German POW Perspective
About 8,600 Australians became prisoners of the Germans during World War Two. German POW camps were generally known as "Kriegies" by the POWs, but were also divided into Stalags, Oflags, and Stalag Lufts. Oflags held officers, Stalags held men of other rank, and Stalag lufts held airmen. There were also camps known as Marlags, which were for captured naval servicemen. Prisoners were held in over 40 major camps all over Germany, from Lithuania to the Rhine. Individual camp layouts varied from camp to camp, but all were enclosed with barbed wire and contained guard towers, manned by armed German soldiers ready to shoot any escapees.
The German POW experience is often overshadowed by the terrible suffering in the Asian camps, but although the Germans generally obeyed the rules of the Geneva Convention, their prisoners did not escape suffering, disease and malnutrition. In 1945 many undernourished prisoners were forced to march in winter to evade liberation by Soviet forces. They were eventually freed by the advancing Allies.
Content owner: Museum Last updated: 07 Nov 2019 1:40pm