ON THE 72ND ANNIVERSARY OF THE LIBERATION OF STALAG IIIC, ALT Drewitz

History Oder Kostrzyn
Written by James Piatkowski, Jozef Piatkowski
Sunday, January 30, 2011 22:09
Translated from the original by Google

On January 31, 1945, the Red Army reached Drzewice. On the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of the Stalag III C Cemetery, Alt Drewitz, like previous years, lit a symbolic candle on a cemetery commemorating the victims of the camp. It is only a pity that tradition has also become that for years this day is another day in the Kostrzyn calendar ...

Nevertheless, on the occasion of the anniversary, we remind our readers of the text devoted to Stalag III C by Józef Piatkowski, who had its premiere on the no longer existing Kostrzynskie.info portal - we invite you to read!

Within the territory of Poland during the Second World War a total of 2 197 camps and working units of prisoners of war were located. There were separate camps for Offizierslager (Oflag), 55 camps for NCOs (Kriegsgefangenenlager, Stammmmannschaftslager - Stalag), transition camps - Durchgangslager (Dulag), as well as camps for nationals of states in war with the Hitler Reich. military service. Prisoners of war were guarded by special battalions of national shooters (Landesschuetzen - Bataillone), and POWs in the Reich - by auxiliary guards. Hilfswache. All those camps in which prisoners of war were kept were the area of unprecedented German violations of Nazi international conventions and monstrous war crimes and crimes against humanity. Prison camps in the territory of the Third Reich and part of the occupied Poland (except the General Government) were marked with Roman numerals, which defined the military district and the capital alphabet and the name of the place (Berlin - III, Alt Drewitz III C). The authorities of the Third Reich developed special programs for the conduct of prisoners of war, according to which one of the aims was to use the POW's workforce for the Nazi German economy. All POWs and camps were subject to the competence of the Wehrmacht Superior Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht - OKW). The prisoners of war in Okwah was administered by the Prisoners of War (Abteilung Kriegsgefangenenwesen), a division of the General Board led by General H. Reinecke. Germany was a signatory to the Hague Convention and the 1929 Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War. These provisions were only partially respected, and only in relation to Western prisoners of war. Prisoners from other European countries were treated exceptionally brutally.
On the basis of preserved sources it is to be assumed that the camp Stalag III C (Stalag 3 C) in Alt Drewitz (now Drzewice housing estate in the town of Kostrzyn nad Odra) existed from September 1939 to January 31, 1945. According to the author's information, in September and October 1939, about 7,000 Polish prisoners of war were taken to the camp, which was used to build the camp. Contrary to the provisions of international law, prisoners of war were sent to work in the Kostrzyn industrial plants and agricultural work in nearby towns in Brandenburg. Most NCOs were deprived of the rights and status of prisoners of war and treated as slaves. Among the first Polish prisoners who came to Stalag 3 C (Stalag 3 C) Franciszek Gustawski, who lived in Stare Drzewice after the war. On the basis of his testimony before the Main Commission for Investigating Hitler's Crimes in Poland, it was determined that prisoners were former prisoners of war in Poland. In 1940, the first prisoners of war were sent to Stalag. Prisoners from the Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Yugoslavia, Greece, Italy, the USA and the USSR have also gone through the camp. Based on the accounts of Franciszek Gustawski and Edward Franczuk after the war, the search led to the discovery of 9 collective graves of murdered and murdered prisoners of approximately 60 meters in length. After the discovery, the commission found that the graves contained remnants of Polish, Czech, Yugoslavian, French, Italian and Soviet nationals. The corpses of the soldiers lay in several layers and were thrown into these graves in a chaotic manner, without preserving the funeral ceremony.
The camp in Drzewice possessed over 30 branches, where POWs were used for various types of work in the German economy, including: in the armaments industry, in the field of work, in the construction of roads and railways. The living conditions in Stalag 3 C (Stalag 3C) were anti-humane, as witnessed by numerous witnesses. The prisoners were starved, harassed and beaten. The camp was considered the worst camp and a penal institution to which prisoners who escaped from other stalagmites were transported. According to data and relationships, many cases of typhus are confirmed. Prisoners of war were also subjected to criminal experiments using the Cyclone B. In September 1944, the Warsaw insurgents were imprisoned in the camp, with the famous Major Narcyz Lopianowski, the officer of the Polish Army, the "Cichociemny", the prisoner of Lubyanka, the dog "Sarna". This offier was decorated Virtuti Militari V class, on the line of fighting, personally by the Commander of the National Army Gen. Tadeusz Komorowski "Bora". According to the account and description of the American commando - Joseph Robert Beyrle (thanks to which the camp was liberated) there also existed a women's commando (probably women of Soviet soldiers and participants of the Warsaw Uprising). On the eve of the evacuation in the camp there were a total of 38 152 prisoners. On the basis of the available source materials, it is assumed that over 70,000 prisoners were taken over by this camp. The estimated number of victims is about 12,000 people, mostly Soviet, Italian and French POWs.

