Work Camp 410 L
Location: Dietersdorf (near Zwaring-Pols)
Type of work: Farm work
Man of Confidence: Unknown
Number of Men: 13 approx.
Photos provided by Albert's daughter, Gill Girling.
Gill and her husband visited Austria in 2014. The following is an account of what happened.
Last week (June 2014) I finally made it to Austria to search for the farm where my father was in 1943-4 and also visit the Museum in Wolfsberg to see the Stalag18a exhibition and I am very happy indeed to report that the trip way exceeded my expectations on all counts.
From our hotel, close to Graz airport, we made our way to Wolfsberg to visit the museum where Daniel made us very welcome and very kindly offered to rewrite some ‘Google translated’ questions we’d written to show people in the village along with our 5 photographs of the farm and family.
A brilliant exhibition, beautifully presented, emotion ripping, thought provoking, an amazing insight into the world of POWs at Stalag18a, well worth the journey for that alone.
We found Dietersdorf/Zwaring Pols easily and only 5km from our hotel. We spotted a cafe/bar where 2 local men were enjoying a beer and thought this might be a good place to start our search. One of the men, Josef aged 75, spoke English so we got out the photographs, and what little info we had, and he was immediately interested.
a while Josef asked if he could take the photos and info, said he'd be back in 2
hrs and set off round the village on a bicycle determined and confident that he
would find our farm for us.
Less than an hour later, passing our time walking around the village, we spotted him riding hell for leather towards us. He slid to halt by the kerb and told us he’d found the farmer’s son!' The following day we met with Josef again and he took us to Schneider Bauernhof, which is actually in Zwaring Pols, where we were made so welcome by the Taucher family who still own and work the farm. Karl Taucher was 5 years old when my father was there so his memories were sketchy and his brother Anton wasn’t yet born, but they both remembered many family conversations about my father over the years and told us a few tales. We had not realised that the farms were each allocated just one prisoner and had assumed the work party would all be at the same farm.
There was one strange discovery......on examining the photographs, which we had always believed were given to my father before he left the farm in 44/45, it became clear that this couldn’t possibly be so because one of them showed Karl and Anton as teenagers. and another was of the farmer with a 2nd wife who he married in the 50s after his first wife died! We could only draw one conclusion, that there must have been some contact between our parents and the Tauchers in the 1960s....... we will never know how or why.
We had a very emotional tour of the farm, many of the old building still standing, and were also shown the cellar where the family took refuge in an air raid on 16th Oct 1944. Three people on the farm were killed but we could only speculate about where my father may have taken shelter.
After promising to return next year we left this lovely family with the feeling that the entire village would hear of our visit over the coming days.
Josef then took us to some buildings about a mile away, now renovated into houses, which made up the camp where the work party prisoners went back to at night.
We saw lots of Josef during the rest of our 6 day stay, he introduced us to lots of people all who treated us with amazing hospitality. We will definitely be going back J