Above and Beyond POW NEWS
See Notes By Ed McKenzie at end of this article
I ended up at Dulag Luft around the last of April, 1943. I wasn't in very
good humor at the time, because I had been shot down only about two weeks
before. My first sight of this interrogation camp was a wooden sign that
stretched across the entire gate at the entrance. (First, I should mention
that one of the rules in air combat, "When a fighter plane points it
nose at you, pull your trigger!") As miserable as I was
feeling, when I read the two foot letters that had been carved across the
sign, I couldn't help but break out in laughter. The sign read: "I told
you it wasn't a Spitfire!"
After,it got boring. Interrogations every day. Then solitary. Later, Iwas able to meet with other airmen. Many English flyers and Sgt. Pilots.
After a few weeks about 40 of us (American non-commissioned officers) were
loaded on an old passenger train (coach) and were heading towards Austria.
All I could think about was escaping. The idea spread to the other
prisoners. A motley bunch we were; most of us had bandages over our still
fresh wounds; some on crutches. In the middle of enemy country. None of us
spoke German. We were determined to escape - all of us - but when the time
came, only two of us got out...but that's another story.
Prepared by MILITARY
INTELLIGENCE SERVICE, WAR DEPARTMENT 15 July 1944
DULAG LUFT The
name dulag is a contraction of durchgangslager or entrance camp, but it
has be-come synonymous with interrogation. Dulag Luft has 3 sections: A
hospital in Hohemark, (50°13'N 8° 35'E) an interrogation center at
Oberursel, (50° 13'N 8° 35" E.) and a transit camp in Wetzlar, (50° 33' N
8° 30' E.). The latter installation supplants the transit camp formerly
situated in the Botanical Gardens of Frankfurt-on-Main, but destroyed in
Allied bombings between 22 & 29 March. Hospital & interrogation center in
Hohemard & Oberursel were not damaged and presumably are still in
operation. The New transit camp, a former German flak troops camp 3
kilometers West Northwest of Wetzlar, is 53 kilometers North of Frankfurt.
Dulag Luft is an interrogation center, treatment varies with interrogation
officers; analyses of their subjects. Sometimes it is deluxe, with wine,
women and song. More often it is exceedingly harsh, with solitary
confinement, little food and threats of physical violence.
rations is generally poor and Red Cross food parcels frequently are
withheld in an effort to force Ps/W to give information.
Cross stocks are issued to offset frequent confiscation of flyers' "pinks"
and leather jackets as civilian garments.
care and treatment were excellent, but seem to be deteriorating, notable
in the case of AAF NCO's who arrive in Stalag 17B from Dulag Luft wearing
dirty bandages 2 & 3 weeks old.
While Hohemark is a
bona-fide hospital it appears to be primarily and adjunct of the
interrogation center and wounded flyers rarely remain long. Those whose
convalescence threatens to be protracted are interrogated and shipped to
other hospitals before being sent to permanent camps.
American chaplain is in this camp and Ps/W minister to their own needs.
Houptman Offerman, commandant of Hohemark, requires Ps/W to attend his
nightly Bible readings.
American Senior Officer: Col. Darr H. Alkire, former ASO, has been
transferred to Stalag Luft 3. 1st Lt. John H. Winant may be the new ASO.
GERMAN COMMANDANT: Oberstleutenant Becker INTERROGATION CHIEF Major
MAIL Only mail
for permanent staff and patients in Hohemark is addressed to Dulag Luft.
Outgoing letter clear slowly through censorship station in Stalag Luft 3,
taking three months by surface and six weeks by airmail. Members of
permanent staff and patients receive regular allotment of letter forms
monthly. Occasionally, transient are permitted to write home.
of sports field is not felt because most Ps/W are weak and tired or
A few interesting
notes by ED MCKENZIE, past Historian of Stalag XVII-B and author of "Boys
at War, Men at Peace"
Gil Cohen is the artist who did "The Crewman",
featured on the cover
of the Mighty Eighth magazine a few months ago, and displayed at the
Savannah museum, and copied in their promos. Gil sent me an e-mail awhile
back and I thought his comments about the Dulag we all knew so well, would
Gil mentions getting a copy of "Boys at War..." from Mark Copeland at
8th's PX, (since resigned) and goes on:
"...the 8th AF has always intrigued me, and this certainly includes the
POW aspect of the war."
"By coincidence, as a young G.I. in 1955, I was stationed at SHEAF army
intelligence headquarters in Oberursel, Germany. The base was called Camp
King and I worked there as an artist. As you know, during the war it was
known as Auswertestelle West and was the initial interrogation point of
downed allied fliers. Immediately after the war it was used by the
Americans to interrogate Goring and other Nazi bigwigs. A little later it
became the U.S. Army intelligence center mostly involved in cold war
intrigue...that's when I was stationed there. Still later, I understand,
became an army transportation center."
I've put Gil's comments in my big Dulag Luft folder and thought it
might be of interest to you other history buffs. If we only could have
foreseen that Hermann Goring himself might someday be occupying the same
cells we were in we might have felt better about it; "Nicht War?"