Response to ‘Allied War Crimes’
I was taken prisoner in the first days of April 1945 near Hamen in Westphalia by the 1st U.S. Army. I was then just out of medical school, not yet an officer but an MD.
We German prisoners were transported in open trucks and closed cattle cars on trains into France. In the train we did not get water or food for over 48 hours and the doors were never unlocked.
I ended up in Camp Attichy near Attiguy in N.E. France where I remained until approximately August, 1945.
This camp was a starvation camp. I figured out that we received 350 to 500 calories per day. We had one slowly running water faucet for approximately 3,000 men. This was in an open meadow and no facilities.
My weakness soon was such that any slight physical activity caused fainting and getting up off the ground took a long time and had to be accomplished in stages.
We never saw the Red Cross. The only organization that came to the camp and gave us some musical instruments was the YMCA.
I did not get any mail for over one year. My parents did not know whether I was dead or alive for almost 15 months, although I had written every occasion we were permitted to send “Red Cross post cards” (pre-printed with blanks to be filled in).
In August I was transferred to the 1811th labor supervision company where I remained until my discharge in August, 1946. There, the prisoners and I (as the camp doctor and able to speak German, French and English) were treated very well and had more than enough food.
James Baque is absolutely correct in his description of the camps. We had many deaths due to causes exacerbated by malnutrition.
WALTER SCHILLING, MD, La Quinta