FRONTSTALAG 315

Camp for Indian Prisoners of War

visited by Dr. J. de Morsier of the 22nd of February 1944

 

Head of Camp  Abdul Saboh, Sergeant, No. 2330 (Mahometan)

Assistant  Shidvey Singh, Sergeant, POW No. 784 (Sikh)

Camp Leaders  Bhagat Ram, Sergeant, POW No. 5283 (Hindu)

                         Maj Charn Singh, Sergeant, POW No. 5283 (Sikh)

                         (numbers given thus in original, i.e. both the same - enquiry being made to verify - statement as to result will follow. trans.)

Heads of Castes or Religions  K.P. Koti, Sergeant POW No. 7502 (Christian)

                                              Mohd Ashgar, Sergeant, POW No. 8942 (Mahometan)

Strength

        2,581 at 22 February 1944

        Hindus          1,112

        Sikhs               424, of whom 50 are merchant seamen

        Mahometans    948

        Christians             9

        400 men are said to be coming from Stalag XII A.

 

General Observations

        The first prisoners to come from Stalag V C arrived at the Camp on the 13th of January 1944. Then others from Stalag IV D/Z and Stalag VII A joined them again, as well as 42 others from Frontstalag 221.

        Many of these prisoners are N.C.O's (1,200 men) who have refused to do any work; one of them has become an officer since his arrival at the camp, and he demands to be transferred to an Oflag. Labour Detachments have not yet been formed.

        On the other hand, on the 18th of February 1944 207 Mussulman Indians, were transferred from this Camp to Frontstalag 194 which has not men in working parties.

 

Accommodation

        The Camp is established in a fort. It consists if a collection of military buildings such as are to be seen in all garrison towns, built upon the summit of a hill to the north-west of the town in a fairly large area, which is surrounded by walls.

        The prisoners at present occupy three large buildings, of three storeys in height. The prisoners are grouped according to their religions. The Infirmary is arranged in a separate building, as are also the kitchen, the store-rooms and the latrines.

        All the accommodation and the various parts of the building, which had been vacant for a year and a half, have been put into good condition again, in spite of the present day difficulties in regard to re-equipment. The standard of cleanliness, however, to which they are kept up, leaves still much to be desired, particularly the quarters occupied by the Mahometans; this is the result of the fact that the Indians nearly all refuse to do certain kinds of work which they consider as derogatory to their dignity and creed and which they leave to be performed by the "sweepers", or whom there are only 15 for a camp which contains nearly 3,600 men.

        Moreover, windows have been broken, latrines stopped either, by stupidity, deliberate malevolence or accident. Preserve-tins have been thrown into the drainage system, which has become blocked as a result; this necessitates a serious amount of re-conditioning work. In other drains lumps of straw or wood or packing paper, have been found. The straw-filling from the palliasses has been used to light fires in the rooms. The prisoners have, in this way, used 80 bales of pressed straw instead of the 35 bales which the Quartermaster allotted for the installation of their quarters.

        The three buildings used as quarters for the prisoners vary in size; one of them is nearly double as large as either of the other two. The rooms are of varying sizes throughout:

        The ground-floor comprises 30 rooms in the 1st building, 14 rooms in the 2nd building, 10 in the 3rd building.

        The 1st, second and third floors are similar and contain - in each:

                8 large rooms and 4 small ones in the 1st building

                4      ditto       and 2      ditto     "   "   2nd building

                4      ditto       and 2      ditto     "   "   3rd building

                          (55 men)                   (12 men)

        The large building has four installations for washing purposes, the two other buildings have two each, which have not yet been put into usable condition.

        It would be better if the men could be less crowded together and that one or two more buildings could be put at their disposal, especially if 400 fresh prisoners are still expected (See the end of this report). The Camp Commandant is aware of the state of affairs; he has thought it preferable not to open up new quarters, as he already lacks sufficient fuel for those in present use. The heating question - it must be remembered - is a delicate problem to tackle. The Commandant has done his best to increase the allotment of wood to be used for heating purposes (12 cu. ms. per day) at the same time requesting the Prefecture of Vosges to point out to him a strip of (forest) land which can be at the disposal of the camp. The nearest strip he has been offered is 40 kilometres distant from the camp and consequently much too far to be dealt with by means of the transport facilities at the disposal of the Camp Administration.

        As in all French forts, the latrines are not installed inside the buildings. The Camp Commandant hopes to be able to install night latrines, particularly for winter use (see end of report).

        The floors of the rooms are well-boarded; the rooms themselves are enormous, well lighted by large windows: 4 in the large rooms, 1 in each of the smaller ones. There is electric light throughout but the number of bulbs seems inadequate (see end of report).

        A stove (to burn wood and coal) heats the small rooms and two are installed in the larger rooms. The delegate was able to ascertain that this constitutes adequate heating; the prisoners, however, cannot use the stoves for their individual cookery (see at the end of this report).

