World War II prisoner of war camp - Stalag Luft I

The Art


World War II - Prisoners of War - Stalag Luft I 

A collection of stories, photos, art and information on Stalag Luft I

The POW Stories
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The Art
The Poetry
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The Interrogators
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The Evacuation
The Return
The Kriegies
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Allison's Thoughts
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Watercolors, Sketches, Cartoons and Comic Book


Charles Ross Greening POW photoCol. Charles Ross Greening' s Art 

Col. Greening studied Fine Arts at Washington State College and then entered the Army Air Corps  to serve his country during World War II.  He was one of the famous "Doolittle Raiders" that took part in the first strike against Japan after Pearl Harbor - the bombing raid on Tokyo with Jimmy Doolittle.   In fact it was his idea to use the broomsticks painted black when their guns were removed to lighten the load, in hopes of fooling the Japanese fighters into thinking they had more guns than they indeed had.  He also invented the bombsight used on the raid.  He flew a total of  27 missions over Italy before he was shot down, just missing parachuting into the crater of Mount Vesuvius.  Finding himself a POW in Italy,  he soon put his talents to work  drawing portraits of fellow POWs in exchange for food and cigarettes.  He even staged an art show in an unused latrine.  While being transported north he escaped from a train and evaded for six months before being re-captured and sent to Stalag Luft I.   There was nothing for the prisoners to do and Greening noticed some were going "around the bend", so he decided to teach art and organize a craft committee.  The Germans did not encourage art so Greening had to be resourceful.  He said they used their own hair to make paint brushes and they baked twigs to make drawing charcoal.  Coffee made dye.  They boiled crepe paper and can labels to get color for paints.  Then one day a YMCA package arrived with watercolors and paper and Greening really got to work.  By then the whole camp was interested.  His idea was to illustrate the planes and air battles they all remembered.  While in Stalag Luft I he posted a notice offering to sell a book, to be printed after the war, of reproductions of his watercolors for $10.00.  He received 5,000 I.O.U.'s from fellow prisoners who wanted to purchase the book.  After liberation Greening arranged with a printer to publish the book in 1947 and all 5,000 copies were shipped to the subscribers and he quickly received request for 1,000 more.  To the former POWs of Stalag Luft I the book titled "Not As Briefed" made a historic yearbook.  And to the men that had survived air combat his painting rang true.

Col. Greening's Memoirs, "Not As Briefed -  From the Doolittle Raid to a German Stalag", which he dictated shortly before his death is now available for purchase.  It contains many reproductions of his watercolors and other artwork.  

Bailing out of B-17 Prisoner of War art  
Navigator Bailing Out of a B-17

 Pursued - Prisoner of War art  

From his Limited Edition book, "Not As Briefed"

Prison Camp by C. Ross Greening - WW2 watercolor - Prisoner of War art

Prison Camp - New arrivals entering Main Gate at Stalag Luft One, Barth, Germany

The Nazi Flag is riding out a Baltic gale, the wind from the East presaging the great Russian offensive of January, 1945.  The wagon, left center, is laden with kriegsbrot (German "war bread"), the POW staff of life.  The new arrivals won't like it...but they will eat it!


Come and Get Your Stew
Mess Hall in North 1 Compound at Stalag Luft I

This communal mess hall in the North I compound was the only one of its kind in American Prisoner of War Camps in Germany.  From it 2,000 men were served two meals daily in four sittings of 500 each.  The Red Cross Parcels were pooled and the meals were prepared for the group.  The mess hall also served as a  play house, schoolroom, and church until it burned to the ground shortly before liberation. Dr. Kuptsow in his narrative describes working the water bucket brigade to help extinguish the fire to no avail. 


Battle over Big B

This vividly portrays the battle over Berlin.  



Guard tower at Stalag Luft I - Prisoner of War art

Guard Tower

Guard Tower, South of the Mess Hall, North I Compound, Stalag Luft One, Barth, Germany.   This, the highest tower in camp, was the main one overlooking the entire camp. Two machine guns not visible in the picture were silent discouragement to many an ambitious kriegie's escape plan.  This tower was last seen in flames on V-E Day.