CHRONICLE CAMPS StaLag III C - ALT Drewitz (Stalag 3 C).

11/10/1940 - The visit of Stalag III C by the delegation of the International Red Cross with the chief physician of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dr. Roland Marti, was held. Roland Marti died in Geneva on November 9, 1978.

01.07.1941 - At Stalag III C camp in Alt Drewitz there were 21,295 prisoners, including 18,808 French, 2,467 Yugoslavs and 20 Polish.

August 18, 1941 - In Stalag III C Alt Drewitz was visited by about 18,511 French prisoners.

03.09.1941 - First transports of prisoners are sent to Stalag III C in the Soviet.

08.09.1941 - The next Soviet captives are sent to Stalag III C, transported here from the Neuhammer camp (Stalag VIII E).

October 18, 1941 - Another Soviet prisoners of war are being transported from Neuhammer to Stalin's camp at Drzewice.

October 24, 1941 - In the city records, about the construction of further camp barracks and farm buildings alongside Drzewice, each of the 13 barracks could accommodate 500 people.

November 12, 1941 - In the area of Stalag III, a special working chamber was established for the Soviet prisoners, as: Sowjkgf. Bau u. Arb. Batle. 128. The prisoners were transported here from Stalag VIII in Neuhammer.

10.01.1942 - The Nazis began medical research among the Soviet prisoners of war, Stalag III C in the Old Trees. Murder experiments lasted until February 21. In total, 221 prisoners were examined.

01.04.1942 - In the POW camp Stalag III C Alt Drewitz was detained by 4 British and 10 Belgian captives. June 1 , 1942 - In Stalag III C Alt Drewitz had 1,253 prisoners of war in Yugoslavia.

01.10.1943 - There are 14,578 interned prisoners of war in Alt Drewitz.

01.12.1943 - There were 13,152 Italian prisoners in the Alt Drewitz camp.

01.01.1944 - There were 12,702 Italian prisoners in the Alt Drewitz camp.

01.02.1944 - In the Alt Drewitz camp there were 12,515 Italian prisoners.

01.04.1944 - There were 11,429 prisoners of war in the Alt Drewitz camp.

04/16/1944 - On the site of Stalag III C in Alt Drewitz Mass was celebrated for the Italian prisoners of war, which was celebrated by the Nuncio Apostolic in Berlin. Cardinal Cesare Orsenigo.

01.05.1944 - In the Alt Drewitz camp there were 11,215 Italian prisoners.

01.06.1944 - At the Alt Drewitz camp, 11,459 Italian prisoners were aboard.

01.07.1944 - In the Alt Drewitz camp there were 11,534 Italian prisoners.

01.09.1944 - In the Alt Drewitz camp, there were 1,677 Italian prisoners.

September 17, 1944 - To Stalag IIIC Alt Drewitz was transported to Joseph Beyrle, an American commando who in January 1945 made a famous escape from the camp and then took part in his liberation. 31,103 prisoners of war, including 16,013 French prisoners, 1,001 British, 8 Belgian, 1 Polish, 753 Yugoslavian, 10,958 Soviet, 1,449 Italian and 1,120 American.