        Nearly all the men sleep on wooden two-tiers bunks; some of them, however, have individual iron bedsteads. They all have palliasses filled with fresh straw; they have no pillows. All prisoners have two blankets which come from German sources (they have not received any Red Cross ones). Only some of the men brought with them, from their old camp, one Red Cross blanket.

        Up to the present time no shelves have been installed in the rooms; the prisoners have no lockers or other furniture in which to keep their personal belongings (see at the end of this report).

 

Food

        The basic rations are the same as those allowed to German depot troops; the prisoners can check the weights and a menu is posted up each week in the kitchen (see annexe). The cooking is done in two buildings set apart for this purpose, one is for the use of Mussulmen and the other for that of Hindus and Sikhs; the food is prepared and cooked by the men themselves, but here, as elsewhere, it is difficult to find men who are willing to undertake the job.

        Generally speaking, the prisoners would prefer their food to more nearly resemble that which they eat in their native land. They would like rice, macaroni, bread or butter to take the place of carrots and fermented cheese.

        The canteen of the Camp has not yet been opened (see the end of this report). Parcels arrive well, and those sent on from the men's original camp were equally welcome. International Red Cross Committee parcels also come in satisfactorily.

Date of rect.

29 January 1944

3 February    "

         "           "

4       "           "

8       "           "

10     "           "

13     "           "

Place of Origin

Stalag V C

    "     IV D/Z

    "     VIII B

C.I.C.R.

      "

      "

Stalag V C

No. of Trucks

1

not specified

2

1

2

1

1

No. of parcels

3,000

17,000

4,911

1,999

3,996

1,990

2,550

26,380

        On the 22nd of February 1944 there remained in stock 22,779 parcels.

        The Red Cross parcels Store is in a small separate building, near to that which houses the German administrative offices of the camp, near the barbed wire surround. It is closed with the two regulation locks and the man in charge can enter without difficulty accompanied by the Quartermaster. The same applies to the other Red Cross stores, (those for clothing parcels etc.)

        The Camp Leader accompanied by a good number of prisoners always goes to the station to receive the incoming parcels and to check the trucks and their contents on arrival.

        The 207 prisoners who have been transferred from this Camp to Frontstalag 194 took with them enough Red Cross parcels to cover 4 weekly distributions.

        No systematic censorship of parcels takes place at the time they are distributed; every now and then, however, one or two parcels, picked at random, are probed.

        As a general rule the prisoners receive specifically "Indian" parcels; they ask if it would not be possible for them also to receive some Canadian or British parcels, particularly for consumption by the Christian prisoners (who number about 100) and the doctors. It should be estimated that 100 to 120 Canadian or British parcels would contain enough meat. The prisoners also think that the contents of such parcels as these would be easier to cook than those of Indian parcels, in spite of the lack of fuel; the delegate, however, does not share this opinion.

        The prisoners lack eating utensils, particularly spoons, forks, bowls, cups, and metal plates. Each man needs a complete set. (see end of this report).

 

Clothing

        As in all the Camps the clothing question is preeminent. Here, none of the men has underwear or clothing to enable him to change his outfit. All the men's footgear is in bad condition, 100 men have no greatcoats (but there are still some in stock) 100 men have no tunics, 100 men have no trousers, 60 men have no slippers.

        The clothing of many of the men is in bad condition.

        15 days ago, 2,486 "Indian clothing comforts" parcels were distributed; 326 men were unable to receive any and 400 men are still expected at the camp. Thus - at least 800 more should now be sent.

        These parcels contained, a vest, a shirt, a pair of pants, a scarf, some towels, 2 handkerchiefs, 1 pair of gloves, 2 pairs of socks, 2 cakes of soap (See the annex referring to the stocks in hand and the things required in February 1944).

        Several prisoners (9 men) are boot-repairers, and several are tailors (13 men). Would it not be useful to allot to this camp the material necessary for the repair of footgear and clothing so as to economise as much as possible in respect of equipment by keeping the men's outfits in good repair?

        This appears even more important as the repair of the men's effects would obviate the occurrence of some abuses which the distribution of new equipment sometimes provokes. It appears, for instance, that some of the prisoners will burn the sleeve of a tunic or part of a pair of trousers in the hope of getting issued with a new garment. They would have no incentive to behave in this way, if they knew that their clothes would have to be patches in a more or less obvious way.

 

Hygiene

        Hygiene is good, although, up to the present time the shower-baths have not been put into working order. There are no vermin present in the camp. One or two cases of itch have been reported but this small epidemic does not seem to have spread.

        The latrines are installed in two special buildings. The doctor would like to have covers fixed to the seats before the arrival of the summer, so as to avoid increase of flies which occurs despite the daily sprinkling of the latrines with lime.

        It is absolutely essential that a barber's shop should be opened in this camp, and for this purpose, the equipment required by ten barbers is necessary.

