German POWs in Australia

Discussions on the German POWs, both during the war and post war, and the occupation and denazification of Germany and Austria 1944-1957.
Dachhase
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Dachhase » 14 Aug 2012 03:53

Several points. For the formal occasion of the funeral, all participants turned out in the best uniforms that they could find, even if they had to borrow them. They did not always look so spic and span every day. ORs were provided with second-hand Australian army uniforms dyed burgundy, and they were often fairly shabby.
I have the impression that some uniforms were sent from Germany (or at least the insignia), and that some were made in Australia, the cost being offset against the impounded funds of German companies operating in in Australia pre-war.
The officers could certainly have uniforms made up in Australia (if they paid for them) and the insignia were sent from Germany through the International Red Cross. I am not sure how this worked with regard to clothing rationing. It is quite difficult to locate the paper-trail of such bureaucratic activities.
As an aside: Some of the officers bought sheepskins and had jackets made up by tailors in the camp. As one wrote: Victoria was not cold by European standards, but it could still be very cold.

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Adam Carr
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Adam Carr » 16 Aug 2012 06:13

Thanks for those comments, those seem reasonable explanations. I think also that British and Australian POWs in Germany made something of a cult of shabbiness, possibly to display their contempt for the German sense of Ordnung.

Dachhase
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Dachhase » 13 Oct 2012 15:08

I have been clearing out old research material, and yesterday I came across a note I scribbled about 40+ years ago. It appears to have been from a translation of a report made by Dr Georges Morel of the International Red Cross. It said that uniforms were being sent directly from Germany.
I do not know whether all the POW were recipients of this largesse at some time, but apparently quite a lot were.
In addition, there was a tailor at Dhurringile. I don't know exactly what he was supposed to be doing, nor what he might have been doing that he ought not to have been doing.

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Adam Carr
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Adam Carr » 13 Oct 2012 18:28

How could uniforms have been sent from Germany to Australia in wartime?

Dachhase
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Dachhase » 14 Oct 2012 04:23

They were sent the same way that letters and postcards and Red Cross parcels were sent: - by ship. They may have had to be trans-shipped in Sweden or Spain or Portugal. I do not know the details of the routes. I only know that sometimes they took as much as eight months to arrive, so that parcels sent by the Red Cross and intended for Christmas arrived around Easter.
I think that ordinary letters and postcards were sent free. A POW could receive any number of mail items, but was restricted in the number that could be sent. This varied according to rank. Depending on the state of the war, they could sometimes send airmail letters, which cost sixpence. This was a day's pay for a POW below the rank of about sergeant.
Occasionally, they could send very brief messages via the Vatican system administered in Australia by the Papal Nuncio Pacelli; I think that these may have been transmitted by wireless.

Dachhase
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Dachhase » 15 Oct 2012 06:49

It is a painful task to burn my old research notes, and a slow one, as I must scan them all to make sure there is nothing very important. Still, they would be unlikely to come to the notice of anybody who would want to use them, and my handwriting is appalling, so out with them. However, I have come across a few notes of relevance, which I paraphrase.
January 1944: Senior German NCO (Rudolf Lieβmann) was obtaining uniforms for some men due for medical repatriation.
October 1942: There were complaints about POW mail being held up in Lisbon. (So that was where some of the transfers of mail and parcels were taking place.)
The movie projector shared by the camps: It was funded by profits from the camp canteens and donations from the officers about October 1942. This was recorded because a map of Victoria had been stolen from the vehicle delivering the projector. There is a comment that Detmers had returned the map the next day, but there was no doubt that copies would have been made overnight.
Post-war comment about low morale in the camps: "Post ist die beste Medizin gegen Stacheldraht." (Mail is the best remedy for barbed wire.)

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abc123
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby abc123 » 15 Oct 2012 13:33

I can provide an answer if those that asked are interested

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Max
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Max » 15 Oct 2012 13:46

abc123 wrote:I can provide an answer if those that asked are interested

To which question ; by whom?
Max :?
Greetings from the Wide Brown.

