collection of stories, photos, art and information on Stalag Luft I
If you are a former Prisoner of War or a next of
kin of a POW, we invite you to sign and leave your email address so others that
come may find you. Please mention camp, compound, barracks and room numbers if
The good news: The morning of 17
September 1944 was a beautiful day for flying - an early morning mist was
soon replaced by a bright sun. The bad news: We were going to get shot at!
The operation in which we participated was called "Market Garden". Our
mission was to drop troops in Holland near Nimjegan. "STAND-BY" (a
C-47 #42-92064) lifted her load of flying warriors off the runway near
The flight crew consisted of:
1st Lt. Stan Fishel
2nd Lt. Fred Roth
Sgt. Charles Rosko
Sgt Carmen San Fillippo
The gear did not retract. Pulling about 50 inches of mercury/2100 RPM,
climbing to rendezvous was difficult until the wheels were retracted
manually, a rather slow process -- but, we did depart on course at the
appointed time, in formation, off the left wing of the craft commanded by
Lt. John Freeman. Our course was about due east. Crossing the English
Channel was routine. The coast of Holland presented itself in a
surprisingly peaceful manner.
About fifteen minutes inland there were sounds like hail on a tin roof.
Sure enough, off to the right were some of those black "puffs" at our
altitude of approximately 500 feet. The drop zone was perhaps 45 minutes
inland. It was rather calm as we dropped our paratroopers but then, all of
a sudden, the air was filled with what looked like white golf
We stayed on Freeman's wing as he hit the deck during a 180-degree turn back
toward the channel. Soon we noticed that we were alone.
John related to me many years later that he had opted to climb back up and
join the squadron formation. We chose to remain down between the trees (and
Nearing the coast we ran out of trees. We picked a broad estuary (Scheldt)
to go out the middle of it. When near its mouth, violent splashes appeared
here and there in the water as evidence that someone on shore did not have
our best interests at heart.
Red lights flashed all over the instrument panel as Rosko was shouting,
"She's on fire, sir!" Smoke filled the cockpit as "Stand-By" settled gently
in the "drink".
Fortunately, there was no further threat of fire or explosion after the
watery landing. Fred Roth was not a small person. I was average at about
170 pounds, but honestly, both Fred and I went out the hatch over the
cockpit at the same time. The escape hatch was about 18” square.
Rosko and San Filippo inflated a rubber dinghy and were "cruising" near the
trailing edge of the port side wing. Roth and I went aboard after observing
a hole in the top of the port engine nacelle big enough to stick your head
in. I did not see it, but I was told that there was a similar hole in the
starboard engine nacelle.
"Stand-By" floated for about forty-five minutes. Then she sank where the
estuary appeared to be about a mile wide about midway between Schouwen
Island to the north and Walcheren Island to the south. To no avail, the next
few hours were spent attempting to row against the tide across the channel
toward the English shore. In late afternoon (about 6:00 PM) small caliber
bullets began whizzing past our heads. We raised a white handkerchief on an
oar and drifted toward the shore of Walcheren Island.
There was little conversation as we dumped our weapons, escape kit, and
other personal informative articles into the sea. The next voice we heard
had a strange gluteral accent..........."Vor you, zee vaar iss offer."
We were taken to a nearby guard house where there was a token interrogation
after which we sat up all night.
We were given a ration of black bread. Then we walked to Vissengen where we
were placed in a barbed wire enclosure with Canadians who had been captured
at the Albert Canal. While there, we were fired upon by our fighter planes
after which we were taken by truck to Breda where we slept on a straw
covered floor in an abandoned barracks
Remained in Breda all day. Had thin soup and black bread near noon
Left Breda before dawn and walked 34 kilometers to Dortrecht. On our way we
were delayed because the road ahead was being ranged-in by their
artillery. While standing alongside the road, an SS Officer walked over and
we chatted a spell. Talk about “spit-and-polished”!!! He was the epitomy
of the phrase. His side arm was a colt 45. At Dortrecht we were given
cigarettes by the Red Cross before bedding down on a straw covered floor in
an empty warehouse
Today we walked 21 kilometers to Gorinchem. We spent the night in an
abandoned barracks. Roth, who spoke some German went into town and got
enough cheese, apples, tomatoes and bread to feed 112 prisoners and guards.
