Work Camp  11033 GW

Location: Hermagor

Type of work: Sawmill

Man of Confidence: Cpl Fred Taylor, 1141

Number of Men: 39 (21 English, 8 NZ, 10 Australian) (1942); 42 (1943)

Known to be present

Forename
Surname
Rank
Unit
POW
Comments
Danny Behrman Dvr RASC 7383 London; also 1107/L, 10760/L
Ronald Chapman L/Cpl RASC 3143 Essex
John Thomas (Jack) Duffield Pte 2NZEF 736 New Zealand
Fred Seaman Cpl RASC 1072  
Joseph Gordon Dvr RASC    
James Drummond Meyenn Pte H.Q. 17 Inf. Bde. 3864  
Patrick Joseph Simmons Dvr RASC 1113  
George Stoddart Dvr RASC 1127 Transf'd to Stalag 20A
Frederick Arthur Taylor Cpl RASC 1141 MOC
 
   

Date of visit: 5 August 1942 (& 21 May 1943)

General Description

The camp is situated just outside Hermagor within the bounds of a sawmill being at the same time the work-place of the POWs who do all kinds of timber work.

Interior arrangement

1942: The prisoners are housed in a hutment of the usual type, without any barbed wire, in the neighbourhood of a large saw-mill. It comprises two large rooms, well lit and ventilated, and each containing 10 double-tiered wooden bunks; the guard room, a store for clothing and provisions, and a dining room. The whole place is very clean and orderly and gives a very good impression. The prisoners themselves do all the necessary repairs - repairs to the roofing, making of cupboards, drainage, etc.

1943: The interior arrangements are excellent. The one large wooden barrack is divided into three spacious and well-aired sleeping rooms. The one occupied by the NCOs is a perfect example of artistic skill in woodwork, looking like any pleasant living-room during day-time but being transformed into a tidy bedroom in a few minutes by lowering ingenious folding-beds from the wall. The prisoners of war have made these beds themselves as well as some handsome sideboards, cupboards, tables and easy chairs.

Bathing and washing facilities

1942: There is no running water and no installation of showers. The prisoners wash themselves in wooden buckets arranged under a pent-house at one extremity of the hutment.

1943: The POWs take their baths in self-made wooden tubs. The water supply is adequate but there is no shower device.

Toilet facilities

1943: These are adequate and at present outside the camp. Work is in progress to transfer them within the camp>

Food and Cooking

1942: The prisoners receive the rations for heavy labour in the communal kitchen of the Company, which is very well equipped and run by women. The food is sufficient and well-prepared.

1943: The food is cooked by civilians in the camp and the POWs describe it as being bad. However, as the midday meals was just being brought in, the Delegate of the Protecting Power took the opportunity of testing it but could not endorse the statement of the POWs to the extent as to call it bad food. There is a stove at the disposal of those wishing to prepare their own Red cross food.

Medical attention and sickness

1942: An unrecognised member of the medical personnel, who does not work in the factory, has an adequate supply of medical supplies and dressings. The civilian doctor of the neighbouring town is at the disposal of the prisoners, who are satisfied with their treatment.
On the other hand, the dentist seems to be overwhelmed. He only does extractions and, according to the Camp Leader, he has already extracted several teeth which could have been stopped. Serious cases are sent to the Stalag, but this was not the case with the soldier George STODDART, No 1127, whom the Delegates saw with a very large swelling and violent neuralgic pains which obviously came from a dental abscess. The dentist had stated that he was fit for work. The Delegates requested the Commandant of the Stalag that he should immediately be sent for X-ray examination.
On the whole, the state of health is excellent.

1943: There is a recognised sanitator in this camp. Sick POWs can be seen by the local doctor in Hermagor, Dr. Seebacher, with whom they are satisfied. The sanitator badly needs more antiseptics, such as TCP or other, and he complains that when receiving his last supply all the bottles with the exception of one were broken. The Delegate of the Protecting Power will convey this demand to the Chief Man of Confidence at Wolfsberg.
For dental treatment the POWs also go to Hermagor, that is to say for extractions and fillings but they have difficulties in getting dentures from Spittal ( Stalag XVIIIA/Z).

