CONFIDENTIAL

No. .....

BRITISH / AMERICAN

Date of visit: 5th February 1945

 

STALAG IV B MÜHLBERG

Kommandant

Stellv. Kommandant

Abwehr

Lageroffizier

Lagerarzt

G.H.V. Acc. Officer

British Man of Confidence

American Man of Confidence

Senior British Medical Officer

: Oberst Lührsen

: Oberstlt. Grallert

: Hptm. Grahl

: Hptm. König
: Oberfeldarzt Dr. Schmied
: Hptm. Schäfer

: W.O. G. Meyers RCAF (122)

: 1st/Sgt. Cleon Philipps

: Major A.G.D. Whyte RAMC (249172)

 

xxxxxxxxxxxx

 

STRENGTH: at date of visit

 

(a) BRITISH

    Britain

    Ireland

    Canada

    Australia

    New Zealand

    South Africa

    De Gaulle captured

        in Brit. uniforms

    Other British

Total

(b) AMERICAN

Off

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

2

9

N.C.Os.

 

4640

6

289

124

64

565

 

255

27

5970

501

Ranks

 

776

3

42

7

21

25

 

13

14

901

2223

Total

 

5416

9

331

133

85

590

 

268

41

6873

2733

Doctors

 

5

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

7

2

Chaplains

 

3

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

5

-

 

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

        Since last visit the general conditions of living have deteriorated considerably. This fact is not due to any marked difference in the administration of the Camp Authorities, it appears to be the consequence of the present progress of the war.

        On December 24th the first batch of American prisoners, captured in the course of the Rundstedt Offensive, arrived here. From that date the American strength has increased from several hundred to two thousand seven hundred. During that same period some eight thousand five hundred American prisoners passed here in transit.

        This sudden influx caused excessive overcrowding of the bungalows, for some time two men shared one bunk and many prisoners slept on the floor, benches and tables.

 

INTERIOR ARRANGEMENTS:

        See last report No.584, dated October 6th, 1944.

 

WASHING AND BATHING FACILITIES:

        The bathing facilities are good, but their use by permanent members of the camp is much limited by the numbers in transit using the bath house.

 

FOOD AND COOKING:

        Kitchen facilities have remained to be satisfactory for camp cooking, individual cooking in barracks is limited by the fuel supplied. The coal issue is as present twenty five kilos per half barrack per day as against a daily issue of seventy five kilos during the same period of last year.

        The cooking for the British and American prisoners is done in the number two camp kitchen, staffed by 52 British personnel under the command of RQMS G.E. Wooding.

        The present average daily output, based on a strength of 11,000 men, consists of approximately 9,000 kg. of food and 12,500 litres of drinks; these are prepared in 11 steam-heated and 10 direct heated boilers, all of 300 litres capacity.

        The supply of containers for issue to barracks enable roughly half the camp's strength to be issued at once, but causes a time-lag to subsequent issues.

        The diet in the main consists of potatoes, turnips and dehydrated vegetable alternated with usually three issues a week of either millet, peas or oats, often boosted to the schedules ration scale by a substitute flour. Apart from a few exceptions, this has not varied for some months. On certain occasions prisoners have been supplied with dehydrated vegetable of exceptionally poor quality, and other times issues of a very low grade flour which had to be thoroughly sifted to remove maggots, both unfit for human consumption, but passed by the German authorities as edible. Recently the soups have been flavoured with a small supply of condiments and soup-powders, scheduled for the December scale of rations. x See 2A

 

MEDICAL ATTENDANCE AND STATE OF HEALTH

        (a) British Medical Officers employed:

                        Major A.G.D. Whyte R.A.M.C. (S.B.M.O.)     Captured     8.4.41

                        Major J.Q. Ochse S.A.M.C.                                    "         20.6.42

                        Captain C.P.M. Neethling S.A.M.C.                        "         21.6.42

                        Captain A.R. Duff R.A.M.C.                                    "         7.12.41

                        Captain T.L. MacDonald R.A.M.C.                         "         4.10.43

                        Captain J.G. McGavin R.A.M.C.                              "         6.12.42

                British Dental Officer employed:

                        Lt. V. Jessop                                                      Captured  26.5.40

                American Medical Officers employed:

                        Captain Willis P. McKee U.S.A.M.C. (S.A.M.O.) (313594)

                        Captain Edwin C. Yeary U.S.A.M.C.                     (313595)

                British, Dominion and American Medical Orderlies employed:

                        Number of recognised medical personnel, British, Dominion and American employed = 43

                British, Dominion and American Medical Orderlies unemployed:

                        Number of recognised Medical personnel, British, Dominion and American not employed = 286

                        Average number of patients attending daily for ambulant treatment approx. = 500

                        Average number of patients in British infirmary approximately = 150

        (b) Medical conditions:

                Accommodation: Living quarters are grossly overcrowded, one indication of this being the sharp rise in the incidence of diphtheria. Recently, during the transit of several thousand American prisoners, barracks were grossly crowded, with more than one man in a bed. Such barrack conditions in a camp where infectious and contagious diseases are ever present, is deplorable. Under present weather conditions many barracks are damp and some are wet.

