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Stalag VII

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Northman View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06 Apr 2012 at 12:53


When I visit my friends in Pennsylvania - I am so lucky that I always stay with old grandma Grace.
A wonderful old lady, now past 90, who takes a great pleasure and pride in telling stories of her past.
 
They also include the stories about her late husband - who served in WWII, but ended up in in a koncentration camp.
His name was Charles Hershberger
 
This is not his story, but a document which, from first hand, describes the life in KZ Camp, Stalag VII
 
 
 


Edited by Northman - 27 Dec 2013 at 21:22
   
   If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.    (Albert Einstein)
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Northman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Northman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2012 at 19:09
Live and learn - I would have thought there would be more interest for something like this.
 
   
   If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.    (Albert Einstein)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4ZZZ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2012 at 02:48
I've read it. Very interesting. The camps are not an area that I have read in any depth. As usual there are far too many subject to read on and such little time.

Northman I see you are in Denmark. I have a book called The Giant Killers. The Story of the Danish Resistance Movement by John Oram Thomas. I read this a good while back and found it an interesting read on an area that is given little coverage generally.  



Edited by 4ZZZ - 08 Apr 2012 at 02:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2012 at 04:27
I note that the Germans went to a great deal of effort in being correct with Allied Western POW's in the early days of the war. But that bureaucracy and length of the war had degraded most POW camps that even model camps like Stalag 7A didn't escape and subsequently suffered, including the lowering of German morale and the raising of the POW's. The underlined i had come across in others books on the subject.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 4ZZZ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2012 at 05:06
Is there a definitive book on the subject of Prisoner of war camps? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2012 at 06:45
I am sure there are many out there, but unfortunately not in my collection. What i had read came from a collection of books not dealing with this subject directly, just incidentally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Northman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Apr 2012 at 12:26
Originally posted by 4ZZZ 4ZZZ wrote:

I've read it. Very interesting. The camps are not an area that I have read in any depth. As usual there are far too many subject to read on and such little time.

Northman I see you are in Denmark. I have a book called The Giant Killers. The Story of the Danish Resistance Movement by John Oram Thomas. I read this a good while back and found it an interesting read on an area that is given little coverage generally.  
 
Re. The Danish Resistance..
Aside from a couple of movies just after the war, the story of the Danish Resistance Movement was more or less silenced until recently. Not that it wasn't mentioned, but only few of the most spectacular details came to public knowledge.
Not too many wanted to speak of what they did, as I don't think they really saw it as something glorius themselves at the time - more as something that had to be done.
Also - things weren't just black and white, in particular close to the end of the war it was difficult to tell friend from foe - who was snitching and who could you trust.
 
To honour of a leader of a local group, Axel Sorensen on his 85 year birthday, I created a webpage for him - based on the notes he and the members of the group did after the war.
 
Someday I'll translate it into english - maybe you can let Google do it now.
 
Lately, more movies have seen daylight on the subject, in example:
 
and this year, brand new release: The Hvidsten Group
 
Another story worth mentioning is The Rescue of the Danish Jews
 
~ North


Edited by Northman - 08 Apr 2012 at 12:33
   
   If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.    (Albert Einstein)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lao Tse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2012 at 15:58
The Germans were crazy, but they atleast tried to make safe houses for refugees in Nanking.
在財富的害處,而是一件好事永遠不持續。我在和平中仅居住在新的風下。 Wei Jia Hong No harm in wealth, but a good thing doesn't last forever. I live only among peace under
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2012 at 02:05
Originally posted by Lao Tse Lao Tse wrote:

The Germans were crazy, but they atleast tried to make safe houses for refugees in Nanking.


I might be wrong, but i recall reading that the German representatives operated it at their own initiative independent of Berlin.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lao Tse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2012 at 02:16
Yes, but after the invasion was over, the office in Berlin sent supplies for the survivors.
在財富的害處,而是一件好事永遠不持續。我在和平中仅居住在新的風下。 Wei Jia Hong No harm in wealth, but a good thing doesn't last forever. I live only among peace under
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Dec 2013 at 12:56
Originally posted by Northman Northman wrote:



When I visit my friends in Pennsylvania - I am so lucky that I always stay with old grandma Grace.
A wonderful old lady, now past 90, who takes a great pleasure and pride in telling stories of her past.
 
