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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

70 years like one day

In may we had greate opportunity to guide Imelda and David thru Stalag Ways in Torun. After two days we enlarged our knowledge about Autralians who was imprisoned in Fort XV. It's quiet difficult when we compare Polish and Western documentation about ways of treatement, work for Germans etc. To be sincerly there are two different points of view sometimes such strange that is very hard to recognize what was true. Below article about stay in Toun a sight seen by the eyes of our Aurtralin firends.

My trip to Poland was a journey to find where my father Louis Paul Huon lived for 3 years during the war. Something you may not know about Torun is that during the Second World War many Australian, Italian, Russian and English soldiers were detained in prison camps by the Germans. Our first stop was the beautiful old town of Warsaw with lovely accommodation where we rested in preparation for Turon.After 3 nights we hired a car and drove to Torun. 

Again our accommodation was right next to the Old Town so it was an easy stroll to meet with the curator of the Torun WW2 museum. Paul showed us around, it was very interesting to think all those years ago Dad could have walked about in that same little town.There was a great deal of memorabilia and we were told about each piece, there were many stories and the history of that time in Poland and the prisoners of war which was amazing.

The next day we meet Pawel our guide, he showed us two of the approximately fifteen forts that can be found around Torun. The first fort has been restored and we were able to get a genuine feeling of how the prisoners spent their time. Where they slept cooked and dined. They suffered from lack of nutrition and freezing temperatures in the winter months. My father always said they lived underground and I could never understand  what he meant. Pawel explained that the whole fort was built underground by the Germans to hide from attack by the Russians before WW1.

The second fort, Fort XV, was the actual one in which Dad was imprisoned. This can be accessed but only with unbelievable local knowledge and contacts such as our guide Pawel, as it is privately owned. We trekked for some time through the beautiful deciduous forest and then entered Fort XV. It was a strange experience thinking we were standing in the exact place where the Aussies exercised and lived their lives as prisoners 70 years earlier. I have a photograph of Dad standing in roughly the same place as I did. Fort XV is in disrepair but exactly the same configuration as the restored Fort both are well worth seeing.
In the same place after 70 years

Pawel is a fantastic guide he was able to tell us so much about the life of the prisoners and the general history of Poland and the beautiful little gothic town of Torun.I would recommend that anyone interested in exploring their relative’s experience of the POW camps should contact the wartimes website and discover the beautiful people and country of Poland.

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