Work Camp 373 GW
Location: Weng bei Admont
Type of work: Erecting high voltage line across Buchau valley to Liezen steelworks.
Man of Confidence: L/Cpl Harding
Number of Men: 73
|Lionel||Mead||Spr||RE||2520||Isle of Sheppey|
|Peter Ronald||Whitworth||Pte||2/5 Inf. Bn.||3327||Australia; also 720/L,|
|Jack||Woodyard||Pte||2/32 Inf. Bn.||7398||Australia; also 107/GW, 218/GW, 975/GW|
|Edwin J.||Wyatt||Gnr||RA||2275||London; also 955/GW|
Note: Names and photographs kindly supplied by Alan Jackman, son-in-law of Leonard Smith, and Peter Whitworth, whose father had the same name. Some of these names and photographs may not belong to 373/GW.
|Liesl, Dr Karl, Christoph, Dr Trude, Elli (Summer 1946)|
The photograph shown above was sent to me from Australia by Peter Whitworth. On the back is written 'To our good friend Peter from the Kriegshaber family'. This 'Peter' is Peter Senior who was a POW held in Weng. Thanks to the wonders of Google, I have managed to contact Johannes Heidecker who is the son of Liesl, the girl on the left of the photo. Thanks to Liesl and her sister, Eleonore (Elli), we now know a little bit more about the POWs in Weng.
Eleonore remembers Peter Whitworth as a 'big blond English guy' (apologies to Australians!) The British POWs used to visit the farm on Sundays to swim in the pond (photo above). Another attraction by the pond was the presence of the local girls. Elli remembers using binoculars with two of her friends to observe what the POWs got up to. A friend of Liesl's, Lore Schmitt, distinctly remembers how a POW saved a little girl from drowning in the pond.
"The swimming agreement stated that they (the POWs) could use the pond on Sunday afternoon, of course alone and under guard (with rifle). German National comrades should not have anything to do with enemies. Contact was forbidden! But: also we wanted to swim on Sunday afternoon and big grumble was going on! Well, on the Ennstalerhof (the Kriegshaber farm) the clocks were always running a little bit different from elsewhere and so on the second or third Sunday we went to the pond, too, and nothing else happened. The English camped on the south side of the pond (as on the photo) and we were on the north side in the children’s area. Sometimes one side was swimming, then the other side. In summer 1944 some children from Weng came up to us to use the pond, of course they could not swim and stayed in the children’s area. We were also there. So one Sunday a little girl (probably Steffie Kroll) came with her brother, a little bit older. We were a few in the children’s area, Elli was also there. The little girl was sliding on the stairs, which like the wooden floor was always soapy, and she drowned. I was close to her but saw nothing. We only noticed when one of the soldiers jumped into the water, made a speedy crawl to us and under our appalled eyes pulled the child out of the water. The girl was not unconscious, just had a shock, and recovered soon. Trude gave her some dry clothes and the kids walked home."
Lori was ten years old in 1941 when she was sent by her parents from Bremen to Weng to avoid the bombing. She did not return to Bremen until 1946. She still lives there. She also remembers being visited by three POWs.
"It must have been three prisoners with whom we had closer contact; the two of the delegation and a third one. One was the translator, one was the paramedic and one Australian from Geelong in South Australia. It must have been him who sent a parcel after the war with tissues and other things. His name was, in my memory, Smits (Smith?). 'Our three' always found an excuse to come and visit. They claimed that they needed to tune the piano. How often they needed to tune the paino in the next months, even if it didn't need tuning. It was a lot of fun for all of us. The guard was sitting comfortably in the kitchen and we were all sitting in the living room, listening to forbidden English records from before the war. For the men, these hours were like being at home."
Former factory building.
Three sleeping rooms and one recreation room, double-tier beds, electric light.
Bathing and washing facilities
Food and Cooking
Done by 2 women with the aid of 4 British orderlies, noted for light work.
Medical attention and sickness
Medical attention given by a civilian doctor at Admont about 4km away. Medical supply adequate. Dental treatment has to be organised. The sanitator asked to be allowed to go for his supply and equipment to Stalag from time to time. This was granted.
Done by the men.
Money and Pay
Some articles are sent from time to time by the guards company or by Stalag.
No visit of the padre yet.
Recreation and exercise
There is a sportsfield available and in the summer the men have been able to go swimming in the nearby River Enns.
This is a very good camp.