Did any POW's get released early?

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by penderel, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    Reopening the thread...
    My dad told a story of how he broke a mans thigh in order for him to try for repatriation.

    My dad was a big bloke and apparently, early on in their internment the prisoners used the Red Cross rule about repatriating prisoners who were no longer fit for combat to their advantage. To that end he said that a few prisoners went down the road on taking the mattress and middle slats out of the bottom bunk and the mattress and all the slats out of the top bunk of their bed. The soldier wanting repatriation would then sit with their thigh over the gap at the bottom with their lower leg supported by the slats at the bottom of their bunk. A second soldier, in one instance my dad, would then climb to the top bunk and drop with all their weight onto the thigh bone hoping for a single, clean break. He said he knew the men went to the hospital but did not know if they were ever repatriated.

    I dont know if this is actually true or a tall tale. Has anybody else heard of such extreme measures? Are there any medical records for the repatriated to see if anyone came back with a broken leg?
     
  2. Alan Allport

    Alan Allport Senior Member

    As late as April 1944 the British government was still trying to negotiate with the Germans the mutual repatriation of large numbers of POWs who has been held for several years (around 40,000 Britons had been imprisoned since 1940). But the Germans dragged their feet on the issue and the Americans were adamantly opposed: their own prisoners had only been in captivity for a relatively short time, and they were worried that the return of fit German servicemen would only prolong the war. For that reason no mass exchange ever took place.

    (Arieh Kochavi, Canadian Journal of History, April 2004).

    Best, Alan
     
  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I cannot remember where I read it as it was a long time ago, but I seem to think that the Germans repatriated POW that caused them problems with care and medication, such as severely wounded, loss of limbs etc.

    Mental health was also one way and several attempted mental conditions.

    A broken leg I feel would not fit in the category for Repatriation.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  4. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    In 1943 the was an Exchange of P.O.W. in Northern Italy 1943.

    The Second Repatriation seems to have taken place in 1944
    Others in 1944 September to October. Another in November 1944.

    There does appear to have been five repatriations in Total including the Exchange in Marsailles.

    Oddly there are two Files still closed that refer to Exchange and Repatriation. Then again not so odd!!!!

    Brian
     
  5. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    My Grandfather, from South Africa, was in Stalag 344, in 1944, the last POW card we have today from there is about mid 44, but his records show him in Marseille very early Feb, then Egypt, and back in South Africa in March, in a Hospital in Durban.

    It almost seems that he could not have been on the 'death march' - he must have left earlier from the camp. Rather interesting and wish we could know the whole story.

    He was also a Prisoner in PG52 Chiavari in 1943. East of Genoa with 40 - 45 Barracks on Main Road 14kms from Chiavari at Piani Caglia. Position given:- 44:22N - 09:19E

    At the end of June there was 1 Officer; 2193 Brit ; 39 Aus ; and 1268 S/A. O.Rs.
     
