Life in Stalag 7A Moosburg. FEB

Report of a lieutenant of the 11th Infantry Regiment captured the Castle Hill and their stay in Germany in 1945:

Odyssey of a "Krige" (1)

By Emilio Varoli, Lieutenant of the Reserve, born in Sao Paulo in 1912, was a veterinarian in civil life. He commanded a platoon of the 11th RI in the war, being awarded the Combat Cross 1st Class, Bronze Star Medals and War Campaign in Brazil and promoted to Captain to return to the reservation. It was the only infantry officer to be captured by the Germans, the third attack on Monte Castelo.
Main Tower input field

A) Questioning

the Captured December 12 attack on Abetaia, was taken to one of the houses of this village, where I was treated with deference even before he identified me as an officer. the evening made ​​me climb Mount Castello, forcing me to walk, despite the freezing of the feet. Needless to say the suffering I caused that increase, which was nothing but a miserable dragging of feet numb, followed by a fall in the mud. Only later, among Americans, who explained the freeze with all the details and its treatment, is that I realized that this had saved me walking feet gradually restoring circulation. Arrived at the command of the Company, located about ten feet below the soil on top of a hillock, I found six soldiers of the 1st RI [Infantry Regiment] had also been captured that day. I was greeted by a friendly German Captain, who was a medical officer serving with the wounded Germans. They gave me a little brandy and began to talk to me in English. At one point the Captain tells me: - Frankly, you Brazilians are either crazy or very brave. I never saw anyone move on guns and well-defended positions with such contempt for life. - Captain, we fulfill orders. - I know that. But the Brazilian troops in the attack today lost a hundred men killed and wounded [145 were actually lower], against five killed and thirteen wounded us. - Captain, Brazilians do not flee the fight, no matter what. - You are real devils. In my opinion, after the German soldier who is unquestionably the best in the world, Brazilians and Russians are the best fighters I've ever seen. - That's your opinion but not mine. Then the Captain asked for my ID and told me that that night I should be sent to the command of the Regiment [Reg 1045, the German DI 232], on the other side of Castle Hill. We parted, and along with the six Brazilian soldiers resumed the ascent. would be about three o'clock in the morning when we got to the PC located in the Rules of Procedure Pavullo Frignano south, where we were housed in a barn. In the morning we were awakened by a German who spoke Portuguese correctly and said he lived in Santa Catarina during a dozen years. He told us we were going to the presence of the Commander of the Regiment and gave us instructions on how we should behave in front of him. It was only then that I observed and my fellow prisoners. A 3rd Sergeant, two cables and three soldiers. Sergeant, of a brownish color, seemed to enjoy the esteem of his colleagues, but had no opportunity to clarify that right now, because soon after we were taken to the command line and placed in a corridor. opens the door and there is a major typically Prussian, with gray hair and frowning. He looked at us in silence and as I faced the sergeant growled disparagingly "Ein nigger." He went on several vague questions through the interpreter, and withdrew. Soon after I was questioned by a young lieutenant and that left me speechless was noted that he knew things about the FEB that I absolutely ignored and that seemed true. Despistá tried it as possible, do not know if I could. We were then sent to Albineri and then to Parma and Montova. Here, for the first time I entered a temporary camp (Dulag) prisoners, armed with the famous bearded. Separated soldiers, was housed in a large shed where I found two majors, four captains, two lieutenants and four Canadian English and American lieutenants. I reported to Major in charge (I'll call Jones) and he introduced himself to other officers. Entabulando conversation I found that if he had eaten so far passably, from that moment should learn to tighten the belt, because the food we served was scarce and was summed up in a mug of hot water with chicory, ersatz coffee in the morning, a shell soup at lunch and 250 grams of bread with a piece of sausage or cheese in the afternoon. This was intended to keep us in a state of malnutrition, thus breaking all resistance caprice orders or attempts to escape. As I have observed was, my companions had some practice of venality of the guards, because I had managed to exchange several as watches and other trinkets for food. As I have some relatives in Mantova, looked just a way to escape and shelter me with them until you find the opportunity to cross the lines. Studying the place I saw that the output was made ​​possible by the lake of Mantova. I talked about with Major Jones but he soon disagreed, saying that when the Germans give for my flight would take revenge on them to stay. No longer discuss the matter and was awaiting an opportunity to escape.
Input from Stalag 7A
(II) the way to Germany