 Roll Call

Twice a day this scene was enacted in all compounds of Stalag Luft One. This is in North One Compound.  Five deep to facilitate Teutonic higher mathematics, each squadron stood at attention while being counted.  Despite the common multiple the procedure was more SNAFU than not .. which necessitate frequent recounts.  The latter were tolerable in the warmer months, but with the advent of cold weather, bone chilling gales would roar in from the Baltic in the background


Drawings by Lt. Charles L. Early of South Carolina - from his YMCA Log Book

Rumor of War's End from WW2 POW wartime log
Rumor of War's End

Protecting Power visits the camp - POW art at Stalag Luft I

Protecting powers visit camp

American bombers over North Germany - Prisoner of war art from World War II

American Bombers over N. Germany

Girls on parade - POW watercolor from wartime log

Girls on parade

A busy day at POW Camp - Stalag Luft I

A busy day at POW camp

Per Clint Gruber - a roommate of Lt. Early: 
Early drew himself on the left top bunk.  On the bottom is Bob Reid. Middle top is Roy Braly.  Bottom bunk is Bob Wilkins. Top bunk right, Dick Ketchum.  And, completely sacked out (my usual posture) in the bottom bunk, is myself.

Artwork by prisoners of war at Stalag Luft I - kriegie
Kriegie in winter

Watercolor art by kriegie at Stalag Luft I in WWII

Kriegie in summer

Watercolor of Stalag Luft I by Charles Early - POW

Stalag Luft I

Watercolor - kriegie stove

Kriegie stove

POW artwork - watercolor of German guard


A friendly game at Stalag Luft I during World War 2

Art from Stalag Luft I - Block 1 dresses right
Art - World War II watercolor at POW camp

A Friendly Game

Block 1 Dresses Right July 1990 Nobel Prize

The Main Gate at Stalag Luft I by Jack Friend

A watercolor perspective of the main gate at Stalag Luft I, drawn by aviator Jack Friend in his Wartime Log.  It shows the large guard tower at the entrance and the German war flag flapping in the wind on a summer day.  (From "A Wartime Log" by Art and Lee Beltrone)

Entrance to Stalag Luft I - a ww2 POW camp in Germany


Guard Tower at Stalag Luft I in Barth, Germany during World War 2

Barth, Germany - a watercolor by Daniel McCarthy

Burning P-38 with pilot on wing

Pilot on wing of P-38 by S. L. Barton

Hand made birthday card by POWs for Oscar Williamson

Oscar Williamson's handmade Birthday Card - given to him April 23, 1945 by his roommates in North 2 Compound
The following are from Dominick Tutino's YMCA Log Book

POW Red Cross Parcel 1944 
POW washing machine - douhby POW dishwashing  

POW art - drawing of bed at POW camp

Red Cross parcel  Douhby - the POW Washing Machine R. A. Day or Pearl Diving -  the Dishwasher My Kriegie Sack
POW art - Trading with the Germans at Stalag Luft I German rations at Stalag Luft I For you the war is over
Lt. Tutino's Terror Story drawing
Trading German rations For you the war is over Terror Story

POW war log drawing - Barth, Germany

Dominick Tutino - My dreadful day at POW camp Dulag Luft cooler Propaganda at Dulag Luft
The End My Dreadful Day Dulag Luft Cooler Propaganda Items

Lt. Raymond Foss Murdoch, Jr plane by E.P. Winslow

Lt. Raymond Foss Murdoch, Jr.'s plan "Redge" going in on a power dive by Edward P. Winslow. His plane was named for his girlfriend (later wife) Rosemary Edge = Redge

Klim Kriegie cartoon by Donald Ross

Klim Kriegie by Donald Ross in Fred Bronson's wartime log.


