The hospital facilities at Stalag VIII-B were among the best in all Stalags. The so-called Lazarette was set up on separate site with eleven concrete buildings. Six of them were self-contained wards, each with space for about 100 patients. The others served as treatment blocks with operating theatres, X-ray and laboratory facilities, as well as kitchens, a morgue, as well as accommodations for the medical staff.
This link gives general information about hospital facilities for Prisoners of War held by Germany, with particular details about facilities for the Lamsdorf POWs: Prisoner-of War Hospitals
THE HOSPITAL AT TOST
The POW hospital was opened in 1944 in a former psychiatric hospital. Apparently it was administered from Stalag VIIIB/344 Lamsdorf, and the medical staff were sent from there to the Tost hospital.
There is still a psychiatric hospital at Toszek (Tost). The POW hospital was a mixed 600-bed hospital that began in May 1944, functioning until the area was liberated by the Russians in January 1945. It was under command of Major S. G. de Clive Lowe, of the New Zealand Army Medial Corps, who had been at the Lamsdorf hospital. Those liberated by the Soviets were finally released through Odessa, going through the Mediterranean Sea to Egypt and the UK. Here’s an interesting article that you might like to read. It mentions the civilian internees who were removed to make room for the POW hospital. This article seems to indicate that it was the same building as the later psychiatric hospital:
The following extracts are from the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre:
“To cope with the increasing numbers in the mining camps of south-east Silesia, a prisoner-of-war hospital was opened at Tost in 1944 in the buildings just vacated by civilian internees. Many of the patients had to sleep on two-tier beds in large wards and, as in many other prisoner-of-war hospitals and sickbays, had to help with the sweeping, bedmaking, and other light duties.
Prisoner-of-war hospitals were among the few groups which were not made to move in one direction or the other across Germany in early 1945. But the days preceding their release were often none the less difficult and anxious. Medical officers were alive to the havoc that would be caused in a hospital full of patients by the bombing or shelling it might undergo when the fighting zone reached it. At Tost, in Upper Silesia, there had been barely time to get the bed-patients down into the cellar on 20 January before heavy gunfire made known the proximity of Russian forces, which overran the area later in the day. Fortunately it does not seem that any of the hospitals containing prisoners of war were mistaken by the liberating forces for military targets.”
This is a link to the full transcript:
This is from Dr Tom Atkins from Australia, the son of Dr W. T. G. Atkins who was at Lamsdorf and Cosel hospitals:
Information sought about Cosel Hospital
Dr John Borries book records him visiting the three existing hospitals at Cosel in May 1942.
- St Carolusstift; on the banks of the Oder.
- Garnison Lazarette; in the castle courtyard – medical headquarters for Kreis Cosel.
- Abyssinian Lager; in parkland south of the town. 600 beds with 300 Russian patients and 28 English patients.
Later in March 1943, he visits a new military hospital being built at Neudorf, near Heydebreck adjacent to a Russian Arbeits Kommando 170 called Stalag VIIIF. This hospital was being built by Russians. My father’s prisoner identity tag has “Oflag VIIIF 1420”, so he could have been in this area.
His letters home record that he learnt some Russian language, from his patients.
I am unsure at which hospital he worked but it may have been the Abyssinian Lager or the Neudorf hospital due to the Russian connection.
He certainly was with Dr Norman Rose and probably Drs Kay-Webster and Bogdan Stojit et el.
I am wondering if anybody in the “network” would know where these hospitals were and if any doctor/patient records may have survived?
Any advice regarding this last piece of my puzzle would be appreciated.
More information about Cosel Hospital from Irina Dimitric, daughter of Lt-Colonel Dr Bogdan Stojić (Yugoslav Army) is included in the entry for Cosel Hospital.
This link give information about the work of captured medical personnel, with Stalag VIIIB Lamsdorf taken as an example:
Work of Captured Medical Personnel
This link give information about medical facilities for POWs on working parties. A medical post on a working party was called a Revier.
Medical facilities for Working Parties
A Mixed Medical Commission, sometimes called the repatriation commission, visited prisoner-of-war camps regularly for the purpose of deciding who among the sick and wounded should be repatriated.
REPATRIATION OF SICK PRISONERS OF WAR
Here is an article that give a lot of detail about the various repatriation exchanges during the war. You will see that Lamsdorf is mentioned. (Grateful acknowledgement to Bill Rudd who put this together.)
With able guidance from Lieutenant-Colonel T. H. Wilson, RAMC, an artificial limb workshop was established in Stalag VIIIB-344, Lamsdorf, where remarkable work was done.
This link gives information about the repatriation of sick and wounded POWs and medical protected personnel: Repatriation
Most of the above links are provided with the kind permission of the NZETC digitised Official History of New Zealand in the Second War
to whom many thanks.
Col. Thomas Henry Wilson was Senior British Medical Officer, Lamsdorf and Bevier (Stalag VIIIB/344), Germany, Mar 1943-Mar 1945. This link has more information about him: http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/vcdf/detail?coll_id=4521&inst_id=21&nv1=search&nv2=
Dr John Borrie was serving as a doctor with the New Zealand army in Greece when he was captured by the Germans, and ended up at Lamsdorf. He wrote a book called Despite Captivity – a Doctor’s Life as Prisoner of War. It is possible to get copies second-hand, but they are very expensive (around £80 or more).
Other New Zealand doctors there included Captain Stevenson-Wright Captain Foreman and Major S. G. de Clive Lowe.
Fortunately for the prisoners of war there were dentists among their number in captivity, and many hospitals had a dentist attached. In captivity there was considerable deterioration of teeth due probably to, first, lack of regular maintenance work, and, second, to a high carbohydrate diet. The volume of work offering was beyond the capacity of the few dentists available. From the point of view of the prisoners it was a blessing that the New Zealand Mobile Dental Unit was captured in Greece, as its officers did magnificent work throughout the length and breadth of Germany, and their training and efficiency was found to be of a much higher standard than that of dentists of other nationalities.