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Stalag Luft IV - Stalag Luft I - the Death March

Discussion in 'What Granddad did in the War' started by A. Randazzo, Sep 12, 2023.

  1. A. Randazzo

    A. Randazzo New Member

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    I'm researching my grandfather's experience in WWII. Herman A. Schroeder passed away in 1991 and never talked about the war to anyone in the family. He was a B17 tail gunner in the US Army Air Force. His plane was shot down over Holland and his crew parachuted to safety (with the exception of the co-pilot A. Galle, who was captured and murdered by the SS). He was a staff sergeant, and I understand the Nazis respected rank and treated the officers better than the enlisted men.
    I'm trying to determine if he participated in the infamous Death March when Stalag Luft IV was evacuated, or if he was transported by train or other vehicle to Stalag Luft I (because of his rank).

    His German POW file mentions two transfers ("versetzungen") the first on 12.12.44, which states as the reason for transfer ("Grund der Verstzung") is Dulag Wetzlar (which is the camp where he was initially interrogated) and the new Camp Stalag IV. The second date is a bit blurred (handwritten) but could be 26.1.45, and the reason just "Verlegh". I have his diary which he kept in Stalag Luft I, which mentions "Barbed Wire Buddies" from Stalag Luft IV, with their names and addresses (half are British names and addresses).

    One US government POW archive has a record of him, which under "camp" mentions: "Stalag Luft 4 Gross-Tychow (formerly Heydekrug) Pomerania, Prussia (moved to Wobbelin Bei Ludwigslust) (To Usedom Bei Savenmunde) 54-16" which seems to be a very common entry on many of these records, which suggests they all suffered the same fate. This must be documented somewhere.

    Any advice or insight is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    Welcome ! Hang in there and I'm sure someone will be along. We have a very diverse group here and truth be told a few actual Experts on WW2.
     
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  3. A. Randazzo

    A. Randazzo New Member

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    Thank you for the encouragement. I’m hopeful someone will know the answer or provide some insight.
     
  4. A. Randazzo

    A. Randazzo New Member

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    My grandfather kept a diary while he was imprisoned in Stalag Luft I. In it, he recorded the names and addresses of several fellow prisoners from the US. This was in a section entitled "Barb Wire Buddies - Stalag Luft #4" I am reproducing the names here in case anyone knows the fate of these men and if by chance their families might have some oral history passed down to them that might shed additional light on what happened to my grandfather:

    Frank Del Gado, 839 E. 83rd St, Los Angeles, CA
    William E. Taylor, 165 Ridge Street, Ironwood, MI
    Kenneth La Salle, 56 McIntyre Street, North Bay Ontario
    Gasper Pizzolato Jr. P.O. Box 385 Plaquemino, LA
    Charles G. Porter, Lexington, AL
    Paul F. Somerville, Fort Neal Parkersburg, WV
    Everette Coates, Wake, P.O., VA
    J.V. McDonald, Jr. Route 1, Forney, TX
    Jack H. Odgen, 9173 Avis Ave, Detroit MI
     

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