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
Heinrich Haslob Known to the POWs as "Henry the butcher" Intelligence Officer at Stalag Luft I
A short report about my father - Heinrich Haslob
by Grete Koch
My parents with my sister in front
of the shop in Hollis Long Island.
My father went over to the United States in 1923. At first he worked
with his 2 uncles in New York. They had a butcher shop in a great
market hall. He married my mother (a German) in 1926 and they had
their wedding dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. My sister was born in
He started his own business with a friend on Jamaica Avenue in Long
Island. The business did very well and they expanded the
shop. Then his mother in Germany became very ill and he sailed back
to Germany to visit her. In Germany his parents owned a
general store in a small village close to Bremen. Due to her illness
she asked him to move back to Germany to take over the family store.
My father promised her he would come back. My mother wanted to stay
in New York, because they had a good apartment with all the things that
make life easy. In Germany there was an old house without central
heating or indoor plumbing. But she followed her husband with their
little daughter and they returned to Germany in 1930.
With the money my father got from the sale of the business they
brought the house in Germany up to date with central heating, indoor
plumbing and so on. That same year (1930) his mother died
and just 2 year later his father died. So I did not know my
grandparents, as I was born in 1938.
In September 1939 the war began
and my father was called up to the war in 1941. When the war began
he was not able to come home very often and then only for a few days
at a time, so he remained unknown to me.
On a recent visit to the United States I visited with an American ex-POW that remembered
my father from his stay at Stalag Luft I. He told
me that he remembered my father as a man always smiling and he respected
and admired him as a soldier even though they were on opposite
sides. He told me that while he was a POW he expressed an interest
in learning German so my
father bought him a dictionary. For me it was great to speak with a
man who knew my father, because I did not get to know him very well.
Grete's father did not return home when the war ended and for many
years the family never knew what happened to him. Was he alive or
dead? After the war Barth was in the Soviet
controlled portion (East Germany) and not until the wall came down in
November 1989 was Grete able to travel to Barth in search of her
father. She asked the local residents but no one knew anything about
him. She did learn that several unidentified people had been found
dead shortly after the liberation of the camp and were buried in the town cemetery.
Grete would continue to return to Barth whenever she learned of groups
of ex-POWs visiting the former campsite. During one visit she was told by an
American ex-POW that her father had been shot and killed in the days after
liberation by an American POW. He told her that her
father had encountered the POW in town and words were exchanged. Her
father made the remark that "I
will be home before you are" and with that the POW pulled a gun and
If you have any information to confirm
or deny the above account please let me know.
Any other information about Henry that
his daughter might be interested in knowing please email
me and I will pass it on to her .
My parents, my sister
and myself - 1943
The old house in Germany - 1926
The house after modernization
Roll Call Thoughts
This poem was found in Henry's personal photo album.
It is not know who the author was.
We've stood in the rain,
the snow and the sleet,
We've stood there for hours with nothing to eat
And why have we stood there, so "Browned off" and mad?
Because Unterofficer Noyes just couldn't add.
We've dug nice long tunnels through miles of sand.
Made fancy clothes and hid in tin cans.
But why have we failed to leave "Kriegie" Land?
Because Henry the "Butcher Boy" is always on hand.
We don't like this camp, so windy, so bleak,
And the barking of watch-dogs that bother our sleep.
Oh, Major Von Muller please give us a break;
Just call of your Blood-hounds and let us escape!
"When I was young and living
in Garden City, Long Island, New York, my mother would always
drive to a neighboring town, named Hempstead, on Saturdays for
her weekly supply of meats. I always wanted to go with her
because I loved the atmosphere of the shop due to it's large
chopping block and the sawdust on the floor. This
was during the 1930's. The name of the owner was "Herman".
Mom told me one day that Herman had returned to Germany in the
late 30's because Hitler had demanded all Germans born in
Germany to return to the Fatherland to help become a great
nation. As he put it "Once a German, always a German".
Herman related to that, according to my mother and left the US
with his family. She missed him very much, and never found
another butcher she liked as she did "Herman".
I, as a member of the 8th Air Force, was shot
down in July 1944. I arrived in Barth and Stalag Luft I (Eins)
in August. Upon arriving, I was processed as a prisoner in
the normal fashion. About the second or third German to
whom I presented myself said to me "Richard ! -- how wonderful
to see you. How is your mother?" It was
"Herman the butcher"!
Richard A Matheis
Stalag Luft I POW
From Heinrich's Personal Photo Album
A page from the photo album.
The above photo of man standing in front of doors is Henry the Butcher,
Stalag Luft I
guard with flashlight in tunnel dug by prisoners
in an unsuccessful attempt at escape.
The date of this tunnel is 7/20/44.
This is a photo of the prisoners marching down
the road to the prison camp.
This is the same road as seen above in the Memorial site photos.
More photos of German guards at the camp. Henry
is in the middle.
German guard inside tunnel dug by the prisoners.
German guards and newly discovered tunnel.
Stalag Luft I guards with a group of new prisoners arriving at
Barth, Germany train station
POWs arriving in July 1944 at Barth train
station, preparing for march to Stalag Luft I.
Injured POWs being loaded on Red Cross truck (by fellow
POWs), for trip from train station to Stalag Luft I in July 1944.
in background awaiting their march to the camp.
Arrival of new POWs to Stalag Luft I.
Coffin on truck with flower wreaths.
In March 1945, one POW died of leukemia in the camp and one week later another
POW was killed by a guard when he stepped outside the barracks not knowing
an air raid siren had sounded. He realized his mistake and turned around
quickly to return but was shot in the head and killed.
Grete (Henry's daughter) and Gunther Koch at Stalag Luft I Campsite in