Images of Stalag 383
This picture, from 'Stolen Years: Australian prisoners of war' gives a good idea of the size of the camp, for up to 8000 prisoners.
It's why I initially had difficulty making out what the cover picture on 'Barbed Wire - Memories of Stalag 383 by M. N. McKibbin' represented, until I read about the size:
July 2022: Following our tour of the Dunkirk rearguard actions I was preparing to take information from that for our grandson, who has a great interest in military matters. My wife inherited a collection of paper and photos from her parents and going through that for photos of Harry in his younger days I was reminded that The Red Cross regularly sent news from the camps to families of POWs in a newsletter The Prisoner of War. I'd never read them in detail but just glancing at them spotted a couple of things referring to Stalag 383 which I reproduce below. There was also information relating to the Polish Stalags, where Harry was originally, but unfortunately I haven't been able to find out which one.
May 1943 - depicting Red Cross Christmas parcels arriving, possibly after the event, probably also how long information took to get back. Also confirmation that Stalag 383 had previously been Offlag III C:
The same month I noticed this:
It was followed by a letter from Offlag IX A/Z from someone who been allowed out in a working party to demolish and rebuild a hut. He writes "I cannot adequately describe the psychological effect after three years in barracks. It was like coming out of a dark, damp cavern into sunlight ... and to find that we could still use our hands ...". Many of the letters talk about sporting and cultural events which I know has led some at home to say they had a 'cushy' existence, but it's impossible to imagine what being a POW was like. Until perhaps 2020 and 21 and Covid restrictions.
May 1945. What looks to be naval officers amongst them:
Even in 1943 thoughts of the authorities were on returing POWs:
Update October 2014
Update August 2009
On the same site are photos from Stalag XXA, Thorn (Torun), Poland, some 173km south of Gdansk. Some men captured at Cassel were shipped off to this camp, and at least one was subsequently transferred to Stalag 383. Harry was initially interred in Poland before being moved to 383, was this also XXA? I'm hoping to get a copy of his POW record from The Red Cross or the MOD, see Veterans UK. Harry might have been very fortunate to have been moved to Germany, there are some horrific tales of the Russians holding Allied prisoners hostage for financial and economic 'credits' from the West. One account (scroll down to 'World War II') states that the US Government has verified that 23,500 American and other Allied POWs held by the Germans were never repatriated, is that possible? But another account indicates nothing but full cooperation from the Russians (link unfortunately lost).
Many other Google links at Stalag XXA and Stalag 383.
Update May 2003
These look like beehives:
Also another camp programme, this time for The Gondoliers and listing Harry as playing 'Vittoria'.
Update July 2002
|Kerry has a copy of the programme for one of the productions featured in Harry's photos - the Mikado at Christmas 1943 - seen on the left. Harry is mentioned in the programme as being a cast member, something I was unaware of. The Mikado necessitated very heavy makeup, so even though there is every possibility that Harry is actually in one of the photos I am unlikely to determine where, but I am very grateful to Kerry for bringing it to my attention.|
Also in Harry's collection are these caricatures of 'Camp Personalities':
The following pictures were sent to me by Ian Martin and from a set of about 50 that belonged to his Father, John 'Jock' Martin of Stirling, Scotland. In the first picture Ian's Father is in the centre holding the newspaper, believed to be a copy of 'The Camp'.
These pictures are from Ed Webster, his father was in the gymnastics team. There are interesting similarities between the first picture in Kerry Single's set and the first in Ed's:
© Copyright Ian Martin, Ed Webster, Kerry Single