perimeter rose 40' wooden guard towers holding Germans armed with rifles or machine guns.
Lt. Col. Albert P. Clark, Jr., captured on 26 July 1942, became the first Senior American Officer, a position he held until the arrival of Col. Charles G. Good rich some 2 months later. The enforced seclusion of individual compounds necessitated the organization of each as an independent PW camp. At the time of the move from Sagan, camp leaders were as follows:
Senior Allied Officer - Brigadier General Arthur W. Vanaman
SAO South Compound - Col. Charles G. Goodrich
SAO Center Compound - Col. Delmar T. Spivey
SAO West Compound - Col. Darr H. Alkire
SAO North Compound - Lt. Col. Edwin A. Bland
The staff of a compound was organized into two categories:
Main Staff Depts. Secondary Staff Depts.
a. Adjutant a. Mail
b. German property b. Medical
c. German rations c. Coal
d. Red Cross food d. Finance
e. Red Cross clothing e. Canteen
f. Education & Recreation f. Orderlies, etc.
The basic unit for organization was the barrack building or block. Block staffs were organized to include the same functions as the Compound Staff, and the blocks themselves were sub-divided into squads of 10 men each.
Each compound had a highly organized Security Committee.
The original commandant of Stalag Luft 3 was Oberst von Lindeiner, an old-school aristocrat with some 40 years of army service. Courteous and considerate at first sight, he was inclined to fits of uncontrolled rage. Upon one occasion he personally threatened a PW with a pistol. He was, however, more receptive to PW requests than any other commandant.
After the British mass escape of March 1944, Oberst von Lindeiner was replaced by Oberstleutnant Cordes, who had been a PW in World War I. A short while later Cordes was succeeded by Oberst Braune, direct & business-like. Stricter than his predecessors, he displayed less sympathy toward PW requests. Nevertheless, he was able to stop misunderstandings such as the one resulting in guards shooting into the compounds. In general, commandants tended to temporize when dealing with PW, or else to avoid granting their requests entirely.
Most disliked by PW were the Abwehr or Security officers - Hauptmann Breuli and his successor Major Kircher.
The Luftwaffe guards were 4th rate troops either peasants too old for combat duty or young men convalescing after long tours of duty or wounds received at the front. They had almost no contact with PW. In addition to uniformed sentries, soldiers in fatigues were employed by the Germans to scout the interiors of the compounds. These "ferrets" hid under barracks, listened to conversations, looked for tunnels and made themselves generally obnoxious to the PW. The German complement totaled 800.
Occasionally, as after the March 1944 mass escape, Gestapo groups descended upon the camp for a long, thorough search.
Because of their status as officers and the fact that their guards were Luftwaffe personnel, the men at Stalag Luft 3 were accorded treatment better than that granted other PW in Germany. Generally, their captors were correct in their adherence to many of the tenets of the Geneva Convention. Friction between captor & captive was constant and inevitable, nevertheless, and the strife is well illustrated by the following example.
On 27 March 1944 the Germans instituted an extra Appel (roll call) to occur any time between the regular morning & evening formations. Annoyed by an indignity which they considered unnecessary, PW fought the measure with a passive resistance. They milled about, smoked, failed to stand at attention and made it impossible for the lager officer to take a count. Soon they were dismissed. Later in the day another Appel was called. This time the area was lined with German soldiers holding rifles & machine guns in readiness to fire. Discreetly, PW allowed the Appel to proceed in an orderly fashion. A few days later, nevertheless, probably as a result of this deliberate protest against German policy, the unwonted extra Appel was discontinued.
Since the murder of 50 RAF flyers has been attributed to the Gestapo, acts of atrocious mistreatment involving the regular Stalag Luft 3 guard complement may be narrowed down to two.
About 2200 hours, 29 Dec. 1943, a guard fired a number of shots into one barrack without excuse or apparent purpose. One bullet passed through the window and seriously wounded the left leg of Lt. Col. John D. Stevenson. Although Col. Stevenson spent the next 6 months in hospitals, the wound has left him somewhat crippled.
