Oflag IX-A/H

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Oflag IX-A
Spangenberg, Hesse
Schloss Spangenberg
Schloss Spangenberg
Oflag IX-A is located in Germany
Oflag IX-A
Oflag IX-A
Coordinates 51°7′9.86″N 9°39′43.51″E / 51.1194056°N 9.6620861°E / 51.1194056; 9.6620861
Type Prisoner-of-war camp
Site information
Controlled by  Nazi Germany
Site history
In use 1939–1945
Garrison information
Occupants French and British officers

Oflag IX-A was a World War II German prisoner-of-war camp located in Schloss Spangenberg ("Spangenberg Castle") in the small town of Spangenberg in northeastern Hesse, Germany.

Camp history[edit]

The camp was opened in October 1939 as Oflag IX-A[1] to house POWs from the British Royal Air Force and the French Armée de l'Air.[2] The camp was renamed Oflag IX-A/H (Hauptlager, "Main camp") in June 1940,[1] after Oflag IX-C at Rotenburg an der Fulda became a sub-camp (Zweiglager) designated Oflag IX-A/Z.[3]

The first person to escape from the camp was Flight Lieutenant Howard Wardle in August 1940, but he was recaptured and sent to Oflag IV-C at Colditz Castle.[4]

The camp was closed in February 1941, but reopened in July when it was used for housing RAF and British Army officers.[2] On 3 September 1941 three RAF officers, Dominic Bruce, Peter Tunstall and Eustace Newborn, escaped disguised as members of a "Swiss Commission". They were escorted to the main gate by another prisoner, John Milner, dressed in a German officers uniform that had been found in an apparently forgotten set of attic rooms. They passed through the gate, and then, wearing faked Luftwaffe uniforms, headed to an airfield near Kassel intending to steal a Ju 52, which Newborn had flown before the war, and fly home. Unfortunately, there were no suitable aircraft, so they decided to head to France and contact an escape line. After ten days they arrived at Frankenberg, but were challenged by soldiers suspicious of their uniforms. Speaking little German they were soon identified as escapees and arrested. Returned to Spangenberg, the three were each sentenced to fifty-three days in solitary.[5]

As a result of this, and other escape attempts, the camp was evacuated in October 1941 with all prisoners being sent to Oflag VI-B.[2] The camp was reopened in January 1942, and housed British and Commonwealth army officers.The Germans marched the prisoners east on March 29. The Americans liberated the camps inmates at Lengefeld unterm Stein on 4 April.[6] Spangenberg Castle was destroyed by American bombs after Oflag IX A/H had left.[2]

Notable prisoners[edit]

The following prisoners are known to have been held at the camp:;[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b Mattiello (1986), p.206
  2. ^ a b c d WO208/3293 The National Archives Official Camp History O9A/H & O9A/Z
  3. ^ Mattiello (1986), p.207
  4. ^ Reid (1952), p.65
  5. ^ "Crash No 107 Wellington T2620 09-06-1941" (PDF). Wings to Victory Museum. 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  6. ^ http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/index.php/the-march-east-1945-ebook.html
  7. ^ Rollings (2003), Appendix II
Bibliography
  • Mattiello, G.; Vogt, Wolfgang (1986). Deutsche Kriegsgefangenen-und Internierten einrichtungen 1939–1945 [German prisoners of war and internee facilities 1939-1945] (in German). Koblenz: Selbstverlag. 
  • Reid, P.R. (1952). The Colditz Story. Hodder & Stoughton. 
  • Rollings, Charles (2003). Wire and Walls : RAF prisoners of war in Itzehoe, Spangenberg and Thorn 1939-42. Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 0-7110-2991-1.