        The Infirmary is arranged in a separate building; it comprises the accommodation of the medical staff, the professional rooms necessary and the patients' wards. It is under the direction of a Scotch doctor, Dr. James R.S. Thirs, who is a captain in the R.A.M.C. and whose POW number if 1485 (VII C), assisted by a Hindu doctor, Dr. Shamchand Seal, who is a Lieutenant in the Indian Army Medical Corps, his POW No. being 31827, he belongs to the Faculty of Medicine of Calcutta.

        Twenty prisoners are employed at the Infirmary as can be seen be reference to the list annexed to this report.

        Prisoners whose medical condition necessitates immediate treatment of a special kind can be taken for treatment to a neighbouring military lazaret. Cases which are serious or require special examinations, and chronic cases which cannot be treated at the Camp Infirmary, are taken to the lazaret of Frontstalag 194.

        At the present time the Camp has not dental service. Prisoners whose teeth need attention visit a dentist in the town. But it must be foreseen that this cannot continue for long as this dentist will end by being overwhelmed by work (see at the end of this report).

        Ninety-seven patients are at the present time under treatment at the Infirmary. 46 other prisoners who are more seriously ill are at the lazaret of Frontstalag 194. At the present time there are no prisoners undergoing treatment at the neighbouring military lazaret.

        Most of the patients in the Infirmary are suffering from acute bronchitis (80 cases); 7 others are suffering from pneumonia. The rest are suffering from lumbago, rheumatism, slight digestive trouble, haemorrhoids, or are the victims of slight accidents etc.

        Among the patients under treatment at the lazaret of Frontstalag 194 are 28 cases of pulmonary tuberculosis, 2 pneumopathic cases, suspect of being tubercular, 2 men suffering from pleurisy, 1 cases of intestinal tuberculosis, 4 cases of osteomyelitis, 1 case of irritis, a men who has a tumour on the knee and 6 suffering from schizophrenia.

        Only one prisoner has died since the opening of the camp; this was a Sikh who asked to be cremated according to the religion of this tribe. The funeral pyre was erected in a part of the courtyard not used by the camp. The cremation used 300 kilograms of wood and 20 of butter, the greater part of which was furnished by the prisoners themselves; this butter came from Red Cross parcels, and about 5 kilograms was given by the French Red Cross. After the ceremony, the ashes of the deceased men were scattered into the river.

        The Infirmary can house 232 patients, provided that all the beds are of the two-tier bunk variety. At the present time only slight cases are put into such bunks, other cases have the benefit of individual iron bedsteads. The rooms are used in the following way: 3 large rooms house 48 patients in two-tier bunks, 2 rooms have 12 individual bedsteads, 2 rooms have 6 individual bedsteads, 2 more rooms have 4 individual bedsteads.

        The ground-floor (which is raised somewhat) comprises the dispensary, a laboratory (not yet in working order), the X ray apparatus, the dark room for the development of films (not yet functioning) 2 waiting rooms for patients, a consulting room and a dressings room; rooms for medical and surgical parcels, a kitchen, latrines, bathrooms, wash-room, the British doctor's room, the Indian doctor's room, 3 rooms for the use of the German camp-doctor for medical consultations.

        The first floor comprises: 3 large rooms, one medium-sized room containing 12 beds, 4 small rooms used as an isolation ward, a latrine installation, and one of moderate size where the medical orderlies and an interpreter are housed.

        On the second floor, there is one room containing 12 beds which is used by 4 members of the medical staff, one small room for medical orderlies, another for 3 "sweepers", a German Store-room where blankets, palliasses, beds etc. are kept.

        The cooking for the patients should be done at the Infirmary using the basic ration, some food-stuffs from the parcels of prisoner patients and some from special food parcels, according to what the doctors prescribe. But at present the lack of the necessary utensils delays such an arrangement being made and the doctors are impatiently awaiting a solution of this problem. As is the case in the rest of the camp, there is a lack of cups, bowls, cooking pots, knives, forks, spoons etc. It is indispensable that Geneva should prepare a consignment of kitchen and table utensils; as it seems impossible to procure these things in France at the present time. The Camp authorities have made many efforts in this respect, but so far without much success.

        The patients lie on palliasses, they have pillows but no pillow cases. They have sheets, but at present not enough of these are available (see end of report). Each patient brings with him to the Infirmary his blanket and he receives one or two others according to requirements. There is a lack of towels etc and hospital clothing (pyjamas or underclothing for purposes of changing).

        Soap also is lacking (see end of report).

        The Infirmary is heated, but the shortage of fuel makes itself felt to some extent.

        German drugs are sometimes very short in supply; it seems particularly difficult for both the German and the British doctor to make use of methods and drugs with which they are unfamiliar. The patients could be treated by several different methods, of equal efficacy, between which, doctors of various schools take their choice. But there is, in any case, a lack of alcohol, officinal ether (that is to say ether for laboratory use), anaesthetics, iodine, the sulfanilomide products, vitamin-based products and cedar oil.

