Fort XIII (Wild, David. Prisoners of hope. 1992. London)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Living conditions in Stalag XXA

Living conditions

Lawrence Travers Dorins a former POW describes „fort XI was surrounded by a high bank and the fence around it with gates across the entrance road, on one side there was also a dry moat with a bridge on it. The bridge led to a tunnel” The fortress was covered with trees, bushes and earth so that the fortress could not be visible from the bird's eye.
Prisoners slept in caponiers where initially were supposed to sleep Prussian soldiers. Yet PoW describes the rooms as if there were designed as rooms in the concentration camps. Rooms looked as semi tunnels. “The perpendicular walls were about 3m high and the height of the arched roof was about 5 m, wooden bunks provided sleeping spaces. Each room had only two small windows which obviously allowed no ventilation. Due to the end of the night the air was solid and everyone would have a headache due to oxygen starvation” .In those rooms kept approximately 32 men. There were three shelves where POWs could sleep, yet the most comfortable position was the top one because then hearing inmates tossing and turning was impossible, besides there was more light.


Obviously the major problem in Stalag XXA was the shortage of food. POW lost weight quickly. Daily at 12 o'clock they received watery soup and at 4-5 o'clock a loaf of bread (ap. 1500 gram) for 5-6 men, sometimes they got margarine or honey, occasionally liver sausage . However, not very often but still POWs received The Red Cross parcels, some arrived in August 1940 others in March 1941, „a cardboard box no bigger than a shoebox, brought joy to the lives of the POWs. Gold Flake cigarettes were currency- a loaf of brad could be bartered for!”

source: hg.2010."let me out you bastrads". Toruń


  1. Hello my late grandfather is bill grimes he served in the British army during wwii with the royal welch fusiliers as a private . He was a pow prisoner at stalag xxa in torun Poland . Don't really know much about him but was told he was shot in the throat while he was trying to escape

    1. Dear Kimberly,thank you for this mail and interesting fact do you have aby pictures or dogtag number from stalag Time? Contant us via We try to help you. Best regards Hania and Pawel