Richard Hallam account of JHH march

January 1945 – the long march for the men at E265

After capture on Crete dad (who was slightly wounded) was taken by cattle truck-train to STALAG VIII for PoW processing. Dad was only slightly wounded and because he was a younger man assigned by the Germans to an Arbeits Lager (Labour Camp) and that was E265 in Gross Ziedel.

 

The following is an extract from Wikipedia.org

 

Arbeitskommandos, officially called Kriegsgefangenenarbeitskommando were sub-camps under Prisoner-of-war camps for holding prisoners of war of lower ranks (below sergeant), who were working in industries and on farms. This was permitted under the Third Geneva Convention provided they were accorded proper treatment. They were not allowed to work in industries manufacturing war materials, but this restriction was frequently ignored by the Germans. They were always under the administration of the parent prisoner-of-war camp, which maintained records, distributed International Red Cross packages and provided at least minimal medical care in the event of the prisoner's sickness or injury. The number of prisoners in an Arbeitskommando was usually between 100 and 300.’

 

As you know E265 was harvesting trees a vital component for cardboard used in munitions – in breech of the GC. It is worth noting that on my visit - a few years ago now – the cardboard factory is still there and still producing cardboard. STALAG VIIIB was the ‘parent PoW camp’ mentioned in Wikipedia. STALAGs were for non-commissioned PoWs and OFLAGs were for officer PoWs.

 

Again from Wikipedia we can understand that the Germans utilized the vast majority of NCO PoWs as slave labour in many different parts of Silesia, Poland and Germany.

 

There were more than 700 subsidiary Arbeitskommandos (working parties outside the main camp). In the second issue of The Clarion (the camp magazine) in February 1943, the RC Chaplain Father John Berry says that "...there are about 600 Working Parties and ..... you will be able to guess why so many of you will have not yet had a visit". Arbeitskommandos were set up to house lower ranks that were working in the coal mines, quarries, factories and on railways. Among them were:




  • Schalkendorf in the Kreis (Area of) Opole

  • Stauverder

  • E1 Laband

  • E3 Blechammer

  • E8 Krappitz, paper mill

  • E17 Opole, cement factory

  • E22 Gleiwitz-Ohringen

  • E25 Rauschwalde, Kreis Falkenberg

  • E27 coal mine

  • E51 Klausberg, coal mine

  • E62 Gleiwitz-Steigern

  • E72 Beuthen

  • E75 Knurów

  • E88 Hohrnlohehutte

  • E93 Sakrau, limestone quarry

  • E94 Emilienhoff limestone quarry

  • E110 Stauwerder

  • E114 Gross Kunzendorf, stone quarry and factory

  • E119 Mankendorf, saw mill[1]

  • E38 Ratibor, steel works

  • E131 Tiefbau Pollok, stone quarry

  • E149 Buchenlust, forestry work

  • E159 Domstadtl, quarry

  • E162 Oderthal

  • E173 Setzdorf, quarry

  • E196 Opoleonoora, cement factory

  • E203 Opole, cement works

  • E209 Bobrek, coal mine

  • E211 Treibiz, railway

  • E218 Flossingen

  • E234 Tonhain

  • E243 Breslau, gasworks

  • E256 Zuckmantel

  • E265 Grafenweiler

  • E276 Ottmachau, sugar beet factory

  • E283 Ratibor, sugar mill

  • E324 Gross Dubrnsko

  • E332 Rudgershagen

  • E354 Jägerndorf, saw mill & timer goods factory

  • E701 Tichau Czulow (paper factory)

  • E702 Klimontow coal mine[2]

  • E706 Coal mine near Jaworzno, mostly Australians and New Zealanders

  • E707 Sosnowitz

  • E708 Laband

  • E711A Heydebreck, chemical plant

  • E714 Blechhammer, Upper Silesia

  • E715 IG Farben chemical factory in Monowice. Set up in September 1943, it housed about 1200 prisoners, mostly British.

