Oflag VI-B

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Oflag VI-B
Warburg, North Rhine-Westphalia
Oflag VI-B is located in Germany
Oflag VI-B
Oflag VI-B
Type Prisoner-of-war camp
Site information
Controlled by  Nazi Germany
Site history
In use 1940-1945
Garrison information
Occupants French, British, and Polish officers

Oflag VI-B was a World War II German prisoner-of-war camp for officers (Offizerlager), located 1 km (0.62 mi) south-west of the village of Dössel (now part of Warburg) in north-western Germany.

Camp history[edit]

The camp was opened in September 1940[1] on what had been originally intended to be a military airfield. At first French, and then British officers were housed there.[2]

The camp was the setting for two remarkable escape attempts. On 1 December 1941 Flt Lt Peter Stevens RAFVR, disguised as a German Unteroffizier, led a party of 10 POWs disguised as orderlies, and two more disguised as guards complete with dummy rifles, up to the gates of the camp. The sentry was not satisfied with their gate pass, so Stevens marched his party back into the camp. As the sentry was apparently unaware that the party was not genuine, a second attempt was made a week later. This time the sentry demanded to see their Army paybooks, so the escape party fled, although two were arrested.[3]

On 30 August 1942 the camp was the scene of "Operation Olympia", also known as the "Warburg Wire Job", another mass escape attempt. After ROAC officer Major B.D. Skelton ("Skelly") Ginn fused the perimeter floodlights,[4] 41 prisoners carrying four 12-foot (3.7 m) scaling ladders made from bed slats rushed to the barbed-wire fence and clambered over.[5] One ladder collapsed, so of the 41 involved, only 28 escaped the camp, and only three of those made it home.[6]

In September 1942 the British prisoners were transferred to other camps, and were replaced with Polish officers, with 1,077 brought from Romania, where they had been interned since September 1939, and another 1,500 transferred from other camps in Germany.

The British had begun an escape tunnel, and the Poles continued working on it, and on 20 September 1943, 47 of them escaped. Within four days, 20 had been captured and returned to the camp. They were then transported to the Buchenwald concentration camp and executed. In the next few days 17 more were captured and taken to the Gestapo prison in Dortmund where they were killed. Only 10 managed to remain free, some returning to Poland, others finding their way to the Allied lines.

On the night of 27 September 1944 British aircraft attacking the nearby railroad junction in Nörde, dropped some bombs on the camp, killing 90 officers. Altogether 141 prisoners died in Oflag VI-B. They are buried in the cemetery near the centre of the village of Dossel. A memorial was erected there in 1985.[2]

The camp was liberated by the U.S. Army on 3 April 1945.[2]

Aftermath[edit]

In 1960 Polish survivors organized the Klub Dösselczyków. Journals of ex-Polish prisoners are kept in the Central Prisoners of War Museum in Łambinowice, near Opole, Poland.[7]

Notable inmates[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kriegsgefangenenlager (Liste)". Moosburg Online. 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "POW camp (Oflag) VI-B Doessel". warburg.net. 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37568. p. 2340. 14 May 1946. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Major 'Skelly' Ginn". The Daily Telegraph (London: TMG). 17 September 2001. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Liddle, Peter H. (2012). ""For you Tommy, the war is over": Escape and Evasion in Europe". The Second World War Experience Centre. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "Mass Escapes from German POW Camps". powvets.com. 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Rezler-Wasielewska, Violetta (2012). "Biuletyn Informacji Publicznej -". Centralne Muzeum Jeńców Wojennych w Łambinowicach-Opolu. Retrieved 17 April 2012.  (Polish)
  8. ^ Brew, Steve (2009). "Sergeant Pilot William A. Brew; From Pilot to POW in One Short Sweep". brew.clients.ch. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Sydney Dowse". The Daily Telegraph (London: TMG). 12 April 2008. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Brigadier Jock Hamilton-Baillie". The Daily Telegraph (London: TMG). 24 May 2003. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 17 April 2012.