        The Camp doctor asks whether it would be possible to send him regularly each month 200 medical parcels and 100 surgical parcels as well as 50 Milk and 50 Food parcels to complete patients' diets.

        The British doctor and his Indian colleague ask for more assistance as they cannot cope with all the work required. They have to care for 100 patients under treatment at the Infirmary and examine more than 100 sick men every day during their consultation hours (on the day of the visit they examined 130). The minimum medical staffing ought to be:-

                2 doctors

                1 dentist

                6 medical orderlies

                1 priest

        for 1000 prisoners; it is obvious that this camp is not very lucky from the medical point of view.

        The camp possesses a dental chair and some dental instruments; it is therefore desirable that a dentist should be sent here (see end of report). The installation of a laboratory for the manufacture of artificial teeth being under consideration at the camp for civilian internees which is nearby, it might perhaps be possible to make use, finally, of this, for the prisoners of war in this camp also.

        The dental condition of the prisoners is poor, and may affect the general condition of health of many of them if neglected.

        The Camp doctor and the delegate consider that the camp is overcrowded and that, in the event of the outbreak of any epidemic it might prove a serious inconvenience. Among other things some cases of itch and trachoma have been reported. (See end of this report).

        Some of the prisoners in this camp seem to be suffering from maladies or to be in a state of health which renders them unfit for service and eligible for repatriation. There are, at the present time in France, a certain number of British prisoner of war camps; could not the Mixed Medical Commission as elsewhere, make out lists for this country which would serve as the basis for an exchange of prisoners?

        Among the prisoners in this Camp, 68 are of a category which is protected by the Geneva Convention, under the description "protected personnel", 35 of whom are already recognised as such, their papers being in order; they comprise 3 medical orderlies and 32 stretcher bearers; 21 others, who have just arrived from Italy also have their papers in order, but have not yet been able to obtain recognition. The 12 remaining ones have no papers (see end of this report).

        Up to now the pay-books of the medical staff have not arrived from the camps at which these prisoners were formerly lodged, with the result that they have, as yet, received no pay.

        The doctors and the medical orderlies take walks at least twice a week.

        The British doctor would be very grateful to receive English medical books. He would also be very glad if he could have a British colleague to assist him with his work.

 

Leisure and Intellectual and Religious Needs

        The Camp Library is poor; everything in the camp which concerns intellectual and sporting activity needs organising. The prisoners ask for equipment for all kinds of out of door games; football, hockey, (footgear sizes 7, 8 and 9) and other sports; also indoor games, chess, cards etc. They would like some musical instruments (of which the list is given below, communicated to the Y.M.C.A. in Paris in the hope that this organisation might be able to procure some of the items mentioned, gives details). The Y.M.C.A. will visit the camp in a fortnights time, unless something unforeseen occurs. (see the end of this report).

                Jazz Drum, 1.

                Low Pick Cornet, 1.

                Trumpet, E. Flat, 1.

                Harmonium, 1.

                Mandolin, 1.

                Extra Strings for Violin, Banjo, Guitars, Bass, (E. Flat) 1

                Fish Harmonica 2 octave with 80 keys, 1.

                Skins for Ladies Hairs: 4 )

                                         Thick: 4 ) Indian Type (sic, but presumably what is intended is some kind of ladies' veils or head coverings for theatrical purposes, trans.)

                Artificial Ladies Hairs: 3 (sic. presumably wigs for theatrical purposes intended. trans.)

                Papers of different papers: 20 Reels (sic. presumably what is intended is 20 rolls of different kinds of paper trans.)

                Artificial ornaments for the Shows (as many as you can send)

                Water colours for screens of different colours, do. (sic, but presumably what is intended is scene-painting powder colours (and size) for theatrical purposes, trans.)

        In connection with religious matters, there are at the present time, in the large buildings:

                1 mosque with two priests in attendance

                1 Hindu temple with two priests in attendance

                1 Sikh temple with two priests in attendance

                1 Christian chapel without clergymen or priests (see end of this report).

        These temples have been installed in large rooms the floors of which have been covered with blankets so that the Faithful can walk without danger, with bare feet.

 

Correspondence

        The question of correspondence, seems to be one of the most difficult to settle satisfactorily.

        The Camp Leader states that to date

                500 prisoners have received no news from their families since the time of their capture (specially the Gurkhas, who come from Nepal)

                1,500 prisoners have had no news of their families for the past 6 months.

                6 individual parcels have arrived at the camp since it was opened. (see end of this report)

                The prisoners are allowed to write 2 letters and 4 cards a month.

                The administrative personnel and the doctors can write more freely, especially to the International Red Cross Committee and the Protecting Power.

        As is the case in other camps in France, correspondence with Geneva is slow. The delegate proposed to the Camp authorities and to the Camp Leader that they should send their papers by the intermediary of the delegation at Paris, as this would seem to be a method which would save time and be advantageous generally. Documents sent in this way will however, have to be sent in duplicate.