About 1230 hours, 9 April 1944, during an air raid by American bombers, Cpl. Cline C. Miles was standing in the cookhouse doorway. He was facing the interior. Without warning a guard fired at "a man" standing in the doorway. The bullet entered the right shoulder of Cpl. Miles and came out through his mouth killing him instantly.
German rations, instead of being the equivalent of those furnished depot troops, compared with those received by non-working civilians - the lowest in Germany. While insufficient, these foods provided the bulk of staples, mainly through bread & potatoes. A PWs average daily issue of foods, with caloric content included, follows:
TYPE Of FOOD GRAMS CALORIES
Potatoes 390 331
Bread 350 910
Meat 11 20
Barley, Oats, Etc 21 78
Kohlrabi 247 87
Dried vegetable 14 38
Margarine 31 268
Cheese 10 27
Jam 25 69
Sugar 25 100
TOTALS 1124 1928
A conservative estimate of the caloric requirement of a person sleeping S hours a day and taking very little exercise is 2,150 calories. German rations, therefore, fell below the minimum requirement for healthy nutrition.
Food came from 4 other sources: Red Cross parcels, private parcels, occasional canteen purchases and gardens. Of the Red Cross parcels, after the spring of 1S43, 40% were American, 25% British, 25% Canadian and 10% miscellaneous such as New Zealand parcels, Christmas parcels and bulk issue from the British colony in Argentina. These were apportioned at the rate of 1 per man per week during periods of normal supply. If the International Red Cross at Geneva felt that transportation difficulties would prevent the usual delivery, it would notify the camp parcel officer to limit the issue to ½ parcel per man per week. Such a situation arose in Sept. 1944 when all Stalag Luft 3 went on ½ parcels. Average contents of American & British parcels were as follows:
Food Weight (OZ) Food Weight (OZ)
Spam 12 Meal Roll 10
Corned Beef 12 Stew 12
Salmon 8 Cheese 4
Cheese 8 Dried fruit 6
Dried Fruit 16 Biscuit 10
Biscuits 7 Condensed milk 14
Klim 16 Margarine 8
Margarine 16 Tea 2
Soluble 4 Cocoa 6
Orange Powder 4 Jam 10
Liver Paste 6 Powdered eggs 2
Chocolate 4 Chocolate 4
Since the kitchen equipment of 10 boilers & 2 ovens per compound was obviously inadequate, almost all food was prepared by the various room messes in the blocks. These messes obtained from the kitchen only hot water and, 4 times a week, hot soup. Cooking within the block was performed on a range whose heating surface was 3 square feet. During winter months, PW were able to use the heating stoves in their rooms as well. With few exceptions, each room messed by itself. All food was pooled, and room cooks were responsible for serving it In digestible & appetizing, if possible, form. Since the stove schedule provided for cooking periods from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., some rooms ate their main meal in mid-afternoon, while others dined fashionably late. Below is a typical day's. menu:
Breakfast – [illegible] Two slices of German bread with spread, coffee (soluble) or tea.
Lunch- [illegible] (on alternate days), slice of German bread, coffee or tea.
Supper – [illegible] potatoes, one-third can of meat, vegetables (twice a week), slice German bread, coffee or tea.
Evening snack – [illegible] Dessert (pie, cake, etc) coffee or cocoa.
A unique PW establishment was “Foodacco” whose chief function was to provide PW with a means of exchanging and a stable barter market where, for example, cocoa could be swapped for cigars. Profits arising from a 2% commission charged on all transactions was credited to a communal camp fund.
Despite confinement, crowding, lack of medical supplies & poor sanitary facilities, health of PW was astonishingly good.