  • E719 Steigern

  • E724 Schwientochlowitz

  • E725 Konigshutte Bismark

  • E727 Mechtal Beuthen, power station

  • E728 Neu Oderberg

  • E732 Czciakowa

  • E734 Schoppintiz

  • E739 Dombrowa Grunkolonie

  • E740 Kobier

  • E742 Ober Lazisk

  • E744 Kazimierz

  • E746 Königshütte

  • E748 Brorek

  • E749 Peiskretscham

  • E750 Kattowitz

  • E753 Graumanndorf

  • E754 Czelads

  • E755 Wojkowitz Komorne

  • E756 Radzionkau

  • E757 Morenrot

  • E758 Knurow

  • E759 Glewitz

  • E760 Bobrek

  • E761 Bobrek

  • E762 Bobrek

  • E794 Heydebreck

  • E902 coal mine

  • E902 Delbruckschachte-Hindenburg coal mine

E22050 gas works

  • E365 Gross Strelitz lime quarry

  • E373 Blaschke, Czechoslovakia, sawmill

  • E389 Rudgershagen

  • E393 Mittel-Lazisk

  • E399 Sudetenland Cardboard Factory

  • E406 Seifersdorf, brickyard

  • E411 Hohenzollerngrube Beuthen coal mine

  • E414 Hohenbirken, saw mill

  • E415 Hohenbirken, tile factory

  • E419 Opole

  • E446 Zuckmantel

  • E456 Kalkau

  • E460 building railway bridge

  • E479 Tarnowitz

  • E484 Neisse, labouring

  • E486 Neisse,labouring

  • E490 Beuthen railway building

  • E494 Gleiwitz Ost

  • E535 Sosnowitz West coal mine

  • E538 Sosnowice mine

  • E542 Fohrengrund ub Gleiwtz

  • E543 Drmbrowa

  • E550 Hohenbirken, tannery

  • E552 Hindenberg Philipstr

  • E561 Tarnowtitz, railway depot loading and unloading trains

  • E562 Coal mine "Janina", near Libiaz

  • E563 Bory Jelen Jaworzno

  • E565 Sierza Wodna coal mine

  • E571 Gruden forestry department

  • E578 Peiskretscham, Kreis Gleiwitz

  • E579 Niwka

  • E580 Czelads

  • E585 Jagerndorf, brickyard

  • E586 Kazimierz

  • E587 Czelads Piarski

  • E593 Beuthen Schonberg

  • E594 Konigshutte Ost

  • E596 Jaworzno

  • E603 Hindenburg

  • E701 Tichau Czulow (paper factory)

  • E702 Klimontow coal mine[2]

  • E706 Coal mine near Jaworzno, mostly Australians and New Zealanders

  • E707 Sosnowitz

  • E708 Laband

  • E711A Heydebreck, chemical plant

  • E714 Blechhammer, Upper Silesia

  • E715 IG Farben chemical factory in Monowice. Set up in September 1943, it housed about 1200 prisoners, mostly British.

  • E719 Steigern

  • E724 Schwientochlowitz

  • E725 Konigshutte Bismark

  • E727 Mechtal Beuthen, power station

  • E728 Neu Oderberg

  • E732 Czciakowa

  • E734 Schoppintiz

  • E739 Dombrowa Grunkolonie

  • E740 Kobier

  • E742 Ober Lazisk

  • E744 Kazimierz

  • E746 Königshütte

  • E748 Brorek

  • E749 Peiskretscham

  • E750 Kattowitz

  • E753 Graumanndorf

  • E754 Czelads

  • E755 Wojkowitz Komorne

  • E756 Radzionkau

  • E757 Morenrot

  • E758 Knurow

  • E759 Glewitz

  • E760 Bobrek

  • E761 Bobrek

  • E762 Bobrek

  • E794 Heydebreck

  • E902 coal mine

  • E902 Delbruckschachte-Hindenburg coal mine

  • E22050 gas works

 

We can understand from this that the Germans had slave labour groups (ArbeitsKommandos) scattered far and wide from STALAG VIIIB. At some point in time the German administration changed the nomenclature of STALAG VIIIB to become STALAG 344. This had no impact on the ArbeitsKommandos numbering system.

 

 

Silesia was up until the end of WW1 part of Germany and (fortunately) some of the residents still can speak German (albeit in a discreet way).

 

 

This (above) is the key points route of E265 as dad recorded it in his diary. There were many groups of PoWs all departing Poland at about the same time. This IS the route the group that Joseph Henry Hallam and his comrades followed.

 

The list of the villages that I submitted to Poland for translation came back with this (below).

 

 




German Names

Polish or German names)

 

Grafenweiler

Kolonowskie

Poland

Vosswalde

Fosowskie

Poland

Gross Zeidel

Staniszcze Wielkie

Poland

Starenheim

Kadłub

Poland

Gross Strehlitz

Strzelce Opolskie

Poland

Gross Stein

Kamień Śląski

Poland

Oderfest

Przywory Opolskie

Poland

Krappitz?

Krapkowice

Poland

Proskau

Prószków

Poland

Strehlen

Strzelin

Poland

Nimptsch

Niemcza

Poland

Reichenbach

Dzierżoniów

Poland

Schweidnitz

Świdnica

Poland

Striegau

Strzegom

Poland

Drauschkowitz

Drauschkowitz

Germany

Neustadt in Sachsen

Neustadt in Sachsen

Germany

Königstein in der Sächsischen Schweiz

Königstein in der Sächsischen Schweiz

Germany

Neustadt in Sachsen

Neustadt in Sachsen

Germany

Neukirch/Lausitz

Neukirch/Lausitz

Germany

Rumburg

Rumburk

Czech Republik

 

I cannot fit all the march onto one map and so I have broken it down into ‘parts of the march’ these are not the actual stages of the march but reflect to a degree the route of E265 out of Poland to eventual liberation. Most of the stages can be seen on the maps – some are missing because dad did not / could not figure out exactly where they were. The detail for the march is all in dads diaries – you will need to read that in conjunction with the maps. Some places I have put a ‘time stamp’ on – meaning that on that date they were passing or static that spot. They began their march to freedom very soon after midnight on the 20th Jan 1945.

First part of the march

(STALAG VIIIB is shown only for perspective)

 

 

2nd part of the march

3rd part of the march

Rumburk and Decin are in the Czech Republic

 

 

I know that dad flew from Gera to Erfurt on the 14th May and I know from dads diaries that dad spent a few hours in Rheims getting, bathed, de-loused and fresh new clothes as well as interrogation. By the evening of the 15th May 1945 dad was back in ‘’Blighty”. Having been away almost 5.5 years.

 

Dad spent about 10 days in Asbridge Military Hospital – in all probability nowhere near long enough.

 

 

On the 26th May at 0430hrs dad woke his mum and dad up he had arrived home. My uncle John told me that when his mum brought dad into his bedroom she said to him “I bet you don’t know who this chap is?” John did know his brother immediately despite only being 2 years old when dad left home and at that time when dad arrived back to his home John was only 8 years old.

This account submitted by Richard Hallam, a career soldier and Tpr Hallam's son.