  6. Stig O'Tracy

    Stig O'Tracy Senior Member

    In watching the Deutsche Wochenschau I found on the net, there were scenes in a couple of these videos of ships arriving with what would appear to be German POWs returning to Germany during the war, presumably part of a POW swap. I think that these scenes were actually from Wochenschau's that were from 1944. Some of the soldiers, as I recall were on stretchers but others appeared to be quite healthy. I can't quite understand why they would have wanted to return to Germany at that stage of the war.http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAABgAAAAYCAYAAADgdz34AAADsElEQVR4nK2VTW9VVRSGn33OPgWpYLARbKWhQlCHTogoSkjEkQwclEQcNJEwlfgD/AM6NBo1xjhx5LyJ0cYEDHGkJqhtBGKUpm3SFii3vb2956wPB/t+9raEgSs52fuus89613rftdcNH8/c9q9++oe/Vzb5P+3McyNcfm2CcPj9af9w6gwjTwzvethx3Bx3x8xwd1wNM8dMcTNUHTfFLPnX6nVmZpeIYwf3cWD/PhbrvlPkblAzVFurKS6GmmGqqComaS+qmBoTI0Ncu3mXuGvWnrJ+ZSxweDgnkHf8ndVTdbiT3M7cQp2Z31dRTecHAfqydp4ejhwazh6Zezfnu98E1WIQwB3crEuJ2Y45PBTAQUVR9X4At66AppoEVO1Q8sgAOKJJjw6Am6OquDmvHskZ3R87gW+vlHz98zpmiqphkkRVbQtsfPTOC30lJKFbFTgp83bWh7Zx/uX1B6w3hI3NkkZTqEpBRDBRzG2AQHcwcYwEkOGkTERREbLQ/8HxJwuW7zdYrzfZ2iopy4qqEspKaDYravVm33k1R91Q69FA1VBRzFIVvXbx5AgXT44A8MWP81yfu0utIR2aVK3vfCnGrcUNxp8a7gKYKiLCvY2SUvo/aNtnM3e49ucK9S3p0aDdaT0UAVsKi2tVi6IWwNL9JvdqTdihaz79/l+u/rHMxmaJVMLkS2OoKKLWacdeE3IsSxctc2D5Qcl6vUlVVgNt+fkPPcFFmTw1xruvT7SCd7nuVhDQvECzJH90h0azRKoKFRkAmP5lKTWAGRdefoZL554FQNUxB92WvYeA5UN4PtSqwB2phKqsqMpBgAunRhFR3j49zuU3jnX8k6fHEQKXzh1jbmGDuYU6s4t1rt6socUeLLZHhYO2AHSHmzt19ihTZ48O8Hzl/AmunD/BjTvrvPfNX3hWsNpwJCvwYm+ngug4UilSCSq6k8YPtxDwfA+WRawIWFbgscDiULcCEaWqBFOlrLazurupOSHLqGnEKJAY8TwBEHumqUirAjNm52vEPPRV4p01XXMPAQhUBjcWm9QZwijwokgAeYHlHYA06KR1cT6ZvoV56pDUJQEjw0KeaMgj1hPEY4vz2A4eW0/e1qA7KtQdsxTYAG0H3iG4xyK1Y+xm7XmEPOJZDiENzLi2WZHngeOjj2Pe+sMg4GRYyLAsx7ME4FnsyTD9pr0PEc8zPGRAwKXBkYOPEd96cZRvf11g9MDe7e3R4Z4Q+vyEnn3P4t0XzK/W+ODN5/kPfRLewAJVEQ0AAAAASUVORK5CYII%3D
     
  7. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    In watching the Deutsche Wochenschau I found on the net, there were scenes in a couple of these videos of ships arriving with what would appear to be German POWs returning to Germany during the war, presumably part of a POW swap. I think that these scenes were actually from Wochenschau's that were from 1944. Some of the soldiers, as I recall were on stretchers but others appeared to be quite healthy. I can't quite understand why they would have wanted to return to Germany at that stage of the war.http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/data:image/png;base64,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%3D

    Stig,

    Take a look at post 13 from me early in the thread. The German Officer missing his arm, but with prothesis, being repatriated.

    If only his looks could kill.

    regards
    Tom
     
  8. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    I think the last repatriation of POWs occurred in February 1945.It was arranged through the Red Cross but also the good offices of the Swedish government.I can look up the detail of it to confirm.There were quite a number of POWs who had injuries and bad health who clearly were not able to receive the continued health care available in Germany.This led to an exchange arrangement between Great Britain and Germany for the safe conduct of their sick POWs, who qualified for repatriation by suitably identified hospital ships.I think only the Baltic ports were used at the German end and I believe, Liverpool at this end.

    The deception in the health of a RAF POW was true but the account was and had to be convincing.The deception was enacted by the production of a urine sample which was doctored by the addition of fluids which convinced the German authorities that the POW was gravely ill.It might have led to a false diagnosis of diabetes, I can't remember but it was sufficient to initiate a repatriation.