I have snapshots taken in Gorinchem in 1984
Left before dawn and walked until about 1000 hours when we stopped at a farm
house and brewed some ersatz coffee. Started walking about noon and
finished the 34 miles to Utrecht. Arrived at a German post and slept
on a straw covered floor in a gymnasium
Remained in Utrecht all day. Boarded the boxcar of a train and about
midnight pulled out.
Was aroused early by the chatter of machine gun fire from a P-51 strafing
the train. The next thing I knew, I was in nearby woods listening to
the P-51 roar away leaving our steam engine full of holes. Moved by foot to a
transient prison camp at Amersfoort where my billfold and snapshots were
taken from me. We boarded a train about midnight. Officers in 3rd class
cars, GI’s in box cars
The train derailed early this morning and we sat in the middle of nowhere
most all day. We got underway in the afternoon
We proceeded to Appledorn where we shuffled around a rail yard before moving
out after dark.
We woke up in the rail yard at Dortmund. The town had been gutted. Moved out
and proceeded down the Ruhr Valley. Stopped at a rail side Red Cross stand
and were fed some sort of goulash .
Moved at a pretty good clip all day
Woke up in Frankfurt this morning. Another pretty well worked-over city.
Proceeded to Oberussel this evening and was taken to the Luftwaffe
interrogation center there. We were deloused, showered, given a hunk of
black bread and placed in solitary confinement for the night
Boarded the train and departed Oberussel. Arrived Wetzler this afternoon and
were taken by truck to Dulag Luft (transient camp). We were given a Red
Cross package that included towels, soap, underwear, cigarettes, etc. Were
fed a good meal and had my first shave and slept in a fairly good bed.
We were allowed to mail a postcard home today. We walked into
town and boarded a train. We were issued a Red Cross Food Parcel per man
for the trip to wherever it is that we’re going.
Arrived this morning at Barth, Germany. Walked to Stalag Luft 1, was
processed, deloused again and given a shower. Was given a shirt and
underwear and was assigned to North Compound 2, Block 7, Room 3. As I
approached Room 3, prepared to tell my new acquaintances how I happened to
find myself here, I noticed the following posted on the door:
K N O C K
Be prepared to listen as well as talk !
We have gallant men who have bailed out of every type ship
under every type of circumstances with every type of chute from every
altitude with any number of props feathered. We have eaten better and worse
food than you have, know better stories, more women, more generals and can,
undoubtedly, have greater gastric explosions than any fifty-six men in the
The reception by my future roommates was rather cool. I was to learn that I
was suspected of possibly being a German “plant” until I was interviewed by
an established committee whose job it was to determine if I were indeed a
member of the US Armed Forces. When I arrived there were only 17 men in the
room. When we were liberated we were 28.
There are descriptions of our daily life that have been written elsewhere in
this web site. Each room prepared its own food. Any cooking was done on a
small stove fired by pressed coal briquettes provided by the Germans.
We were provided one Red Cross Parcel per man per week. The RC Parcel
consisted of 7 oz graham crackers, 1 lb. powdered milk (KLIM), 1 lb
oleomargarine, 6 oz liver pate,17 oz. Spam, 12 oz. corned beef, 8 oz salmon,
8 oz sugar, 8 oz. cheese, 15 oz. raisins or prunes, 6 oz. jam, 8 oz. instant
coffee, 8 oz. D-bar (chocolate), 7 vitamin C tablets, 5 packages cigarettes,
2 bars soap
Our Master Cook was Ed Wilkins. He would make a delicious chocolate pie
that was always anticipated with much delight by his fellow Kriegies. Its
2 oz crushed graham crackers
5 tbs. sugar
8 oz bitter sweet chocolate (D-Bar)
For the crust - mix crackers, milk and butter to thickness, dry enough, yet
to hold together
For the filling, mix melted chocolate, butter, sugar into light consistency
and cook on stove. When about to boil, add 1 dozen crushed crackers, boil
until it begins to thicken and pour into crust. Place in cool place and
An occasional bowl of barley was provided by the Germans. Potatoes and
rutabagas were generally rather plentiful
The mail service there was somewhat inferior to that we experience today in
the USA. We were allowed to write one letter per week on a prescribed form
in upper case letters. None of them ever reached their destination.