 

Discipline

        According to the view of the Camp authorities it is difficult to run a Camp containing Indians. The persistence with which they cling to religious and racial prejudices and caste distinctions makes it impossible to preserve any homogeneity in the Camp. Moreover the oriental indifference of the prisoners, which is aggravated by an intellectual attitude produced more by wishful thinking than a realistic approach, complicates the task of anyone who wants to achieve a workable system; Moreover, the Camp Commandant and his subordinates are obliged to be more severe than they would like to be, not in order to get work outside the camp done for the benefit of the Detaining Power, but simply in order to get the prisoners to take part in maintaining their own camp properly. The delegate has included below a transcription of the notes sent to him by the Camp Commandant; these set forth the difficulties which militate against the interests of the prisoners themselves:

                1) It is impossible to get the prisoners' rooms voluntarily kept in good order by the occupants themselves. They refuse to do the necessary work on principle, being of the opinion that only "sweepers" should be asked to undertake such tasks; they adopt the same attitude towards the cleaning of corridors, wash-places, latrines etc. The building occupied by the Mussulmans is, in this respect, the dirtiest.

                2) Laziness, indifference and even a leaning to sabotage are manifested by the prisoners in all the work they do. A certain number of the private soldiers pass themselves off as N.C.O's in order to avoid having to do "fatigues". When, as a result, they are punished, they manifest extreme discontent, not on account of the stringency of the punishment itself but because all have not been punished, some having considered it more prudent to discontinue their pretence of being of a rank superior to the one to which they really belong, realising what the reaction of the authorities to a continuation of such pretence would be. The reactions of the prisoners are of the simplest and most direct kind. They have like spoilt or badly-brought-up children. Frequently the men who have been allotted some special task, cutting wood, for instance, can only be got together after a great deal of delay, sometimes it takes as long as half an hour. The Gurkhas and the Sikhs are the most obedient and hard-working of them all. When the prisoners are to go for walks outside the Camp or to attend a distribution of Red Cross parcels, such delays never occur.

                3) The prisoners take not the least care of things entrusted to them or of installations of which they are allowed the use. They stop up the flushes of the latrines with empty preserve tins (the workmen are at present at work on repairs necessitated by this procedure), they block up the outlet drains from the wash-places with lumps of straw from the packing included in the parcels. They needlessly and without reason break the windows. If it is at all cold, they prefer to make water in the corridors rather than to go as far as the latrines, especially during the night. They used the straw from inside their palliasses for lighting fires with etc...

                4) The bearing of the men and even of the N.C.O's leaves much to be desired, and any respect for superiors in rank seem to be non-existent. Military discipline means nothing to these men.

                5) Racial prejudice insists that a Mussulman can receive nothing whatever from a Hindu or a Sikh and vice versa; certain castes refuse to be in subordinate positions to others, so much so that the choice of a Camp Leader and an executive head to represent the prisoners in the camp is almost insuperably difficult.

                6) The present Camp-Leader does not seem to be fit for the job. To give an example of his incapacity, he was authorised on three separate occasions, to distribute overcoats to prisoners, and yet, in spite of this, there are still some men in the camp who have none, although there are others who possess two.

        The Commandant would like to appoint a Sikh to be the Camp-Leader, but the prisoners will not agree to this.

        The Head-man of the Camp who is a Mahometan and the present Camp-Leader, who is a Hindu, admit that proper discipline is difficult to achieve. They agree hat the punishments they have deserved, should be meted out to the culprits; they regret - however - that the Camp Commandant has deprived men meriting punishment of the benefit of the distribution of parcels.

        The visit of the delegate of the International Red Cross to this camp was made accompanied by the Head of the Prisoners of War Section in Paris; it commenced by an interview with the Camp Commandant; after this a complete tour of the camp was made in the company of German officers, the Head-man of the Camp (a Mahometan) and the Hindu Camp-Leader. The Infirmary was visited in the presence of the German doctors, the British and the Indian. During 4 ensuing hours, the delegate had unwitnessed interviews with the Mahometan Head-man, the Hindu Camp-Leader, the Head-man's secretary, the representatives of the various castes, and the British and Indian doctors.

        At the end of the afternoon, the delegate once more contacted the Camp Commandant, who was surrounded by all his heads of departments, to whom the following points were put for consideration and clarification. The Camp Commandant did his best to reply in detail to all questions raised and gave the orders necessary for the execution of ameliorations of the situation which it is possible to carry out.

                1) The prisoners are too numerous for the available accommodation.

                        As soon as better weather comes, new rooms will be made use of. The shortage of fuel is the primary cause of the present defective accommodation.

                2) Certain buildings are provided with neither wash-places nor wash-hand stands. The large dwelling houses have not even latrines.