the next day [two weeks later] morning we received orders to embark, because we would be removed to a defined area and there by nine o'clock we left with a strong escort, passing through the streets of Mantova estaçãozinha a suburban road. We were picked up, the officers, a wagon transporting animals, closed in the middle of a network of barbed wire and occupy one of the halves. The discomfort was huge because there cabíamos all sitting at the same time in that small space and so we established a relay to sit and lie down every two hours. However, the relay was the most unpleasant of Box requirements, a box placed in a corner with a top and on one of which must sit on the lack of space. the other half of the car going to the four armed guards teeth. Just before the departure of a train heard an outcry over the composition until a sergeant arrived at the height of our car. - Take off your boots and throw them out here - he cried. We pretend not to have it heard or understood. The Little Man grew red with anger: - Throw the boots, I said, there is not going to take them by force. No one answered. Sergeant climbed into the car and started driving in insults and apocalyptic threats. Major Jones then went to a captain of our group who spoke German correctly: "Tell this idiot that he is addressing officers and none of us will take the boots"; meanwhile revidávamos in the 'kindness' of crude in several languages. The message was broadcast in full and furious man came back shortly afterwards with a Captain. This went gently to the Major and told him: "If you give me your word of honor that does not try to flee , allow him to keep his boots. ' The Major replied that he did not give a requested word, however, assured him that if the occasion presented itself fugiríamos tiraríamos forthwith and not the boots. Captain smiled and turned to the guard: "If any of them try to escape, shoot to kill ', and gave orders to the train departure. Indeed, in the afternoon [24 December, after four days of travel] and then followed the train stopped at Mossburg, where we descend. We were immediately directed to a vast field, which we knew to be the Stalag 7-A. III) begins the life of a prisoner on the field soon after the gate stood a sort of triumphal arch made ​​of wood, on which were carved the figures of UN soldiers, imprisoned and walking under escort by a road which had a sign that read 'Nach Berlin "(" To Berlin') and below in large letters: 'Only then will come to Berlin. " We address in a large tent, where we huddled on the floor covered with straw and stayed there for six days in quarantine. Finally, on December 31, we sent a large hall and forced to take off her clothes, which was searched thoroughly . Then we move to a hall bath, while our clothes were sterilized in steam. It was the first bath I took since December 10 and spend more than 40 days before receiving another. After the bath, in exchange for the identity cards receive a numbered plaque and from that moment I was prisoner No. 143040 of Stalag 7 - A. We were then given paper so that we send a message to the family through the International Red Cross, but the Major Jones noted that the form said that the message would be irradiated at the time of propaganda that Germany was sending to all countries enemies and all refuse. Across five barbed wire fences, we came to a shed located right in the middle of the field where we were introduced to Major Smith, in charge of the prisoners, who appointed the beds and block. The block was a group of 4 or 5 prisoners receiving block everything that was distributed as food rations, Red Cross parcels, blankets, cigarettes, etc.. The system of 'abundance' eating Mantova was identical to the packages and not out of the Red Cross, I believe that few of we would have gone out of there alive. My block was composed of a Major, a Captain and a Lieutenant Medical Troops De Gaulle and me. Captain not seem like much to me and complained to Major for having me placed on the block, you just said, in French, I would ask is that switching to another block. Once the surprise, he came to himself and asked a thousand apologies for the rudeness, while the flags despregadas Major laughed. After the meal filled me with questions about Brazil and it was then that I began to notice how our country is a 'great unknown'. Surprised to know that in Brazil the teaching of French is required in gyms as well as many other things, which had not the slightest idea. In short, we became very good friends, especially the Major, owner of a good mood unchanged. Then began that monotonous life; dawn at 7 am, graduating to 7.30 at 8 hot soup for dinner at 5 and 11. The soup was a shell of hot water where some vegetables and accidentally swam a bit of meat horse. The only day that the 'menu' was improved on Thursday when we received a barley soup with some consistency. The so called supper consisted of 200 g. Potato bread, 300 gr. of potatoes in the proper state to be thrown out and a piece of cheese or sausage. It was not the Red Cross packages and many among us would have died of sheer starvation, because the calculation of daily food calories provided by the German food barely amounted to 600, second evaluation by our doctors. The shed where I was staying was divided into two parts by the kitchen, which was maintained only for the representative of the 'Protecting Power' (Switzerland) see that we were treated well and we had everything. In each one half is housed a hundred men. At first, I do not know why, the Germans provided us with a bit of coal and wood that were used in the kitchen for heating food and make some tea as well as greenhouse accommodation. The cold was terrible, having reached the 20th below zero, but as the kitchen working and studying in short periods could still tolerate the temperature keeping us in the grave most of the time.

