The February 1945 issue of the Prisoners of War Bulletin reported movement of prisoners from the prison camps. In reference to Stalag Luft IV, where George Edwin Farrar, Harry Allen Liniger, and Wilfred Frank Miller were held, the bulletin reported:
Grosstychow, in Pomerania, where Stalag Luft IV with its large complement of British and American airmen was located, was close to the combat zone in late January.
The March issue offered more information on the movement of prisoners. Here are a few excerpts from a section named Camp Movements on the back page of the bulletin with references to Stalag Luft IV:
A cable from the American Red Cross Representative at Geneva in the middle of February referred to “the great mass movement of prisoners now marching on foot westward…”
On February 13, the War Department and the Department of State jointly announced that official information had been received with respect to the evacuation westward of American prisoners of war formerly detained in camps in eastern Germany. This announcement stated:
“All the camps in East Prussia, Poland, and that part of Pomerania east of the Oder River are being moved westward. This includes among others Stalag Luft IV…”
“Information concerning the relocation of prisoner of war camps is constantly being received. This information will be made public as soon as it is possible to confirm these relocations. Pending a notification through the usual official sources, next of kin are urged to continue to address communications to individual prisoners of war to their last known address.”
Article 7 of the Geneva Convention of 1929 Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War states:
“…Evacuation of prisoners on foot may normally be effected only by stages of 20 kilometers [12 1/2 miles] a day, unless the necessity of reaching water and food depots requires longer stages.”
The latest information on camp movements is given on page 4.
Page 4 of the bulletin offered an additional section named Latest Information on Camp Movements (By cable from Geneva). Here are a few excerpts from this section:
Approximately 53 percent of all American prisoners of war in Germany, late in February, were moving westward – mainly on foot. The total number of American, Belgian, British, French, Norwegian, Polish, and Yugoslav prisoners evacuated from camps in eastern Germany and Poland exceeded 300,000.
Prisoners from …Stalag Luft IV… were grouped near Stettin.
Large stores of Red Cross supplies had to be left behind when the principal American camps were evacuated. The latest cables from Geneva emplasized that much hardship is being suffered by the evacuated prisoners, and even more by German civilian refugees.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014