Stalag VIII-A

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Stalag VIII-A
Görlitz, Lower Silesia
Stalag VIII-A is located in Germany
Stalag VIII-A
Stalag VIII-A
Coordinates 51°07′17″N 15°00′36″E / 51.12152°N 15.01002°E / 51.12152; 15.01002
Type Prisoner-of-war camp
Site information
Controlled by  Nazi Germany
Site history
In use 1939–1945
Garrison information
Occupants Allied POW

Stalag VIII-A was a German World War II prisoner-of-war camp, located just to the south of the town of Görlitz, Lower Silesia, east of the River Neisse (now Zgorzelec, Poland).

Camp history[edit]

Originally a Hitler Youth camp, in October 1939 it was modified to house about 15,000 Polish prisoners from the German September 1939 offensive. By June 1940 most of the Poles had been transferred to other camps and replaced with Belgian and French troops taken prisoner during the Battle of France. At one time there were over 30,000 jammed into facilities designed for 15,000. In 1941 a separate compound was created to house Soviet prisoners. In 1943 2,500 British Commonwealth soldiers came from the battles in Italy, and later in the same year an undefined number of Italian soldiers came from Albania. Finally in late December 1944 1,800 Americans arrived, captured in the Battle of the Bulge. On 14 February 1945 the Americans and British were marched out of the camp westward in advance of the Soviet offensive into Germany.[1]

Notable inmates[edit]

It was at VIII-A that Olivier Messiaen, a French prisoner, finished composing Quatuor pour la fin du temps, a famous work of chamber music. With the help of a friendly German guard, he acquired manuscript paper and pencils, and was able to assemble three other POWs to help him perform the piece for the rest of the camp.[2]


In 2014 the Meeting Point Music Messiaen e.V. built a European cultural Center at the terrain of the formerly prisoners camp STALAG VIII-A. The idea to build a European Center of Education and Culture Meeting Point Music Messiaen e.V. for children, the youth, artists, musicians and all the people of our European trinational region in this important place for European history emerged in December 2004. The role of the Center is not only to be a memorial place, but to give room for development and a broad range of artistic activities and creative development. The German Alternative-Rock Band Topictoday dedicated their Song "Helden ohne Namen" ("Heroes without Names") to the POWs of the camp, especially to Olivier Messiaen.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Stalag VIIIA". 2006. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Ross, Alex (March 22, 2004). "The Rest Is Noise: Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time". The New Yorker. Retrieved 17 May 2012. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Rischin, Rebecca (2003). For the End of Time: The Story of the Messiaen Quartet. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-4136-6
  • McMullen, John William (2010). The Miracle of Stalag 8A Bird Brain Productions. ISBN 978-0982625521