                        The wash-places and wash-hand stands are in train of installation, such installation having been retarded by the urgent repairs necessitated by the carelessness of the prisoners themselves. In regard to latrines, what is necessary shall be attempted but a complete solution of this difficulty cannot be promised.

                3) It would be useful if the prisoners could cook the food-stuffs from their parcels, in the summer as well as the winter; that is to say in some other place than on the stoves in their rooms which is, in any case, not a hygienic proceeding.

                        Two kitchens shall be established in each building of the compound, to render the preparation of the contents of Red Cross parcels possible.

                4) The lighting of the large rooms is inadequate.

                        Extra bulbs shall be at once installed if the camp is sent the necessary number thereof. Can these be procured?

                5) There are no shelves or cupboards in any of the rooms.

                        These shall be shortly installed, as well as more tables and chairs.

                6) There is no canteen.

                        This shall be opened as soon as possible. The Quartermaster is attended to the matter,

                7) There is a lack of kitchen equipment and specially of table utensils for the use of the prisoners themselves both in the rooms and in the Infirmary (such things as cups, bowls, knives, forks, spoons etc.)

                        There is no lack of utensils for the large kitchens, but the prisoners do not take enough trouble to make rational use of them. There is - possibly - a lack of equipment for the kitchens which are to be installed in the dwelling houses. Utensils for personal use are extremely scarce and difficult to procure. It would be advantageous to consider sending a consignment to this camp as the obtaining of them on the spot seems to be very difficult.

                8) Shops for the repair of clothing and footgear should be established.

                        This would be quite simple to arrange on condition that the materials, sewing machines, etc which is indispensable can be supplied.

                9) A dental surgery should be set up in the camp.

                        The authorities will see if a dentist can be sent to this camp. The necessary supplementary materials will have to be procured.

                10) Sheets are lacking; none of the prisoner patients have any and laundry of such as there is only some occasionally.

                        There are 250 sheets for about 220 beds. Soon there will be 400. It is not really sheets which are lacking but the necessary amount of soap with which to have them washed. Giving them to slight cases whose stay in the Infirmary is only a short one must be avoided. A consignment of soap would be welcomed.

                11) There are not enough members of the medical staff in proportion to the number of patients requiring attention.

                        Two more doctors have already been arranged for.

                12) Laboratory examinations cannot be performed at the Camp. The Health service of the district seems unable to cope with the demand made on its services. Would it not - rather - be better to make use of the health service run by the Germans at Frontstalag 194 or at some other camp?

                        Up to now no inconvenience has arisen. A microscope and some cedar oil are requisite to render laboratory examinations possible. The health service is adequate, but, obviously, is the position necessitates it, recourse can be had to other camps mentioned.

                13) A certain number of the medical staff are not yet recognised as such, some because they have only just arrived and the other because they have not the necessary papers to establish their status.

                        The papers of the new arrivals will shortly be examined and those members of the medical staff whose papers are in order will then be given recognised status. The Camp Commandant is agreeable to prepare a list of all prisoners who say they belong to the medical corps, so that their papers may be asked for and their status determined.

                14) There is neither a Roman Catholic nor a Protestant chaplain the Camp. Services for men of these religions ought to be organised.

                        The Camp Commandant is agreeable that services should be organised with the co-operation of the chaplains in charge at Frontstalag 194.

                15) There is no Library, no reading room no rooms in which indoor games can be played, no theatre and no cinema.

                        An increase in the amount of space available is expected. Rooms will then be able to be devoted to these various activities. The purchase of a cinema projector and other apparatus is being conducted. The room which will be used for cinema will then also be able to be used for theatrical performances.

                16) There is no space for Sports.

                        The enlargement of the camp will make it possible also to enlarge the amount of ground available for sporting activities.

                17) 500 men are without news from their families, having received none since they were captured; others have been without news also for a long time. Can a list be drawn up giving the addresses of these various families?

                        The Camp Commandant is agreeable that such a list shall be made up. It shall contain the name and number of the prisoner, his state of health and the name and address of the person for whom the news is intended.

 

Conclusion

        The installation of this Camp has not yet been completed. The Camp Commandant shows good-will and sympathetic understanding; he does his best to conduct this camp well, in spite of the present difficulties he encounters, as a result of the fact that the war has already continued 4 years and that the prisoners show much indifference and even sometimes ill-will and the fact that there are such great difficulties in caste religion and prejudice among them.

 

FRONTSTALAG 315

Rations for the week from 21.22.44 to the 27.2.44.

