CONFIDENTIAL

No.430.

BRITISH

 

STALAG II D STARGARD (POMMERN)

 

Stalag Commander: Generalmajor PLAMMER

Substitute: Oberstlt. WULZ

German Medical Officer: Stabsarzt Dr. SCHMIDT

Defence-Officer: Hptm. BOLDT

Welfare-Officer: Lt. LUETJOHANN

Accompanying Officer GHC: Hptm. KELLER

Senior British Medical Officer (Revier): Capt. Deryck TAVERNER, RAMC (1173)

American Medical Officer (Lazaret): Capt. Roger PLAYOUST, AAMC (?)

Man of Confidence for NCO's: R.S.M. LESCOMBES W.J. (26572)

Man of Confidence for Ptes.: Pte. KINGSTON A.R. (26551)

Leader for the p.o.w. at the main camp: C.S.M. ANTHONY Elmer (27091)

 

This camp has been opened to British prisoners of war three months ago. The Representative of the Protecting Power therefore visited it for the first time.

 

1. GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

        The camp is situated 2 miles from the town near German military barracks which were told to be empty. Although the Stalag Commandant stated that no military objectives are in the nearest surroundings, the prisoners of war mentioned that an important air-port is quite close to the camp. The Stalag, including all working detachments supervised, controls over 50000 prisoners of war of different nationalities.

        The main camp is built to accommodate roughly 5000 men. The nationalities are kept in separate compounds (dormitories) whereas the installations such as the revier, the kitchen, the canteen, the Red Cross store-rooms, the work-shops, the theatre, the entertainment-rooms (no church), the arrest-cells and the play-ground have to be used by all prisoners of war in common.

        The lazaret is situated in town. The Canadian compounds comprise three stone-barracks with separate lavatories.

        As a provisional arrangement, the Canadians are given half a barrack as a revier for slight sick, the central revier being fully occupied by the other nationalities. The serious cases are sent to the lazaret where an American Medical Officer attends to them. The lazaret will be visited next time.

        The main-camp is built foremost for prisoners of war detailed to working parties in town and to accommodate the various central camp staffs and D.U.'s. There exist 20 labour-detachments exclusively for Canadians, which will be partly inspected on the next tour. The accommodation facilities were reported to be fairly good at these detachments. The prisoners of war are all employed on farming. The strength of the detachments varies from 22-50 prisoners of war. The work seems to give no reason to complaints.

 

2. CAPACITY AND PRESENT PERSONNEL:

        The capacity of the Canadian compound in the main-camp amounts to 900. The present Stalag's complement was reported as follows:

at the main camp:

in the compound under

arrest in revier

                                             staff

                                             patients

in total:

at the lazaret:                         staff

                                             patients

in total:

on Labour Detachments:

Nr.106, 111, 143, 147 B, 156, 412,

419, 438, 953, 1506, 1972, 1978,

1986, 2159, 2210, 2283, 2318,

2323 and 2372 (including medical

orderlies)

in total:

2 British Medical Officers (at

revier and lazaret)

NCO's

423

1

3

2

429

 

7

7

 

 

 

 

 

2

Ptes.

190

18

7

23

238

2

13

15

 

 

 

 

 

690

Total.

615

19

10

25

667

2

20

 

 

 

 

 

 

692

1381

2

1383

        The protected personnel includes: 2 B.M.O., 26 recognized and 1 unrecognized sanitators, whereof only 12 are employed.

 

3. INTERIOR ARRANGEMENTS:

        The minimum space officially allowed is given.

        The barracks are crowded and there are insufficient sitting accommodation and tables (300 per barrack).

        The usual three-tier wooden beds are outfitted with a palliasse filled with wood-wool and two blankets.

        The lighting is poor (8 bulbs at 25 watt per barrack).

        The heating is no more acute now, but the facilities can be considered adequate.

        The ventilation is satisfactory as the windows can be left open during the night.

 

4. WASHING AND BATHING FACILITIES:

        The barracks contain adequate washing facilities (26 water-taps per barrack). The pressure is a bit low when the whole set is in full use. The prisoners of war get hot showers outside the camp three times a week, which is very appreciated.

 

5. TOILET FACILITIES:

        The separate toilets can be used also during the night. They are kept very clean.

 

6. FOOD:

        No complaints were made with regard to the German food supply. A control of the quality and quantity was not possible up till now, as only French personnel is employed in the central kitchen. In future the Canadian Chief Man of Confidence will be allowed to check the food supplies.

        There are no adequate facilities for the cooking of the Red Cross food, which has to be done in the barracks on some very small stoves. Moreover insufficient coal is issued. It was promised to supply more wood. An enlargement of the cooking-ranges is imperative but cannot be carried out, as the necessary material is not available.

 

7. MEDICAL ATTENTION AND STATE OF HEALTH:

        The general state of health is very good. Only three percent of the camp's complement are at present at the lazaret and the revier. The two B.M.O. have arrived just two days ago and consequently have not yet had the opportunity to get fully acquainted with the running of the camp. This is partly the reason why the visit of the lazaret by the Delegate of the Protecting Power was postponed.

        The medical complaints lodged concern foremost the inadequacy of the provisional revier-barrack which is entirely unfit for a proper treatment of patients. The three-tier beds are unsuitable for medical work. The latrines are outside the revier. There is not running water installed. No separate consulting room is provided for. The instruments available are not sufficient. The Commandant promised to improve the arrangements as far as possible. The B.M.O. will be given a separate ambulance-room and the beds will be change. However, other improvements cannot be achieved before the existing central revier is enlarged by a new barrack which will be built within some months only.

        Seemingly the medical orderlies have till now been refused walks outside the camp. When the Commandant was reminded of the privilege which has to be granted to all the members of the protected personnel (employed or not) he stated that he never refused to let them have their walks but they never asked for such an opportunity.

