Report from Canadian Battlefield Tours
In the second world war, an Australian soldier Alwyne (Archie) Crack was a prisoner of the Germans at Lambinowice in Poland. This was a large prisoner-of-war camp Stalag 344 for prisoners of war from Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
Mr Crack was also forced to work for the Germans with other prisoners at Krnov in a factory, and at Slorice in a quarry.
In January 1945 the prisoners of war were taken from this camp and from many other prisoner-of-war camps by the Germans and were forced to walk 1000 km into Germany. They walked through Poland and Czechoslovakia into Germany. This is remembered as ‘the long march’ or ‘the death march’. Many of the prisoners came through (or near) Hradec Králové. This terrible walk did not end until May 1945 when the soldiers were liberated by the British and American armies. Many of the prisoners died because of the extreme cold, or from illness or starvation. Some prisoners were shot by the Germans for trying to escape. Some prisoners received help from Czech people.
Alwyne Crack was helped by the Kukula family in Hradec Králové. Mr Crack died in 1972, but today (12th September 2013) his son, Mike Crack and his wife Lyn Crack, are in Hradec Králové trying to find this family.
On 12th May 1945 the Kukula family gave Mr Crack these photographs in Hradec Králové:
And this card:
Mr and Mrs Crack have no more information about the Kukula family. Does anyone remember them? Is the little girl still alive?
Mr and Mrs Crack are with a group from Australia, Britain, The USA and Canada. The people in this group all had fathers who were prisoners of war, and who were on ‘the long march’ in 1945. They are following the route of ‘the long march’ and trying to discover more information about their fathers.
The tour is organised by Canadian Battlefield Tours www.canadianbattlefieldtours.ca
The tour guide is Philip Baker (from UK)