The “Heydekrug Run” – Stalag Luft VI to Stalag Luft IV

(Posted: March 5, 2012)

The following article is printed with permission  from page 74 of Joe O’Donnell’s “The Shoe Leather Express” – Book 1.   The famous event that is described byWarrant Officer Joseph Pamburn is a famous atrocity that my Father was also exposed to.  Dad was in this group of POWs and endured this brutal “run up the road” to Stalag Luft IV.

 “FROM THE DES MOINES REGISTER   April 22, 1945”

1,000 YANKS RAN GANTLET OF BAYONETS – BY ROBERT C. WILSON

AN R.C.A.F. FIGHTER FIELD IN GERMANY: – Grim details of how American, British, and Canadian war prisoners were made to run a gantlet of slashing German bayonets were told Friday by liberated Canadian airman who survived the torture.

What the prisoners referred to as the “Stettin Janut” occurred last July, said Warrant Officer Joseph Pamburn, Canadian navigator from St. Boniface, Manitoba, when 800 Canadian and British and 1,000 American prisoners were made to run two miles from a train to a new camp.

Their route was lined with German marines who cut and jabbed at them with bayonets and pounded them with rifle butts, all the while yelling to them to escape – while other Germans waited to shoot them down with tommyguns if they tried.

The prisoners were moved from Stalag Luft 6 in East Prussia because of the Russian advances.  They were taken to Memel by train, then by boat to Swinemunde.

When they left the boat, Pamburn said, “we were loaded into freight cars, 24 men to a car.”

“We were on the train 24 hours, during which we had no food.” he added.

Finally removed from the train, they stood for an hour in blazing July sun, the Canadian continued.  Then young German marine guards lined their flanks with fixed bayonets and an officer yelled, “Quick March!”

“As we started running, stumbling because of our packs, the marines closed in on us,” Pamburn said.

CLUBS, POLICE DOGS

“They slashed at our backs, shoulders and groins.  If a man stumbled or fell, he would get bayoneted or be clubbed with rifles.  The marines had German police dogs with them and the dogs would rush in at a fallen man, biting his arms and legs.”

“Everything began to swim before my eyes.  I stumbled, and a marine clubbed me with a rifle butt.  I passed out.  When I came to, a marine was standing over me with a bayonet.  I asked him why they were doing this.  He said, “Your fliers bombed our wives and children.”

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