01.11.1944 - In the Alt Drewitz camp there were 1,151 prisoners of war.

November 15, 1944 - During the visit of the Stalag III C POW camp in Alt Drewitz by Swiss representative Rudolf E. Denzler, he reported the presence of 2,053 American soldiers who were accommodated in the barracks of 33-38 people.

01.12.1944 - In Stalag III, over 50,000 prisoners of war were present in Alt Drewitz, including 17,568 French, 1,416 English, 631 Belgians, 2 Poles, 15,911 Serbs, 13,727 Russians, 1,046 Italians and 2,036 Americans.

01.12.1944 - In the Alt Drewitz camp there were 1,046 Italian prisoners.

20.12.1944 - In the telegram of the International Red Cross, 23,442 war prisoners are located in Stalag III C Alt Drewitz. There were 1,305 Indians, 111 Canadians, and 2,033 Americans among the captives. All indians, canadians and 49 americans were hospitalized in Russian lazares.

December 21, 1944 - Commander of the Stalag III C POW camp Alt Drewitz was Colonel Szekely de Boda.

01.01.1945 - There were 38,035 POWs in the POW camp, including 17,738 French, 425 Britons, 661 Belgians, 2 Poles, 1,592 Serbs, 3,757 Russians and 2,040 Italians.

01/30/1945 - Drzewice was occupied by troops of 5th Strike Army of General Mikolaj Bierzarin commanded by Major Mikolaj Mikhailovich Strangkov. Here is how the course of the fight for Kostrzyn on this day with his hero - Mikolaj M. Strangkov: "The battalion took over the suburb of Kostrzyn. However, this victory was expensive. Big losses were in people and in combat equipment. There was also a favorite of the battalion, as well as a comrade and witty companion, a fearless soldier, Lieutenant Mienszczenko. The soldiers were deeply affected by this loss. The whole battalion was repentant to avenge his comrades. Shortly thereafter, Strangkov received a new, responsible task: to attack the city - Kostrzyn fortress. At a distance of 3 - 4 km from Kostrzyna there was a point - the goal of the direct attack of Stare Drzewice. Mikolaj Mikhailovich decided to immediately attack, not to allow the enemy to repent, after the defeats. The decision did not come to him lightly, he saw that the soldiers were tired, have not had a rest for a week, but popmimo it turned out that not only did not think about the respite, they did not judge the decision, but welcomed it. First of all, they wanted to go forward, to the enemy, to pay him for the death of recently killed colleagues. The short one - for the minutes counted rest and the tanks went ahead, then the soldiers, the rattlesnake attack. The enemy's strength melted in the eyes, most importantly, the enemy lost the initiative in the fight, he no longer had faith in victory. Both were Soviet soldiers. The fight lasted briefly. The Germans scattered, abandoned their defensive positions, fled. In the Old Drzewice there was a concentration camp. Prisoners of war were imprisoned there: Americans, Englishmen, Russians. Part of the Nazi camp crew was liquidated, some of them escaped. The battalions of the battalion destroyed the walls and fences of the camp of barbed wire under the voltage. Over 3,000 prisoners were freed. The majority of the rescued was not understandable to the soldiers - the liberators from the Strangkov battalion, but that did not matter, for the expression of his face was unambiguous, addressed to the Soviet soldiers. He never said he was as happy as he was when he was fighting and just after. Before the attack, the soldiers were very tired, and they went off to attack and how they went ... ". (From the author: Mikolaj M. Strangkov was born in 1916 in Ust - Luga, now Russia's seaport, located in the southwestern part of the Gulf of Finland (Leningrad Oblast), 110 km from St. Petersburg, in the Soviet Army from October 1938. From 1941 he fought on the Western Front, on the Luka River near Leningrad, where he was wounded twice, for his bravery he was awarded the Order of the Red Star and the Order of the Red Banner.In 1943 he fought under Leningrad and then in the fights for Minsk Again, for demonstrated bravery and courage in the battlefield, he received the Order of the Red Banner and the medal "For the Defense of Leningrad." In 1944 he commanded a battalion of riflemen motorized near Warsaw, and in January 1945 he fought under Magnuszewo and Sochaczew. The battalion was located about 15 km north of Kostrzyn and was turned into fighting After the capture of Kostrzyn, he fought on the outskirts of Berlin, and then in the capture of the Reichstag. For the fight for Kostrzyn and Berlin was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. After the war, he worked as a reserve officer in the USSR's national economy. Description of the fight and the history of MM Strielkow based on the article "Life route from Leningrad to the Reichstag" (in :) "Cellulose No. 17 (31), p.