    The account was included in a book published after the war.If I can reference it, I will post it.I believe also some POWs who were desperate for freedom also attempted to convince the German authorities that they were demented.Some who were genuinely so, lost their lives by irrational acts of mounting the wire.

    It appears that these irrational acts were commonplace in concentration camps when inmates reached a point when they had had enough.

    Ive got a pic somewhere of hospital ship landing seriously ill repatarees..my technology is defeating me at mo but if I find it i can mail to someone to put up.
     
  9. Gibbo

    Gibbo Senior Member

    There was an episode of the early 70s BBC TV drama series Colditz in which a British PoW successfully got himself repatriated by convincing the Germans that he was insane. However, in doing so, he actually drove himself mad.

    Although this was fiction, it was claimed at the time that the character was based on a real person.

    Since posting this just over a year ago, I've read the obituary of the man on whom the fictional character was based. Both successfully feigned madness in order to be repatriated. Unlike the fictional version, the real one did not drive himself mad by his act, but he never lost the stammer that he adopted as part of his act.
     
  10. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    It is amazing the lengths people will go for freedom.
    Slighly askew, but Tim McInnerny said the twitch he developed for the Captain Darling character took him months to loose after the end of the Black Adder series and that it still plagues him if he reprises the role even for just a few minutes.
     
  11. slaphead

    slaphead very occasional visitor

    Going back to my dads tale. If the thigh bone was not broken cleanly and was a compound fracture would that be enough for repatriation? And as a side note, is it actually possable to break a thigh bone in the way described above?
     
  12. handtohand22

    handtohand22 Senior Member

    Prisoners of War (From Marine Bill Balmer's Story)The Nature of Human Warfare<O:p</O:p
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    Introduction


    From early antiquity, human warfare has been making incremental advances in tactics and technology. Some of the advances were influenced by the social changes, including the advance from tribal leadership to city-states and then on to empires of ruling elites. Technological advances in the design of weaponry have also influenced the nature of human warfare.

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    Treatment Of PoWs<O:p</O:p
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    What has changed relatively little since the dawn of time is the treatment of prisoners of war (PoWs). Modern religious practices appear to have eliminated the acts of sacrificing PoWs. The Second World War acts of cannibalism carried out by the Japanese captors of American PoWs remain unproven although they were found guilty of live vivisection (The Denver Post, June 1, 1995. p. A2).

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    Other than that, atrocities are still being inflicted on PoWs. This includes the practices of murder, massacre, mutilation, battering, starvation, torture, human shields, neglect, enslavement, retaliation and ransom. <O:p</O:p
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    For example, on Tuesday 28 May 1940, on the third day of Bill Balmer’s capture, Private Thomas John Hanna from Bushmills was reported missing in action. He was a member of A Company 2<SUP>nd</SUP> Battalion, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His company and other units had been tasked to fight the Dunkirk rearguard in the village of Wormhout. The purpose of that action was to allow the evacuation of the defeated Allied army through Dunkirk to proceed. <O:p</O:p
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    That day A Company and the other units had fought valiantly but lost the battle to the 2<SUP>nd</SUP> Battalion Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (LSSAH). In retribution for all the casualties they sustained, the LSSAH shot the injured defenders dead. They then escorted the 200 survivors on a 3km march and herded them into a barn at Esquelbecq.
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    The LSSAH tried to kill all their prisoners by throwing hand grenades into the barn. That was not efficient enough so on two occasions they escorted the survivors out, five at a time and shot them in the head. The process was too slow so they entered the barn to machine-gun and then finish off the remainder.<O:p</O:p
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    That evening a local farmer filled a churn with milk and went out to comfort the fifteen survivors and the dying. The milk churn remains at the scene of the massacre as a poignant memorial to the brave Warwicks and their comrades. (Rodgers, p21)<O:p</O:p
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    For the LSSAH this was not an isolated incident. Their war record is peppered with atrocities. Their last actions included the torture and murder of eleven African-American soldiers from the 333<SUP>rd</SUP> Field Bn US Army and the massacre of 130 Belgian civilians in December 1944. Present-day wars are still throwing up armed forces of this ilk.<O:p</O:p

