Translation by the London Delegation.
LABOUR DETACHMENT 329, (STALAG IIID).
Visited by Drs. Schirmer and Thudichum on the 28th May 1943
Senior Camp Leader of Stalag III D: SEWARD Joseph, No.11.218
British Camp Leader: PARKER A. No.11421, Sergeant.
British Camp Doctor: St. C. NEALE No.12.586. Captain N.Z.M.C.
Camp Strength: 552 British (of whom 2 are New-Zealanders).
This figure includes 6 protected personnel (medical) and 49 non-commissioned officers who are all working voluntarily.
There are 5 Labour Detachments forming part of Stalag III D with a total of 1,401 officers and men.
Labour Detachment 329 has only been in being for a week and is composed of British prisoners coming from Detachments 517 and 520. As the work of laying rails and making embankments for the German Railways, on which these prisoners had been working, is finished, these two Detachments were amalgamated and transferred to 329, where they are engaged on further construction work for the Reich Railways.
Labour Detachment 329 is housed in the middle of a large pine forest, the climate is very healthy. The Camp Leaders state that when the Camp has been finally fitted out, it will be excellent.
Four large wooden huts form the quarters, each has about 7 rooms with an average of 24 prisoners in each. Each hut houses 150 to 190 men, several of the smaller rooms house 12, 6 or 4 men. The Camp Leader has his own room, as also the two New-Zealand doctors. The hut beds are two-tier, furnished with a straw mattress and two blankets. Owing to the large windows, all the rooms get plenty of day-light. The electric light, installed everywhere, can be used until ten o'clock at night.
In addition, a fifth hut is used as an infirmary, another one is used as a kitchen and canteen. Finally of the two remaining huts, one is used as a wash-house and the other as a store for the Red Cross parcels.
Professional British cooks prepare the meals. The Camp Leaders state that it is good and tastily prepared. The rations are controlled by the Camp Leaders; they correspond to those laid down for ordinary work ("Leichtarbeit"). The two Labour Detachments who are engaged on the same work as formerly get the supplementary rations for heavy work. The Camp still has no stove for the preparation of personal foodstuffs.
Everyone is grateful to receive individual parcels of food-stuffs, as the food supplies officially is not satisfactory in quantity or quality.
All the prisoners in Stalag IIID, have only one "Battle-Dress"; they would like to receive a second as quickly as possible, as the authorities do not supply them with working clothes. Each prisoner has leather shoes and a pair of sabots. They have each two vests and two pairs of trunks. The prisoners do their own washing, and for doing this they have four large stoves in the yard to heat the water. They have so far not been able to wash their underclothes in the German laundry. Two cobblers and two tailors deal with repairs; they get material and thread from the Stalag and leather from England. Socks are needed. The Senior Camp Leader (now living with this Labour Detachment) has at present 796 blouses (translated from the French word "blouse"), 398 "Greatcoats", 265 "Caps", in stock. He asks that the following be sent as soon as possible:
1980 "Battle Dresses" and
3960 pairs of socks.
There is no canteen.
The prisoners have not yet been able to have hot douches, as the douche installation is not working, and the stove is out of order. However, they can have as many cold douches as they like. The wash-basins which are installed in a special hut are excellent, as also the latrines which have water-flushes. Each hut has two night latrines. The presence of vermin was not notified. The infirmary, of [20?] beds, is very well fitted. The beds have metal springs, and have two sheets, one pillow and three blankets.
Three small rooms are kept for the sick. At present, 13 patients are being treated, they are minor working accidents, several cases of furunculosis and one influenza. Any severe cases, are transferred to Neukölln or Biesdorf Lazarets. The quantities of medicaments, instruments and dressing materials are sufficient. Unfortunately, this infirmary has no running water. Up to the present, patients suffering from gastro-intestinal complaints have not been able to have a diet, or white bread. The British doctor states that the general health of the prisoners is excellent. Seven sick men from the former Labour Detachment 520 and Labour Detachment 517 are at present hospitalised in the Neukölln Lazaret. Dental care is assured by a British dentist, living in a neighbouring Labour Detachment. Twenty prisoners can go to see him twice a week. The dentist can also make false teeth. Since the formation of Labour Detachments 520 and 517, two deaths have taken place in Neukölln Lazaret, (one pulmonary tuberculosis and one tubercular meningitis).
Leisure and intellectual and spirituals.
The British chaplain of the Labour Detachment celebrates a religious service every Sunday.
The library contains about 1,000 English volumes. The prisoners have formed two jazz orchestras, and two theatre companies.
The prisoners play football and rugby, box and do gymnastics. The sports ground which is behind the Detachment, is surrounded by forests, it is large and well kept.