Shirley wrote me such a letter every day. None ever reached me. Finally
she wrote a ten-page letter and included several snapshots of her sitting on
a horse. That’s the only letter I received. However, I must say that
toward the end, packages began to arrive in droves. I ended up with an
entire case of Lucky Strike cigarettes.
Much of my personal time was spent in conversation with my roommates,
walking the perimeter of the compound, reading (there was a fairly adequate
library), playing bridge or poker and playing the sax given to me by the
Books were kept as to who owed whom what from the poker games. After
liberation checks were written to one another on whatever paper or cardboard
was available. Personally, I deposited checks written to me when I got
home and they all cleared except one given me by Royal Frye. Soon I got a
letter from Frye telling me that his wife had moved their account to another
bank of which he was not aware. I deposited the check again and it was good
I enjoyed walking the perimeter of the compound. It was a great opportunity
to be alone, away from the other guys, and do some first class day
dreaming -- once again being reunited with family, friends and that lovely
creature I married over two years ago.
I must say, at this writing, that all my expectations and daydreams have
been far exceeded. It was in Block 7 that I met an architect who led a
class in house design. It was then that I became interested in the practice
of architecture. I had been schooled in Business Administration prior to
WWII and had prepared myself to become an accountant. But I was destined to
return to school, get a degree in architecture from North Carolina State
University and practice in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Conversation among roommates were very often about food, where we had found
good food and where we intended to find good food when we got home. There
were heated discussions and to whether the radial engine was superior to the
in-line engine. Sex was never an unpopular subject.
I hasten to pay tribute to W/O James E. Everson. Jimmy had been a prisoner
of war since 28 November 1940. Unmarried at the time, Jimmy had been a
professor of history at Caerleon College in Wales. What a personality!! He
was the morale booster of Room 3. He had an accordion and played it as well
as Myron Florin, and entertained us end on end, often accompanying himself
as he sang songs of a humorous nature, some not exactly suitable for polite
company. In the spring of 1972 my wife and I planned to visit Great Britain
on a pleasure trip with “Jack” Mitchell, and his wife, Martha. Jack also
resided in Room 3, Block 7. I wrote a letter to Jimmy with the only address
I had. It was c/o Caerleon College, Monmouthshire. S Wales, Great Britain.
I soon received a reply from Jimmy. My letter had been delivered to James
E. Everson, Jr. who was a student at Caerleon College at that time. He took
the letter to his father and said, “Dad, I think this is for you”
Jimmy and his lovely wife, Hilda, met us at Heathrow. What a great reunion.
Jimmy had become headmaster of a school at Rogerstone, near Newport. He has
been active in local historical, musical and veterans’ affairs. He had a
pipe organ in his home. We have stayed in touch since that time and have
snapshots of their children and grandchildren. Jimmy’s health has
deteriorated but we still hear from Hilda
01 May 1945
Last night the Germans who were in charge of this camp left, turning the
command of the base over to Col. Hubert Zemke. The guard towers were manned
by our own MP’s. It was an exciting and sleepless night. The Flak School
building, adjacent to the camp, was due to blow up any minute at the
discretion of the time fuses. Our “sappers”disarmed the demolition agents
this morning. This saved our water and power supply Jumping out of the sac
at 0630 we began “sweating the Russians” -- will they get here before the
Krauts return? Rumors ran thick and fast. The Russians are reported to be
at Straslund, 15 kilometers east of here. The mayor has declared Barth an
open city?? Col. Zemke is in touch with the Russians??
About noon things had sort of settled down and we had our feet back “on the
ground” It is good to listen to the BBC since we now have
control of the radio. There were speakers located in the hallways of our
buildings from which we heard, during our captivity, German radio with its
propaganda and some music.
We are not allowed to go outside the barbed wire. Shortly after 2230 while
listening to “The Hit Parade”, it was announced on wing radio that Hitler is
dead and that Russian patrols have entered the camp.
