4. The Geneva Convention lays down certain conditions for the treatment of Prisoners of War and it will be seen from this Report that no regard was paid by the Germans to the provisions of the Convention in carrying out the move from Sagan or in the reception at Marlag-Milag Nord. The purpose of this Report is to give a true history of the evacuation and later reception of the Camp of destination and to comment on the infringement by the Germans of certain Articles of the Convention.
throughout the day with people training for marching. Full emergency operational plans were drawn up,
13. Up to the evening of 27th January no change in the official attitude of the German Camp Authorities occurred. Permision for prisoners to make sledges on which to carry extra food and belongings was refysed and several sledges were cinfiscated,
21. At least 200,000 cigarettes were left in the North and East Compounds alone.
22. Many valuable musical instruments, some on loan from the Y/M.C.A. had to be abandoned.
selves, Major Rostck, the Officer-in-Charge, had apparently no experience of handling a march and by attempting to lead 2,000 men in one long column, without intervals between various sections, the column wasconstantly expanding and contacting, causing uncoordinated short halts and no recognised rest periods.
33. Beyond the fact that the first halt was to be at Halbau, a distance of 17 kilometres from Sagan, no information about the route or destination was given.
Frankfurt-on-Oder, and encouraging the hope that the Russians might yet come to the rescue. The column which stretched for more than three miles, looked more like a string of refugees than a military movement. Pots and pans hung from any convenient strap or string, and only a preponderance of Air Force Blue and Army Khaki Greatcoats among the almost infinite variety of Sweaters, accommadation as it was necessary to keep the prisoners in a body, there being too few guards to allow dispersal. In a body they would be required to spend the night "as best they might". The Major had consented however, to arrange for satisfactory accommodation providing a parole was given that the prisoners would not escape whilst in billets. In view of the condition of prisoners and the almost certain severe injury or perhaps loss of life should adequate shelter not be provided, the Senior British Officer had given the parole required. This Parole could not be communicated to the leaders of billets until the day following the and when halts werre ordered men fell asleep automatically by the roadside and had to be rounded up by their friends to go on. Only the hardiest had any spring in their stride by the time the night was trhrough. In such circumstances incidents were bound to occur. One party which had dropped back with a sledge was fired at by a guard when stopping to rearrange their kit. Another, taking advantage of a halt to eat a meal on the roadside, was accosted by a guard with dogs. The dogs, however, proved friendly, and it was the guard who was discomfited. A third party fared better. Entering a public house to obtain supplies. Once again the railway authorities intervened, and the train went on after half an hour's halt, during which only a few cans of water were provided. At about 07.30 hours on 4th February the train stopped on the outskirts of Hannover and here Major Rostck himself gave the order that the prisoners were to be allowed to get water from the neighbouring houses, and told the engine driver that, whatever his instructions from the railway authorities, he was not to contnue until he (Major Rostck) told him to. Those orders were never in fact passed on to the prisoners, but most of them did get enough water for a drink. It is to be noticed that this was the first issue of water since leaving Spemberg - a period of 36 hours. of Stalagluft III up to the point where they joined North Compound at Muskau.
66. Having been given 22.00 hours on Saturday, 27th January, as zero hour for the evacuation, it was not until o6.00 hours on 28th January that they started moving, and not till 07.30 hours that the last man had left the Camp. Owing to this delay, the compound had more time to make sledges, and less food was left prisoners who immediately protested strongly. The English stated they would in no circumstances fall into Russian hands, and that theey preferred to remain German prisoners of war rather than be released. The prisoners requests were granted, and they all gave their parole that they would not attempt to escape, and 30 Officers and a large number of Other Ranks volunteered their services to fight for the Germans against Bolshevism.
82. Prisoners were not informed of their destination - contravening Article 26.
83. The supply of German rations on the march was pitifully inadequate and hopelessly administered - contravening Article 2. but this position was adjusted about the end of February when it became possible to issue a whole parcel to each prisoner each week.
12. No Red Cross clothing supplies were available during my period of internment in this camp, but the generosity of adjacent compounds compensated for this deficiency.