Oflag VIIb, P.O.W. Camp, Eichstätt, Germany

Welcome

YahooGeocities www.geocities.com/pda295/pow  was stopped, so this site disappeared in 2009 and was recreated here. 

By way of introduction, my interest in the above camp stems from my Grandfather, who was held in the camp.  My grandfather, Read Askew (P.O.W. No. 3278), was captured in Crete.  He served with the Royal Engineers and was a Lieutenant.  (He was not caught in the events of 14 April 1945 recorded below, but this is provided for information for those who are interested).

The page is broken up as follows:

General information about the camp
Roadside plaque recalling events of 14 April 1945
Photos of the camp as it is 'today' (April 2004)
Books about the camp
Crete
Links to information elsewhere

Tips: Click on photos and maps with blue borders to view larger.  This symbol  indicates an external link.


General information about the camp

Oflag VIIb P.O.W. Camp was on the edge of the town of Eichstätt  , Bavaria, Germany.  Many of the buildings on the site pre-date the P.O.W. camp, which was I understand the commando barracks of the 7th army corps (hence Oflag VIIB).  As at April 2004 the site of the camp was home to the Bayer Bereitschafts Polizei and still many of the buildings recognisable from the sketches and photos of P.O.W.s.  Of course the wooden huts that housed the P.O.W.s are long since removed, but nonetheless the features from the time of the camp are clearly recognisable, as you will see from the photos further below.

 
 
 
 
This map shows the location of the camp on a current tourist street plan of Eichstätt.  The site of the camp is bordered to the south by the River Altmuhl; to the east by Pirkheimerstrasse; to the north Kipfenberger Strasse.  The size of the grounds has changed over time and for greater detail please read up more in one or more of the books listed below.
 
 
 


Roadside plaque recalling events of 14 April 1945

The plaque photographed below (erected by the German authorities in 2003 I am reliably informed by a former Police Trainer Helmut Reis - see book section) is in memory of those P.O.W. Officers who were killed and wounded leaving the camp of Oflag VIIb when mistakenly shot at by American fighter aircraft who mistook them for enemy troops.

This roadside plaque is situated close to the village of Landershofen in Bavaria, Germany; the first settlement on the road from Eichstätt to Kipfenberg. 

A translation follows below.

 The text, translated into understandable English reads:

At this point on 14 April 1945, shortly before the arrival of the Americans,
low-flying Allied aircraft attacked a marching column of British officer prisoners of war,
who were mistakenly believed to be enemy troops. 
14 British officers were killed and 46 were wounded.

I have placed this photograph and translation on the web in case it is of interest to those who had been held in the camp or later generations reading it, who are not aware of its existence.  There has been very little publicity of it, and our family only became aware of it when visiting in April 2004, when these photos were taken.

It is interesting that the German authorities have erected this plaque in 2003 at the roadside where it happened, for something in which they actually had no hand in.  A further picture and location map below for context (click to view larger). 

 
 
 

Notes:  1. Plaque far left of photo on rock face. Those wishing to locate the plaque will find it on the road out of Eichstätt in the direction of Kipfenberg.  The road is called the Kipfenberger Strasse when it leaves Eichstätt, but it does not, as far as I know or can see on the printed map, have a road designation or number, as it is really only a back road, shown uncoloured.  2. Location map from Mulitmap  showing stretch of road, which does give some road names - however I cannot verify without another visit of course.

Photos of the camp as at April 2004

I have visited the site of the prison camp Oflag VIIb, which is now a Police training school. 

  
 


  1. Commandant's HQ
  2. Recreation ground
  3. Site of some of the GB Officer huts
Here are some additional photos from the film camera, which have been re-photographed on the digital camera to get them online! The middle picture shows a sketch from a book below compared to how it looks today.  The end picture shows the author of the second book below, showing off one of the remaining stone tables used by the P.O.W.s to prepare their uniforms.
 