        (c) Prevalent diseases:

                These are mainly respiratory tract infections and septic conditions of the skin. Among the recent arrivals, who were suffering from inanition and exposure, there has been an epidemic of pneumonia. Diphtheria, which is constantly occurring, is on the increase, due to the bad hygienic conditions in the camp and in particular to overcrowding in barracks. Diarrhoea is prevalent with not a few cases of actual dysentery: it is difficult to control, due to such factors as the great scarcity of proper cooking and eating utensils. Malarial relapses have been fewer during the winter months.

        (d) Ambulant cases:

                The accommodation for this satisfactory. The greatest difficulty here is the minute supply of drugs and dressings by the Detaining Power. To a large extent, prisoners are dependent on British/American Red Cross supplies.

                Average number attending daily is approximately 500.

        (e) British Infirmary:

                Accommodation is satisfactory. As a result of representations presented on the occasion of last visit, 12 sets of bed linen have now been issued. Accommodation has recently been severely taxed owing to large numbers in the camp and only the most urgent cases could be admitted. Many cases requiring bed treatment had to receive ambulant care. Again the main handicap to the work here is the meagre supply of drugs and dressings by the Detaining Power. Also it is difficult to keep the infirmary clean owing to gross deficiency in the provision by the Detaining Power of cleaning materials such as brushes and brooms.

                The average number of patients is 150.

        (f) Drugs and Dressings:

                The supply of drugs and dressings from the Detaining Power is very scant and far short of requirements. Promises of improved supplies do not materialise. The following examples are quoted, and are the average supplies for one week of the items named, the average is taken over a period of seven weeks.

                        Aspirin tablets                           136 tablets per week

                        Sulphonamide preparations        120    "        "      "

                        Purgative tablets                          70    "        "      "

                        Calcium tablets                          100    "        "      "

                        Haemorrhoid suppositories            9    "        "      "

                        Alcohol                                     180 grams   "      "

                        Zinc ointment                             336    "        "      "

                        Salicylate ointment                     207    "        "      "

                        Tinctur Iodi                                103    "        "      "

                There is a very urgent need for anti-diphtheritic serum and sulphonamide drugs.

        (g) American Infirmary:

                On the 8th of January 1945, a small American infirmary was opened, consisting of 82 beds, under the supervision of two American Medical Officers, and staffed by 14 American orderlies. This infirmary was necessary because of large numbers of American troops arriving here, and because of the high mortality rate amongst them, the British infirmary was unable to care for them all.

                Although the Detaining Power recognised the necessity for, and approved the opening of this American infirmary, they have been very slow in furnishing the bare necessities for its operation, i.e. - for the first 19 days of operation the building was very greatly under-heated - to the extent that water would freeze in the room, and one patient developed frost bite of the feet during his stay here. This condition existed despite daily requests for an increase in coal allowance.

                The morbidity and mortality rate is excessively high in the newly arrived American troops. The predominating disease being pneumonia, dysentery, and upper respiratory tract infections.

                It is felt that the high morbidity and mortality rate among the recently arrived American soldiers is due largely to three factors, vis -

                        1. Overcrowding of men in the barracks, there frequently being two hundred or more quartered in buildings for one hundred men.

                        2. The debilitated condition in which the men arrive at this camp due to long marching, inadequate food and water, and inadequate shelter. A typical example is that of the column which Capt. McKee accompanied; they marched a total of sixty miles in three days, the ration for the entire being one third of a loaf of bread per man, and one bucket of molasses per 100 men. Most of the troops arriving here have spent 48 to 96 hours in a box car with no heat or straw, very little food, no water, and no facilities for defecation or micturition.

                        3. Facilities for medical care, is practically non-existent from the front line to the Prisoner of War Camp.

                The following is a list of American Prisoners of War who died in Stalag IV B since December 30th, 1944:

Name:

 

TURTON, Edgar

MILCHOEFFER, Robert

MACKEY, Hector

VAN DEUSON, George

DUNLOP, Vernon

MUSGROVE, Robert

FRANKLIN, Perry

ROHRBORN, Fritz

NICKEL, Charles

NEWMAN, Louis

VAUGHT, Raymond

ENDEWARDE, Robert

DENSON, Laurence

BACON, Ernest

McANDREW, G.

