Bill Goodall's Diaries: 1941/1945 
 8 May 1945 to 15 May 1945

Tuesday, May 8 1945. Further news arrived this morning to the effect that a Russian Lt Col reached the camp last night from Russian HQ with sealed orders but he was so drunk that he was incapable of doing anything. Not until lunch time was he fit to issue any orders and on learning the local situation he ordered the men already on the lorries to return to camp after which all the lorries were to return to the American lines. Then he stated he would not open his orders until all POW wandering around the countryside were rounded up and brought back to camp. This was begun by Russian troops accompanied by RAF officers as the situation was so delicate and then the full orders were published. According to these the Russians would transport us so far as the Elbe where we would be handed over to the Americans who would meanwhile withdraw their bridgehead back across the river.
And so the position rests while all around the camp radios are blaring forth Victory Day celebrations at home - every man here feels bitter resentment against the Russians who have prevented our repatriation and are using armed force against us. All are very worried about our people at home who have had no word from us for months and who probably do not feel much like joining in celebrations.

Thursday, May 10 1945. No further developments as yet but a statement has been issued from the SBO after the latest interview with the Russians. They apparently take a very serious view of what they regard as a dangerous infringement of Russian territory by the Americans and at one point threatened to intern all the American personnel on the lorries. They have ordered all lorries to withdraw at once to the Elbe and they will make an official protest to the Americans about the matter. They base their argument on the fact that they are responsible for our welfare and repatriation under the Yalta agreement and they intend to abide by this to the letter.
Yesterday morning two lorries arrived from Sagan, which is Marshall Koniev's current HQ, and they brought a number of POW who had left here independently and had been rounded up by the Russians in the district. This did not account for the total number who had left but these returned POW said that they had all been well treated; they brought back the news that in our old compound at Sagan, which used to lodge 12,000 POW, there were now 143,000 German POW. Such a number cannot possibly all be under cover.
Late last night more lorries entered the camp for the Norwegians who left during the night on their long way home via Murmansk. They are fine men and we all wish them well. None of us will forget how they shared with us some of their own scanty Red Cross food when we were in dire straits.

Tuesday, May 15 1945. It has been learned that the Norwegians are being taken to a place called Schweibus and thence by cattle truck on the railway to Murmansk, then home by sea.
In the last few days the camp has settled down to a more or less ordered existence and most of us have reached a resigned state of expecting nothing. The only news is that lorries have been ordered from Sagan to take us West but the Russians give no indication of any date.


© 1995 William Motion Goodall & Ian William Goodall 

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