For trivial ailments, the compounds maintained a first aid room. More serious cases were sent to 1 of the 2 sick quarters within the camp. Sick quarters for the South Compound originally consisted of a small building with 24 beds, a staff of 3 PW doctors and some PW orderlies. This also served the North & West Compounds. The Center Compound had its own dispensary and 2 PW doctors. On 1 June 1944, the three-compound sick quarters was replaced by a new building with 60 beds.
The Germans furnished very few medical supplies. As a result, PW depended almost wholly on the Red Cross. Large shipments of supplies, including much-needed sulfa drugs, began to arrive in the autumn of 1944. PW were also glad to receive a small fluoroscope and thermometers.
Most common of the minor illnesses were colds, sore throats, influenza, food poisoning and skin diseases. When a PW needed an x-ray or the attentions of a specialist, he was examined by a German doctor. It usually took months to obtain these special attentions. Cases requiring surgery were sent to one of the English hospitals, as a rule Lamsdorf or Obermassfeld. Emergency cases went to a French hospital at Stalag 8C, one mile distant.
Dental care for the North, West & South Compounds was provided by a British dentist and an American dental student. In 14 months, they gave 1,400 treatments to 308 PW from the South Compound alone.
Sanitation was poor. Although PW received a quick delousing upon entry into the camp, they were plagued by bedbugs and other parasites. Since there was no plumbing, both indoor and outdoor latrines added to the sanitation problem in summer. PW successfully fought flies by scrubbing aborts daily, constructing fly traps and screening latrines with ersatz burlap in lieu of wire mesh.
Bathing facilities were extremely limited. In theory the German shower houses could provide each man with a three-minute hot shower weekly. In fact, however, conditions varied from compound to compound and if a PW missed the opportunity to take a hot shower he resorted to a sponge bath with water he had heated himself - the only other hot water available the year around.
In 1943, Germany still issued booty clothing of French, Belgian or English derivation to PW. This practice soon ceased, making both Britons & Americans completely dependent on clothing received from the Red Cross. An exception to the rule was made in the winter of 1943 when the camp authorities obtained 400 old French overcoats from Anglo-American PW.
Gradually, Americans were able to replace their RAF type uniforms with GI enlisted men's uniforms, which proved extremely serviceable. When stock of clothing permitted, each PW was maintained with the following wardrobe:
1 Overcoat. 1 Blouse 2 Shirts, Wool or cotton
1 Pr. Wool trousers 2 Pr. Winter underwear 2 Pr. Socks
1 Pr. Gloves 1 Sweater 1 Pr. High Shoes
1 Belt or Suspenders 1 cap 4 Handkerchiefs
1 Blanket (added to 2 German blankets)
Officers were never required to work. To ease, the situation in camp, however, they assumed many housekeeping chores such as shoe repairing, distributing food, scrubbing their own rooms and performing general repair work on barracks.
Other chores were carried out by a group of 100 American orderlies whose work was cut to a minimum and whose existence officers tried to make as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.
The monthly pay scale of officers in Germany was as follows:
F/O & 2d Lt. 72 Reichsmarks 1st Lt. 81 Reichsmarks
Capt. 96 Reichsmarks Major 108 Reichsmarks
Lt. Col. 120 Reichsmarks Col. 150 Reichsmarks
Americans adhered closely to the financial policy originated by the British in 1940-42. No money was handled by individual officers but was placed by the aceoul1ts officer into individual accounts of each after a sufficient deduction had been made to meet the financial needs of the camp. These deductions, not to exceed 50% of any officer's pay, took care of laundry, letter forms, airmail postage, entertainment, escape damages and funds transmitted monthly to the NCO camps, which received no pay until July 1944.
Officers at Stalag Luft 1 contributed 33% of their pay to the communal fund, and the entire policy was approved by the War Department on 14 Oct. 1943. Since the British Government unlike the U.S.A. deducted PW pay from army pay, Americans volunteered to carry out all canteen purchases with their own funds, but to maintain joint British-American distribution just as before.
