His departure from the camp was greeted with loud cheers and scenes of jubilation from his fellow prisoners. The occupants of the vehicle were mobbed by the freed prisoners who hastily rounded up the remaining guards. Sports equipment and textbooks were obtained from the Red Cross and YMCA. When night came and barns could not be found, the prisoners slept in open fields under shelters they erected. The conditions in these camps were Spartan but overall better than many of the prisons in Germany, and far better than the brutal conditions in most forced labour and concentration camps. We set up our own cooking apparatus in the barnyard and all in all the arrangements were satisfactory. "[4], Between 1952 and 1961 Milag was used as accommodation centre for female refugees from East Germany. Most of them were barracks, while the others contained kitchens, dining rooms, washrooms, guard barracks, storehouses, a post office and other administrative buildings. The Milag Nord Camp was about 300 metres northeast of Marlag and had 36 buildings. At the instigation of the U.S. and Swiss governments, the International Committee of the Red Cross put pressure on the German government not to keep civilian non-combatants in a POW camp. Later they were replaced by Army reservists. Monty is showing the way to go home now isn’t he. The British Red Cross Society (publisher): The Prisoner of War, published from May 1942 until July 1945. Hello dearest was relieved today at I o’clock, was fishing in a lake with a bent pin at the time. My father was at Marlag & Milag Nord camp from 1939 to 1945 and I have recently obtained a postcard / photo he sent to my cousin in 1943. I have just had my first bath since leaving England, you have no idea how marvelous it was, but I feel quite weak after it. The trek continued slowly onwards. Trenthorst was between 2 main highways and as the day progressed we could follow the sounds of the battle on both sides until we were certain they had passed us by. The prisoners indulged in more food “bashes” as they prepared, eating the food reserves that they could not carry. After a 5-hour march, Trenthorst was reached and the prisoners 120-mile journey was at an end. [6], The POWs occupied themselves in various ways. There were also American merchant seamen detained here as … [6], The German Navy also operated a Dulag (Durchgangslager, "Transit camp") in Wilhelmshaven, where newly arrived prisoners were processed before being sent to other camps. Dear I & W.  I hope you are well I am quite fit, I’ve been doing quite a lot of travelling since I wrote you last, including a lot of hiking but we seem more or less settled here now for better or worse. I am very fit indeed, I have had plenty of  Red + food during the last two months and have been sleeping in fields and it has really built me up, you need have no worries about my health altho’ a a lot of our fellows have had a rough time. [5], Milag (Marineinterniertenlager, "Marine internment camp"), the Merchant Navy camp, was 300 m (980 ft) to the east of Marlag. I am doing a lot of reading but it is all Edgar Wallace style of thing, nothing very good. men for a considerable time and had treated them well. Wooding expeditions were still exploring the countryside for fuel. An armoured car came along, gosh were we glad to see it. At this time their supposed destination was Lubeck but the Senior British Officer had received a report of typhus in the camp at Lubeck, along with food shortages, and a city swollen with refugees. The prisoners were to stay where they were until thing got settled. “Nearing Lubeck, Group Captain Wray spent the 2nd day of that stop traveling over the countryside in a motorcycle side-car, looking for a suitable place for us to sit out the rest of the war. On April 25th, 1945 the last of Luftwaffe guards left for more active duty. Naturally all incoming and outgoing mail was censored. The command building for the Milag-Marlag complex was just in front of the Milag entrance gate, along with some supply depots. The northern part of Milag was eventually built over with new housing, while the southern half is now heavily wooded. The Senior British Officer informed the Kommandant that he would be held responsible for their safety and departed to make arrangements. We lined the road west of the estate like children waiting for the Santa Claus parade, and sure enough, just about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, an armoured car came careening down the road with Bill Jennins hanging onto the back for dear life. There were also American merchant seamen detained here as well as some U.S. Navy personnel. This move may have saved the lives of some of us, for we were extremely weak not having been permitted Red Cross help as yet. I am very fit and well, have been eating a lot just lately. Pages directly related to Marlag-Milag. Marlag-Milag Nord (4th February 1945) Arriving at