prisoners

Apr

13

1943

Nazis announce Katyn massacre of Polish officers

13th April 1943: Nazis announce Katyn Wood massacre of Polish officers

He told me that he had proofs that the Soviet Government had murdered the 15,000 Polish officers and other prisoners in their hands, and that they had been buried in vast graves in the forests, mainly around Katyn. He had a wealth of evidence. I said, “If they are dead nothing you can do will bring them back.”

Apr

9

1943

Welcome to Gros Rosen – “ARBEIT MACHT FREI”

9th April 1943: Welcome to Gros Rosen – ARBEIT MACHT FREI

My work assignment was in the stone quarry. My first job was to load stones into carts. We had to work in the open air, whatever the weather, from dawn to dusk. We worked without a break, under the watchful eyes and the brutal clubs of the “Kapos.” The Kapos were the concentration camp’s gang foremen. They were usually German, and had criminal records and sadistic inclinations. They held absolute power of life and death over their gangs. It seemed that the more cruelty they exhibited, and the greater the pain they inflicted, the greater they were esteemed by the camp administration.

Apr

1

1943

Death railway bridge built like ‘a pack of cards’

1st April 1943: Death railway bridge built like ‘a pack of cards’

As we sang these numbers, we’d pull on the rope. This huge great lump of steel would rise up. On the last ’nisio’ we would all let go. Down would come the pile-driver and the pole would sink another inch. All day seven days a week, for weeks on end, with not a single day off, we drove these bloody things into the ground.

Mar

24

1943

Horror of journey to the Railway of Death

24th March 1943: Horror of journey to the Railway of Death

It was baking hot during the day and bitterly cold by night, and by now dysentery had got a grip on many of the lads. As each day in those horrific wagons passed we prayed that it was the end of the line and I said a silent prayer when the guards finally shoved us out of the trucks for the last time at Pan Pong, about forty miles west of Bangkok.

Mar

18

1943

The Akikaze Atrocity

18th March 1943: The Akikaze Atrocity

Each internee passed beneath the forward bridge on the starboard side and came upon two waiting escorts. Here they were blindfolded with a white cloth and supported by each arm. By this time the interrogation of the second person was begun. Meanwhile, beneath the bridge of the quarter-deck on the starboard side, both wrists of the first person were firmly tied and he was again escorted to the execution platform.

Mar

2

1943

The Rose Street protest in central Berlin

2nd March 1943: The Rose Street protest in central Berlin

When the officials said that the people could not yet be released, the women suggested that they wanted to stay with their husbands in jail. The officials answered that it was not allowed because the men are under arrest. The women replied that Rose Street was not a prison, and they had the right to enter the building. The Fuhrer would certainly not approve of such an unlawful practice …

Feb

13

1943

Working on the Railway of Death – Hellfire Pass

13th February 1943: Working on the Railway of Death – Hellfire Pass

It was the beginning for us of what would become the most notorious railway construction that the world had ever seen. The japanese engineer came over to inspect our work. He studied the clearing from several angles, using various surveying instruments, before declaring, ‘No gooda! Do again! Deeper!’

Feb

5

1943

The death camps begin burning the evidence

5th February 1943: The death camps begin burning the evidence

In this way some twenty-five hundred corpses are piled on. Then the specialist orders dry twigs placed underneath and lights them with a match. After a few minutes the fire flares up so strongly that it is difficult to get any closer to the oven than 50 metres. The first fire is lit, and the test is successful. The camp administration show up, and all of them shake the hand of the inventor.

Jan

31

1943

German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad

31st January 1943: German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad

Von Paulus confirmed, through General Schmidt, that he was no longer in command of the army, that he was a private citizen and would therefore not sign the capitulation order, He refused to receive our delegation, but asked that, as a field marshal, he be personally taken prisoner and escorted by one of our generals.

Jan

22

1943

On the road to Tripoli

22nd January 1943: On the road to Tripoli

He was taken as you know by an armoured-car patrol, sent back to Afrika Corps HQ and lodged in a tent next to Rommel’s. He asked to see Rommel but he was away. He had a big talk to his Chief of Staff and was extremely impressed not only by the smartness of the Germans but by their kindness and charm.