    Thomas Cooper, an Englishman with dual nationality, was known to be a member of LSSAH in the early years. <O:p</O:p
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    PoW Numbers


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    As technology, strategy and tactics on the battlefield advanced so did the number of prisoners taken in battle. Data referred to by Davis (1977) shows that during World War One there was a total of 8,500,000 prisoners of war. During the Great War this rose to a total of 35,000,000.
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    Prisoner of War Camps
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    The German PoW camps were located in a broad corridor that extended from the German coast south of Denmark, through Germany, occupied Poland and annexed Austria to Italy, in that order. <O:p</O:p
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    These German territories were split into military districts known by their Roman numeral. If there was more than one camp in a specific military district they were designated a letter according to their order of build. <O:p</O:p
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    The PoW camps were usually sited in the Great War training grounds, former PoW camps, Napoleonic Forts and castles. The German army manned most of the PoW camps. On a smaller scale of operation, the Allied Air Force personnel were usually sent to PoW camps manned by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) and naval PoWs were sent to camps usually manned by Kriegsmarine (German Navy). <O:p</O:p
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    The word Stalag is an abbreviation of Mannschaftsstammlager; a PoW camp used to hold enlisted men and NCOs. Stalag VIIIB is therefore the second PoW camp for enlisted men and NCOs to be built in the military district VIII. This camp was located in southwest Poland. <O:p</O:p
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    Other abbreviations for PoW camps include Oflags for officers, Marlags for sailors, Milags for merchant sailors, Stalags Luft for Air Force personnel and Dulags for transit camps.<O:p</O:p
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    Prisoners of War were also called Kriegies after the German term Kriegsgefangen, or Prisoner of War.

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    The Role of PoWs
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    Prisoners of war represent a measure of military success that can undermine the enemy’s morale. Holding prisoners of war also denied the enemy their fighting personnel. <O:p</O:p
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    This is well illustrated by the stance taken by the British Admiralty during discussions on the exchange of sailors and merchant sailors. The Nazis eventually lost 30,000 U-Boat personnel as either killed or missing in action during the course of the war. The Admiralty believed that an exchange of experienced seamen between the Allied and Axis navies would have allowed the Nazis to re-staff their U-Boats. <O:p</O:p
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    Prisoners of war were also a drain on enemy manpower. If troops were tasked to guard the enemy prisoners this reduced the number of troops available to fight the war. Vance (1993, p. 676) states that during the Second World War, the working ratio was one guard for every four prisoners. By 1943 over 400,000 German personnel were employed to guard Germany’s PoWs.<O:p</O:p
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    In Germany the prisoners of war were used as replacements for the workforce who could then be called up for military service. Other than the four million civilian prisoners, Germany had taken eight million prisoners of war during the Second World War. In 1943 twenty per cent of them were forced to labour in the coal mining industry (Davis, 1977).
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    Civilian Prisoners
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    Prisoners of war were not the only victims of the Nazi policy on slave and forced labour. Many of the French and Polish troops captured during the May 1940 blitzkrieg were later released, only to be redeployed as civilian slave labourers. This action was taken because, compared to PoWs, the Nazis did not have to account for the civilians to the same high degree or submit them to the International Red Cross inspections. <O:p</O:p
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    Jews and other civilians deported from occupied countries, foreign nationals and concentration camp prisoners were all employed under inhumane conditions to keep German industry functioning during the war. In Bill’s case, Polish men and women laboured alongside him on the Putlitz estate farm.
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    Because of Germany’s economic need for forced labour in 1944, the killing rates in the concentration camps slowed down as more Jews and Gypsies were posted out as slave labour (Spoerer and Fleischhacker, p. 195). Rather than being killed in the shooting pits or the gas chambers, many of the concentration camp prisoners were worked to death.<O:p</O:p
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    Treachery

