I have created a new Facebook group < https://www.facebook.com/groups/211088459089836/ > for comments about men captured during Market-Garden at Arnhem in the autumn of 1944. Many wounded officers from this operation were sent to Spangenberg and Rotenburg from October 1944.
This blog is in effect an archive about the two camps. News of recent activity is on my Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/87940621644/ and therefore you should join this group to keep up to date with discoveries and colleagues’ comments.
The son of a Canadian prisoner at Oflag IX A/H has asked if there are others seeking information about Canadian prisoners. As always if you can help it would be best to post to the Facebook Group.
There are regular updates at the Oflag IX A/H and A/Z Facebook Group, including images from the event at Rotenburg.
Gustav Venema, the farmer at Guttels. In March 1945 was serving with the Luftwaffe at Detmold as the commander of an aircraft observation post. Guttels was where Colonel Edlmann recorded Lieutenant Peter Conder Royal Signals, Lieutenant John Cripps King’s Royal Rifle Corps, Lieutenant Ralph Pilcher Welsh Guards, Lieutenant Basil Rought-Rought Royal Norfolk Regiment and Henry Morgan sheltering after their escape on day 1 of the march.
Thank you Irving Dunn for the information and these two photographs of his father-in-law Herr Venema.
The Jakob-Grimm-Schule is mounting an exhibition about Oflag IX A/Z. It will run from 16 November 2014 – 8 February 2015, at the Kreisheimatmuseum Rotenburg an der Fulda.
Further information from the organiser Dr Heinrich Nuhn <email@example.com>.
Recent additions from my archive to the Oflag IX A/H and A/Z Facebook page includes a pass issued to civilians living in the Rotenburg school buildings in late 1945, and a then and now picture of the Kalkhof, where the Rotenburg men spent Saturday evening and some of Easter Sunday 1945.
The Nominal Roll of POWs published in 1945 by HMSO is the most accessible record of prisoners, but it should be used with caution. Although its has the note “All lists corrected generally up to 30 March 1945”, it mostly describes the situation in the autumn of 1944.
Discrepancies were caused by delays and confusion in records from Germany reaching the UK. In some cases records did not keep up to date with transfers between camps. Transfers were not uncommon and most of the POWs from 1940 experienced four or five camps before the end of the War.
For Oflag IX A/H my lists have to use the HMSO publication and what individual records survive, but for IX A/Z there is a nominal roll dated January 1945 and which forms part of the papers of the Senior British Officer, Lt-Col Kennedy, which are in the Imperial War Museum.
The Facebook group Oflag IX A/H and A/Z has regularly updated photographs and comments.
Sixty-nine years ago the men at Oflag IX A/H and Oflag IX A/Z faced Christmas and the New Year with mixed hopes of liberation and also of fear of final German reckoning. For many of the men it was their fifth Christmas in captivity.
This was to be John McIndoe’s last Christmas card for Oflag IX A/Z.
‘The March East 1945’ is still available from The History Press <http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/index.php/the-march-east-1945-the-final-days-of-oflag.html> or Amazon.