CHASE, Robert

ASN.

No.

32274266

36012227

31392204

39297201

17004400

?

19056286

?

32388905

?

35253924

?

?

11104611

?

42090444

POW

No.

294562

?

314073

316280

318588

318938

?

313601

318538

318393

318600

315756

315259

315142

318520

315957

Admitted

 

27/12/44

6/1/45

14/1/45

28/1/45

28/1/45

28/1/45

?

3/1/45

13/1/45

17/1/45

18/1/45

10/1/45

16/1/45

31/1/45

16/1/45

26/1/45

Died

 

30/12/44

6/1/45

26/1/45

28/1/45

28/1/45

28/1/45

6/1/45

13/1/45

14/1/45

17/1/45

19/1/45

23/1/45

23/1/45

31/1/45

2/2/45

3/2/45

Cause of death

 

general Peritonitis

exposure

diarrhoea & exposure

pneumonia & exposure

pneumonia & exposure

dysentery & broncho pneumonia

unknown

pneumonia

diphtheria

diphtheria

pneumonia

intestinal obstruction

pneumonia & exposure

pneumonia

diphtheria

exposure & pneumonia

        (h) Camp Lazaret:

                Capt. A.F. Murray R.A.M.C., formerly at Stalag IV C, Wistritz, has recently been attached to the medical staff of the camp lazaret.

                The surgical equipment of this lazaret, especially as regard to dry sterilisation and instruments is not quite satisfactory and there exists a shortage of drugs and dressings. Radiographic facilities have somewhat improved since last visit. At the date of visit, Delegate met the following British/American patients:

BRITISH:

Name:

DUBERY, Robert

SKANDRETT, Harold

HAYWARD, Harold

HOWIE, George

BABBAGE, Arthur

AMERICAN:

MACKEY, Charles

ROGOFF, Seymont

NESTICO, Andy

CECIL, Henry

HOELTZEL, Edwin

GILMORE, Harman

KULESIK, Peter

FOYE, Joseph

RUSSEL, Williams

SCHENK, Melvin

CLARE, Henry

 

POW No:

263153

70423

22713

86499

263805

 

317338

313456

315026

311639

311111

311654

311638

294228

315367

318702

313451

 

Diagnosis:

Kidney-colic

Polyneuritis

Skin-Tbc.

Fracture right shank

Tuberculosis of the lungs with Haemoptoe

 

Empyem left

loss of toes caused by frost and gangrene

Thoracic wound near shoulder

Amputation right thigh

Humerus fracture

Femur fracture

Femur fracture right

Humerus and shoulderblade fracture

Myocarditis post-diphtheria

Myocarditis after diphtheria

Myocarditis after diphtheria

        (i) Dental Station:

                Lieut. V. JESSOP, Q.V.R., K.R.R.C., is in charge of the British/American dental station.

                The position with regard to fillings and extractions is satisfactory, there is now a waiting list for fillings of under 200.

                About ten denture repairs are being done weekly.

                With regard to new dentures, an average of two per week are passed by the Authorities, prisoners expected to go to labour-detachments or N.C.Os willing to volunteer for work enjoy priority.

                Stocks of dental materials are adequate at present, except for a shortage of new burs,

                A new chair, electric engine together with instruments has recently been added.

 

CLOTHING:

        The continued passage of large contingents of recently captured American prisoners from the Western front has resulted in the necessity of imposing an ever stricter policy of issuing the rapidly diminishing stock of clothing supplied by both the American and the British Red Cross Societies.

        In the past few months repeated requests for an increased supply of clothing and shoes from Geneva have borne little results. The limited available stocks have made it imperative to issue clothing for warmth only to those men whose physical condition has deteriorated to the lowest degree of resistance.

 

RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES:

        The staff of English chaplains has not changed since last visit. There are two Church of England one Presbyterian and one Roman Catholic chaplain on duty. The work has carried out steadily sometimes under difficult conditions. Services have been held regularly for all groups, both on Sundays and weekdays. Severe cold in the rooms used for classes and week day services has very much hampered the work there, while the large halls used on Sundays have had no fires with temperatures ranging from 10 - 29 degrees of frost.