Because of the sudden evacuation from Sagan, Allied PW had no time to meet with German finance authorities and reconcile outstanding Reichsmark balances. The amount due to the U.S.A. alone from the German Government totals 2,984,932.75 Reichsmarks.
Mail from home or sweetheart was the life-blood of PW. Incoming mail was normally received 6 days a week, without limit as to number of letters or number of sheets per letter. (German objected only to V-mail forms.) Incoming letters could travel postage free, but those clipper-posted made record time. Correspondence could be carried on with private persons in any country outside of Germany; Allied, neutral or enemy. Within Germany correspondence with next-of-kin only was permitted. A PW could write one letter per month to next-or-kin in another PW camp or internees' camp.
SOUTH COMPOUND INCOMING MAIL
Month Letters Per Capita Age
Sep 43 3,190 3 11 weeks
Oct 43 5,392 5 10 "
Nov 43 9,125 9 10 "
Dec 43 24,076 24 8 "
Jan 44 7,680 7 12 "
Feb 44 10,765 9 12 "
Mar 44 11,693 10 12 "
Apr 44 16,355 15 12 "
May 44 15,1 62 13 13 "
Jun 44 13,558 11 14 "
Jul 44 26,440 20 14 "
Aug 44 14,266 11 15 "
Sep 44 10,xx7 8 16 "
The travel time reverted to 11-12 weeks in the autumn of 1944, with airmail letters sometimes reaching camp in 4 to 6 weeks. All mail to Luftwaffe-held PW was censored in Sagan by a staff of German civilian men and women.
Outgoing mail was limited, except for special correspondence, to 3 letter forms and 4 cards per PW per month. Officers above the rank of major drew 6 letters & 4 cards while enlisted men received 2 letter forms & 4 cards. Protected personnel received double allotments. PW paid for these correspondence forms & for airmail postage as well.
SOUTH COMPOUND OUTGOING MAIL
Month Letters Postage in RMs
Sep 43 3,852 924.60
Oct 43 6,711 2494.60
Nov 43 7,781 2866.66
Dec 43 7,868 2968.00
Jan 44 7,811 2915.30
Feb 44 7,968 2907.10
Mar 44 7,916 3095.80
Apr 44 8,460 3154.90
May 44 8,327 3050.20
Jun 44 10,189 3789.60
Aug 44 8,780 3366.50
Sep 44 8,777 3288.30
Each 60 days, a PW's next-of-kin could mail him a private parcel containing clothing, food and other items not forbidden by German or U.S. Government regulations. These parcels too, were thoroughly examined by German censors.
Morale was exceptionally high. PW never allowed themselves to doubt an eventual Allied victory and their spirits soared at news of the European invasion. Cases of demoralization were individual, caused for the most part by reports of infidelities among wives or sweethearts, or lack of mail, or letters in which people failed completely to comprehend PW's predicament. Compound officers succeeded in keeping their charges busy either physically or mentally and in maintaining discipline. The continual arrival of new PW with news of home and the air force also helped to cheer older inmates.
The value of the Protecting Power in enforcing the provisions of the Geneva Convention lay principally in the pressure they were able to bring to bear. Although they might have agreed with the PW point of view, they had no means of enforcing their demands upon the Germans, who followed the Geneva Convention only insofar as its provisions coincided with their policies. But the mere existence of a Protecting Power, a third party, had its beneficial effect on German policy.
Direct interview was the only satisfactory traffic with the Protecting Power. Letters usually required 6 months for answer - if any answer was received. The sequence of events at a routine visit of Protecting Power representatives was as follows: Granting by the Germans of a few concessions just prior to the visit; excuses given by the Germans to the representatives; conference of representatives with compound seniors; conference of representative with Germans. Practical benefits usually amounted to minor concessions from the Germans.
PW of Stalag Luft 3 feel a deep debt of gratitude toward the Red Cross for supplying them with food and clothing, which they considered the 2 most important things in their PW camp life. Their only complaint is against the Red Cross PW Bulletin for its description of Stalag Luft 3 in terms more appropriately used in depicting life On a college campus than a prison camp.
