Oflag IV-B Königstein

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Oflag IV-B
Königstein, Saxony
Aerial photo of Festung Königstein
Festung Königstein
Oflag IV-B is located in Germany
Oflag IV-B
Oflag IV-B
Coordinates 50°55′08″N 14°03′24″E / 50.91889°N 14.05667°E / 50.91889; 14.05667
Type Prisoner-of-war camp
Site information
Controlled by  Nazi Germany
Site history
In use 1939-1945
Garrison information
Occupants Allied officers

Oflag IV-B Koenigstein was a Nazi POW camp for Allied officers during World War II. It was located in Festung Königstein ("Königstein Fortress") near the town of Königstein in Saxony.

Camp history[edit]

After the Polish Defensive War of 1939, most high-ranking Polish officers were imprisoned there. The staff officers were imprisoned in the casemates and the generals in one of the forts. The lower-ranking officers were incarcerated in the lower levels of the fortress. Despite harsh conditions in the living chambers, the officers were granted relative freedom and had a part of the fortress gardens at their disposal. Apart from Antoni Szylling and Tadeusz Piskor, who were imprisoned in Murnau, all Polish army commanders taken by the Germans in 1939 were held there. After the Fall of France in 1940, most Polish officers were transferred to either Oflag VIIA Murnau or Oflag VIII E Johannisbrunn, and French officers were imprisoned in the castle.

After being freed in 1941, an orderly to a French admiral wrote that life there was boring but "not particularly onerous", with "adequate by European prison standards" sanitation, inadequate but regular rations, and cigarettes for purchase. The prisoners quickly found German bugs in their rooms, and discovered that an "English general" imprisoned with them was a German agent. The orderly estimated that 20% of the 120 French general officers favored cooperation with Germany (with many freed to join the Vichy government), 30% favored the Allies, and 50% were neutral.[1]

An execution order of all French general was written by the SS general Kaltenbrunner. Only one execution was to be carried out (General Mesny, shot in the back during a walk outside the fortress).

The camp was surrendered to the French General Condé on May 8, the blue, white and red flag floating for a while. A few Russian reached the fortress on May 9, 1945. The Russians stayed only long enough to remove anything of value, and loading up the German guards, they returned to their HQ leaving the French Generals alone. A short while afterwards, a French light aircraft landed and the pilot informed them that he had come to collect General Saint Ceran of the French Air Force. The remaining inmates asked that he inform the Americans of their plight which he did, and despite Koenigstein being in the Russian zone, a decision was taken to swiftly remove the French generals from the castle on May 11. They were flown back to Paris on May 12, many of them free for the first time in five years.[2]

Notable inmates[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bernin, Michel (1942-09-21). "Königstein Prison". LIFE. pp. 124–136. Retrieved November 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ Diary of General Alfred Fagalde, inmate of Koenigstein

External links[edit]