Tarmstedt on the afternoon of February 4th they were marched to Marlag-Milag Nord prison camp which they found was in a terrible state. The artillery fired from the positions next to the camps,[4] but fortunately had moved away by the time the British Guards Armoured Division liberated the camps on 27 April 1945. Milag und Marlag Nord, Westertimke. Phil. There was a lot of satisfaction in this, and we soon had several hundred German soldiers under loose guard and a large collection of arms. Nearly half the camp had been billeted at another farm 1/2 a mile down the road so we were now split up. The official memorial site for Sandbostel Camp, including Marlag and Milag Nord Camp (in German): A detailed history of the Marlag & Milag camp (in German): The National Archives, Foreign Office, Claims Department: Correspondence and Claims Files. There was also a third camp, called a Dulag or Durchgangslager (transit camp), that was especially constructed to house up to 630 civilian merchant marines from countries as diverse as India, China, Burma, and Aden. [4] In late 1942 all the ratings were sent to Stalag VIII-B at Lamsdorf and assigned to Arbeitskommando ("Work details"), and "M" housed only NCOs. Throughout the camp windows had been broken, stoves had been smashed, there were piles of rubbish everywhere. We knew the news would be on the airwaves for home that night. Are you still sending parcels I haven’t had any for ages now, don’t suppose I shall get any more. Initially the camp was guarded by Naval troops. Milag und Marlag Nord, Westertimke. I am in the same room as S/Ldr Gunter, he and I were at the same place in England do you remember the book he lent me “I Bought a Mountain,”  we thought it very good. It was located around the village of Westertimke, about 30 km north-east of Bremen, though in some sources the camp's location is given as Tarmstedt, a larger village about 4 km to the west. Milag was primarily for members of the merchant marines who had been captured aboard ships carrying allied ordnance or military-related supplies, as well as an array of western European civilian internees. The next day, 28 April, the column finally arrived at Lübeck on the Baltic coast. Our guards disappeared at the first sign of the British, but now they came back to the camp, having nowhere else to go, and we took them prisoner. The majority of prisoners were British, but there were also small numbers of other Allied nationalities. The prisoners were able to barter with local civilians for eggs and bread. The hospital for the collected camps was also located in Milag. In 1943 the Germans suggested an exchange of equal numbers of Merchant Navy prisoners, but this offer was refused by the First Lord of the Admiralty A. V. Alexander on the grounds it would be more to Germany's benefit, as it would provide them with a large number of men suitable to be used as U-boat crews, of which they were desperately short.[3]. [4] On 4 February 1945 some 3,000 men evacuated from Stalag Luft III arrived at Marlag-Milag. The prisoners see vast amounts of Allied aircraft passing over head which does wonders for their morale. Many of these guards had been with the R.A.F. He found it in the small estate at Trenthorst which belonged to the brother of the famous German, General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim. The camp, Milag und Marlag Nord in Westertimke was constructed in the autumn of 1942, built by the very prisoners of war, who would remain there. For pages directly related to Marlag-Milag see PDF below. From 1952, the camp was used to house youths who had fled the communist regime in East Germany. “The British had occupied Luneburg,”  “The Russians were assaulting Berlin.”  Allied air activity was seen striking ground targets with no opposition from the Luftwaffe. The Senior British Officer was called before the camp Kommandant and told that the Germans intended to evacuate the Royal Navy and RAF prisoners to Lubeck and to make ready for an immediate departure. This time the invading army was British and the evacuation was eastward. It was announced that the allied officers in Marlag were going to be moved to Lübeck, so many of them fled into the nearby woods or concealed themselves in the Milag camp. A second tunnel, about 40 m (130 ft) long, was built from April to August 1944. With the approach of better weather in March the contents of the huts are brought outside. The prisoners settled down to await the arrival of British troops which eventually came at 1 p.m. on 2nd May 1945. The work was tiring for men unaccustomed to physical labour but the prisoners were keen to get out of the compound and enjoy the countryside in spring time. All around us the land was heavily wooded and I walked around the lake on pleasant paths and through the woods. However Wally’s Sister and Brother-in-law managed to receive a post card from Wally that was sent from Marlag-Milag.