 

Day & date

Meat and additions

Portion

Code No

Vegetables

Portion

Code No

 

Sun 21.2.44

   Single Dish

Fat

 

10

 

2

 

Potatoes

Vegetables

 

500

600

 

 

Mon 22.2.44

   Fish, Vegetables,

   oatmeal

Fat

Fish

 

 

8

 

 

2

 

 

Vegetables

Oatmeal

Garlic

 

 

400

72

0.01

 

 

Tues 23.2.44

   Soup - crushed oats,

   potatoes and vegetables

Fat

 

 

10

 

 

2

 

 

Crushed oats

Potatoes

Vegetables

 

 

25

400

600

 

 

4

 

 

Wed 24.2.44

   Nourishing pastes with

   Vegetables

Fat

 

 

10

 

 

2

 

 

Vegetables

Nour. Pastes

Garlic

 

 

400

75

0.01

 

 

Thurs 25.2.44

   Soup - barley - Potatoes

   and Vegetables

Fat
Fish

 

 

10

100

 

 

2

1

 

 

Barley

Potatoes

Vegetables

 

 

22

500

600

 

 

4

 

Fri 26.2.44

   Single Dish

Fat

 

10

 

2

 

Vegetables

Potatoes

Garlic

 

400

400

0.01

 

Sat 26.2.44

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

   Vegetables, flour

Fat

 

 

 

( Code No.1 = Meat

(    ditto      2 = Fat

(    ditto      3 = Cheese

(    ditto      4 = Spices

(    ditto      5 = Sugar

(    ditto      6 = Coffee

                        substitute

(    ditto      7 = Marmalade

(    ditto      8 = Bread

(    ditto      9 = Potatoes

(    ditto    10 = Vegetables

                        Salt

                        Tea

                        Garlic

 

10

 

 

 

250

68

 

2

 

 

 

1

2

 

Vegetables

Flour

 

600

120

 

 

 

 

 

314

 

 

 

 

 

1800

3600

140

 

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

4

 

DINNER

BREAKFAST

BREAD

Dish

Portion

Code No

Dish

Portion

Code No

Quantity

Remarks

Fat

Tea

Sugar

30

1

10

2

 

5

Tea

Sugar

1

15

 

5

 

350

20 gr of

salt per

day

Marmalade

Fat

Coffee

Sugar

75

25

3

10

7

2

6

5

Coffee

Sugar

3

15

 

5

 

300

Vegetables

Potatoes

Barley

Fat

Tea

Sugar

300

300

50

10

1

10

 

 

4

2

 

5

Tea

Sugar

1

15

 

5

 

350

Cheese

Fat

Coffee

Sugar

46,8

25

3

10

3

2

6

5

Tea

Sugar

1

15

 

5

 

325

Fat

Tea

Sugar

25

1

10

2

 

5

Tea

Sugar

1

15

 

5

 

300

Vegetables

Potatoes

Oat Flakes

Fat

Coffee

Sugar

300

300

50

10

3

10

 

 

4

2

6

5

Coffee

Sugar

3

15

6

5

 

350

Marmalade

Fat

Tea

Sugar

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

100

25

1

10

 

 

150

46.8

100

70

9

175

 

600

600

4

7

2

 

5

 

 

2

3

4

 

6

7

Tea

Sugar

1

15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

105

9

 

 

 

 

4

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

350

 

Quantities

per week

 

 

Quantity

218

46.8

114

175

18

175

2325

2400

4200

140

8

0.03

 

INFIRMARY STAFF

 

Name

J.R.S. THIRD

S.C. SEAL

ABDUL WAHAB

NAMDEO PATIL

YAQUB M.

KHURTRINEH

GHULAM MOHD

ABDUL BATIF

BOSTAN

GHULAM SARWAR

CNAMPA SINGH

GAMPAT YADEO

L.S. HIVALE

PEAN NATH

GHULAM HAIDER

PIARA

BHONDU

MAJIT

JOHN B.

Mat. No.

1485/VIIc

31827

6733

1854

668

1458

819

646

2875

586

1440

1415

7553

218

649

887

8136

4366

2597

Rank

Capt. RAMC

Lt. IAMC

Corpl med.

    "       "

    "       "

Stretcher bearer

     "            "

     "            "

     "            "

     "            "

     "            "

     "            "

Sergeant

      "

      "

Sweeper

      "

      "

Cook

Duty

British doctor

Indian     "

(orderly at present

    functioning in

    Infirmary)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not at orderly-

    office worker

            "

Cleaning of rooms

            "

            "

Kitchen duties

Former Camp

VII V

VIII B

V C

V C

V C

V C

IV E

IV D

V C

VIII B

VIII B

VIII B

IV D

V C

V C

133

IV D

IV D

IV D

 

REQUIREMENTS CALCULATED ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT CAMP STRENGTH FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 1944 - STALAG 315 - (INCLUDING THEREIN WORKERS AND PATIENTS IN HOSPITAL WHO ARE STOCKED WITH SUPPLIES FROM THE CAMP)

 

ARTICLES

 
1. CLOTHING

Overcoats

Trousers

Blouses (sic - presumably

    dress tops meant, but may

    really mean "overalls")

Night attire

 

Pullovers

Woollen vests

Short pants

Braces

Orderlies' overalls

Orderlies night-shirts

Indian Clothing Comforts

Brilliantine

Blankets

Turbans (for Sikhs)

Brilliantine    "

 

2. FOOTGEAR

Shoes

Sandals (Espadrilles")

 

3. FOOD PARCELS

Parcels for Hindus

Parcels for patients

Milk parcels for patients

Canadian parcels

 

4. MEDICAL SUPPLIES

Parcels No.1.