The Luftwaffe visits North 3 at Stalag Luft I   

  The Luftwaffe visits North 3 drawing by Bill Hogan

Return from POW camp

Just returned from POW camp by Roy Wendell


Guard Tower at Stalag Luft I  1945          Barracks and utensils at Stalag Luft I   
  Drawings by Martin Uhl


Barracks at Stalag Luft I West Compound

Stalag Luft I Barracks and Guard Tower from Bill Branigan

P-40 Kittyhawk Dive Bomber

P-40 Kittyhawk Dive Bomber
from Bill Branigan

Drawings by Jay Monicken from Frank Page's wartime log
Liberty Run in flames by Jay Monicken Barth, Germany by Jay Monicken

Guard Tower by Jay Monicken

Stalag Luft I sketch by Jay Monicken
Liberty Run in Flames Barth, Germany Guard Tower Stalag Luft I Barracks
For more art work from the POW camp see also the following Kriegie pages:

John Cordner - A RAF navigator and POW at Stalag Luft I.  Here we have a copy of his POW camp diary, beautifully illustrated.  The original diary resides in the Imperial War Museum in England.

Paul Canin - Nicknamed "Remy" by his roommates because of his artistic ability.

Leland C. Potter - Scans from his YMCA diary - a Stalag Luft IV and I POW.


COMIC BOOK  -  A Sad But True Story by Roger Wilco
 by Lt. Kenneth C. Reimer. KGF # 4453, Stalag Luft I - Barth, Germany  


 From Dr. Kuptsow's collection

Cover - Roger Wilco at Stalag Luft I                        Page 23 - Roger Wilco at Stalag Luft I  

About the Author:  In recent years the name "Roger Wilco" has skyrocketed into national, - even worldwide prominence.  Especially in the Air Corps is his name on every tongue. As Paul Bunyan is to lumbermen, as Gypsy Rose Lee to burlesque, as Steve Brodie is the Brooklyn, -- so is "Roger Wilco" to the men who go up to the sky in ships.

Click here to read the comic book on Roger Wilco's adventure as a POW in Germany



Bail out
One page in Sylvan Cohen's Wartime Log told the complete story of how an aviator became a prisoner.  This watercolor shows a formation of bombers at the top and an enemy target burning below.  Black puffs of flak greet the aircraft in a deadly game of "tag".   A disabled B-17 heads for earth as the airman pulls the ripcord of his parachute.  Another crew member has safely left the aircraft and opened his parachute and a yellow-nosed German Focke-Wulf FW 190 passes overhead.


Kriegie humor

 Kriegie Humor by Sgt. Lester H. Russell - Stalag Luft I POW
 It saved them when the going got tough.




Recent Art (not done by POWs)


After the Mission

Gil Cohen's painting, "After the Mission", shows a scene familiar to all those fortunate enough to survive the deadly attrition of the air war in Europe. The painting shows a bomber aircrew being debriefed by an intelligence officer, whose job it is to collect first-hand, while memories are still fresh, vital information on the day's action.

It was not an easy mission. The men are bone-tired and spent. They would rather not be here but the 'Brass' needs to know what happened over there. Thank God for the coffee! Our pilot tries to sort things out for the intelligence officer, who documents the testimony while his British counterpart puffs thoughtfully on his pipe. The navigator nervously thumbs his Zippo to light a cigarette. The waistgunner, wearing a hastily wrapped bandage, appears to be in shock, while the bombardier wearily rubs the back of his neck as he recalls the harrowing run over the target. We wonder what thoughts run through the mind of the young tailgunner as he looks out the window, hoping the engine he hears belongs to the plane of a buddy not yet home.



Carving of a B-17

This B-17 model was carved from bed slats at Stalag Luft I.


plane carved from bed slats at Stalag Luft I

Plane carved from bed slats at Stalag Luft One


POW Wings made in Stalag Luft I.  They were made by melting the lead out of the seams of cans sent by the Red Cross. The lead was poured into the mold from the back two holes, which were to be the fasteners.

POW wings made in camp

From Amy Baker's collection

stalag luft one wings

Gene Trumpower's wings acquired in the camp

Wings made in POW camp
Stalag Luft I  POW Wings

POW camp wings

Bill Branigan's wings made in the camp.  Overall width 2 3/4 " overall height 7/8".
Solder melted from seams of tin containers.  Mold made of plaster of paris taken from medical centre. 




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This site created and maintained by Mary Smith and Barbara Freer, daughters of Dick Williams, Jr.