Red Cross Report

Stalag XVIIIA. Visited the 25th February, 1945

by Mr. E. MAYER

Camp Leader British: No. 3672. Sgt.Major. Ernest STEVENSON.

Strength:            26,410 prisoners, among whom are:

                        40 Americans, of whom there are at the head camp - 6

                        9,700   British, of whom there are at the head camp - 1,000

                        Amongst the Britishers there are:

                        2,000 Australians

                        1,500 New Zealanders.

Seventy-two (high) explosive bombs were dropped over the camp, of which 46 fell into the precinct of the camp, killing among others 10 British prisoners. The camp chapel was destroyed but some of the religious objects were happily saved. During the raid, Captain the Rev: J.C.Hobling, C,F. No.1118, was killed. A dozen huts were entirely or partly destroyed, among them being those for general services and the infirmary. The town, which is practically a large village, does not present any military objective, in the opinion of the prisoners of war themselves, and it did not get a single bomb. There is no industry in that district.
On the day of our visit, the prisoners were again very uneasy, as five bombs had been dropped some metres away from the camp, dropped by a plane which circled over the camp.

Since the raid on the 18th December 1944, everything has been disorganised at the Head Camp, the prisoners deplore the death of several of their comrades, and others have been seriously wounded. The principal camp leaders of all nationalities have insisted that the International Red Cross Committee should intervene so that the bombing of a prisoner of war camp should not occur again, pointing out that Stalag XVIIIA could not be of any interest to the Allies as an objective. 

(In May 1945, four bombs were also dropped over the immediate neighbourhood of the camp.)

Return to top of page
Return to last page