 

CANTEEN:

        The camp-canteen is run by the Authorities. Essential articles, such as spoons, forks, mugs, brushes and boot-polish, are unobtainable, 3,000 pieces of razor-blades were supplied for a period of three months to a strength ranging from 10 - 14,000 men. At Christmas 27 barrels of beer were obtained from the canteen which amount to approximately 1/10th of a litre per man. Table knives and forks of a very inferior quality have been available for purchase during the last three weeks. No type of foodstuffs has been procurable at any time. Cigarettes and tobacco have been available, once monthly, to the paid personnel on the staff to the quantity of 20 French cigarettes and a small packet of Serbian tobacco.

 

RECREATION AND EXERCISE:

        Recreational facilities have remained to be satisfactory.

 

INFORMATION:

        Death of Pte. Charles Michael FITTOCK, Royal Scots Fusiliers, Service No. 3131990, POW No. 275425.

        The above named prisoner was shot and killed by a German sentry on October 18th, 1944.

        Statements of evidence on this incident are subject of a special report.

 

GENERAL IMPRESSIONS:

        The new Kommandant, Oberst Luhrsen was formerly in command of the large Indian Prisoner of War Camp near Epinal (France). He is an elderly officer and considered as a straightforward character. There exist friendly relations between the Camp Authorities and the British/American prisoners-representatives. It is, however, very difficult to obtain any material improvements under present conditions.

        A great misfortune is the present complete lack of Red Cross food supplies. All stocks, American or British, have been placed in a common pool and distributed to the American/British community without prejudice as a result of the pooling arrangements made by the respective Men of Confidence. At present all stocks are exhausted and prisoners depend entirely on the German food-ration.

        There is evidence of undernourishment among prisoners and the undersigned Delegate wishes to submit for the consideration for the International Red Cross Committee the suggestion that arrangements be made to bring urgent food and medical supplies to prisoner of war camps in Germany.

 

MEASURES OF REPRISALS:

        Kommandant was instructed to introduce measures of reprisals against all British prisoners under his care in response to conditions alleged to exist in camp 306 Egypt. He refused to carry out such orders in view of the fact that many American prisoners live in the same barracks with their British comrades. Obviously, this Kommandant disagrees with the idea of taking reprisals.

 

(sng.) Rudolph E. DENZLER.

 

 

2A

RATION-SCALE FOR WEEK ENDING FEBRUARY 4TH 1945

 

 

 

 

Meat fresh/tinned

Meat Sausage/tinned

Cooking fat

Potatoes

Turnips

Dried Vegetables

Cereals

 

 

Peas

Margarine

Rye flour

Coffee Subst.

Cheese

Bread

Sugar

Jam

Tea Subst.

Salt

Gram

per

man

)

) 250

68

2750

2000

100

30

 

 

255

150

76

17.5

46.8

2125

175

175

7

105

MON

29.1

 

15

 

10

450

 

 

15

Wheat

flour

127.5

30

76

 

46.8

325

25

 

1.75

15

TUES

30/1

 

15

24/30

8

450

700

 

 

 

 

 

30

 

6

 

300

25

 

 

15

WEDS

31.1

 

15

 

10

450

 

50

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

300

25

85

1.75

15

 

 

 

THUR

1.2

 

15

24/30

10

 

 

 

15

Wheat

flour

127.5

30

 

5.5

 

300

25

 

 

15

FRI

2.2

 

15

24/30

10

450

600

 

 

 

 

 

30

 

 

 

300

25

 

1.75

15

SAT

3.2

 

15

 

10

450

 

50

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

300

25

90

 

15

SUN

4.2

 

15

24/30

10

500

700

 

 

 

 

 

30

 

 

 

300

25

 

1.75

15

 

 

0103/5777.(P.W.2.)

16th March, 1945.

DEPARTMENTAL NO.1.

(EN CLAIR)

FROM BERNE TO FOREIGN OFFICE.

 

Mr. Norton               D. 1.51 p.m. 8th March, 1945.

No.443                     R. 6 p.m. 8th March, 1945

8th March, 1945.

 

        My despatch 7385.

        Report on Stalag IVB visited 5th February containing 6873 British 2733 Americans states since last visit general conditions have deteriorated considerably due to influx of American prisoners following German Ardennes offensive causing excessive overcrowding. Coal ration reduced from 75 to 25 kilos per half barrack daily. Under present weather conditions many barracks damp and some wet. Diphtheria (your despatch 154) increasing owing to bad hygienic conditions and overcrowding. Urgent need of anti-diphtheria serum and sulphonamide drugs. Surgical equipment of Lazaret especially regarding dry sterilisation and instruments not quite satisfactory shortage of drugs and dressings.

        Commandant refused to introduce reprisals for alleged conditions in Camp 306 Egypt (your telegram 254) owing to presence of many American prisoners.