OCTOBER 1943: FROM STALAG 4B TO THE BAD SCHMIEDEBERG WORK CAMP W603

All British POWs below the rank of Corporal were required to work and in mid-October 1943, many of the recent arrivals at Stalag 4B were reassigned to Stalag 4D at Torgau, which administered the many small work camps which were dotted across every town and village in the Wittenberg area between the Mulde and Elbe Rivers. Many of these POWs are listed in the British records (my father included) as being held at Stalag 4D/Z at Annaburg, possibly due to the fact that the letter cards they sent home were Stalag 4D/Z cards with the Z crossed out! Whatever the designation, they had very little contact with the main Stalag, which was no more than an administrative hub. Living and working conditions varied enormously between the many work camps. Of the three that I have detailed knowledge of so far, Lauchammer was a large machine shop with around 200 POWs and Falkenberg, where 16 DLI POW Stan MacDonald worked, was a large railway repair yard. Bad Schmiedeberg, by contrast, was a small camp of 20-24 men who were mainly employed at the local brickworks.

As with all the other direct quotes of Pte Tom Tunney in this website, the memories below are transcribed from a series of very informal taped conversations with my father in the summer of 1995. There are arranged as they were recorded, as a series of questions and answer exchanges. The title links below provide a rough guide to the subjects covered. Other POW memories and photographs to follow in due course. Please note that in the dialect of NE England, ‘Why’ often means ‘Well’

Pte Tom Tunney’s Memories:

Arrival in Bad Schmiedeberg

‘Fish Paste!’ Daily Routine and British and German Workmates

The POW Skilly Ration

Red Cross Parcels, Stolen Potatoes and Ersatz Coffee

Coal Trucks on Sunday

Air Raids and Russian POWs

‘They Knew They Were Knackered’

Hitler in the Toilet

A B-17 over the Brickworks

‘Just like Sedgefield’: a pre-war postcard of Bad Schmiedeberg

April 30th 1945: ‘There Was the Yanks, the Russians and Me and Ben’

Photographs, Documents and Drawings:

The Interior of the POW Camp Dormitory ‘lager’ a Sketch by Pte Pat O’Sullivan

The Exterior of the POW Camp Dormitory, a sketch by Pte Pat O’Sullivan

A 2003 Photograph of the Exterior of the POW Camp Dormitory, showing the April 1945 ‘escape’ route of Pte Tom Tunney and Dvr Benny Lewis.

Marching to Play Football, a Sunday in Bad Schmiedeberg in 1944 (Photograph)

The British POWs at Bad Schmiedeberg, a Captioned Group Photograph

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