Evacuation of Bankau Luft



Evacuation of Bankau Luft


Describes the journey taken between 18 January 1945 and 8 February 45 after the evacuation of the Bankau Stalag Luft 7 prisoner of war camp by foot and eventually train to Stalag 3A.

Temporal Coverage



Three page photocopied handwritten document


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17/1/84 [underlined] Evacuation of Bankau Stalag Luft 7 [/underlined]
18/1/45 To bed early, fully dressed, things prepared for a [indecipherable word] order of marching. Rations for 2 ½ days issued. 2100 hrs air raid, two bombs less than 1000 yds from barracks. 0100 hrs Germans told us of the move. 0520hrs 19/1/45 we moved off. Terribly cold 5̊ ̊̊ below . Don’t know where we are going. Progress slow, roads slippery, wind cold, evacuees trucks, carts etc. Passed through Kreuzberg, 15 mins rest, clothing thrown away. Going heavy, packs heavy.& [deleted word] [indecipherable word] passed Konstadt. Arrived Winterfeld 1620 hrs (28 hours) barns our billet.
20/1/45 awakened 0200 hrs moved off 0400 arrived Karlsruhe 1130 brick factory. (20 hours) marching telling on us. 2000 hrs moved off on forced march to [indecipherable word] 6 did meant to do 30 kms. Firing in distance Joe near at hand, also tell [indecipherable words] Germans. Frost forming, snow at midnight Moon disappeared, intense cold, going difficult. frost formed on our faces, eyelids
[two indecipherable words] at Nicolas. Ferry 0430, bridge mined, due to be blown up at any moment. River frozen. Passed through village meant to stop, no billets, moved on to Baukwitz 41 hrs. 22 men missing, escaped or fell. Issue from kitchen ½ cup of soup, no bread, hungry. 0200 roused by guards dogs moved 0430 arrived 1030 at Gr Jenkwitz 20 hrs. bread six to a loaf, next day rest, frost bitten feet & hands. Deadly night. 0830hrs left for Wassen, raining, then snow, cold. Arrived 1600 3 [indecipherable word ] billet barn with cows. a days rest there 0400 hrs.
25/1/45 arriving Viederdorf 13.15 (barn) 26hrs Passed Lamsdorf who were also marching, Blue & Barney. potatoes found. a days rest
[underlined] 27/1/45 [/underlined] 9th day. Left 1100, snow fallen steady, going tough bread issue. As we left farm being evacuated roads crowded with old people, as hungry as we. Conditions in Germany bad. arrived Pfaffandorf. 1700 26 hrs.
28/1/45 left 0400 good morning but still cold, several cases of frostbite, more expected. 1230 Stansdorf 22hrs bread & marg issue. snow falling. Strong wind. [indecipherable word] The thought of being turned out in it
29/1/45 (11 day) left 1730 as usual snowing & bitterly cold, roads icy, drifts beginning to form. approaching the hills going bad, snow a foot deep, very tiring Before starting received 8 rye biscuits in lieu of bread food had been practically nil for 30 hrs & the cold began to tell on us. Chaps falling out exhausted towards mid-night (by roadside)
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weather worse, blizzard flew up & we were in a pretty plight 0100 hrs the column forced to halt midway this pass in hills. the column stretched for miles trucks & vehicles stuck in drifts, in an hour [underlined] started again 0230 [/underlined] hrs field. cookhouse 12th day 30/1/45 arrived Peterwitz 1520 in terrible state, 200 men suffering from frostbite. 13th day remained there. A double bread issue & marg 14th 1/2/45 left 0810 hrs 16kms to Plausznitz at 1230. weather milder. Stay 5 days. Two issues of bread four ½ cups of soup. Exchange 18 carat gold ring - 2 loaves, pair of boots and 1 loaf & 8 potatoes. one new shirt & undervest & pants. 1½ loaf. Silage for cattle eaten by men. waiting for transport. reminded me of tales from France during the victorious march of the German army - now tables reversed. roads full of evacuees. 18.day. 5/2/45 0600 moved to Goldberg for transport 9 kms roads a sea of slush. sledges dumped, Sagan our destination. Good food (RC.) & fags. Into cattle trucks 58 men. doors locked and windows barred. train journey on & off stopping & starting Arrived Sagan late evening. camp evacuated Dysentery broken out down at [indecipherable word] moved off again 0230 hrs luckenwalde.
21 8/2/45 detrained at dawn marched to stormlager III conditions poor food appalling. 1/6 loaf. 2 gram marg 1/3 litre of soup. 3 potatoes
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[underlined] Camp Song (you are my sunshine) [/underlined]
The other night boys as we were flying
The night was dark and black as pitch
Up came the flak bursts and then the fighters
And our poor kite we had to ditch
Then came the jerries we were captured
& and taken to the local jail.
We had a feed there & I assure you
The bread [underlined] was scarce & black [/underlined] & stale.
Early next morning when we awoke boys
They took us to the Gestapo
We got no food or cigarette boys
For to [underlined] their questions[/underlined] we answered No.
After this course of human kindness
We went to Dulag-luft hotel
The rooms were single the food was lousy & there was a [underlined] nasty smell [/underlined]
Interrogation was unsuccessful
They only kept us for a week
Name rank & number was all we gave them
After that we would not speak
[underlined] That we would not [/underlined]
& then the clouds turned into sunshine.
The Red Cross parcels came our way
So in this camp we live in comfort
Waiting [underlined] for the freedom [/underlined] day.
Freedom is the sunshine the only sunshine
It makes us happy, it makes us gay
Despite the hardships, there’s consolation
That our [underlined] mates will [/underlined] win the day
The other night dear as I lay sleeping
I dreamt of you so far away
But when the day comes & we are free dear
I’ll come back home to you to stay.



“Evacuation of Bankau Luft,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed April 14, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/3833.

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