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Prisoner of war camps

Prisoner of war
Used for: POW, PoW
Someone held in custody by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. Almost 10,000 Bomber Command aircrew became prisoners of war after they were shot down or baled out. Allied aircrew prisoners were the responsibility of the Luftwaffe and Goering ordered that they were to be treated fairly. Captured RAF prisoners were first sent to the Dulag Luft transit camps near Frankfurt and then mostly taken to one of seven Stalag Luft Camps. Prisoners organised educational lessons, sports, entertainments and camp newspapers. Food rations were supplemented by, in theory, one Red Cross parcel per week for each prisoner.

Dulag Luft
Used for: Oberursel camp, Wetzlar camp

Captured Allied aircrew were all first sent to the Dulag Luft camp run by the Luftwaffe which comprised three sites all near Frankfurt; Oberursel, central Frankfurt and Wetzlar. Dulag Luft was used for interrogating Allied aircrew who could be held in solitary confinement whilst being questioned for a week or two but some were held for up to 28 days. Following interrogation at Dulag Luft prisoners were mostly moved to one of seven Stalag Luft prisoner of war camps.

Stalag Luft 1
Usef for: Stalag Luft 1, Stalag Luft i, Stalag Luft I, Barth camp

Opened in July 1940 Stalag Luft 1 was the first of the Stalag Luft camps run by the Luftwaffe to hold captured Allied aircrew. It was located at Barth on the Baltic Coast in northern Germany. From December 1943 the camp was extended to take an increasing number of American aircrew. The camp was liberated by the Russians in May 1945 and the 7,588 American and 1,351 British and Canadian prisoners were evacuated.

Stalag Luft 2
Used for: Stalag Luft 2, Stalag Luft ii, Stalag Luft II, Litzmannstadt camp

Stalag Luft 2 was located in the city of Lodz in Poland, which the Germans renamed Litzmannstadt. It was opened in June or July 1941 by the Luftwaffe and housed mostly Russian air force prisoners from the Eastern Front. A small number of RAF non-commissioned officers who were shot down in the second half of 1941 spent a few weeks there. The camp was closed in September 1944 when most prisoners were transferred to Stalag Luft 3

Stalag Luft 3
Used for: Stalag Luft 3, Stalag Luft iii, Stalag Luft III, Belaria camp, Belaria, Belaria compound, Żagań camp, Zegan camp, Sagan camp

Stalag Luft 3 was in Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan, 100 miles (161 kms) south-east of Berlin. It opened in March 1942 by the Luftwaffe to hold captured Allied airmen. The site was chosen because the sandy soil made tunnelling difficult for prisoners of war to dig tunnels. It was the site of the ‘Great Escape’ in March 1944. By July 1944 it covered 60 acres and housed 2,500 RAF, 7,500 American and 900 other Allied prisoners. It was liberated by Soviet forces in January 1945.

Stalag Luft 4
Used for: Stalag Luft 4, Stalag Luft iv, Stalag Luft IV, Tychowo camp, Groß Tychow camp

Stalag Luft 4 was located at Gross Tychow, now Tychowo, in north-east Poland 78 miles (125 kms) north-east of Stettin, now Szczecin. Stalag Luft 4 was opened by the Luftwaffe in May 1944 for RAF and American non commissioned officers. In January 1945 the camp held just under 9000 prisoners of whom 8000 were American and 820 British. The camp was evacuated in February 1945.

Stalag Luft 5
Used for: Stalag Luft 5, Stalag Luft v, Stalag Luft V, Stalag Luft 5

Stalag Luft 5 was a prisoner of war camp run by the Luftwaffe located at Gröditz, 30 miles (50 km) north-west of Dresden.

Very little is documented on this camp and this entry has been added for consistency purposes. As of Oct 2021, there are no relevant items in the Archive.

Stalag Luft 6
Used for: Stalag Luft 6, Stalag Luft vi, Stalag Luft VI, Heydekrug camp

Located in Heydekrug, now Silute, in Lithuania Stalag Luft 6 was the most northerly of the Luftwaffe run prisoner of war camps. It was opened in May 1943 for non commissioned officers captured during 1943 along with many transferred from Stalag Luft 1 and Stalag Luft 3 camps. In July 1944 Stalag Luft 6 was evacuated with prisoners transferred to either Stalag Luft 4 or Stalag 357 in Fallingbostel in Germany.

Stalag Luft 7
Used for: Stalag Luft 7, Stalag Luft vii, Stalag Luft VII, Bankau camp, Breslau

Stalag Luft 7 was located in Bankau, now Bakow, in Poland 7 miles (11 kms) south-west of Gdansk. The camp was opened by the Luftwaffe in June 1944 for RAF non-commissioned officers and took new prisoners until December 1944. In January the camp held just over 1500 prisoners who were evacuated initially as part of the long march and then by train to Stalag 3A.

Stalag 3A
Used for: Stalag 3-A, Stalag iii-A, Stalag III-A, Luckenwalde camp

Stalag 3A was a prisoner of war camp run by the German Army near Luckenwalde, 32 miles (51 kms) south of Berlin. Prisoners from Holland, Belgian, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Poland, Rumania and Russia were imprisoned there. In 1944 American and British prisoners arrived. It is estimated that 200,000 prisoners passed through Stalag 3A during the war of whom approximately 5,000 died. In February 1945 2,000 RAF prisoners arrived having been evacuated from Stalag Luft 3 and Stalag Luft 7. Stalag 3A was liberated by the Russians in April 1945.

Stalag 8B
Usef for: Stalag VIII-B, Stalag vii-b, Stalag-344, Lamsdorf camp

Opened in 1939 Stalag 8B was a prisoner of war camp run by the German Army located at Lamsdorf, now Lambinowice, in south-west Poland. During 1941-42 Stalag 8B was also used for captured RAF non-commissioned officers. In December 1943 the camp was split with RAF prisoners staying at Lamsdorf which was renumbered Stalag 344 and Army prisoners being moved away. In January 1945 the Lamsdorf camp was evacuated and the RAF prisoners moved to various other camps.

the long march
Used for: the death march
A series of forced marches between January and April 1945 when Allied prisoners of war held in German military prison camps were forced to march westward away from the advancing Russian forces. This series of separate marches from individual camps is collectively known as the long march. In harsh winter conditions prisoners were marched, under guard, with poor clothing and rations. Many marched 500 miles (800 km) and some almost 1000 miles (1600 km). Over 2000 prisoners are estimated to have died from hypothermia, exhaustion, starvation and disease during the long march.