PW also praised the YMCA for providing them generously with athletic equipment, libraries, public address systems and theatrical materials. With YMCA headquarters established in Sagan, the representative paid many visits to camp.
On 1 Dec. 1942, the Germans captured Capt. H.E. McDonald with a British Airborne Division in Africa. Because he was "out of the cloth" they did not officially recognize him as a clergyman, nevertheless, he was the accredited chaplain for the camp and conducted services for a large Protestant congregation. He received a quantity of religious literature from the YMCA and friends in Scotland.
In April 1942, Father Philip Goudrea, Order of Mary Immaculate, Quebec, Canada, became the Catholic Chaplain to a group which eventually numbered more than 1,000 PW. Prayer books were received from Geneva and rosary beads from France.
On 12 Sept. 1943, a Christian Science Group was brought together in the South compound under the direction of 2d Lt. Rudolph K. Grumm, 0-749387. His reading material was forwarded by the Church's War Relief Committee, Geneva, as was that of 1st Lt. Robert R. Brunn active in the Center Compound.
Thirteen members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sometimes known as the Mormon Church, held their first meeting in the South Compound on 7 Nov. 1943. 1st Lt. William E. McKell was nominated as presiding Elder and officiated at subsequent weekly meetings. Material was supplied by the European Student Relief Fund, the Red Cross, the YMCA and the Swiss Mission of the Church.
Reading was the greatest single activity of PW. The fiction lending library of each compound was enlarged by books received from the YMCA and next-of-kin until it totaled more than 2,000 volumes. Similarly, the compounds' reference libraries grew to include over 500 works of a technical nature. These books came from the European Student Relief Fund of the YHCA and from PW who had received them from home.
Athletics were second only to reading as the most popular diversion. Camp areas were cleared and made fit playing fields at first for cricket and rugby and later for softball, touch football, badminton, deck tennis and volleyball. In addition, PW took advantage of opportunities for ping-pong, wrestling, weight lifting, horizontal & parallel bar work, hockey and swimming in the fire pool. The bulk of athletic equipment was supplied by the YMCA.
The "Luftbandsters", playing on YMCA instruments, could hold its own with any name band in the U.S.A. according to those who heard them give various performances. PW formed junior bands of less experienced players and also a glee club.
Through the services of the YMCA, PW were shown 7 films, somewhat dated Hollywood features and 2 German musical comedies.
Other activities included card playing, broadcasting music and news over a camp amplifier called “Station KRGY” [note: short for Kriegie – a term used for prisoners of war Kriegsgefangener] reading the "Circuit" and "Kriegie Times" journals issued by PW news room, attending the Education Department’s classes which ranged from Aeronautics to Law, painting, sketching and the inevitable stroll around the compound perimeter track.
At 2100 hours on 27 Jan. 1945, the various compounds received German orders to move out afoot within 30 minutes. With an eye on the advancing Red Armies, PW had been preparing 2 weeks for such a move. Thus the order came as no surprise. In barracks bags, in knotted trousers and on makeshift sleds they packed a minimum of clothing and a maximum of food - usually 1 parcel per man. Each man abandoned such items as books, letters, camp records and took his overcoat and one blanket. Between 2130 & 2400 hours, all men except some 200 too weak to walk, marched out into the bitter cold and snow in a column of threes - destination unknown. Their guards, drawn from the camp complement, bore rifles and machine pistols. They marched all night, taking 10 minute-breaks every hour.
