Work Camps  970, 975 & 976 GW

Location: Liezen

Type of work: Factory work

Man of Confidence: Tpr Arthur Whitehouse, 1962? (16.2.43)
                                                       (Arthur Grief, 2147 in Oct. 1944)

Number of Men: 30

The POWs were held in the building marked with an X

Known to be present

Forename
Surname
Rank
Unit
POW
Comments
Arthur E. Grief Dvr RE 2447  or 2147 MOC Oct '44
Charles Edward Victor Thompson Gnr RA 6994 Italy POW
Arthur Whitehouse Tpr RAC 1961? MOC Feb. '43; transf'd to Stalag 4B?

Charles Thompson and the other POWs befriended an Austrian family, the Vasolds,  whilst working in Liezen. The youngest daughter of the family, Helga, sadly died just before Christmas 1944, aged 3. The POWs were present at the funeral and took flowers. In 2007, Diana Watts, the daughter of Gnr Thompson, contacted the surviving brothers and visited Liezen. Sadly, since that visit, Wolfgang has died. (Diana also died in February, 2010.)

The Vasold Family Wolfgang, Ferdinand & Anneliese with Helga The funeral of Helga (24.12.1944)
   
  Wolfgang & Ferdinand with Diana (2007)  

Richard Aigner, who lives in Leizen, has sent me the following photos taken by his great-aunt during the war. On 6 May 1945, the POWs were liberated by combined American and Russian forces.

English returning to camp
after a day's work
May 1942
English POWs off to work English POWs laying stone
March 1945
English POWs in the Old School
6 May 1945
Civilians and English POWs People of Liezen and former POWs
waiting for the Americans and Russians

Date of visit: 16 February 1943

General Description

The prisoners of war live in an old school-house on two floors. The building although old is solid and healthy.

Interior arrangement

In 2 schoolrooms there are two-storied beds along the wall in a row. The other half of the long room serves as a day room and is furnished with tables and benches. Each room holds 15 men. The heating and the light are adequate.

Bathing and washing facilities

Hot showers can be had in the factory where the men work, but not regularly. On each floor of the men's quarters there is a tap with running water and they use to have some hot water ready, when they come in from work.

Toilet facilities

Adequate.

Food and Cooking

The kitchen is in a big building some 10 minutes from the camp. It is quite spacious and the men take their meals there. It is a bit narrow for 30 men, but in summer they can eat in a park-like garden next to the big building where they have tables and benches under a cover.

Medical attention and sickness

Every time they are in need of medical attention, patients here go to a civil doctor, who is said to be very good. Furthermore a British medical orderly is here to look after the patients. Dental treatment is very satisfactory here. The civil dentist does every kind of dental work which is required, dentures of course being charged for.

Clothing

The same arrangements as for the other work camps will have to be made with Stalag XVIIIA.

Laundry

The laundry is done partly by the men themselves, partly by some washer-women.

Money and Pay

No complaint.

Canteen

Has to be arranged with Stalag.

Religious activity

The same as in the other camps of his district.

Recreation and exercise

The men can play football.

Mail

Mail is scarce and irregular.

Welfare work

In order.

Complaints

Some complaints of minor importance were brought forth before the inspector:
a) As often in old buildings the fight against fleas in the dormitory has not yet been crowned with success.
b) The men ask for rubber shoes as they have to work in the water all day for the town. Steps will be taken to procure them through the town's administration.
c) There is no real drying room available when the men come in wet from their work. This matter will be studied by the Commander of the guards' company.
d) The working parties at the concrete machines are often too little and the work, going on without stopping, is very strenuous. this will also be put straight by the competent authorities.
e) There is no possibility to stay out-of-doors on Saturday afternoon and Sundays, the school house having no compound which could be closed by barbed wire. In summer, this is very hard to bear. Walks will be arranged when the weather is warm, to allow the men to have some rest outside their prison.
f) Some musical instruments, especially a guitar would be welcome. The Y.M.C.A. will be informed of this.
g) There is no Geneva Convention in this camp. Stalag XVIIIA promised to send one.

General impression

Materially, this camp is not very good but the spirit is excellent and the British Man of Confidence is well supported by the German NCO who is in charge of it.


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