Nameplate prisoner

Queue Ranch field

IV) Incidents in the routine of prison camp
Behold, a day some prisoners managed to escape. It was a God help us! The Germans doing a tremendous display of strength, armed with guns and accompanied by portable packs of 'mastiffs' put us out of the accommodations and we are outdoors exposed to the falling snow in abundance, while they searched the tent. After that the call started, which lasted for one hour. Conference of numbers, sum, whispers among the officers of the call. New call, new conference and new whispers. After all, the German captain in charge of the service called Major Smith and entabularam this curious dialogue: - Major, missing three prisoners. - Yes - said the Major. - But can not miss. - But the truth is missing - retorts the Major. - But you can not miss that prisoners - insists the Captain. - The prisoners did not tell Mr. missing? There is three? Ai is the fact. - Notice that while it does not clarify his whereabouts, you will not return to the tent. - Captain, I have no idea about. After many confabulations between the guards, we got them to throw insults and then allowed us to come back to the barracks. The magazine was repeated two more times during the day and once at night, always with the same apparatus. In the days following the harassment continued, but were slowly calming down and everything returned to normal. (1) Krige - abbreviation for Kriegsgefangen (In German - prisoner of war) used by the Americans and British. V) more prisoners arrive in late January we learned that a strong contingent of airmen should reach Moosburg and began a tremendous hustle to prepare other barracks intended to lodge- them. They were close to 4,000 officers of the AAF, RAF, RCAF and some infantry coming from Stalag Luft 3 at Sagan, in northern Germany, evacuated before the Russian advance in that sector. cansadíssimos arrived and many patients walking either because displacement was carried out on foot for hundreds of miles, having been shipped to a point near Moosburg. The walk was so painful that I was told later some of these officers, the guards who escorted endured not carry their weapons with them delivered to the prisoners themselves. They were commanded by Colonel Goodrich, AAF, an official of the strongest I ever met. The hustle and bustle was tremendous, as were the accommodations that include 400 men instead of 200 and all available space was occupied in the twinkling of an eye. There was no other solution, due to Stalag 7-A has received many prisoners evacuated from other sectors, at the time housed more than 100,000 prisoners of all ranks and nations. It became, I think, the most important field of Germany at that time. [In fact, on January 1, 1945, the field had 76,248 prisoners, mostly French - c. 38,000, that an area of 350,000 m2]. me I will post at the entrance to enjoy the movement and when I returned to my cot, a surprise awaited me. My mattress was full of cigarettes, socks and other things utilíssimas that the newcomers had left. N could hardly believe what he saw and tried immediately to seek donors to thank them for their kindness and I was getting to know a great group of fellows. Were airmen who had met Brazil in the passage, when his travels from our northern counterparts, seized the occasion to repay them to a Brazilian. Henceforth my name in the tents became 'Brazil'. VI) The admirable American organization Two days later Colonel Goodrich took command of the prisoners and started several internal changes to the distribution and organization of groups. I was highly surprised to be aware of the General Staff Colonel Goodrich, who came to control and protect all our life in the field. Soon the Americans who met in Mantova and I went to the presence of Lieutenant-Colonel X, Chief of Security and woe began to research all of us. My companions had to identify themselves by means of other officers who were already out of any suspects, all members who had identified them. When I realized that Colonel X was going to pass to another subject, as I had not been investigated, asked him: 'Colonel, and I?' - 'Well, Brazil, have you ever been investigated. Besides the Germans would not be so naive to put a 'phony' that draw so much attention. He then proceeded to tell us about the organization summary of the General Staff, which consisted of various services such as security, Information, Escape, Food, and others that do not occur and the precautions we should take. had to be careful what we say, because the Germans used to introduce 'phonies' (spies disguised as prisoners) between the 'Kriges' to know what was happening between them and these times of change of the field were utilized due to confusion and mixture of various primitive groups. We should not make comments about the newsletter received daily from the BBC (only on the day of liberation is that I knew that they were able to introduce field, a complete unit radio that worked in the lining of our tent). Whatever the service that some fellows were doing, we should play the three monkeys, ie, not seeing, not hearing, not to mention, much less ask questions which incidentally were not answered. He spoke to us after the service leaks. If someone were applying a 'sea change' was to present his credentials and a plan for officers seconded to it. If the plan was feasible, the officer would receive maps of the region to escape the cross, money, food and a fake identity card with skill down to the smallest detail, and addresses in several cities in Germany and Austria. maps were copied a collection that had been taken on loan at the Office of the German Command in Sagan. Being all ready moved up the plan. Broke up a door or danificava up the wiring and there was a group of soldiers responsible for repairs. Among them was already one, scheduled to replace the officer and this, the work is finished out with the gang. Once the tents of the soldiers, the American sergeant who was part of the Service Flight arranged easy way to send him to work in Munich, Freising or elsewhere, where he disappeared. [Note: Varoli was 1st Lieutenant and, like all officers prisoners, was separated from the soldiers, as a way to remove the leadership of the troop. For the Geneva Convention officers are not required to work, so they left the field, as the soldiers employed in jobs. This explains why the need to disguise himself as a soldier to start the escape]. Barracks Field Street Field

