The Prisoner of War No 36 Vol 3 April 1945

Aprix, 1945 The Prisoner of War 3 Released by the Russians When they reach this old fortified city of the Ukraine, built by the Empress Catherine in 1784-1792, and now badly damaged in the war, British p.o.w.s are taken to warm and spacious quarters in large buildings adapted as rest homes, where hot baths and excellent food are provided. Worn uniforms and ragged underclothes are exchanged for new out­fits, comprising great-coats, battle- dresses, and warm underwear. New badges of rank and medal ribbons are issued to those entitled to wear them. “See you in Berlin ”Various entertainments have been arranged to infill the days of waiting until ships can take the men home. Winter in the Ukraine is both longer and colder than in Western Europe. In January the temperature is much the same as in Stockholm at that time of year, whilst in July it is 011 a par to that inexperienced Madrid. As the first repatriate ship, a luxury liner o( pre-war days, weighed anchor with her load of excited, happy men, someone shouted to the crowd of Rus­sians watching from the quayside: "Th kan s for everything. See you again soon, in Berlin.” The remark brought a thunderous reply from the Russians— ‘‘Da,d a”(Yes, yes) roared back from a dozen throats. Russian seamen at Odes s a .watch the ships depart. tion passed through Mos­cow, where a special British staff is now established to contact released British p.o.w.s, 011 their way to Odessa. (By courtesy of “Soviet War X e x ")-Others Red Cross personnel plan to join those now in Russia, and together they hope to setup a semi­ permanent depot at Odessa, with sup­plies of Red Cross comforts sufficient for RELEASED by the Russians during their swift advance into'Eastern Ger­many, 400 British prisoners of war are, at the time of writing, 011 their way home to the United Kingdom. They form an advance party which will be followed by others, bringing ever larger numbers of freed captives back to those who have waited so long for their return. The majority of these men come from camps near Torun, Stalags X X A and X .BX A second shipload of repatriates fol­lows closely in the wake of the first. Upon arrival in the United Kingdom they will receive 42 days’ home leave, after which they will attend a medical board. Then, depending 011 their state of health, they will either return to their units for a course of training ,in the United Kingdom, or receive the hospital treatment which has been prescribed. Three Welfare Officers of the British Red Cross St.and John War Organisa- 10,000 men. These comforts include books, games, tobacco, cigarettes, soap and other toilet requisites, handkerchiefs, gramophones with recordings of E.N .S.A .shows’, etc. Rood, clothing ^ind medical supplies are also being sent "to supplement those pro­vided by our Russian allies. Special consignments of tea, milk, sugar and biscuits will be available to re­patriates during the journey home, so that they may enjoy ‘‘elevenses.” More Are Coming Almost everyday trains draw into Odessa, chief southern port of Russia, bringing prisoners rescued by the Red Army— British, American, French, etc.— a great many of them civilians freed from internment camps. Ex- Internees Welcomed Home AFTER years of internment, between two and three hundred British civilians, men, women and children, have been released from the German camps of Biberach, Wurzach, Liebenau and Hag VII. The large majority of those freed are, Channel Islanders, who were forcibly de­ported from their homes by the Nazis in September, 1942. A number of medical cases with their families were included in the draft. Fourteen men who joined this repatria­tion had been scheduled to join a pre­vious one, but were upheld in Sweden at the last minute. They had been detained at the request of the German Govern­ment when the total number of British to be exchanged was found to exceed that of the German. Help and Gifts At tht1 port of embarkation at Gothen­ burg, in Sweden, and during the home­ward voyage in the Drottningholm, the Homeward bound in­ternees leave Liebenau camp. Swedish Red Cross looked after the comfort and welfare of the repatriates. When they reached the United Kingdom they were met by officers of the British Red Cross, who gave them every assistance in addition to dispensing gifts ofxhoco- 1 a es,t cigarettes and newspapers. Warm clothing costing up to £io per head had been provided by the British Red Cross, through their Swedish colleagues, to each ex-internee before sailing. The Ministry of Health is responsible for all arrangements made for the recep­tion of British civilians released from enemy hands. There are excellent hostels provided at the port of disem­barkation, where those requiring tem­porary accommodation may stay. Previous repatriations took place in January, 1942, October, 1943, and August and September, 1944.
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