They also include the stories about her late husband - who served in WWII, but ended up in in a koncentration camp.
His name was Charles Hershberger
 
This is not his story, but a document which, from first hand, describes the life in KZ Camp, Stalag VII
 
 
 

There is a basic error in this post.
Stalags were not Concentration Camps (KZ in German abbreviation). Stalag (for enlisted allied soldiers) and Oflag (for officers) were a POW camps run by military (German Army, Navy or Air Force.
Concentration Camp (KZ) were run by SS, not by Army/navy/air force.
Wikopedia is offering a relatively good description of Stalag and Oflag.
Links below;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalag

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oflag
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Northman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Dec 2013 at 17:18
Thanks for clearing that up Goral.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2014 at 04:08
Goral: For the purposes of general discussion, does it make any difference?
 
Were the allied officers treated better than the enlisted men?
 
In essence, weren't they all Concentration Camps-by definition?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2014 at 14:46
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Goral: For the purposes of general discussion, does it make any difference?
 
Were the allied officers treated better than the enlisted men?
 
In essence, weren't they all Concentration Camps-by definition?

If you like to speak about allied concentration camps, then yes. otherwise they were POW camps.
In Stalag VIIa were up to 60,000 men. That was its major problem, because it wasn't build for such a huge mass of people. About 15000 US officers, NCOs and soldiers were imprisoned there of which AFAIK 11 US soldiers died. So especially for western soldiers it was a good place, as far as one can speak about good places if we speak about POW camps. Slavs and since 1943 Italians weren't treated in the same way, but had still, for war standards, acceptable conditions. Bad were usually the conditions under which the Soviet soldier lived. Allthough they made not more than 18% of the inmates, they held the vast majority of the nearly 1000 dead POWs and those who were transported to KZs aren't even included.
Many POWs were even allowed to move free during the day, when they were at work in the agriculture, on local farms e.g. hardly a KZ for western soldiers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2014 at 13:46
The treatment of prisoners in German camps depended pretty much on who they were. regular German services would have usually treated officers as officers, much like any army, and observed many of the agreed standards such as mail or Red Cross parcels, or even inspection by neutral countries. The SS were much harder nosed about things. There is the story about a Lancaster crew that bailed out after AA had wrecked the bomber. Six were recovered by wermacht troops, fed, watered, treated in hospital, and sent to a prison camp. The other unfortunate was picked by by an SS patrol and hanged from the nearest tree.

Captain Eric Brown was in Germany when war was breaking out, and immediately before Britain declared war, was arrested and his possessions, clothing included, were confiscated. However, after a short stay in prison, the Germans allowed him to travel to Switzerland for repatriation, and gave back his car. "Why", Asked Capt Brown, "Did you give me back my car when you took everything else?"

"Because we have no spares" Came the answer from a young SS officer.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2014 at 16:24
There were different german POW camps, usually Dulag, Stalag and Oflag. The Dulags followed the front. The other camps were not mobile. In the Stalags were usually common soldiers and NCOs, in the Oflags officers. The common soldiers and NCOs had to work for their living costs, the officers got money and had to pay for their living costs. The camps in general were under the command of the Wehrmacht till september 1944, when Himmler became as chief of the Ersatzheer as well  responsible for the POW camps and put Gottlob Berger into the position of the chief of the POWsystem.

The SS had in general nothing to do with the POWs, at least not til september 1944. But even after this date were they not directly responsible. Caldrail, I don't know whether your story is true or not. It happened, that allied bomber crews were lynched after they felt into the hands of locals or some fanatic Nazis. But in relation with the horrendous destruction and dead these crews brought over the civilian population, such cases were marginal. Maybe in some cases even SS members were inflicted, I know only cases in which the SA was inflicted. Some nazi gauleiter or Reichs defense commissoners gave e.g. the order to transport bombing crews by foot to the next POW camps to give the population (or a nazi mob) the chance to hang these guys.


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