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    Having to surrender in the heat of the battle is as terrifying as fighting the battle. PoWs are immediately under emotional and physical duress; they have exhausted all means of escape and are now at the mercy of the victors. They will be held for an indeterminate period and will be called prisoners although they have not committed any crime. <O:p</O:p
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    There is a small section in all populations who will have a dysfunctional reaction to these traumatic experiences. They will seek to avoid physical punishment and mental stress by developing an empathy with their captors. As a consequence, the individual seeks the favour of their captors by committing deeds of treachery against their own comrades. This behaviour has been witnessed in PoW and concentration camps throughout the Nazi controlled states. <O:p</O:p
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    During Bill’s time as a PoW he observed a few incidences of treachery. For example, reporting the use of illicit radios and SNCOs who accompanied other ranks. One of the reasons these incidents were so infrequent was because camp inmates had a ruthless attitude towards treacherous comrades. <O:p</O:p
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    Longden (2005, p. 54-56) reports that traitors were killed on many occasions and there was an incident in Lamsdorf where the PoWs found a corpse in the pool. It was no idle comment when Bill mentioned that the PTI who reported the illicit radios at Sternberg work camp stood a good chance of being hung on the wire.<O:p</O:p
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    Irish POWs in the German Army


    During the Second World War there were many Allied traitors, foreign nationals trapped in German occupied territory when the war started and former PoWs serving the Nazi cause. These people served in many capacities, such as spies, saboteurs, radio operators and radio propaganda broadcasters. Many others served in the Wehrmacht (German regular forces) and the Waffen-SS (Nazi armed volunteer units). For example, in August 1942 the Azad Hind Legion (India) had approximately 3,500 Indian soldiers serving alongside the German army in Holland and the coastal areas of southwest France (Thompson, 2002).<O:p</O:p
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    In comparison to these figures, the numbers of British, Commonwealth and Irish personnel enrolled by the Germans proved to be insignificant. Neither the British and Commonwealth nor the Irish groups produced enough volunteers (30+) to create an armed unit. But individuals within both groups did serve in different German units.<O:p</O:p
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    The organisation responsible for recruiting foreigners into the German forces was called Abwehr II. This was the German Military Intelligence organization that also trained and directed their foreign national recruits in covert intelligence activity such as sabotage and spying. <O:p</O:p
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    Abwehr II recruited their first Irish nationals and former PoWs in the early years of the war. At that time they were responsible for segregation of all PoWs into national minorities (O’Reilly, p. 63). The majority of the Irish PoWs were forwarded to Stalag IIIA, at Luchenwalde. Frank Levin recalled that at one time 1,500 Irish PoWs were accommodated there and 450 of these came from N. Ireland (Doherty, 2002, p. 287). <O:p</O:p
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    From there the PoWs were interrogated and anyone showing a propensity to sympathise with their Nazi captors was posted to a more specialist camp. This was Stalag XXA, also known as Friesack. It was located 35 miles from Berlin. <O:p</O:p
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    By the middle of 1941, the Germans realised that they would never recruit enough Irishmen to form an Irish Brigade within their armed forces. Those they had managed to train were then fielded out to different units (O’Reilly, p. 7). <O:p</O:p
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    An attempt to form a Waffen-SS British Free Corps was initiated by the English traitor John Amery in 1943. He failed that task so the Germans made a fresh attempt to recruit British and Commonwealth PoWs in October 1943. At its peak, this recruiting produced twenty-nine recruits, not enough to form a complete unit. Again, as in the case of the Irish group of recruits, individuals were posted out to different units.<O:p</O:p
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    Bill Balmer’s account shows that Sergeant McNamara’s outburst was well timed and probably based on personal experience. Sergeant Terence McNamara from Swansea, South Wales was taken prisoner on 25 May 1940. He spent the first six months of his time as a PoW at Stalag XXA.
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    The failure of the Germans to recruit a significant number of Irishmen can be attributed to the fact that most Irishmen were totally opposed to Nazism (Doherty, 2002, p287).<O:p</O:p


