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Conditions at Stalag13d, where POWs stayed for three months, were deplorable. The barracks, originally built to house delegates to the Nazi party gatherings had recently been inhabited by Italian POWs, who left them filthy. There was no room to exercise, no supplies, nothing to eat out of, and practically nothing to eat, in as much as no Red Cross food parcels were available upon the American's arrival. The German rations consisted of 300 grams of bread, 250 grams of potatoes, some dehydrated vegetables and a little margarine. After the first week, sugar was not to be had, and soon the margarine supply was exhausted. After three weeks, in answer to an urgent request, 4000 Red Cross parcels arrived from Dulag Luft. Shortly thereafter, the Swiss came to make arrangements for sending parcels in an American convoy. Soon Red Cross parcels began to arrive in GI trucks.
Sanitation was lamentable. The camp was infested with lice, fleas and bed bugs. Three thousand men, each with only two filthy German blankets, slept on the bare floors. Since many men were afflicted with diarrhea, the can had an insufficient capacity and men perforce soiled the floor. Showers were available once every two weeks. The barracks were not heated. Only 200 kilograms of coal were provided for cooking. Morale dropped to its lowest ebb, but Col. Darr H. Alkire succeeded in maintaining discipline.
At 1700 hours on 3 April 1945, the Americans received notice that they were to evacuate the Nurnberg camp and march to Stalag 7a, Moosburg. At this point, the POWs took over the organization of the march. They submitted to the Germans Commander plans stipulating that in return for preserving order they were to have full control of the column and to march no more than 20 kilometers a day. The Germans accepted. On April 4, with each POW in possession of a food parcel, 10,000 Allied POWs began the march.
While the column was passing a freight marshalling yard near the highway, some P-47s dive-bombed the yard. Two Americans and one Briton were killed and three men seriously wounded. On the following day, the column laid out a large replica of an American Air Corps insignia on the road with an arrow pointing in the direction of the march. Thereafter the column was never strafed. It proceeded to Neumarkt, to Bersheim, where 4500 Red Cross parcels were delivered by truck; then to Mulhauser, where more parcels were delivered.
On April 9, the column reached the Danube, which Col. Alkire flatly refused to cross, since it meant exceeding the 20-kilometer a day limit. With his refusal, the Germans lost complete control of the march and POWs began to drop out of the column almost at will. The guards, intimidated by the rapid advance of the American Army, made no serious attempt to stop the disintegration. The main body of the column reached Stalag 7a on 20 April, 1945.
Notes from the diary of an unknown 392nd Officer
courtesy of 392nd BG Mem. Assoc. Archives
Jan 25, 1945: Snow and cold for a week before evacuation ...Russians only 37 miles away.
Jan 28: Left Sagan Sunday, 3AM; walked till 7pm; covered 32 kilometers; slept in barn, started again, Monday AM; still snowing hard; town named Muscow; in horse stable, arrived 7PM.
Feb. 5: Monday, arrived at 13D; dirty nasty place!
April 3: tonite may be the night!
April 11: Wednesday; on road for eight days; left Nuremburg
April 4; Newmarkt (23K), Berching (21K), Ponsdorf (24K), Neustadt (23K), Pfeffenhausen (24K), Moosburg (25K)... 1 English parcel at Berching, 1 Belgian parcel at Neustadt, 1 American parcel at Holtzhaugen, 1/2 American parcel at Beilngries...
2nd day, slept in barns and church in Berching... 3rd night, Buching in barn; 4th nite at Josep Fuller- 1000 acre farm; 5th nite Fetanagger near Mendestatten; 6th nite Beilngries with camp; Swinbach 2 nites...witnessed two fighter bombers attack two heavies;
April 12: slept at Sweinbach, left
April 13: 9:00 am, arrived at Holtzhauzen
April 14: Saturday, Holzhauzen
April 15: Ober Munchen
April 16: Gammelsdorf
April 18: Moosburg
April 23: very cold
April 24: Patton or Patch at Nurenburg
April 29: Sunday, Liberation! Flag up 12:40
May 1: Patton comes to camp
May 8, 1945: Left Moosburg to Englestadt
German rations at Nuremburg: 2 oz. beet sugar, 2 oz. jam, 1 loaf black bread, 4 oz. margarine, 6 lbs. spuds, 3 oz dry barley, 2 oz. erzatz cheese, 2 oz wurst, 3 oz. ersatz coffee.
German rations on march: no food/no fuel; 1 tablespoon margarine; 3 slices bread; watery soup made from dehydrated garbage; 2 small potatoes, size of silver dollar