    
 
1. Roadside plaque (view 2)
2. Commandant's HQ
3. Recreation ground and sketch from book
4. Main building where P.O.W.s ate meals
5. Stone table used for preparing uniforms

Books and further reading

There are a number of books about the camp:

1. The Mansel Diaries.  Privately published, but old copies frequently turn up on second-hand sellers. Here is the key piece of the dust sheet with the full details:

2. A book which is part of a series about the history of the Police Training School.  Written by a former Police Trainer Helmut Reis, the book is called Chronik der Jagerkaserne in Eichstätt 1933-1952 and includes the history of the site during the war years.  It forms part of a series of books about the history of the site.  Unfortunately it is only in German.
 
3. I was recently told of a book listing the names of the P.O.W.s held at the camp:  Here are the details, but I've yet to see a copy myself.  I understand it lists those in Oflag VIB and only in part some from VIIB.  The A B C An Eichstätt Address-Book of Prisoners of War at Oflag VI B, Eichstatt, Germany, Published in 1949 for Subscribers.  Printed and Bound by Hazell, Watson and Viney Ltd. Aylesbury and London. (Thanks to Joel Bishop for the cover images, the grandson of Major Tom Bishop, Lanarckshire Yeomanry, who was captured on a mission in North Africa)
 
4. Joe in Germany.  This book, I am told, is about Oflag ViB (Warburg) and Oflag VIIB.  It was written by two British ex-Prisoner of war, Jack Thomas (lyrics) and Jimmy Graham (sketches).  It was published by The Surrey Fine Arts Press, Redhill, Surrey in 1947.  (Thanks for Peter Hodge for the info and image on this one). Again maybe second hand sellers for copies?
 

More?

Every time I think I've found 'the only other book', another comes along!  Please email me if you know of any others (details below).


Crete

I could really do with visiting Crete and could probably produce another page as a result!  However, until I do, I will make do with some book titles.  These all cover the time after the Germans came, so don't cover the time my Grandfather was there, but are very interesting none the less.  (With thanks to Richard Bartelott for these).

1. The Cretan Runner, George Psychoundakis, Patrick Leigh Fermor (Introduction). Amazon(UK)

From Amazon.co.uk: "First published in 1955, this translation by Patrick Leigh Fermor, tells the account of the Resistance in Crete, from the German invasion to the liberation by one of its most active participants. Psychoundakis was an intermediary between the various groups of British on the island despite great personal danger."  A difficult read as George's English is far from perfect, and also his writing - but then he isn't a writer, but a local describing the time during the war in Crete as he saw it.  As such it makes an absolutely fascinating read.  There are small edits throughout by Patrick Leigh Fermor which helps to clarify things when it gets a bit complicated or George's recollection differs from others.

2. Ill Met by Moonlight, (Cassell Military Paperbacks S.), W.Stanley Moss. Amazon(UK)

From Amazon.co.uk: "This is a classic account by one of the officers who took part in one of the great escapades of WWII. In 1943 W. Stanley Moss and Patrick Leigh-Fermor, both serving with Special Forces in the Middle East, decided on a plan to kidnap General Kreipe, Commander of the Sevastopol Division in Crete, and bring him back to Allied occupied Cairo. This is the story of their adventures, working with a fearsome band of partisans, as they daringly capture the General in an ambush and struggle to evade pursuing German troops in the mountainous Cretan landscape to reach their rendezvous for evacuation to safety."

More?

Again, as above on the camp books, if anyone knows of any good books about the British being captured on Crete, please email me (details below).


Links to information elsewhere

Wiki entry Wikipaedia, the free web-based encyclopaedia entry for the camp
Pegasus Archive photos and art from the camp
Richard Weston Smith's page details of his visit in 2006 with historical information, 2006 visit film and diary
Wartime Memories Project Oflag 7B page

Please email any other recommendations (details below).


 

All photos copyright but available for use (other than the book covers) where the photographer's name
is acknowledged.  Larger files available. 
Too many emails are being lost to spam. Please, if you contact me on pda295@yahoo.com put the word "Eichstatt" somewhere in the subject box.