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abc123
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby abc123 » 16 Oct 2012 13:01

Max wrote:
abc123 wrote:I can provide an answer if those that asked are interested

To which question ; by whom?
Max :?


About the uniforms, the Australian Government requested uniform replacements to be sent via the ICRC ( Dr Georges Morrel) from Berlin to Australia, after a long wait the request was denied, but it was agreed to send bolts of cloth, badges, buttons, decorations and other embelishments so uniforms could be made in Australia and equiped according to German regulations.

They were recieved by the CGCF, (Commonwealth Government Clothing Factory) and about 10 German POWs who were taylors in prewar Germany were sent to the CGCF to make uniforms for the German POWs in Australia.

Other articles of clothing such as underpants, socks, shirts, boots and belts were Australian Army issue and replaced as needed or worn out.

I have a copy of the document from the Minister of the Army (Frank Forde) dated 1943 authorising the above and photos of GPWS in their newly issued uniforms.

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Max
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Max » 12 Nov 2012 07:20

abc123
Very belated thanks for that info
Cheers
Max
Greetings from the Wide Brown.

Dachhase
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Dachhase » 12 Nov 2012 13:46

I am still going through scraps of very old research notes and chucking things out. I have to read briefly through every scrap in case there is something of current use. I recently found a few points of interest here.
1. One of the guards was in trouble when it was found out that he had stolen one of the uniform badges supplied from Germany. If the outcome of this was in the report, I did not make a note of it.
2. The Vatican POW messages were sent by shortwave radio. This presented a problem, as Germans were, of course, forbidden to listen to foreign stations, so they could not pick them up, and the German Government at first refused to pass them on. It took several months to sort this out. (These notes brought back memories of interviewing the Apostolic Nuncio Monsignor Barbarito in his elegant residence in Canberra. Vatican records are sealed for 100 years, but the Nuncio was kind enough to check through the records of the Nuncio Panico and give me a summary of what was relevant.)
3. Mail: surface mail was sent free of charge, but these letters were months in transit. Postage for airmail articles was one shilling for letters (on special forms) and sixpence for postcards.

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Adam Carr
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Adam Carr » 15 Nov 2012 15:00

That is all very interesting, thankyou. I had no idea.

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Max
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Max » 12 Dec 2012 00:45

]
Tatura Camps.jpg

This map shows the relative locations of the POW/Internment camps of the Tatura group.
For scale - the distance between Tatura and the Dhurringile Mansion is approx. 10 km.
The map was scanned from
Walls of Wire - Tatura, Rushworth, Murchison
by Joyce Hammond
Rodney Printers 1990

available through the Tatura Museum
http://www.taturamuseum.org.au/prisoner ... camps.html

For more information and great pics about Dhurringile
http://www.walkingmelbourne.com/forum/v ... =13&t=6444
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Greetings from the Wide Brown.

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Max
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby Max » 12 Dec 2012 09:41

abc123 wrote:
I have a copy of the document from the Minister of the Army (Frank Forde) dated 1943 authorising the above and photos of GPWS in their newly issued uniforms.


Any chance of scanning and posting these documents?
Cheers
Max
Greetings from the Wide Brown.

75thAnniversaryWorldWar2
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Re: German POWs in Australia

Postby 75thAnniversaryWorldWar2 » 12 Dec 2012 13:43

There was a POW/Internment camp at Hay, opened in 1940.

The first inmates were 2036 Jewish internees and 451 Italian and German POWs.

One can only imagine how the POWs got along with the Jewish internees, given that the majority on internees were German/Austrian Jews who had fled from the Nazis.

They were transported out from England on the 'Dunera' then trained up to Hay. A further 2000 Italian POWs were added later. Japanese internees were also housed at the camp. All prisoners were repatriated in 1946 and the camp torn down in 1947.
Paul
http://75thAnniversary.com


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