Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945 
 22 April 1945 to 27 April 1945

About 6am there was a loud burst of cheering from the Russian compound nearby and on rushing outside we found a Russian armoured car surrounded by a wildly excited crowd of Russian POW. It did not stay long enough for many in the camp to see the first indication of liberation but it collected two senior Russian Officers and went to HQ where it called for General Ruge, an American Colonel and an interpreter. The two latter rode on the outside of the car as it made its way to Luckenwalde town but on its route the armoured car was fired on by a group of Germans; the outside passengers quickly vacated their position into a ditch from which they retraced their steps to camp while the car continued to Luckenwalde with the General.
Spirits in the camp rose fast and about 11 o'clock six Russian tanks and several lorries entered the camp to be greeted by great cheers from the entire personnel who were still confined to their own compounds unless on duty. One tank on its way through the compound simply mowed down the wire alongside our compound. The Russian troops looked tired but cheerful as they responded to our greetings and we all remarked on their tough appearance - a number of Mongolians amongst them.
The tanks went straight to the Russian compound where the prisoners were addressed by the Tank Commander and within half an hour the tanks left the camp closely followed by all the Russian POW except those who were too ill to walk. No one ever knew what happened to these prisoners but there seems little doubt that some of them joined the front line troops immediately; the Russian authorities apparently took the view that it was dishonourable to be taken prisoner and no doubt many of them tried to rehabilitate themselves this way.
This episode was felt to be the highlight of the period as it marked our definite liberation from the Germans but we were still in Russian hands and from this time on morale fell; nearly all danger was past, tension relaxed and everyone was interested in just one thing - getting home.

Friday, April 27 1945. As the days passed with nothing happening spirits got lower as boredom increased and as I write this today a feeling of restiveness is very apparent.
The battle moved away rapidly and we realise how lucky we have been in having avoided any casualties while one of the greatest battles in history surged past us on all sides. Nevertheless the lack of any news as to our future is causing a lot of grumbling and I admit to having done a good deal myself but a cool look at the situation shows it to be a difficult one. It is clear that we cannot be moved until either the Russians and Americans achieve a broad link up to the South of us or the Russians can relieve the transport congestion which is bound to occur to the East. The real trouble is that most of us were confident that we would be evacuated within 48 hours of liberation and probably this would have happened if the Americans had arrived first.
One of the first results of the Russian presence was an improvement in our food supply with the arrival of butter, fresh meat and fresh bread. Parties of Russian Officers are frequently in camp and so far we have been favourably impressed by them, both in their attitude and in their efforts to make our stay more comfortable.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

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