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Oflag 64

Oflag 64

Oflag 64 was a World War II German prisoner-of-war camp for officers located at Szubin a few miles south of Bydgoszcz, in Pomorze, Poland, which at that time was occupied by Nazi Germany. It was probably the only German PoW camp set up exclusively for U.S.Army officers. At most other camps there were several nationalities, although usually separated into national compounds.

The camp was built around a Polish boys' school by adding barracks. Iniitially it was Stalag XXI-B for Polish soldiers until December 1940. Then it became Oflag XXI-B for French and British Commonwealth officers, subsequently for Soviet officers until June 1943. Then they were moved out to other camps, the Commonwealth flying personnel to Stalag Luft 3 Sagan, others to Oflag XXI-C Ostrzeszów. It was then re-numbered.

Timeline

  • June 6, 1943 - the camp redesignated Oflag 64, it became an American officers only camo with the arrival of officers captured in the North Africa Campaign in Tunisia.
  • Late fall 1943 - An escape committee started digging a tunnel to pass under the barbed wire fence.
  • March 1944 - upon receiving news of the disastrous results of the "Great Escape" from Stalag Luft III the escape committee ordered a shut-down of the operation.
  • June 1944 - senior American officers captured in the Battle of Normandy sent to Oflag 64.
  • January 21, 1945 - the roll call established a total of 1,471. Because of approaching Soviet troops, all capable of walking were marched out. The senior U.S. officer was Lt.Col. Paul Goode. .
  • January 23, 1945, the camp was liberated by the Soviet 61st Army. There were approximately 100 Americans, sick and medical personnel, and a few that had hidden in the old escape tunnel. About 200 escaped from the marching column and returned to the camp.

Aftermath

  • The group that marched out of Szubin, reached Oflag XIII-B at Hammelburg on March 10. They marched through snow and bitter cold most of the nearly 400 miles. About 400 dropped out on the way, to weak to march, or escaped. A number were shot. Lt. Col. Goode marched with them all the way. Part of the group, including Lt. Col. Goode were again marched out to Stalag VII-A, Moosburg, where they were finally liberated by units of the U.S. 14th Armored Division 29 April (three weeks after Hammelburg had been liberated by the same unit)
  • Those that had stayed at the camp experienced considerable difficulties. The Soviets wanted to hold them hostage, until all Soviet POWs in camps behind Allied lines were returned to them . Finally, under the command of Col. Frederick Drury they reached Odessa and were evacuated on a New Zealand ship, HMNZS Monowai.

References

Sources

See also

External links

Media

"Oflag 64: A P.O.W. Odyssey" was a TV documentary made by PBS in 2000.

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