Sunday 7 February 2010

Camp E 715 Stalag 4B POW Numbers, in the range 220000-222000

I've now added a substantial listing of Stalag 4B POW numbers in the range of 220000 to to 222000 to the existing index, many of these men were later assigned to Camp E 715, which was part of the I G Farben Auschwitz industrial complex.

The index page for the entire listing is here:

And the new introduction to the 220000 sequence starts here:

As before, these numbers are arranged in consecutive order as issued by the German authorities rather than by alphabetical surname. So in many cases it's now possible to see exactly who each soldier was literally standing beside on the day his stalag number was assigned.

Now included in the listing are several British POWs who have become the subject of books in recent years. This is noted in the listing where known.

I have also noted those Camp E 715 British POWs within the sequence who gave testimony or affidavits at the 1947 I G Farben War Crimes trial and linked from two names within the listing to their testimony transcribed on this excellent external external website:

The Mazal Library

The testimony of Signalman D T Frost (POW Number 220340) is on this page of the Mazal Library site:

And that of Driver Eric J Doyle (POW No 220745) is here:

Of the 1,400 plus British POWs at E 715 in early 1944, only seven British POWs were called to give evidence at the 1947 I G Farben trial, with a further 12 supplying sworn affidavits. I have included these details next to their names and numbers where known. Thus this POW listing for the first time indicates those other British POWs who were there and thereabouts with some of these sworn eyewitnesses in 1943.

Also included in the updated listing is Rifleman Denis Avey (POW Number 220243) who was the subject of this November 2009 BBC news story:

The sequence of numbers featuring Denis Avey is currently on this page:

Though otherwise fascinating and praiseworthy, the BBC news story neglected to give any details of the exact location and date of Avey's capture, the previous Italian camps he was held at, or of the regiment in which he served. This is all too typical of the mainstream media, who in their stories about World War Two, inevitably refer to a soldier as a 'Desert Rat' or a 'D Day Veteran' or, as in Avey's case, being in 'Special Forces', without ever specifying the exact unit in which the soldier served.

The purpose of this POW listing and of my website as a whole is to counter this vague 'social vacuum' theory of military history.

These men in uniform all those years ago were hardly ever alone and their experiences were hardly ever unique--then. Theirs was a collective experience: when they weren't organised in platoons and companies they were in queues or one kind or another--like the one in which their POW numbers were assigned.

What's now so special, after almost 70 years, is that so few of them put their experiences on record. Like World War One, World War Two is fast becoming an era of faded group photographs with no names attached. Much history is hidden and lost behind those mystery faces. Army life, whether in barracks or the frontline is always a shared experience and should be documented as such.

I have also added a substantial number of DLI POW names and numbers to the Stalag 4B number sequence extending to 280000, a process which is on-going.

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