The exodus was harrowing to PW of all compounds but especially those of the South, which made the 55 kilometers from Sagan to Muskau in 27 hours with only 4 hours of sleep. Rations consisted only of bread & margarine obtained from a horse-drawn wagon. PW slept in unheated barns. At Muskau, on the verge of exhaustion, they were billeted in a blast furnace, which was warm and an empty heating plant, which was cold. Here they were given a 30-hour delay for recuperation. Even so, some 60 men incapable of marching farther had to be left behind. The 25 kilometers from Muskau to Spremberg on 31 Jan., the South compound, plus 200 men from the West compound, went to Stalag 7A at Moosburg. They traveled 2 days and 2 nights in locked, unmarked freight cars - 50 men to a car. On 7 Feb., the Center Compound joined them. The North Compound fell in with the West Compound at Spremberg and on 2 Feb. entrained for Stalag 13D, Nürnberg, which they reached after a trip of 2 days.
Throughout the march the guards, who drew rations identical with PW's, treated their charges with sympathy and complained at the harshness they all had to undergo. German civilian encountered during the trek were generally considerate, bartering with PW and sometimes supplying them with water.
STALAG 13D CONDITIONS
Conditions at Stalag 13D, where PW stayed for 2 months, were deplorable. The barracks originally built to house delegates to the Nazi party gatherings at the shrine city, had recently been inhabited by Italian PW, who left ,them filthy. There was no room to exercise, no supplies, nothing to eat out of and practically nothing to eat inasmuch as no Red Cross food parcels were available upon the Americans' arrival. The German ration consisted of 300 grams of bread, 250 grams of potatoes, some dehydrated vegetables and a little margarine. After the first week, sugar was not to be had and soon the margarine supply was exhausted. After 3 weeks, and in answer to an urgent request, 4,000 Red Cross food parcels arrived from Dulag Luft, Wetzlar. Shortly thereafter, the Swiss came to make arrangements for sending parcels in American convoy, and soon Red Cross parcels began to arrive in GI (Red Cross) trucks.
Throughout this period, large numbers of American PW were pouring into camp - 1,700 from Stalag Luft 4,150 a day from Dulag Luft and finally some men from Oflag 64.
Sanitation was lamentable. The camp was infested with lice, fleas & bedbugs. 3,000 men each with only 2 filthy German blankets, slept on the bare floors. Toilet facilities during the day were satisfactory, but the only night latrine was a can in each sleeping room. Since many men were afflicted with diarrhea, the can had an insufficient capacity and men perforced soiled the floor. Showers were available once every 2 weeks. Barracks were not heated. Only 200 kilograms of coal were provided for cooking. Morale dropped to its lowest ebb, but Col. Darr H. Alkire succeeded in maintaining ,discipline.
At 1700 hours on 3 April 1945, the Americans received notice that they were to evacuate the Nürnberg camp and march to Stalag 7A, Moosburg. At this point, the PW took over the organization of the march. They submitted to the German commander plans stipulating that in return for preserving order they were to have full control of the column and to march no more than 20 kilometers a day. The Germans accepted. On 4 April, with each PW in possession of a food parcel, 10,000 Allied PW began the march. While the column was passing a freight marshalling yard near the highway, some P-47s dive-bombed the yard. Two Americans & 1 Briton were killed and 3 men seriously wounded. On the following day the column laid out a large replica of an American Air Corps insignia on the road with an arrow pointing in the direction of the march. Thereafter, the column was never strafed. It proceeded to Neumarkt, to Bersheim where 4,500 Red Cross parcels were delivered by truck, then to Mulhauser where more parcels were delivered. On 9 April, the compound column reached the Danube which Col. Alkire flatly refused to cross since it meant exceeding the 20 kilometer-a-day limit. With his refusal the Germans completely lost control of the march and PW began to drop out of the column almost at will. The guards, intimidated by the rapid advance of the American Army, made no serious attempt to stop the disintegration. The main body of the column reached Stalag 7A on 20 April 1945.
"SOURCE MATERIAL FOR THIS REPORT CONSISTED OF INTERROGATIONS OF FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR MADE BY CPM BRANCH, MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE, AND REPORTS OF THE PROTECTING POWER AND INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS RECEIVED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT (Special War Problems Division)." Taken from the introduction (general) of camps.