BAU-UND ARBEITSBATALLION 21

(Wehrkreis VIII)

 

Date of visit: August 8, 1942

 

Commander: Hptm. Krueger-Junkers

British Man of Confidence: SM Rimington Davies, P.o.W. 6460

British Physician: Capt. George Davidson RAMC

 

I.) GENERAL DESCRIPTION

 

The camp was described in the previous report and no important changes have occurred since last visit.

 

II.) CAPACITY AND PRESENT PERSONNEL

 

There were on the day of the visit 374 prisoners divided in two companies; 200 more prisoners are expected in the near future who will form a third one.

 

The working conditions are the same as before, the men working 10 hours every day; however, many of them are on accord work and are allowed to go back to the camp earlier if their task is finished.

 

They are not free every Sunday but have two days off every fortnight.

 

One prisoner was under arrest, serving a sentence of ten days for insubordination towards his British superior. He is treated according to the Geneva Convention.

 

III.) INTERIOR ARRANGEMENTS

 

Nothing new to be reported.

 

IV.) BATHING AND WASHING FACILITIES

 

Nothing new to be reported.

 

V.) TOILET FACILITIES

 

Nothing new to be reported.

 

VI.) FOOD AND COOKING

 

No change in the kitchen arrangements since last visit.

 

However now all the men working receive the higher rations for heavy workers.

 

A carriage has now been provided to carry the food from the kitchen to the camp.

 

The cooking of private food can be done either in a special tea-kitchen or in each room; enough wood is provided for that purpose.

 

For some time the Red Cross food parcels have been issued at the rate of one per man weekly. Four weeks issues are now in stock.

 

VII.) MEDICAL ATTENTION AND SICKNESS

 

British Medical Officer: Capt. Jan Davidson RAMC p.o.w. 1113

Orderlies: 2 fully recognised sanitators and

                4 orderlies, who are paid RM 10.-monthly.

A list of not recognised sanitators has been forwarded directly to the British Authorities through the usual channel.

 

The Revier has a capacity of 25. On the day of the visit there were 15 patients from influenza, bronchitis, pharyngitis, impetigo, contusions and diarrhoea. The general health condition was said to be good. The continuous presence of a fair number of boils and furuncles is quite common for every p.o.w. camp.

 

An outstanding point, however, for this area is the heavy number of diarrhoea cases. In Battalion 21 there are an average of 2 new cases a week. The patients are running a temperature for the first 2 days, sometimes accompanied by vomiting and recover quickly and definitely on diet in a few days. No physician was able to explain the aetiologie of these gastrointestinal disturbances.

 

At the sick parade the doctor attends to an average of 40 men daily. Severe surgical cases are brought by an ambulance-car to the near German Lazarett, internal cases are sent to the Reserve Lazarett for p.o.w. in Cosel. The drugs supply is sufficient. An electric sterilizer is needed and will be asked for.

 

As for Battalions 48, 20 and 40, dental patients are sent to the nearby dental station in detachment E 3 of Stalag VIIIB, where 2 British dentists are working. 20 patients a week from this Battalion can be attended there. Following the statements of the British Medical Commission for repatriation will be sent shortly to Stalag VIIIB.

 

VIII.) CLOTHING

 

The clothing condition is now quite satisfactory.

 

Each man has now received a second uniform and there is in stock one battle dress and one pair of new boots per man.

 

However there are in the camp too many large size boots and the Man of Confidence is trying to arrange for an exchange with another camp in the neighbourhood.

 

IX.) LAUNDRY

 

Satisfactory.

 

X.) MONEY AND PAY

 

The men working receive at least 70 pfng. a day and are paid regularly.

 

XI.) CANTEEN

 

Some beer and lemonade are for sale in the canteen every week but like in most camps to-day there are very few articles for sale.

 

Specially razor blades, tooth paste, tooth brushes, boot polish are wanted.

 

XII.) RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY

 

Is now well organised.

 

There are still a Roman Catholic and a presbyterian chaplain in the camp.

 

The Roman Catholic chaplain is a French Canadian missionary and is now allowed to carry on his work with the four Battalions 21, 48, 20 and 40; he has at his disposal a really very nice chapel in the revier building of this camp and celebrates mass every day. He has now been allowed to visit the British prisoners in Lazarett Cosel and to visit another catholic priest at Stalag VIIIB.

 

The presbyterian chaplain is still Sgt. Britton; he reads the service every Sunday, one Sunday in the theatre of Battalion 21 and the other in the theatre of Battalion 48.

 

XIII.) RECREATION AND EXERCISE

 

The theatre is now completed with a good stage; shows are produced regularly and concerts are given by the band of 14 musicians.

 

There is a radio set in the camp and a cinema.

 

The lessons have been stopped during the summer but will be resumed in autumn; there will be two classes of German language, each of them with about 25 to 30 pupils.

 

Sport facilities are really excellent with a foot ball ground outside the camp and deck tennis, basket ball places as well as a boxing ring within the compound. Matches take place often with other British prisoner's teams.

 

Different articles are wanted (table tennis balls, deck tennis rings, yock strups, jersey and shorts for foot ball, a rope for the boxing ring) and these wishes will be communicated to the Y.M.C.A.

 

XIV. MAIL

 

Incoming mail was satisfactory till end of July when the new regulation of the German High Command was given out.

 

XV.) WELFARE WORK

 

Nothing to be reported.

 

XVI.) COMPLAINTS

 

No complaints have been brought before the Legations Representatives.

 

XVII.) GENERAL IMPRESSION

 

This camp makes still a good impression; there seems to be much understanding for the needs of the prisoners and they are fairly treated. The general spirit of the prisoners was said to be high.

 

Gabriel Naville

 

Dr. Hans Wehrle.

 

 

Thanks to Colin Tosh for this report.