01/31/1945 - On Wednesday morning, the evacuation of Stalag III C Custodians from Alt Drewitz began. The evacuation of the camp was very chaotic in the face of the Soviet reconnaissance troops. During the evacuation of American prisoners, many of them died during escapes from convoys. There are also numerous reports of former prisoners who have made successful escapees. These accounts have been collected by families and veterans' organizations in the United States, and are available online through The Wartime Memories Project, including sergeant Joseph Beryle; William P. Hall; George Harold Bowdidge; Blankenship; Sergeant Herman Curley; Leo Debesta; Aloysius James McLean - junior; Maurice JA Markworth; Sergeant Gordon Packa; Theodora Peaslanda; Rodney Smith; Daley Thatche; William Wright, Sergeant Richard C. Egan; John E. Krupera; Sergeant Morris W. Sheppard; Gerald Willen; Peter Hanika; Arthur Heindel; Robert W. Hoffmann; Raymond J. Hickey; Mindert M. Bokma; Sergeant James S. Chesser; Wirgila L. Barnes; Harold W. Evans; Sergeant Joseph J. Klein; Vernon H. Kruse; Sergeant Patrick A. Milanese; Bill Bonsall; George A. Hasha and many, many others). Some of them collected by Mr. Sergi Darlak and the author of the text is kept in the school room in the Middle School in Drzewice. To date, research and the search for documents related to the prisoners of war and their fate have been ongoing. Many families are looking for their loved ones by the International Red Cross. In the archives, the American submarine is marked "52 - 14". American war veterans and their families meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania. American POWs were the shortest here, from October 1944 to February 1945. Thanks to the memory of one of the most famous prisoners of the III C camp at Alt Drewitz - the late Sergeant Joseph Beyrle, we can learn about the incredible history of this place from the turn of 1944 and 1945. . In early January 1945, American prisoners of war arrived in the Ardennes. American soldiers were divided in the camp by military structure, battalions, companies and troops. Confident soldiers were created by special conspiratorial camp cells: security, escapes, public procurement, administration and information (a constant radio watch was organized). American prisoners received limited amounts of Red Cross parcels, mostly containing food: condensed milk, preserves, cigarettes, and chocolate. Cigarettes were used as money and they were used for exchange among captives and guards. At the beginning of November 1944, Sergeant Joseph Beyrle organized one of the camp escapes. For 10 packs of cigarettes, the German security guards even summoned the escape of his group of American colleagues through camp wires. In the escape they assisted the prisoners paid in the same way informants who transmitted data related to the distribution of trains passing the line Berlin - Królewiec and Szczecin - Wroclaw. Between the hours of 21 and 23, a group of refugees crossed the camp wires to the railway siding, where she managed to board the freight train without difficulty. The intention was to escape, but instead of escaping eastward, the refugees arrived in Berlin. There, they managed to obtain food and shelter from the Germans, who had promised them help in the further escape to the west. Unfortunately, they were released and fell into the hands of the Gestapo. After interrogation and torture, they were sent to the Luft III camp in Zagan. After seven days in Zagan, they were sent to a camp at the Drzewice camp where they were sentenced to an additional 30 days' detention and locked in cages 183 cm long, 122 cm wide and 152 cm high. Food was served by a limited ration of black bread and water. The temperature of the air often falls day and night below zero. After serving a group of three prisoners with an unassuming sergeant, Joseph Beyrle made another attempt to escape in early January 1945. The decision was made when the radio watch confirmed that the Russians were about 50-100 kilometers from Kostrzyn. This time, when they got to the infirmary, the prisoners hid in the barrels for vegetables and left the camp. Unfortunately on the driveway the car fell over and the prisoners were discovered. The guards opened fire to the refugees from machine guns and killed two of them. Sergeant Joseph Beyrle managed to reach the nearby stream.
