|German Prisoner Of War
Camp Stalag IX - A
For Non-Commissioned Officers.
A Return to Stalag IX-A, Trutzhain in the territory of Ziegenhain, Germany:
These photographs are from an album that was liberated from the German officer’s quarters of Stalag IX-A, Ziegenhain, by one of our 106th soldiers. When the camp was overrun by Allied troops the POWs raided the camp offices and guard barracks. Many of our comrades came home with their own POW identification photographs that had been taken for ID purposes by the German Army. A 106th soldier kept the liberated officers album for years and decided that I could use some of the photographs. He gave the album to me to me to use as I saw fit.
The photos that you are looking at - were taken during the initial inspection by a German General (name unknown) on the occasion when a German General was inspecting the facility. That had to be at least back to 1939. You will note that some of the uniforms look as if they came from WWI.
Initially most of the captured soldiers of the 106th, “Privates and Non-Coms” were taken to Stalag IX-B, Bad Orb. On January 23, 1945 most all the non-commissioned officers from the 106th Infantry Division were taken out of Stalag IX-B, Bad Orb and transferred to Stalag IX-A, Ziegenhain on January 23, 1945. Stalag IX-A had been a camp populated with French POWs for at least five years. They were well settled in and had an excellent prison system going for themselves.
Separating POWs by certain “rank” was according to the Geneva Convention which allowed Privates and Corporals to be used on work details and they were placed in “B” Camps. Soldiers over Corporal through Master Sergeant rank were put in separate camps designated “A” Camps, in this case Stalag IX-A, in the territory of Ziegenhain.
One of those 106th non-coms that was shipped to Stalag IX-A was Dr. Richard Peterson PHD. “I” Company, 423rd Infantry Regiment. “Dick” (deceased Oct 2003) was from “I” Company, 423rd Combat Infantry Regiment and was a very dear friend to all of us.
He made many trips back to Ziegenhain, five or six over the years. In fact he made a very detailed study of the facility known as Stalag IX-A. Because of his excellent studies and his association with some of the French former inmates of Stalag IX-A, he was awarded a French medal with high honors.
The camp was identified as the Ziegenhain Stalag, because it was in the territory of Ziegenhain. You might identify it here as being in a “county.” The camp, after the war was occupied by German civilians, because of the severe housing shortage in Germany. Over the years it turned into a small city. The name of the former Ziegenhain facility, now a small city, is Trutzhain in the territory of Ziegenhain.
Dick, in his many trips back to study the camp history became acquainted with some of the German people around the area of the former camp.
The reason for Peterson’s returning to Ziegenhain was that a new street was being dedicated to the French Priest that was so popular in the camp during the five years that the French were held there. He was so well acquainted and so well received by the former French POWs, that they had invited him to the ceremony. He invited me to come along. On the way we spent three days in Bad Orb where many 106th soldiers were held in Stalag IX-B.
One of the citizens of “ Trutzhain” that Dick became acquainted with - was the curator of the museum. All I can remember was Dick called his friend “Monk.” Monk was a former German soldier who had been held in a Russian POW camp. But returned and made Ziegenhain his home.
Dick and I attended that “Ribbon Cutting” dedication ceremony and the celebration afterwards. So - a ribbon cutting ceremony in the little city of Trutzhain (formerly known to us as “Ziegenhain Stalag IX-A) made a great excuse to return.
While there and visiting the Camp Museum I decided to leave the photo album as a gesture of good will. It just seemed the thing to do. Monk, Dick’s friend was so surprised and elated when he viewed the album. The Germans were not aware of the existence of the album. They were completely amazed at all the history it showed. I had taken care to photo copy every page of the album, so I had a back up. I also had permission from the person that had given it to me to do what I wanted with the album.
Also interesting - soon after we arrived in Ziegenhain, Dick took me into the barracks building where he had been held as a POW. It is now a casket factory.
We were escorted, by the owner, back to the very location, very window, very door where Dick was held as a POW. As we toured the building Dick pointed out things that he remembered about the building. He even lifted up the floor covering, in his former area, to expose the very old boards that he had walked over and slept on.
After a very satisfying experience we made our way back to Brussels and flew home.
A great experience remembered as a good man in Dr. Richard Peterson that I shall always miss.
A salute to you, Dick – Thanks for your friendship.
Letter from an Italian prisoner of war at Stalag IX-A
Message Side 11/11/1943
|Page last revised 11/14/2006|