The prisoners are divided into two shifts, one works from 05.20 to 12.15 and returns to the Camp, the other works from 10.20 to 19.15. The work consists of constructing railway embankments, and laying and transporting rails. The work seems to be heavy.
About forty prisoners have to work partially in water and have not yet received boots for this work.
Usually, the prisoners are free on Saturday afternoons and all day Sunday. If it does happen that they have to work on Sunday, they are compensated for this by a free day during the week.
The 70 Pfennigs pay is regularly paid.
The prisoners write 2 letters and 4 cards; the protected personnel are allowed double this amount. They receive few personnel parcels. It takes one to two months to receive a reply from England whilst the New-Zealand doctors get theirs in 5 to 6 weeks.
Present stocks will last for a month. The prisoners receive one parcel and 50 cigarettes per week. The parcels are distributed three times a week, each man getting a third of a parcel. The Camp Leader effects these distributions. He complains that the tins have to be opened and the contents turned out onto a plate to be checked.
The discipline is excellent. There are no complaints. The senior Camp Leader visits all the Labour Detachments of Stalag III D. He can at any time submit requests from the prisoners to the Commandant of the Stalag.
Air Raid Shelters.
The Detachment has a sufficient number of trenches, as a shelter from bomb explosions, and when there is an alert, the prisoners (with the exception of the fire-watcher) are obliged to go to the shelter trenches.
Interview with the Camp Leaders and doctors (without witness)
Most of the requests made by the prisoners to the delegate of the International Red Cross Committee were able to be granted at once, owing to the presence of the Camp Commandant's representative.
1. The prisoners would like the window shutters to be left open at night, as there is not enough air in the huts. Reply: This will be allowed.
2. Up to the present, the prisoners have not received the supplementary food rations for heavy work which they were given formerly when on the same work. Reply: They will soon be given these.
3. They have no stove or arrangement for preparing their personal foodstuffs. Reply: They will be given what is necessary.
4. The prisoners are obliged to wash their own underclothes, as they have not yet found a laundry. Reply: The necessary steps will be taken to find a laundry to do the prisoners washing.
5. The prisoners have no canteen. Reply: A canteen will be opened shortly.
6. They cannot have hot douches. Reply: The stove will be repaired, so that they will soon be able to have hot douches.
7. There is no running water in the infirmary. Reply: A pipe will be laid.
8. The sick do not get any white bread. Reply: A certain amount of white bread will be supplied for them.
9. About forty British prisoners are obliged to work in water and have not yet been given boots. Reply: These boots have been ordered and the prisoners will receive them in a few days' time.
10. Some prisoners are engaged on very dirty work (machines) and have no working clothes. Reply: The Reich Railways Administration will be asked to supply them through the intermediary of the Stalag.
11. The contents of tinned foods have to be turned out on to a plate, and it is difficult to heat them afterwards, as these foods should be heated before the tins are opened. Reply: These tins will be given to the prisoners intact.
12. There is a pig-sty behind these huts; this attracts a good many flies, and the noise is very disagreeable. Reply: The pigs will be taken elsewhere in a few days' time.
This Detachment could become good, it will be a certain time before it is finally fitted out. The Camp Authorities are doing all in their power to grant the prisoners' requests. Their morale is excellent, they seem well fed and are sunburnt.
The Detachment will be satisfied when all the above requests have been granted.
1,980 "Battle Dresses"
3,160 pairs of socks.
COPY OF TELEGRAM
From:- International Red Cross Committee, Geneva.
To:- Delegate, London.
ELT INTERCROSS LONDON
DT 329 Stalag 33 D 28 May, 1943. Camp Leader Stalag 3 D Seward Joseph 11218, Camp Leader DT 329 Sergeant A. Parker 11421, British doctor Stalag 3 D Captain St.C. Neale, 12586, New Zealander, 6 medical orderlies 49 non-commissioned officers voluntarily working. DT 329 inaugurated eight days ago British P/W coming partly from DT 520 partly from DT 517. Site excellent accommodation food satisfactory rations sufficient thanks to collective parcels. Clothing bad condition. Hygiene good. State of health medical attention satisfactory. Leisure well organised. Religious services celebrated Sundays by clergyman. Work arduous. Pay correspondence discipline no remarks DT good.
Reserve Lazaret 128 Stalag 3 D 5th June, 1943. Camp Leader Ronald Bond, 3976, from Stalag IX C. Strength 204 patients of whom four British and 2 Cypriots 26 medical orderlies of whom 4 British 2 Cypriots, accommodation food hygiene collective parcels satisfactory. Sanitary installations and health care excellent. Weekly religious service celebrated by clergyman. Library medical orderlies take walks under escort two or three hours a week. Sunday not a free day. Pay correspondence discipline satisfactory. Lazarett good.