At that time, the guards released camp dogs - huge, specially trained to hunt for fugitives, German Shepherds. Beyrle was an experienced commando hiding in the stream, so the dogs could not find his traces and smells. In spite of the terrible frost, he managed to survive in the stream all night and day. The next night he went east, and on the way hid in the barns and during the day he avoided the open space and the people in the farms. On the third day of his escape he came across a Soviet reconnaissance unit. After recognizing the allies, he went up to them with raised hands repeating the famous words: "Americanski Tovarish". The chief of the reconnaissance unit was a major. Beyrle told her in broken Russian that he was a US captive soldier, a refugee from nearby Stalag in Drzewice, and that he wanted to join them and go with them to Berlin and kill the Nazis. After many consultations between the commander and the Soviet commissioners he was allowed to join the squad. He also received a Russian pistol gun. The next morning after the artillery preparations his new unit set off for attack on Kostrzyn. Sergeant Beyrle took part in the action of the armored crew on the American tank of the Sherman type, with the commander of the tank, which was also a woman. During the attack, a German column was shot along with escorted colleagues from the Drzewice camp. During the fight many of his American colleagues were killed, killed by accidental bullets, or mistakenly taken as German soldiers. Many American prisoners were wounded. After the liberation of the camp, Sergeant Beyrle continued to fight with the Russians against the Germans until he was seriously wounded at the end of February and was taken to a field hospital in Gorzow Wlkp, where he met Marshal Zukow, who was able to return to his country. The trip was held in Lódz, Warsaw and Moscow. The US embassy stated that Joseph R. Beyrle was killed in action on June 10, 1944. Initially, he was treated as a spy until his fingerprints were confirmed in Washington. During his stay in Moscow, Sergeant J. Beyrle was under close surveillance and surveillance. After explaining his identity, he met with US Ambassador Averill Harriman and General Dean. Then, along with a group of about 20 other soldiers, was transported to Oddesa. In the group sent back from Moscow there were several war correspondents, generals and colonels. Joseph R. Beyrle was the only non-commissioned officer in this elite United States Army. In Odessa, along with other captives, he was loaded on a ship that went through the Black Sea to Istanbul in Turkey. From Turkey the convoy went through the Mediterranean Sea and landed in Port Said, Egypt. HMS Samaria, Bedford and Circassia were transported along with other prisoners to a military hospital in Naples, Italy. There, the operation was carried out to remove debris and to heal wounds from the Battle of Berlin. After convalescence, he was sent to Boston, USA. Already in the United States, he received a 30-day vacation to visit the family. His family home in Muskegon arrived on April 21, 1945 to meet with the family, who received official US military notification: first, that their son and brother Joseph R. Beyrle was lost in action in France: then he was in captivity: then he was killed in action and finally he was a prisoner of war. The parents received post war death compensation for their fallen son from the US Army Command and after that they ordered a funeral mass which was celebrated on September 17, 1944, in his intention in the church of St. Joseph in Muskegon by Father Stratz. His obituary appeared in the local press. Two years later, just after the war, in the same church on September 14, 1946 our hero married Joanna Hollowell, with whom his daughters and two sons and seven grandchildren lived. After many years, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy, President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin were received by US President Bill Clinton and decorated with the highest military decorations of both states. On September 17, 2002, the extraordinary story of the life of this prisoner of steel in Drzewice was published in book form by Thomas Taylor, entitled "Simple Sounds of Freedom". On June 1, 2004, another JR Beyrle biography was released, this time under the title "Behind Hitler's Lines". The author of this article received from the United States a friend of his friend Jeff Chamberlin, who previously stayed in Kostrzyn under the practice of the "Corps of Peace." Interview with sergeant J. Beyrle also published on his stay on the parade of victory in Moscow "Moscow Komsomolets" on June 7, 2004. In August 2005 on the wall of the church in St. Peter's Square. Come-du-Mont, France, where J. Beyrle landed on June 6, 1944, a commemorative plaque was unveiled. Last year in February 2010 at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and then on May 6, 2010 at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow an exhibition was opened dedicated to this extraordinary hero of two armies by son Joe Beyrle, who since 2008 is the ambassador of the USA in Russia.