    Repatriation
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    It can be inferred from the documentation on the repatriation of PoWs that there were three classes of PoW. First there was the physically and mentally ill and the wounded. This group was considered to be the most eligible for repatriation. This group was followed by the eldest of the PoWs, many of whom were over the age of sixty near the end of the war. The fit and able-bodied PoWs were the final group for consideration. The first two groups were exchanged but the third group remained in captivity until they were liberated at the end of the war (Kohavi, 2004).<O:p</O:p
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    Although the negotiations between the governments of Great Britain and Germany started in 1940, they achieved nothing. At that time the Germans had captured over 2,200,000 French, Belgian, Dutch and British troops during the initial Blitzkrieg. That total also includes those captured later at Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk. The Allied forces had captured a negligible number of Axis troops at this stage of the war. This placed the Germans in a much stronger bargaining position and they capitalised on the PoW disparity to block all progress in the negotiations.<O:p</O:p
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    Serious negotiations with the German government started in October 1943. That was because the tide of war and the number of PoWs captured turned in favour of the Allied forces. For example, Germany lost Stalingrad in February and the Russians started advancing. Germany also lost 41 U-boats in three weeks in May. Then the Italian forces surrendered in September of that year and the German forces had to occupy Italy and take control of the Italian and


    Allied PoWs

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    The Allied and Italian PoW exchanges had already been going on since June 1943. During that month the hospital ship Newfoundland sailed from England to Lisbon with Italian PoWs. The ship then picked up Allied PoWs for a seven-day return trip to England. <O:p</O:p
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    According to an article in the Winter (2005) Newsletter of The National Ex-Prisoner of War Association, British Commonwealth and German PoW exchanges eventually started in October 1943. <O:p</O:p
    The final exchange of wounded and sick PoWs took place after the abortive Arnhem operation. In February 1945 1,259 British PoWs were exchanged for 1,579 Germans in Berne, Switzerland.
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    Control of PoW Camps
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    The German guards were responsible for maintaining the security of the PoW camps and the internal administration and self-government of the camps was the responsibility of an officer or a SNCO (Lunden, 1949). The compounds within each PoW camp were under the control of an NCO.<O:p</O:p
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    Stalag IIIA, Luckenwalde, was located about 30 miles south of Berlin. It held approximately 20,000 PoWs. The PoWs held there included Australians, Canadians, Americans, Poles and Russians. <O:p</O:p

    Bill Balmer was also held there between his postings to the von Putlitz estate and the lime kilns.<O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    During 1944/45, CSM Dessie Lynch of the 1<SUP>st</SUP> Battalion the Irish Guards was in charge of the internal administration and self-government of the camp. Ex-PoWs Guardsmen Fitzpatrick and Fallon, related to ex-Guardsman Corporal T. W. Barbour that CSM Dessie Lynch and his Guards regime was not popular with the other PoWs; indeed he was most especially disliked by men from other Regiments. CSM Lynch kept the men engaged in maintaining their appearance. They were expected to repair their uniforms when necessary and maintain military discipline (Barbour, 2008).
    <O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p