A trumpeter in North Compound 1 played “The Star Spangled Banner”.
02 May 1945
Had a good night’s sleep. Got up and walked a few laps before breakfast.
The Russians began to arrive before noon. Most of them were drunk. They
did not understand why we were not free to come and go since we had been
liberated. We did dismantle the fences and guard towers.
It is rumored that we will be flown out as soon as possible -- confirmed. I
went to a warehouse and got myself a pair of shoes, a couple of shirts and
Some of our boys went to town tonight. Returned with horses, cars,
03 May 1945
Had a strict roll call this morning. Many hangovers present. Col Zemke
gave us a pep talk. We are restricted to the peninsula north of the main
Everyone is over impatient for the planes to come in and take us out.
Personally, it has hardly soaked into my head that we are truly liberated It
is surmised that the war is actually over. Our meals are unrestricted --
snacks at any time. Each man has four Red Cross Food Parcels. We are in
contact with our western allies and we are to be flown out. Don’t know
when.. The local airport must be cleared of mines.
A P-47 buzzed the camp this afternoon.
04 May 1945
Walked around the compound ten times before breakfast. All this food -- but
--living on excitement.
We are becoming impatient. Some of the boys have left on foot for Rostock.
Official news is that the airfield has been cleared, and a C-47 has arrived
with American ( AMGOT ) officials aboard. Russian MP’s are being added
to ours to keep the Russians out and to keep us in. It is rumored that we
have a patrol on its way to England to arrange our transportation out of
The war in Germany was over today ??
05 May 1945
Seven of my roommates left this morning for the British area. The
water situation was getting pretty bad, but the water and power situation
began to improve during the day. The camp seems to be under better control.
It is rumored that a jeep load of American soldiers are in the camp --
It seems there are advanced forces 20 kilometers from here and we will be
out in a few days. We certainly hope so. The boys who left this morning
returned later in the day.
08 May 1945 VE Day
We’re still here -- dammit!.. General Ike says, “Hold on”. Col Zemke says,
The Russians have driven a herd of cattle into the camp. Water and
power are on full force. One of our roommates, Max Parker, worked as a
butcher in his father’s grocery store in Monroe, North Carolina. He
proceeded to butcher and dress some of the cattle. We had fresh veal steak
for dinner this evening.
To celebrate VE Day, the remnants of the fences and towers made a huge
bonfire tonight. There must be much celebrating going on throughout England
and the USA. We surely would like to be there.
10 May 1945
Walked into Barth and out to the airfield today. Quite a walk on a rather
warm day. Barth looks about the same as the day we arrived here. There
were a number of food lines and the children were begging for cigarettes and
The airfield was impressive. Lots of JU-88’s and FW-190’s. About eight
hangars and a jet plane assembly plant, headquarters building and barracks.
We wonder why such an impressive target was not hit by our aircraft.
Pat Scarpino brought a gasoline powered generator from the Flak School and
got it started. They also found an electric hot plate. Now we are cooking
by electricity rather than a coal stove. Had dinner of fresh steak and
11 May 1945
Up and down all night. Learned what fresh beef will do to you. Nonetheless,
we got a batch of ground beef today and went on a hamburger binge. Had to
put a new carburetor on the generator this afternoon.
12 May 1945
Left the generator running all night . Official poop has it that
arrangements have been made for planes to start arriving today to take us
out. The first B-17’s arrived at 1300 hours.
The first load of ex-kriegies took off at 1600 hours. Apparently this is our
last night here. The entire camp is to be out of here by 1800 hours
tomorrow. We will leave according to Compound and Barracks
13 May 1945
We packed our stuff in a duffle bag to move out. I left a new Selmer
Saxophone and an entire case of cigarettes in the middle of the floor of
Room 3, Block 7, North Compound 2.
We walked to the field, about 3 miles. Our bags were taken there by truck.
We (30 men) boarded a B-17 and took off about 1300 hours. Turning on course
over the camp, we bid a ‘fond farewell’ to Stalag Luft 1.