     "      No.2.

     "      No.3.

     "      No.4.

 

5. TOBACCO PARCELS

 

6. TOILET ARTICLES

 

7. SEWING MATERIALS

 

8. SHOE-REPAIRING

         MATERIALS

Soles

heels and eyelet holes for shoes

Polish

Laces

 

Large

 

250

100

100

 

 

500

 

500

500

500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

200

20

SIZES

Medium

 

500

1500

1500

 

 

2000

 

2000

2000

2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

500

60

 

Small

 

150

400

400

 

 

500

 

500

500

500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

300

20

TOTAL

Quantity

 

1000

2000

2000

 

 

3000

 

3000

3000

3000

3000

4

5

1000

1000

200

500

1000

 

 

1000

100

 

 

none

500

500

3000

 

 

50

100

100

100

 

70

 

As many

Whatever

 

 

 

 

2000

Whatever

3000

3000

REMARKS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reserve stocks for the

   use of the Infirmary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tins

for hospital

 

tins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as possible

is possible

 

 

 

 

pairs

is possible

tins

pairs

 

Rhagar Ram F.W. Pris. No. 197

Hindu Camp Leader - Stalag 315 - date 12 February 1944.

 

 

To - The International Red Cross Committee, Geneva (Swiss).

 

Dear Sir,

        I beg to bring to your kind notice that almost all the Prisoners of War in the camp ask me to approach your honour with the request that sometimes the Indian Food Parcels be replaced by Canadian Food Parcels.

        The reason for this occasional alteration is that the present scale of fuel issued to us by the camp authorities for cooking the Red Cross food stuff does not meet our daily requirements of cooking the contents of the Indian Food Parcel, since most of them require quantity of fuel in comparison to that of Canadian. Secondly there are about 75 Christians who prefer to have British or Canadian Parcels as the contents in them are suitable and agreeable to them. The scarcity of fuel for cooking Red Cross Food Stuff has obliged me to make you this suggestion.

        I earnestly hope that this intricate problem receives your favorable consideration for solution.

        Always at your service, dear Sir, I am,

        Yours sincerely,

        (Signed) BHAGAT RAM Sergeant, POW 197

        INDIAN MAN OF CONFIDENCE.

 

 

COPY OF TELEGRAM

 

From International Red Cross Committee, Geneva.

To Delegate, London.

Sent: 22.3.44.

Received: 24.3.44.

 

ELT INTERCROSS LONDON

 

Frontstalag 315 Epinal visited 22nd February Camp Chief Adbdul Saboh Mamometan 2330 Adjutant Shivdev Singh, Sikh 784

Camp Leaders

        Hindu  Bhagat Ram, 5283

        Sikh  Majgharn

        Christian  K.P. Koty, 7502

        Mahometan  Mohd Asghar, 8942

Strength 2581 of whom 1112 Hindus

                                       484 Sikhs

                                       948 Mahometans

                                           9 Christians

 

First arrivals on 13th January from Stalag V C then from Stalag IV D/Z, VIII A, Frontstalag 221.

 

Accommodation suitable though slightly overcrowded occupants thereof specially Mussulmans made interviewing difficult. Some questions relating to food considered.

 

Weekly rations in grammes 250 meat 68 fat 46.8 cheese 414 spices 175 sugar 18 coffee substitute 185 marmalade 2325 bread 2400 potatoes 4200 vegetables 140 salt 8 tea 0.13 garlic.

 

Red Cross food parcels arrive under control camp leaders organised store-rooms, Besides Indian parcels prisoners would like Canadian or British parcels with meat in them especially for Christians. Total lack of change of clothing.

 

Infirmary well-equipped in special building under direction of Captain James Thirs of R.A.M.C. No. 31827. At present there: 8 bronchitis 7 pneumonia serious cases 28 tuberculosus 2 pleurisy 1 malaria 4 osteomyelitis 1 irritis 1 kystegenou 6 schizophrenias under treatment neighbouring lazaret and F.S.194 Nancy Hospital at Frontstalag 194. One death - a Sikh who was incinerated (cremated). Doctor asks for following parcels monthly 200 medical parcels and 100 surgical parcels 50 food parcels and 50 milk parcels. No dentist Dental condition bad. Various religious services. Correspondence according to regulations. Carelessness of prisoners hinders good order and maintenance of camp. Improvements planned such as new quarters washplaces latrines lighting facilities lockers furniture canteen repair shop second doctor revision papers of medical staff Christian religious services leisure development of sporting activities drawing-up of lists of 500 prisoners without home news. Authorities show good-will.

 

INTERCROIXROUGE B 9698