01/31/1945 - Reconnaissance units of the 1st Front of the Belarusian 5th Strike Army - 347th Armored Cavalry Regiment of the Colonel W. Mironov began the battle for the Kostrzyn fortress. About 10 am, Stalag III was freed. During the fight from the Russians bullets killed dozens of American soldiers - prisoners of war. Old Drzewice and Warniki were occupied.

31.01.1945 - Drzewice were occupied by troops of 5th Strike Army of General Mikolaj Bierzarin, commanded by Major Mikolaj Mikhailovich Strangkov.

07.02.1945 - A note from the visit of Stalag III C in Alt Drewitz was made in Geneva. A note was made by the YMCA representative, Chr. Christianson.

March 24, 1945 - Bernie was drafted by Chr. Christianson, Secretary of the YMCA, a report on the situation of American prisoners of war in Stalag III.

24.07.1962 - Many exhumations were performed at the former camp in Drzewice.

August 21, 1962 - The area of the former camp and cemetery of Stalag III C were visited by about 400 veterans and former French prisoners of war. Holy Mass was celebrated by Father Witucki from Dabrówka Wielkopolska.

21.06.1984 - Narcissist Lopianowski, an officer of the Polish Army, "quietly", prisoner of Lubyanka, Warsaw Uprising "Sarna" and Stalag III C prisoner in Alt Drewitz in Kostrzyn.

01.09.1989 - To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II on the initiative of Colonel Boleslaw Olszewski, the Cross was dedicated to the cemetery of Stalact III C prisoners in Drzewice.

24.10.1999 - In the framework of the project "History and Contemporary", the City of Warsaw project has developed information on the history of Stalag III C in Alt Drewitz. At the entrance to the cemetery were placed plaques with texts in Polish, Russian, French and German. Mrs. Malgorzata Kraszewska supervised the project. Material queries in Zielona Góra were made by Anna Wasielak and Jozef Piatkowski. Written translations: Anna Zytkowiak and Ryszard Wywial.

03.05.2004 - Mass at the cemetery of prisoners of war Stalag III took place. For the intentions of the murdered and tortured prisoners. During the ceremony, the ground was taken from the cemetery to the urns with the inscription "MORTUS VIVENTES OBLIGANT" - "MEMORANDUM OF LIABLE LIFE." The other land was brought to Italy on Monte Cassino.

04.06.2004 - Mayor Zbigniew Sobkowski participated in the celebration of school holidays in junior high school No. 2. During the ceremony there was the opening of the School of Memory dedicated to the prisoner camp Stalag III C. The initiator of the House was Mr. Sergiusz Darlak.

30.09.2006 - Within the program of the Card Center in Warsaw entitled "Common Place - Eastern Europe", the areas of the former Stalag III C were visited by American analysts from the US Department of Defense - WW II WG (Missing in Action) from Washington: Cory D. Damm and John A. Gray, who was searching for graves of American soldiers in the area of Kostrzyn and its surroundings. These officers and Józef Piatkowski searched the grounds of the former camp and nearby cemeteries. The visit of American analysts in Poland lasted from 13 September. In the final period, Russia's representative, Oleg Borukhin, also joined the list.

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