E P I L O G U E
Several years ago I was in the waiting room of my car dealership waiting for
my car to be serviced. In the room was an attractive blonde woman with her
teenage daughter, also waiting for her car to be serviced. We greeted each
other and I detected a pronounced German accent. I said, “Your accent
betrays you, where is your native land?”
She replied, “I was born and reared in Dresden”. We chatted about places in
Germany with which we were both familiar. I learned she had married an
American soldier stationed there and had raised her family in Oxford, a town
several miles north of Raleigh.
I finally mentioned that I had been a German prisoner of war during WWII.
She asked, “Where?” I replied, “Barth, up on the Baltic Sea”. She
reiterated, “When I was a child, I was sent to a summer camp at Barth and
we were housed in a former prisoner of war barracks”
Band In North II Compound
I played Alto Sax in the North II dance band. I believe our
instruments were provided by the YMCA. We had some printed scores.
Some of our repertoire was composed by James Wise and Bill Dodgin
Eagle Spring, NC
C W Limehouse
Traverse City, MI
Diagram of Stan's room at Stalag Luft I
The Men of North Compound 2, Block 7, Room 3
Fort Mill SC
John K. Brush
John W. Carmine
James E. Everson
Monmouthshire, S. Wales, GB
Jacob S. Fishel "Stan"
Royal D. Frey
Los Angeles CA
William E. Hoppa
Raymond M. Mitchell
East Rochester NY
John W. Schwikert
Howard A. Smith
Franklin Van Wart
Montreal West, Quebec,
East Rochester NY
Sumner A. Woodrow
The International Red Cross
provided parcels that were intended to be distributed to each Kriegie one
per week. They were distributed rather regularly until the Battle of the
Bulge. During that time the Krauts claimed their transportation system was
not able to bring the parcels by truck from Switzerland. The parcel was a
10-12 square-inch cardboard sealed box that contained:
1 lb Powdered Milk 8 oz Cheese
1 lb Oleomargerine 15 oz raisins or prunes
6 oz Pate 6 oz Jam
17 oz Spam Jar of instant Coffee
12 oz Corned Beef 8-oz D-Bar (chocolate)
9 oz Salmon 7 Vitamin C Tablets
7 oz C-ration Biscuits 5 packages cigarettes
8 oz Sugar 2 bars Soap
At Christmas we were issued one parcel that contained the following:
1 Pipe 12 Bullion Cubes
1 Package Pipe Tobacco 12 oz Boned Turkey
3 Pkgs Cigarettes 8 oz Honey Spread
2 2-oz Fruit Bars 1-3/8 oz Tea
14 oz Dates 1 Deck Playing Cards
4 pkgs Chewing Gum 1 Game
12 oz Mixed Nuts 1 Wash Cloth
4 oz Vienna Sausages 6 oz Jam
4 oz Preserved Butter 9 oz Cherries
4 oz American Cheese 2 Photos
1 lb Plum Pudding 3 oz Deviled Ham
12 oz Mixed Candy
As is already on the web site we were not allowed to exit the barracks
buildings after dark. Dogs, German Shepards, were turned loose in the
compounds. Thusly, we were not allowed to have pepper. We would have
arranged for the dogs to sniff it and mess up their smelling devices.
Letters From Home
According to my records, the
following letters were alleged to have been received by prisoners at Stalag
If you need any money let me know.......Love Mom
I have been living with a private since you are gone. Please do not cut off
my allowance, though, as he does not make as much money as you........Your
Dear Bill, -- I went down to the Red Cross the other day to find out what
I should send to you. They told me that you probably could send me packages
as you have so much food and clothes over there now. They also said you
could go to school and learn a trade........Your loving wife
I'm sorry to hear that a prisoner got the sweater I knitted. I made it for
a fighting man
We are not sending you any parcels. We hear that you can buy all you need
at the stores near the camp.......Love from all
Even when you were a kid I expected you to end up in
Keep 'em flyin".....Your cousin
I'm really worried about Adolf the cat. The veterinarian said his diet was
Darling, do you get to town often?
