Red Cross Report
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:
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.)