Gross Tychow

Military Intelligence Service, War Department Report; Stalag Luft 4

(Posted: March 6, 2012)

The following is found on Page 75 of “The Shoe Leather Express” Book 1 and is a report of the camp conditions documented on July 15, 1944, approximately 2 months after Stalag Luft IV was opened.  The camp would soon grow well beyond its capacity with the arrival of the “Heydekrug Sergeants” who would arrive on July 18th from Stalag Luft VI . . .

AMERICAN PRISONERS OF WAR IN GERMANY

Prepared by MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE, WAR DEPARTMENT 15 July 1944

STALAG LUFT 4

STRENGTH    1,482 AAF NCO’s

LOCATION    Pin-point:  53 degrees 55′ North Latitude.   16 degrees 15′ East Longitude.  The camp is at Gross Tychow, Pomerania, 20 kilometers Southeast of Belgard.

DESCRIPTION

          Opened to Americans on 12 May 1944, this new camp is only one quarter completed.  Its eventual capacity will be 6,400. P/Ws are living in new wooden barracks where ventilation is at present insufficient but will soon be improved, according to the German commandant.  Bathing facilities are not yet finished and P/Ws are unable to bathe.  Toilet facilities are adequate.  The Swiss delegate thinks the camp will be satisfactory when completed.

TREATMENT        Unknown

FOOD

           P/Ws complain about the food situation.  They do not handle the administration of Red Cross parcels and have asked the Swiss delegate to protest against the present system to the German High Command.  In addition, the camp lacks facilities for individual preparation of Red Cross food.

CLOTHING

        The clothing supply is insufficient, pending the arrival of Red Cross shipments.

HEALTH

       Two American doctors are in charge of the temporary camp infirmary.  Need of a dental office has been foreseen but none has yet been installed.

RELIGION       A chaplain has been requested.

PERSONNEL     Unknown

MAIL     Mail arrives irregularly.

RECREATION

       A sports field lies within the camp, but there is no organized recreation, no theater and no canteen.  YMCA representatives recently visited the camp.

WORK     NCOs are not required to work.

PAY       Not known.