Murder, Robbery, Terror

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During the war, Russian prisoners of war were accommodated in a POW-camp near the village of Reussendorf at the training-area. They had been assigned to construction work. After the end of the war they remained at the camp, until it was possible for them to return to their homeland. Their hatred of the Germans must have been indescribable, because they committed terrible crimes against the citizens of the area. Later when the population of the camp was replaced by Polish refugees, some Polish gangs would also take their vengance out against the Germans.


Grave of Russian POWs at the Reussendorf cemetery inside the Wildflecken Training Area

click image to enlarge...

On 16 May 1945 two Russians came to the Mayor of Wildflecken and claimed that a German had been shot in the camp. Mayor Kleinhenz and several of his staff members immediately went to the camp to investigate. On the way back to Wildflecken they were attacked by a Russian gang, all except Wilhelm Henties were killed. Henties was severely wounded, unconscious and left for dead by the Russians. He woke up in the mortuary where soldiers of the U.S. occupation force had brought him. Finding that he was still alive, they immediately transported him to the Brueckenau Hermannsheim Hospital.

On 1 September 1946, two brothers, Happel, from the village of Seiferts were stabbed and robbed by a gang of Poles. Karl Wenzel from Altglashuetten (a village inside the training area) heard their cries for help; when he went to aid the brothers he was also stabbed by the gang. One of the brothers, was able to make his way to Reussendorf despite being severely hurt and get help for the others. The brothers survived; Karl Wenzel died of his wounds a week later.


Karl Wenzels grave at the Reussendorf cemetery inside the Wildflecken Training Area.

click image to enlarge...

There are several reports of similar attacks by Polish gangs from villages up to 25 km. away from Camp Wildflecken. The gangs usually stole cattle from the stables of farmers and sold them on the "black-market." Farmers who tried to resist the gangs often paid with their lives. Scared village inhabitants could do little more than lock the door of their homes and barns at night.

In the village of Modlos one night a farmer's son, who had just returned from an American POW-camp, took a gun which his father had kept in the barn and turned it on a group of Poles who were attempting to break open the barn door and steal the family's only cow. The young man was in violations of the law that said it was forbidden for Germans to have weapons; he could have been shot on the spot by the American occupational forces. He fired a warning shot at the group and they fled without further incident.

These act were committed only by a small number of camp inhabitants. These gangs traded on the 'black-market' and lived in luxury, while the majority of the refugees were grateful for the basic necessities.

Now and then the U.S. Army would raid the camp and find stolen American occupation currency, military clothing and weapons. Distillation systems for the popular "Schnapps" were also destroyed.




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