Work Camp GW
Location: St Martins im Sulmtal
Type of work: Farm work
Man of Confidence: Jack Ansell
Number of Men: 20
|Alan F.||Austin||Sgmn||R Sigs||4293|
|Gordon R.||Currie||Dvr||4792||New Zealand|
|J.A.||Day||Pte||H.Q. Gd. Bn.||7456||Australia|
|A.||Meyers||Pte||2/7 Inf. Bn.||3942||Australia|
|Walter William||Stevens||Sgt||2/6 Inf. Bn.||7107||Australia|
The following is an extract from "Khaki & Cowdung", by Jack Ansell. After working on several farms in Austria, Jack arrived in St Martins in August, 1943.
We eventually arrived at a newly equipped small camp complete with a high barbed wire perimeter fence with the River Sulm flowing about twenty feet or so nearby. The building was modern and there was a garage on the ground floor and the entrance to it was outside our compound. Our accommodation and that of the guard was on the first floor and was accessed by way of a staircase from the compound.There was a lavatory beneath the stairs and presumably the deposits flowed into the river! Upstairs there was an entrance hall and leading from it were three rooms. The Guard occupied the small room and we the two larger rooms. Each of our rooms was furnished with five double bunk beds with mattresses filled with corn husks and there were sheets, blankets and pillows with pillow cases. There was a long mess table in the middle of each room and a wood burning stove at the side. What luxury! The windows of course had bars. In the entrance hall was a large wooden tub for peeing in at night. Our boots and trousers were also locked up at night to prevent us escaping. That was blind German logic when the opportunity to escape was always present during the day.
There were twenty of us, four New Zealanders, three Australians, one Scot and the remainder were English. But included in the Australians was one Englishman who had changed identity with an Aussie previously for some reason, which always remained a mystery. He wore an Australian slouch hat but never really looked the part.
Jack was chosen as Man of Confidence as he could speak German.
We were then paraded in the compound below. To my astonishment and humiliation some local farmers were there and they selected the prisoner they wanted to work for them - just like a slave auction. I was selected by a rather stoutish woman who I learned later was Frau Jobstl. Off we went together to the farm and I was really wondering what I was going to find. We chatted on the way and after about a quarter of a mile we arrived at the farm and were met by a fraulein about 17 or 18 years of age with auburn hair. I must admit that first impressions looked promising. Her name was Mitzi.
Jack worked on the Jobstl farm until April 1945 when he took part in the Long March to Markt Pongau at the end of the war.