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Legacy Of:

Wayne  G.  Gotke

 

Personal Legacy
EXCERPTS FROM A LETTER CONCERNING AN ESCAPED
PRISONER OF WAR
FROM STALAG 3 AT MOOSBERG


Note: (March 19, 1945) - This is where Wayne Gotke landed after leaving Stalag 3 and met this man and also a man who worked where I did in San Francisco whose son was also at Moosberg.

Mrs. E. Gotke

Courtesy - Mr. A. L. Sundberg
YMCA War Prisoners Relatives Fellowship
San Francisco, California

"The whole south compound is there at Moosberg. Left Sagan the end of January and arrived, after marching back roads and woods and a short ride on boxcars, at Moosberg about the middle of February. The camp is smaller and much more crowded but he said the boys survived the march well. None were lost, but one German guard who died on the way. They skipped all the towns, going along the outskirts, but what civilians they ran into were nice to them and even gave some of the exhausted boys water.

The camp had been an enlisted one and God knows where they put them, but anyhow, the camp commander had used them to clean and delouse (as much as possible) the few buildings. When the boys arrived, they were put in sheds with their belongings and just enough gas, to kill bugs, was turned on. Then they were moved into their quarters which consisted of several big barnlike buildings in which they are all stuck together, no eight to a room as formerly. He said there is no hot water, but at Sagan they only had a hot shower once or twice. But he said the boys would miss the little stoves they had had and that they used to heat water and food on. Here, at Moosberg, there are really no private cooking facilities, just the one big kitchen.

"When they left Sagan, each had an overcoat given by the Red Cross and a change of underwear, and an extra pair of pants. Those who had jackets took them. They each had to carry one blanket and each were issued a Red Cross box which most ate in a hurry he said. For the past month at Sagan, they had had their rations cut, both Red Cross and German. Here, at the new camp, the Germans have very little to give them, but they were hoping, when he left, for a Red Cross shipment, which I saw in the paper had left Switzerland.

On the way down, he said the men were discarding even the few belongings they had brought but after a few days, he said they had picked up pieces of wood and made sleds and six men would put their stuff on a sled while they would take turns, two at a time, pulling. He said all the way down they had no trouble. He said the last shipment of personal boxes was in November in Sagan. He said even at the new camp with no YMCA papers, etc., they are already starting up their paper and classes. Said the old sense of humor is holding up fine and that the boys are actually glad to see it getting tougher because they knew the end is near.
 
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