German prisoner-of-war camps in World War II

Summary

Nazi Germany operated around 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps (German: Kriegsgefangenenlager) during World War II (1939-1945).[1]

1944 map of POW camps in Germany.
American Red Cross German POW Camp Map from December 31, 1944

Germany had signed the Third Geneva Convention of 1929, which established provisions relating to the treatment of prisoners of war.

  • Article 10 required that PoWs should be lodged in adequately heated and lighted buildings where conditions were the same as for German troops.
  • Articles 27-32 detailed the conditions of labour. Enlisted ranks were required to perform whatever labour they were asked if able to do, so long as it was not dangerous and did not support the German war-effort. Senior Non-commissioned officers (sergeants and above) were required to work only in a supervisory role. Commissioned officers were not required to work, although they could volunteer. The work performed was largely agricultural or industrial, ranging from coal- or potash-mining, stone quarrying, or work in saw mills, breweries, factories, railroad yards, and forests. PoWs hired out to military and civilian contractors were supposed to receive pay. The workers were also supposed to get at least one day a week of rest.
  • Article 76 ensured that PoWs who died in captivity were honourably buried in marked graves.

Types of CampsEdit

 
Administration Barrack III in Oflag XD, drawn by Belgian officer POW Léon Gossens, 1944
  • Dulag or Durchgangslager (transit camp) – These camps served as a collection point for POWs prior to reassignment. These camps were intelligence collection centers.
  • Dulag Luft or Durchgangslager der Luftwaffe (transit camp of the Luftwaffe) – These were transit camps for Air Force POWs. The main Dulag Luft camp at Frankfurt was the principal collecting point for intelligence derived from Allied POW interrogation
  • Heilag or Heimkehrerlager (repatriation camps) - Camps for the return of prisoners. Quite often these men had suffered disabling injuries.
  • Ilag/Jlag or Internierungslager ("Internment camp") – These were civilian internment camps.
  • Marlag or Marine-Lager ("Marine camp") – These were Navy personnel POW camps.
  • Milag or Marine-Internierten-Lager ("Marine internment camp") – These were merchant seamen internment camps.
  • Oflag or Offizier-Lager ("Officer camp") – These were POW camps for officers.
  • Stalag or Stammlager ("Base camp") – These were enlisted personnel POW camps.
  • Stalag Luft or Luftwaffe-Stammlager ("Luftwaffe base camp") – These were POW camps administered by the German Air Force for Allied aircrews.

NomenclatureEdit

At the start of World War II, the German Army was divided into 17 military districts (Wehrkreis), which were each assigned Roman numerals. The camps were numbered according to the military district. A letter behind the Roman number marked individual Stalags in a military district.

e.g.

Stalag II-D was the fourth Stalag in Military District II (Wehrkreis II).

Sub-camps had a suffix "/Z" (for Zweiglager - sub-camp). The main camp had a suffix of "/H" (for Hauptlager - main camp).

e.g.

Oflag VII-C/H meant this is the main camp.
Oflag VII-C/Z meant this is a sub-camp of a main camp.

Some of these sub-camps were not the traditional POW camps with barbed wire fences and guard towers, but merely accommodation centers.

List of Camps by Military DistrictEdit

 
Diorama of the German World War II PoW camp Stalag Luft III.
 
Collection of everyday items of Polish prisoners from the Oflag VII-A Murnau.

Military District I (Königsberg)Edit

Military District II (Stettin)Edit

Military District III (Berlin)Edit

Military District IV (Dresden)Edit

Military District V (Stuttgart)Edit

Military District VI (Münster)Edit

Military District VII (Munich)Edit

Military District VIII (Breslau)Edit

Military District IX (Kassel)Edit

Military District X (Hamburger)Edit

Military District XI (Hanover)Edit

Military District XII (Wiesbaden)Edit

Military District XIII (Nuremberg)Edit

Military District XVII (Vienna)Edit

 
Stalag XVII-B Monument at Andersonville Prison
  • Stalag XVII-A Kaisersteinbruch
  • Stalag XVII-B KremsGneixendorf. Formerly named Dulag Gneixendorf
  • Stalag XVII-C Döllersheim. Previously named Dulag Döllersheim
  • Stalag XVII-D Pupping. Previously named Zweiglager Pupping, renamed Stalag 237, Stalag 397, and finally Stalag 398 Pupping
  • Oflag XVII-A Edelbach

Military District XVIII (Salzburg)Edit

Military District XX (Danzig)Edit

Military District XXI (Posen)Edit

Other CampsEdit

Luftwaffe CampsEdit

The camps for Allied airmen were run by the Luftwaffe independently of the Army.

Kriegsmarine CampsEdit

The camp for Allied seamen was run by the Kriegsmarine independently of the Army.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Eric Lichtblau (3 March 2013). "The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking". New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2013.[dead link]

External linksEdit

  • Map of German World War II Prisoner of War Camps
  • Lamsdorf Remembered
  • POW Camp Listings
  • Stoker Harold Siddall Royal Navy, captured on Crete and his life in Stalag VIIA
  • The Memorial of Esterwegen - The Emsland Camps
  • Oflag VC Wurzach / Ilag (Civil internees from Jersey)
  • Stalag VIIIC and Stalag Luft 3 POW Camps Museum in Zagan, Poland
  • Official list of World War II Stalags (in German)
  • Official list of World War II Oflags (in German)
  • List of Nazi camps for Allied POWs in Germany and occupied territories (in German)

Further readingEdit

  • Nichol, John. The Last Escape. ISBN 0-670-03212-3 (The suffering of Allied POWs in the last months of the war.)
  • Bernd Faulenbach, Andrea Kaltofen (Hg.): 'Hölle im Moor'. Die Emslandlager 1933–1945. Wallstein, Göttingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-8353-3137-2.