I'll be glad when you get home so I can make our divorce final. I've been
living with an infantry captain. He is really
Stan Fishel - 2002
MINI-BIO JACOB STANLEY FISHEL
Born 03 March 1920,
White/Male, Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Bernard Francis and Beatrice
Wall Fishel -- only child
Baptized while an infant by Dr. Edmund Schwarze, Calvary Moravian Church,
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Attended - Winston-Salem Public Schools.
Graduated - R J Reynolds High School 1938
Attended - Tennessee Military Institute School of Business Administration
Attended - North Carolina State University, 1946-1950 B Arch Engr
Married to Shirley Allen May, 16 April 1943
One son: William Stanley Fishel, born 10 November 1946
One daughter: Susan Wall Fishel Owens, born 11 August 1949
One grandson: James Stanley Owens, born 18 July 1979
1940 -1942 Comptroller, Fishel Brothers, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
1942 -1943 Aviation Cadet, Pilot Class 43-D, US Army Air Force
Pre-flight - Kelly Field, Texas
Primary - Coleman, Texas
Basic - Goodfellow Field, Texas
Advanced - Lubbock, Texas
Graduated - 20 April 1943, commissioned Second Lieutenant.
Assigned - Troop Carrier Command
C-47 Pilot training, Bergstrom Field, Austin, Texas
Tactical training, Grantham Air Force Base, Grantham, Mississippi
Assigned - 49th TC Squadron, 313th TC Group, Erice, Sicily
Ferried new C-47 type aircraft from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Sicily via
Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, England, Casablanca, Algiers and Tunis
Detached to MATS to provide freight and passenger service across North
Africa, Sicily and southern Italy
1944 - 313th TC Group moved to Folkingham, England, in March
Operation "Market Garden" 17 September
Dropped troops near Nimjegan, Holland
Ditched disabled C-47 aircraft in Scheldt Estuary
Captured by German troops
Detained at Stalag Luft 1 near Barth, Germany
1945 - Freed by Russian troop o/a 01 May
Returned to USA aboard SS Excelsior to Hampton Rhodes. Fort Patrick Henry
Discharged Kelly Field, 31 December, rank - Captain
1946 -1950 Comptroller, Connell Building Corporation, Raleigh, North
1950 -1960 Employed as Architect by William H. Deitrick, FAIA, Raleigh,
1960 -1963 Partner, Guy E Crampton and Associates, Raleigh, North Carolina
1967 - President, Raleigh Section, North Carolina Chapter, American
Institute of Architects
1963 -1988 Partner, Fishel and Taylor, Architects, Raleigh, North Carolina -NAVFAC
was a major client
1973 - President, Raleigh-Durham Chapter, Construction Specifications
1989 -1990 Consultant to Horace D Taylor, Architect -- Retired 31 May 1990
1956 - Present Raleigh Kiwanis Club, President, 1966
1956 -1970 Raleigh Toastmasters Club, President 1960/61
1960 -1975 Board of Directors, Wake County Boys' Club, President,
1966 - President, Raleigh Civic Council
1971 -1977 Board of Directors, Cerebral Palsy Rehabilitation Center,
1977 -1980 Member Board of Directors, MacGregor Downs Homeowners Assoc.,
1979 -1995 Member Architectural Committee, MacGregor Downs Homeowners Assoc
1991 -1999 Deliver Meals on Wheels each Wednesday
1920 -1952 Member Calvary Moravian Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
1952 - Present Charter member, Raleigh Moravian Church, Raleigh, North
Board of Elders Long Range Planning Committee
Sacristan Building Committee
Adult Sunday School Teacher
Sunday School Superintendent
Music- Played clarinet and saxophone during youth and very limited ability
at the piano. Enjoy listening to sound reproduction system.
Fishing - Enjoyed extensive salt water fishing until golf entered the
Golf - Participated extensively until about 1995.
Bowling - Currently bowl three league series (three games) per week.
Travel - Visited Europe and Near East about ten times (since WWII). Driven
up and down and across the USA and Canada countless times. Attended
christening of Aircraft Carrier JFK 1969, Captain Earl P. Earl P. Yates,
Exercise - Walk one mile, at about 4 miles per hour regularly. Ride
stationary bike for 20 minutes on occasion. See bowling above.
Computer - Became a computer-geek after golf and retirement