The information service worked perfectly. Every day at 11:30 hours, postávamos guards at all entrances and windows, while the charge sheet read in the press daily BBC This press release was distributed was commissioned by the Chief Information Officer and recorded in code, one for each charge, so that the catch him several German charge could not say that those documents were subversive nature. One day, despite the recommendation of Colonel X, I asked one of the commissioners to show me the statement and it satisfied my curiosity, I believe that Sanskrit or Persian would be more intelligible than that bunch of gibberish. Service Mapping for turn, had made ​​a map of Germany about two square meters of paper, and so we watched the march of events marking the lines of combat forces. Of course, these lines were marked according to the German statement came almost daily, but for half an hour we had a day's work 'fix' them with data from the BBC At first the Germans did not care about the map, but after a certain time began to suspect something and pulled out one of those displaced in the customary 'manu militari' and tore the map. Three days later, there was another in place. It was also torn. It took a few days and came yet another, but this time painted on the wall itself. The Germans gave up. Outside U.S. included in the group and continued in the command tent. soon found that with the arrival of prisoners from Luft 3, the attitude of Germans toward us worsened considerably, although the energy of Colonel Goodrich, who says in passing , was not afraid of anything. often learned by the back door of stormy interviews that he held as Kommandant of the field, even the threat of punishment when it ended the war. The determination of the existence of a misuse of Red Cross parcels for part of officials of the field, led to a formal complaint to those made ​​by Colonel Goodrich's representative "Protecting Power" and gave as a result of the coming three German generals rushed for inquiries. then ran the "Kommandatur" field was involved in an extensive network of black market of the products contained in packages of Red Cross and the origin of which the Gestapo so far been unable to discover. At the same time demanded that Colonel Goodrich was distributed a weekly package each prisoner and not half as accomplished so far. In response, the Germans further decreased the ration that provided us, and what is worse, started to deliver the raw foods and more crappy while suspending any provision of coal or wood. Of course we could not eat raw food, so we started to make fire using us in the beginning, the boards of beds, leaving a minimum number of these not enough to caíssemos on the downstairs neighbor during sleep. This material, as is well seen, was short-lived . Once classes were organized for firewood where possible. Studied the tents, found that they were made ​​to two feet above the ground floor and had a double. It was more than evident that the current situation of the floors was superfluous and we began to disassemble the bottom and distribute it equitably. work, penosíssimo, we had to act in the cold basement without attracting the attention of the guards, was done by scales. This 'mine' lasted some time, but eventually. They began to be made ​​studies on the ceiling and roof. Put the guards, climbed some officers, who in civilian life were engineers builders in order to calculate how many-beams and joists could be removed without causing the collapse of the roof beams and many were being used. VII) Our Commander Colonel life, despite of feeding difficulties and cold reigning, took a different apesto a result of activities of Americans. Language courses were organized, mechanical, archeology, etc.., And how many friends were interested in learning Portuguese and Spanish, organized several groups of students and entertained us so effectively: they learn or improve Spanish or Portuguese and I practice English . Some time later my friend Rodney called and asked me to accompany him to the gate where there was anyone who wished to speak with me during the trip and gave me the welcome news that there was an aviator FAB I ran over there and came across Lieutenant Josino Maia Assisi [1st Lt. killed on 01/21/45] who had been shot down in combat. We hugged and we began to talk for an hour or so, we felt the homesickness killing of our language. Finally, Josino had to go to his tent which was a few dozen yards away and said goodbye, so long to find us soon. Josino told me that he was with Lieutenant ....... [1st Lt. Othon Corrêa Netto, dropped on 3/26/45], also shot in Italy. I became acquainted with this fellow a few days later, through the bars of wire.

Cartun satirizing escape attempt

Cover the field collection of cartoons

VIII) release

With the approach of spring, the Allied armies were getting ever closer to Moosburg and early April we learned that Hitler had given orders to remove all the officers of Stalag 7-A Berchtesgaden, where the hostages might serve in the last battle to be fought. The American command then organized in companies, battalions, and to resist any eventuality. A few days more and the Allied Command radiated a warning to the German Command forbidding any movement of prisoners of war under penalty of terrible reprisals. ran just the voice of Hitler furious at this, ordered the SS to make a clearing in our field, having Marshal Goering opposed to it, sending a contingent of the Luftwaffe quickly to ensure our lives. The fact is that in mid-April Reichwehr troops were replaced by the Luftwaffe. The morning of the 29th [April 1945] bordered promising a beautiful day. At nine o'clock, more or less, a Ratata cuts the air followed by some scattered rifle shots. It was a general stampede. Some bullets went whistling through the countryside. At one o'clock a prisoner yells, - Look there in the church tower! The American flag! - And ran like a madman. It was a delight! Everyone wanted to go in the stalls to see it more closely, many hugged crying, screaming, jumping. Finally, a real pandemonium. "

Source of this article: Testimony of reserve officers on the FEB