    Theft

    <O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    Theft from fellow prisoners was frowned upon. Bill observed a few incidences of theft from fellow prisoners. <O:p</O:p
    Longden (2005, p. 54-56) reported that thieves could be dumped in the latrine pits, punched unconscious or flogged by fellow inmates.
    <O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    Liberation
    <O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    Squadron Leader George Dudley Craig recalls in Rollings (2007, p. 318) that during the month of April 1945, every night small parties of German guards were observed slipping away from Stalag VIIIB. Then on 21 April the remainder of the guard handed the camp over to the PoWs.<O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    When the war ended, Cpl W.T. Barbour of the Irish Guards was given leave. The order was that those who had fought from Normandy got first rights. He went to London en-route to Belfast and described the place as choc-a-bloc. Men of all nations and Regiments were there: Americans, Australians and Canadians.
    <O:p</O:p
    He also muses that during the liberation of one PoW camp by the Irish Guards, a set of trestle tables had been set up at the gates. During the issue of travel documents, the men were asked where they were from. Each and every one replied, ‘London!’ That included many with an American or Australian accent (Barbour, 2008).<O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    Later on all ex-PoWs were expected to complete debriefing forms at the staging camps before they were allowed home. Bill Balmer’s debriefing forms show a significant lack of detail considering the deprivation and horror he had experienced right up to the last month of his imprisonment. Amongst other points, Rollings (2007, p. 335) relates how the ex-PoWs were impatient to get home and used these unwelcome forms for obscenities, complaints or simple 'Yes 'and 'No' responses and then in true PoW mind-set, stole the pencils. <O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    Many of the 200,000 Allied PoWs liberated by the Russian army never saw their homeland again. The lucky ones, such as Royal Marine Osborne from the Falls Road, Belfast, were held by the Russians and forced to labour on roads and airfields for three months. Many others disappeared into the infamous Russian prison camps, the Gulags, alongside their German foes. <O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    Stalin saw fit to hold them hostage and wrest concessions from the Allied governments. Former German PoWs released from the Gulags as late as 1956 reported the presence of American servicemen in the same Russian prison camps as themselves (P.L. Wadley, 1993).
    <O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p

    Reconciliation

    <O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p
    Altogether there were approximately twelve million PoWs and civilian slave labourers held in German occupied territory. By the end of the war it was estimated that 2.5 million had died in captivity (Spoerer and Fleischhacker, p. 197).<O:p</O:p
    <O:p</O:p

    The first decade of the new millennium was the deadline for Germany to reconcile their wartime treatment of over 12 million slave labourers. On 12 August 2000, the German Foundation Act and the Austrian Reconciliation Fund came into force. Funds of £3.3 billion and £300 million respectively were set up to make payments to the victims of the Nazi slave labour policy (Radio Praha ,28/03/2001).<O:p</O:p
     
  13. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

     
  14. handtohand22

    handtohand22 Senior Member

    Thanks for that Spidge. As always, good evidence has a habit of turning up after you complete the project.

    Ronnie
     
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I've just typed up this citation in the Signals thread and thought this piece was apt for this thread:

    After a years work in the field he returned to the UK for leave. He returned to France but was immediately arrested by the Gestapo, Signalman Robriguez revealed nothing of his work. He was kept in solitary confinement for many months in Germany on low rations and was eventually tried by a German court martial and sentenced to death.

    After he had been in prison for 18 months and under sentence of death for 7 months, it was possible to negotiate his exchange for a German officer and he arrived back in this country on 2nd February 1945 in good spirits in spite of his poor physical condition due to malnutrition and long confinement.


    Full citation can be read here: http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/allied-units/19612-royal-corps-signals-2.html#post238974
     
  16. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Geoff,
    when the Nino Bixio was torpedoed there were some who panicked and jumped overboard.
    They were adrift on a raft for quite some time before being picked up by an Italian Cruiser.
    I believe there is a letter written by a survivor in Australian Archives on the subject of what happened to the Italian who was on the raft with the P.O.W.
     
  17. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Geoff,
    when the Nino Bixio was torpedoed there were some who panicked and jumped overboard.
    They were adrift on a raft for quite some time before being picked up by an Italian Cruiser.
    I believe there is a letter written by a survivor in Australian Archives on the subject of what happened to the Italian who was on the raft with the P.O.W.

    Hi Brian,


    I have sometimes wondered what I would do should the situation present itself!

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Dunkirk-Retreat to victory covers the first repatriation quite well and in some depth. It mentions about how it nearly didn't happen due to Britain being a bit 'On the Bus, Off the Bus...'

    The first repatriation that took place in 1943 and included some of the survivors from the Wormhout Massacre including Bert Evans, Richard Parry and Charles Daley.
     
  19. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The bottom one shows the Germans/Italians awaiting repatriation
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Thought these photographs were just right for this thread



    Verrieres
     
    Mr Jinks and Drew5233 like this.
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I wonder if any of the Wormhout chaps are in that first picture.
     

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