Clothing

1942: This is in good condition. Every man has a new uniform in reserve in the store, a uniform which he can put on to go out. Shoes are in good condition and underclothing is sufficient.

Laundry

1942: The prisoners do their own laundry, for which they draw a packet of soap powder each week.

Money and Pay

1942: Wages are normal: R.M. 18.20 per month. The working hours are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with one hour's break at midday. Saturday afternoons and Sundays are free.

Canteen

1943: There is no canteen but the sanitator is allowed to buy whatever there is in town.

Religious activity

1942: the prisoners, who are all Anglicans, have no facilities for the practice of their religion.

1943: They are awaiting a visit from the padre of Stalag.

Recreation and exercise

1942: There is a lake nearby, but the prisoners are not allowed to go there to bathe, the civilians having declared that they would not dip themselves in the same water as the prisoners. The prisoners go for walks accompanied by guards every weekend. On the Sunday preceding the delegate's visit, they made an excursion of several hours into the mountains. The organisation of recreations leaves something to be desired.
Requests: 1 Accordion, Ping-pong balls, English playing cards.

1943: Last year the POWs were allowed to go swimming in a nearby lake but later on this had been stopped. The POWs asked the Delegate of the Protecting Power to intervene in their favour so that this year lake-bathing would be allowed again. When discussing the matter with the Accompanying Officer it was explained that last year bathing in the lake had to be stopped because the POWs used to swim across to the civilian section; but if they would give their word not to do so again, they would certainly be permitted to have their lake-bathing this season. There is no football field but as swimming is allowed again, the prisoners feel satisfied. They have plenty of indoor games.

Mail

1942: There is nothing to remark on up to the present, but the men showed themselves to be very disquieted by the new order of the O.K.W. (of 17.7.42) according to which one letter a month and one postcard every two months only will be sent from Germany from the month of August until further notice. The Australians have received no parcels for the past seven months.

1943: Letters are coming in spasmodically while parcels arrive fairly regularly. The Man of Confidence sends his usual list to Stalag XVIIIA.

Welfare work

1943: In order.

Complaints

1942: The prisoners are engaged in various tasks in the saw-mill and carpentry. The Camp Leader's work with the circular saw, for the sectioning of timber balks, which he considers dangerous, is obligatory. Prisoners are often summoned to discharge wagons under heavy rain, and return soaked through after this work. They would like to have either raincoats or at least some tent cloth like the civilians who do the same work.
The Camp Leader mentioned the following:
1. That the prisoners have never received any towels.
2. That he would like an hour or two a day or at least a day a week to devote to his work as Camp Leader.
3. That the photographer from the neighbouring town has, up to the present, refused to photograph the prisoners.
4. That he would like to have details concerning any future possibility of sending messages to families by radio.
The Camp Leader also points out that the prisoners were very cold last winter when it was a low as 32 degrees outside. Many of the Australians and New Zealanders now in the detachment had never seen snow before. The Camp Leader would be glad to receive an extra blanket per man from the Red Cross in view of the coming winter. The Company only supplies two. Our Delegates requested that a stove should be installed in each room in addition to that which at present in the Common Room.

1943: The Man of Confidence complains that when the meat for their meals comes to this camp it is in a bad state. However, the delegate of the Protecting Power was informed by the Accompanying Officer that the camp's meat supplies are being stored in a refrigerator in town and that there never had been any trouble; all the same he ordered an inspection of the refrigerator.
The Man of Confidence states that he has no control over the food and that he is under the impression that the men are not getting their full rations, but as a ration scale will in future be posted and the Man of Confidence always has had the opportunity of examining the provisions, there should be no further trouble in this matter.

General impression

1942: As soon as the question of running water has been satisfactorily settled, this Detachment can be said to be excellent. This is largely due to the remarkable personality of the Camp Leader.

1943: This is an excellent camp.


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