Kriegie Life

Kriegie Life: The Book, Part Three

Kriegie Life: The Book, Part One
Kriegie Life: The Book, Part Two
Kriegie Life: The Book, Part Three
Kriegie Life: The Book, Part Four
The Story Behind the Book
Unpublished Portraits and Illustrations
About Carl Holmstrom
Contact Page
Links and Other Material

Here are more illustrations and text from Carl Holmstrom's Kriegie Life
Two fences of barbed wire plus "Goon boxes" enclosed the camp. These guard boxes contained  every possible device to prevent escape, such as searchlights, machine guns, rifles, telephones, field glasses and even a seismograph to record tunneling activities. The are accessible to prisoners ended with a guard rail twenty feet inside the barbed wire fence. Within the camp were "ferrets" and "weasels" who checked the barracks for escape activities. Since they came at night with specially trained dogs, it was risky to be out after dark. 

"Strollers" resembling monsters in their winter boots patrolled the barbed wire. The boots, consisting of heavy felt nailed to wooden soles, were worn as overshoes.
The "Honey-wagon-man" was a civilian character closely associated with the sanitation of the camp. His battered pipe and ragged clothes, with a sandwich in the back pocket of his pants, identified him. During the gardening season he (and his horses) had a following of Kriegies. The sandy soil was so poor without additional fertilizer that the gardens produced small crops for the efforts involved.  

 Another camp worker was a young Polish boy brought through enforced labor to Germany. This procedure was closely checked because, occasionally, a Kriegie escaped in a load of garbage. Anything that came into camp unguarded was certain to disappear as the prisoners became adept at "appropriating."
STALG LUFT III. Prison camps were constructed on sandy areas cleared of vegetation to prevent tunnelling. The buildings wee mainly barracks, latrines, and occasional trash bins.
The above illustration show the layout of a typlcal latrine.  

Bird's eye view of Oflag XXI-B, Schubin, Poland. Ironically enough this was a converted reform school. Goon boxes and barbed wire fences were not included in this picture to avoid confiscation by the Germans.
(1) Barracks  (2) British orderlies  (3) Linen and utensil store  (4) Cobbler  (5) Tin stores  (6) Cook house and foodacco  (7) Hospital  (8) Library and theater  (9) Administration building and cooler  (10) RIGHT: Senior officers.  LEFT: Showers.
The brick barracks were open bays containing stone floors.  Sketch shows a quarter of one with lockers and beds arranged to form a hall and rooms.   Four stoves were used mainly to dry laundry as heating the bay was impossible.  

 Stalag Luft III was two years old before the building shown was constructed as a shower room and cobbler shop.  The benefits were short-lived as the Russian advance forced an early evacuation.  Prisoners were allowed two minutes' use of hot water a week.
One cold winter night the Kriegies were alerted at nine o'clock with a thirty-minute allowance to pack their food and belongings and establish formation.  The infamous "Death March" had begun.  Twenty hours of continuous marching through a blizzard was relieved with only a six-hour rest period. 

  Rest was impossible on the frozen ground because of a biting wind coming through the open barn doors.  Resumption of the march warmed their frozen bodies.  The exhausting pace took its toll as many men fell in the snow along the route.  Shoes already worn out were encased in old socks and rags.  There was no alternative but to keep on marching.  After days of this gruelling parade, the long ribbon of Kriegies arrived at Pressburg.  From this city the Kriegies proceeded to Nuremburg by box cars, 40 and  8's,  fifty-two men to a car. The train trip took five days.
Moosburg!  One day before liberation!  The Kriegies preferred to erect their own improvised shelters rather than endure the filthy conditions of the barracks. 

Kriegie Life: Sketches by a Prisoner of War in Germany
© 2009, by Elizabeth Holmstrom, John Holmstrom, Susan Kohnowich and Anne Shumate.