This is part of a postcard of the camp in Bocholt before WWII. You can see the entrance with the "Kommandantur".
A short history of the camp:
camp for members of the Austrian "Sturmabteilung" (SA) who flee and left Autria because of the attempted coup of July 1934, where the Austrian chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß was killed. These thousands of SA members were called "Österreichische Legion" (Austrian Legion). That's why the street next to the former camp is named "Wiener Allee" (=Vienna avenue)
After the Austrian Anschluss, which was the 1938 annexation of Austria into Greater Germany by the Nazi regime, it was possible for the Österreichische Legion to left Germany and to go back to Austria.
In 1938 a very big shooting range was built next to the camp, which still exsists
Furthermore, a little Kleinkaliber-Schießstand still exsists.
The German Reichsarbeitsdienst (RAD) used the camp with 2000-3000 people.
1939 - 1944
The camp was used for allied prisoners of war (POW's) and got the name Stalag VI F (camp number "F" in the Wehrkreis "VI", Münster).
After the Allies landed in Holland (Arnheim) in September, the front got closer to Bocholt so that the camp was evacuated to Münster.
Volkssturm members, who had to build up the Westfalenwall, evacuated persons from hospital and Soviet "Fremdarbeiter" lived in the camp.
The camp was used for POW's from Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Yugoslavia, Poland and Ukraine who were all members of the former German Wehrmacht.
Jews used it as a transit camp on there way from concentration camps to Israel.
Homeless families from Poland, Ukraine, Yugoslavia and Baltic states lived here (Displaced Persons=DP's)
Transit camp for homeless foreigners and refugees from the Soviet SBZ in East Germany.
DP camp for people from Hungary who had to left their country because of the rebellion which was put down cruely by Soviet troups. About 2892 people.
Parts of the camp were used by the German army Bundeswehr.
Area for recreation to jog or go for a walk in the forrest. Today it's part of the Bocholter forrest Stadtwald.
A memorial was built that reminds of all the prisoners.
This is a plan of the SA camp before 1938 so that the Russian part ("Neues Lager"=new camp) in the north is missing.
During WWII and the post war
November 13th 1939:
the first 400 prisoners from poland arrived who left between 17th to 27th.
May 10th 1940:
border troups from the Netherlands came.
May 12th 1940:
1000 more prisoners came
May 19th 1940:
3500 more prisoners came who stayed not so long in Bocholt
May 22nd 1940:
2300 prisoners from England, France and Senegal came.
October 1941 to 1942:
more than 1736 Soviet prisoners died because of hunger and epidemic typhus. Not so long ago in the newspaper of Bocholt there were a lot of discussions because it is assumed that much more prisoners died in this camp. I try to write a bit more about this in a few weeks...
Septmeber 16th 1944:
first Allied prisoners from the Netherlands arrived. Ca. 100 English men and 10 soldiers from America.
September 18th 1944:
the camp got evacuated. Now Stalag VI F was in Münster. 2200 prisoners were brought eastern.
the camp was used for thousands of workers of the Westfalenwall. Also a lot of Soviet "Fremdarbeiter" were still there. During the biggest bombardement of Bocholt in March 22th hundreds of citizens of Bocholt left the inner part of the city and went to the camp.
about July 20th 1945:
the Soviet "Fremdarbeiter" were brought away.
about Septemer 10th 1945:
hundreds of prisoners from Hungary came
about September 20th 1945:
it were 900 people from Hungary, later it were thousands
February 24th 1946:
the POW's from Hungary left Bocholt and got to Eselsheide in der Senne near Paderborn
Transit and reception camp for families from the Netherlands
2500 prisoners from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were arrested in Bocholt. These were former SS members! They were cought in Danmark and before detained in Belgium. Those prisoners were now called DP's (displaced persons) because they could not go back to their countries which were occupied by the Soviets.
January - October 1947:
Jews from concentration camps (morstly from Bergen-Belsen) used Bocholt as a transit camp on there way to Israel via Marseille for 3 weeks.
Hundreds of POW's with their families from Yugoslavia came who fought with the German Wehrmacht against Tito.
750 more prisoners from Yugolsavia arrived. The camp was absolutely overcrowded.
2060 persons in camp.
Yugoslavian families were brought to Borghorst or emigrated to England. Partially war criminals were delivered to Tito (maybe got killed?!?)
500 people from poland and 200 from Ukraine came.
An epidemic came up, 250 people got ill, 50 children died.
250 people from Poland arrived.
2000 people in the camp: about 1200 from Poland; 400 from Yugolsavia; 400 from Baltic states, Hungary and Ukraine. A lot of them came from camps which did not exsist anymore like Münster or Borghorst.
somewhere in 1950:
200 DP's from Bocholt emigrated into Australia.
I WILL CONTINUE THIS IN THE NEXT DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!
This photo taken in the middle 90's shows the railroad next to the former camp. Now it does not exsist anymore.