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jimbobsson

Sprottau

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jimbobsson

I have a number of postcard photos of the WW1 PoW camp "Sprottau" in lower Silesia,Poland.Now known as "SZPROTAWA". Little is known about it.Some say it was for prisoners with TB and other illnesses.Some that it was international prisoners,and that it was a very bad camp.My postcards appear to be of a Propaganda nature.They show the prisoners had theatres,churches,hospitals,Small holdings,raised pigs,chickens,vegetables.held committees and were generally well looked after.Why is so little known about it.

All my images are scanned using "Jpeg"and would appear to be too big to attach to this message??. Can anyone help with either of these problems.I am very new to this forum and new to computers.Any help greatfully received.jimbobsson

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archangel9
jimbobsson

John,I'm Very new to this and other site on WW1.The lack of SPROTTAU PoW camp information is the only thing I'm following at present.I shall give your"site info"a go.Any success I'll post here.Many thanks.Sprottauboy

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jimbobsson

Hi John,I have looked at the site you suggested:www.gutenberg-e.org/steuer and found it very interesting.The Y.M.C.A. organisation did great work for PoW camps in Europe and mentioned the "Propaganda Camps" where the prisoners got the best of things.Sprottau camp was mentioned a couple of time but, without any details.I will keep digging and hope someone else has more info. Thanks again for your info.Sprottauboy

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Guest frank25

Hi, read your post and I am very interested in any photos of Sprottau POW camp. My grand father was a POW there from 1916 until the end of the war. I know the camp held Russians, French and English. Some worked on local frams and others in local factories, there was an infirmary dealing with all kinds of illnesses the prisoners had. I beleive TB was a big problem in the camp, grand father was in it himself for some months.

I have over 60 photos of the camp, including pictures of the prisioners, the actors in the theatre groups. Also some of the POWs who worked in the factories and on the farms, as well as a few of the football matches organised between the French and English POWs and even a few of a funeral held in the camp for one of our men who died whilst there. You are welcome to any or all of them if you wish, I have scanned them all.

I would be really pleased to see any photos you have of the camp or its facilities my email address is Benok93@googlemail.com

For the past few months I have been in contact with a photo journalist who lives in what is now Szprotawa he is collecting all kinds of information on the camp and I know he would also be very happy to see the images for his research. His email address is borynam@interia.pl

I have a number of postcard photos of the WW1 PoW camp "Sprottau" in lower Silesia,Poland.Now known as "SZPROTAWA". Little is known about it.Some say it was for prisoners with TB and other illnesses.Some that it was international prisoners,and that it was a very bad camp.My postcards appear to be of a Propaganda nature.They show the prisoners had theatres,churches,hospitals,Small holdings,raised pigs,chickens,vegetables.held committees and were generally well looked after.Why is so little known about it.

All my images are scanned using "Jpeg"and would appear to be too big to attach to this message??. Can anyone help with either of these problems.I am very new to this forum and new to computers.Any help greatfully received.jimbobsson

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Holmeboy

Hi,

Are the funeral pictures of Private Thomas Wiles, he came from our village Holme on Spalding Moor, so we've done quite abit of research on him.

Chris

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TPASMDS

Hi there - realise this is an old thread but in case it's re-checked . . .

 

My wife's grandfather was also a POW there.He shipped over to France just in time for the Spring Offensive and was captured with six other survivors in his section after a week of shelling and gas attacks. He was transferred by train to a bandaging station for a few days, and then onto Sprottau. Like others, he was given a book of postcards to send word (via the Red Cross) about his situation, but kept hold of the thing as a memento. It was a common thing to have a photograph taken and made into a postcard you could send to someone (A sort of WW1 selfie) and he had a few of these done of himself in his uniform before he shipped out.

The Sprottau ones also serve a propaganda purpose. They show nice, clean facilities, even have images of prisoners engaging in theatrical shows - all designed to show how wonderful the Germans were being to the POWs, music hall distractions and all. What struck me was the quality put into the book - thick cards with very clear photpgraphs and a sheet of tissue paper between eachone, like a wedding album. Not like the sort of cheap stuff you'd get these days!

 

The reality in the camp was very different; there was no food. All available supplies were going to the front and the labour to work the farms etc, had also been drained by the war effort - all able bodied men were in the army. For two weeks they had to survive on potato peelings. After that, they started to get sent on work parties to local farms and fields to provide the missing labour. From this point onwards, they were able to scavenge or steal additional food from the places they worked. His wages book, which was also supposed to double as a diary (although contained very few pages for this purpose) became a list of things he'd been able to grab while the guards hadn't been looking : "a whole cob of corn!" is faintly pencilled for one date. After this he stopped writing until one final entry at the end of the war: "Liberated".

Included in the parcel of items we have of his, is another picture postcard from a French soldier he met and befriended at the camp. Like his own postcards, it was probably done just after he'd signed up, and the man on the photograph looks very striking and handsome in his greatcoat and peaked cap. "I do not look like this anymore" he says, on the back, indicating that starvation must have taken a toll on many of the survivors. The card is a response to a letter or similar card - there's talk of being reunited with loved ones and having the families meet eachother at some point, although they never did.

 

It's a sad collection of things, like many people from the war, he never spoke about what happened, even to his son (my father-in-law). His memory of the camp he just labelled "horrific", although it was probably slightly better than the preceding offensive which saw almost everyone with him killed. "All the officers were dead or ran away", he said. The six others who were with him wanted to go out fighting when they saw the German troops advancing, but as the ranking NCO he was able to persuade them to surrender instead.

A note of hope though- also included in the bundle is a more recent photograph, in colour. He's on holiday, on a beach, sitting in a deckchair reading a paper on his lap with an ice-cream in one hand. His kids are making a sandcastle near his feet - looks like some British seaside resort, possibly soon after WW2. I find it interesting that he included it with his wartime mementos - almost a sort of statement that "I made it, and now I've got a family of my own" perhaps.   
 

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bridget horne

My grandfather Ronald Horne of the North Staffordshire Regiment.   A copy of Ronald Horne's POW card which was filled out by the Germans after he was captured on March 21, 1918 - at the Third Battle of the Somme. If you look close enough you can see the words"schenkel schuss" in German - means gunshot leg and his battalion was pretty much wiped out - so he was pretty lucky he survived.

We know so little of his history that anything adds greatly to our understanding of the time.   One thing i   was told is that he did not get home until late December well after the end of the war.  

 

I wonder if your father in law and my grandfather may have known each other?  

rhorne-pow card.JPG

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