TRANSLATION BY THE LONDON DELEGATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS COMMITTEE

 

STALAG IV D/Z

 

Visited by Drs. P. Ruggli and O. Lehner on the 15 November 1943

 

Indian Camp Leader   Sergeant Ram DITTA No. 5795

 

Strength   2,779 at the Stalag of whom 1,801 are at the Camp 37 at the Infirmary and 22 at lazarets.

                    4 doctors

                    8 medical orderlies.

 

Representatives for various Castes or Creeds

Caste or Creed

Madrasi and Christians

Sikhs

Gurkhas

Maharattas

Jats (Tata)

Mahometans

Rank

Sergeant

Corporal

Sergeant

Sergeant

Sergeant

Corporal

Name

ARUMAINAYAGE

Sing ASSA

Banadur KISHEN

Ram CHANDERALVE

Passhad DURGA

Khan LUBMAN

Number

5951

5261

5722

5759

4610

6485

 

Site and Accommodation

        The site and accommodation remains the same as that described in a previous report. Each Indian possesses 3 blankets, two of which are in bad condition.

        The coal rations appear to be inadequate: it amounts to a half-bucket per room per day, and in each room there are 30 Indians. The delegates have asked the Commandant to increase this coal ration; such an increase would appear to have been intended, and already planned. The Camp heating was only commenced on the 9th of November.

 

Food.

        Six Indian private soldiers, under the orders of a German N.C.O. prepare the meals.

        Heavy workers receive the regulation rations for such a category. The food gives rise to no complaints. Six small stoves are available to the prisoners for the preparation of foodstuffs from collective parcels; but this number does not appear to be sufficient. The Commandant has promised to increase the number.

 

Canteen

        The prisoners can get mineral waters etc, at their small canteen. The delegates were able to get the Authorities to agree to give beer to the prisoners. It is necessary for the canteen to sell many drinks as the ordinary water of the camp is not fit to drink before it has been boiled.

        The Camp Leader who has, up to now, not had control of the canteen profits will, in future, have this.

 

Collective parcels

        The store contains 62,000 Indian food parcels. This represents a reserve sufficient for 21 weeks.

        The prisoners would like to receive Canadian parcels from time to time instead of Indian parcels. They would exchange the meat contained therein among themselves, between the pork-eaters and the non-pork-eaters. The Mahometans according to the Camp Leader, eat only beef, while the Hindus and the Sikhs eat only pork, bacon and mutton.

 

Clothing

        One thousand one hundred Indian prisoners have but one uniform each, the others have two. All the clothing comes from Red Cross sources. The clothing they have is in good condition.

 

Hygiene

        The hygienic conditions are satisfactory. Those prisoners who are infested with lice and immediately de-loused.

        Prisoners can take hot shower baths every day.

 

Medical Attention

        Three Indian doctors care for the sick men in the Camp. The delegate obtained permission from the Camp Commandant for an Indian doctor to visit all the Labour Detachments at least once a month and the large Detachments at regular intervals.

        The infirmary contains 30 patients, four of whom are suffering from pleurisy.

        The instruments are sterilised once a week by the German staff. Between whiles the Indian doctor can only keep them in alcohol. He asks for some alcohol and an electric steriliser. He would, moreover, like some gas masks for the medical staff in conformity with an order of the High Security Command.

        The delegates have got the Commandant to agree to increase the coal ration for the Infirmary, as well as the number of blankets (to 3 instead of the present 2).

 

Dental Attention

        The prisoners can be treated by a German civilian dentist. The dental situation is at the present time excellent.

 

Leisure and Intellectual and Religious Needs

        A French Catholic priest and a German Protestant chaplain celebrate services for all the Christians. All the religions have a small chapel at their disposal (Hindus, Mahometans, Sikhs, Buddhists, catholics and protestants).

        The library contains 500 books in English. The librarian would like some "English East Reading Books", some Hindu religious books (for example "Gita") (presumably the Bhagavadgita. trans) and some books in the following languages, Kanareese, Tamil, Telegu, and Malayan. Moreover, they would like to have some games for use in bad weather. Also some musical instruments and some Indian gramophone records.

        The theatre which the prisoners used to be able to use, now serves as a Red Cross Store. The prisoners can go to the Cinema once every three weeks.

        They have facilities for playing all kinds of outdoor games.

 

Correspondence

        Many prisoners have not yet received any letters from their relatives. They have asked the delegates to write to their families asking for home news. The lists of names and addresses has been sent to Geneva.

 

Work and Pay.

        The working day is of 9 or 10 hours duration. One group of 100 men has to make every day a journey lasting two hours - both ways. The Authorities have promised to form a detachment on the spot where the work is or not to make the men do it.

        Since the first of November 1943, the pay has been 1.-- RM per day.

        The money confiscated in Italy has not yet been repair; but the Commandant promised to give to the Indians the receipts at any rate which were taken away from them when they arrived in Germany.

 

Discipline

        This is good.

        It has occurred that Indian N.C.O's have been struck by German soldiers; but these occurrences can be regarded as exceptional and not usual.

        The delegates learnt that in Detachment 1520 the Indian prisoner Allah DITTA No.7187 was shot by the Germans. Details of this occurrence are not known.

 

CONCLUSION

        As far as they are in a position to judge, this camp made a good impression on the delegates. The Commandant who is the same as for Stalag IV D, is very benevolent to the prisoners.