Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945 
 1 May 1945 to 2 May 1945

But it was understandable considering the bad living conditions and the very trying period of waiting for repatriation.
At this point I should explain something of the negotiations which had occurred concerning the transfer of Allied personnel from Stalag III A to the new camp. Shortly after our liberation we were visited by a Russian General who insisted that we should move to the new camp so that we should enjoy better living conditions during our enforced stay with the Russians. This was the Adolf Hitler Youth Camp near Juterbog, reputedly a show place of Nazi Germany but the SBO demurred on the grounds that (1) it was not a recognised POW camp and therefore liable to attack by the Germans and (2) that a move might further delay our repatriation and (3) that a whole new administration would have to be set up. There the matter rested for a few days until it seemed clear that there was no sign of repatriation for some time and SBO decided to make the move.
On our arrival at the camp it was obvious that its reputation as a show place was well merited as it was situated in a beautiful pinewood setting and the so-called barracks looked more like country mansions. We were directed to HQ building where a billeting party showed us a house where we were to live; the South African billeting Officer calmly told us just to look around and find beds in adjoining buildings which had been allotted to the British and Americans. These had been occupied already by civilian refugees and they resented being turned out and deprived of the beds but eventually we succeeded in obtaining real beds - what a sight these were to POW who had seen only wooden bunks without mattresses for years. Each room was for two and fitted out as well as a West End Hotel but what a shambles met our eyes as much wanton damage had been done, many fittings were smashed, equipment had been stolen, no water or electricity was available and the only food in the kitchen was potatoes.
By 7pm with civilians pouring in constantly it was obvious that to move many thousands of POW into the camp was impossible and in addition it would have taken weeks to make the once beautiful camp inhabitable again. Accordingly the Works Dept unit, to which I belonged, was ordered to return to Stalag III A by lorry so once again we had to pack all our heavy Kit and load it. The small number of Russian troops in the camp were unable or unwilling to deal with the horde of refugees who became increasingly menacing towards the few British and Americans left to guard valuable equipment. After we left, serious trouble developed during which it became clear that many civilians were armed and determined to loot and damage as much as possible; their attitude was 'Germany has destroyed our country, now it is our turn'. They were mostly French, Dutch, Belgians and Italians.

Wednesday, May 2 1945. The following day the remaining POW were withdrawn to Luckenwalde and the Hitler camp left to the refugees who were last seen removing tear gas bombs to their quarters. Our journey back by lorry was more interesting than by foot earlier in the day as it took us along the main road where we saw more signs of the war than in the woods and on the railway line. A large number of tanks, troops and equipment were seen and we realised that operations were still in progress but the troops were all German; probably the main battle had passed them by and they would shortly be rounded up by the Russians.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

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