        In order to improve the diet food of the patients, the B.M.O. would very much like to get a small piece of land to cultivate it as a vegetable-garden. This will be arranged if an adequate plot of land adjoining the camp grounds is available.

        The supply of medical parcels has become insufficient. The British Red Cross Society will be approached by the Protecting Power to send an adequate supply to all the labour-detachments.

        The I.R.C.C. at Geneva is further requested to furnish the following set of instruments and outfits: 1 microscope, 1 blood counting chamber, 12 artery forceps, 1 weigh scale and 1 waste-bucket.

        The camp is foreseen with an efficient delousing plant.

 

8. CLOTHING:

        At present no clothing is on stock as all the deliveries had to be sent to the labour detachments. An application for a certain reserve has been made.

        The repair-material for the tailor and cobbler, supplied by the Red Cross is sufficient for the moment, whereas the issue of such articles by the Detaining Power is very poor.

 

9. LAUNDRY:

        The washing of the personal laundry is done by the central camp laundry, which proves satisfactory.

 

10. MONEY AND PAY:

        Non-employed medical staff have not received any pay till now. The camp authorities will put this situation straight immediately.

 

11. CANTEEN:

        The supply is fair. The profits are exclusively used in favour of all prisoners of war indistinctively.

 

12. RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY:

        No activity whatsoever was possible up to now, as no English speaking priest is at this camp. A Roman Catholic as well as a Protestant chaplain have been asked for some time ago and an application has already been made at the German High Command by the camp authorities. This request will be supported by the Protecting Power.

 

13. RECREATION AND EXERCISE:

        The Canadians have a library of their own which is fairly well stocked. They are also well equipped with sports-gears of all kind. They are only handicapped in their indoor recreation activity by the lack of a proper theatre. The central theatre-room is available to them only quite exceptionally.

        The common big sportsfield is free to their use four days daily except on Saturdays and Sundays. The ample space between the barracks in the compound does allow some games as well.

 

14. MAIL:

        The incoming correspondence and private parcels are quite regular. The issue of letter forms and cards to the labour-detachments is irregular. The Commandant promised to see to it that all parties get now their regular number of letters and cards.

 

15. WELFARE WORK:

        The representative of the I.R.C.C. as well as of the Y.M.C.A. have paid a visit to this camp quite recently and have been informed of the welfare activity and the needs connected with it.

 

16. COMPLAINTS: (other than mentioned under the particular headings)

        They concern entirely the labour-detachments:

        1. The Geneva Convention should be supplied to all the detachments. At present none are available at this Stalag.

        2. All the Red Cross supplies should be checked by the local man of confidence when arriving at the detachment. This was promised.

        3. The "Kommandoführer" of each detachment has to be saluted by all prisoners of war although he is a soldier and holds no rank. This is complying with an order of the German High Command which is contrary to the Geneva Convention and will not be altered.

        4. It was reported that in many instances the guards have enforced the strict maintenance of the working capacity of the prisoners of war by striking those prisoners of war with the butt of their rifle who were not willing to work as requested. In fact some prisoners of war were of the opinion that they should oppose as much as possible to fulfil a normal capacity. The delegate of the Protecting Power explained then the clear obligation laid down in the Geneva Convention and the man of confidence promised to cooperate with the local men of confidence of the detachments to the effect that no further opposition will be demonstrated. On the other hand the Commandant stated that he will instruct the guards that the striking should be whenever possible avoided. Disciplinary measures will be taken to punish prisoners of war which are unwilling to work.

 

17. DISCIPLINE:

        The discipline is very good amongst the N.C.O's and privates in the main-camp although the authorities try to create trouble amongst the privates who should get dissatisfied about the N.C.O's not being compelled to work.

 

18. TREATMENT:

        No complaints in the main-camp.

        At various labour-detachments the prisoners of war are still locked up on Sunday afternoon. It was promised to arrange for sports for them outside the fence.

 

19. REPATRIATION:

        There are about 40 to 80 cases to be presented to the Mixed Medical Commission for repatriation. Some D-U.'s have already passed the board and are waiting to join the next repatriation party.

 

20. GENERAL IMPRESSION:

        The camp is well laid out and organized but only adequate for working prisoners of war. The Canadian N.C.O's (436) were indirectly put under pressure to volunteer for work. As this has not succeeded at all the authorities are rather discontent with them and would like to get rid of them as soon as possible. The request to have appointed one Canadian chief man of confidence for the whole Stalag was refused by the Commandant who wants to make a clear distinction between those "reasonable" prisoners of war who are working and those "bad elements" who refuse to accept work.

        The N.C.O's have all been transferred to this camp from Stalag VIII B Lammsdorf. The only solution to accommodate the working prisoners of war fairly well is to have all N.C.O's again sent off to an appropriate camp for non-working N.C.O's. An application to this effect has been made even when they arrived. The Protecting Power will approach the German High Command to have such a transfer made without further delay.

        Upon strong remonstrances made by the Delegate of the Protecting Power, the Commandant finally agreed to consider favourably the request to accept a joint camp staff of Canadian N.C.O's who will attend to all the internal matters of the prisoners of war (Red Cross supplies etc.)

        Despite the negative influences exerted indirectly and continuously on the prisoners of war by the camp authorities in order to split up the privates and N.C.O's they all keep up a high spirit and morale. Once the N.C.O's will have left, the remaining working prisoners of war will certainly have not only a better accommodation, but will fully benefit by the reasonable attitude which the Stalag Commandant shows towards working prisoners of war in general.

 

May 2nd, 1944.

(Signed)

Walter BRAUN

 

[Additional note: I.R.C.C. notified of surgical instruments and medical parcels required.]