World War II prisoner of war camp - Stalag Luft I


World War II - Prisoners of War - Stalag Luft I 

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


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The following are some of Ulrich Hausmann's memoirs as written in letters to Philip Wright in 1996 and 1997.   Ulrich Hausmann now 97 - is suffering from advanced Alzheimer's Disease and is living in a retirement home.


 March 9, 1996

Dear Phil:

 Thanks for your letter of March 6th and its contents.

 It is nice the people of the little town near Giessen are supplying you with memories of your 15 minutes of...(whatever the word is -  fame?)

 As to the passing of Adolf Galland, I knew him at least as well as his brother.  Adolf was withdrawn from aerial battle.  He was the big hero and Göring made him general in command of all German fighter outfits and stationed him in Berlin.  However, he came often to his former outfit, i.e. the one where I was the only Correspondent of War. I was in close contact with him all through the fall of 1941 and until summer ‘42.

 In 1945 - 46 we were together as P.O.W.s in England.  I did not like him.  He was extremely arrogant and ignored me, as I did not have a camera anymore.  He was a three star general  and I a second lieutenant. He was very friendly as long as I was a P.R. man - such as when I took a photo of him with Göring, which was published as the cover of the biggest German illustrated magazine. I, therefore, did not go see him when he was in Seattle for a few years.

 In France he had nearly gotten me in trouble. I had arranged a party with a German WAC outfit, whose commander consented, if I would guarantee that there would be no misbehavior by our fighter pilots.  Unfortunately, I took the responsibility.  The girls would be back at 10 pm. at their quarters.  You can imagine what happened.  I brought the girls back at 1 am. The biggest “table looker” had been Adolf Galland, who came out of his room, buttoning his fly, with the words, “O.K. -  That’s that!”  Luckily, the story remained a secret. So you can imagine that I took a dim view of Adolf Galland. I thought this might amuse you, because I believe that misbehavior happened on all sides. Enough for today.

 To both of you a hearty, “Horrido.” That was the greeting call of the German fighter pilots.

 (signed) Ulrich

May 6, 1996

Dear Phil,

Thanks for your letter of 4/29, with the NY Times obituary on Galland. The photo is not made by me. At first believed that I had shot it, because Göring's white overcoat and hat and Galland's were the same as they were the same which they wore when they made the inspection trip to our J.G. 26 squadron either before or after the  end of Sept. or October 1941.

One of my my photos of the two was published as a cover  of the "Kölnisele Illustrate," a prominent Picture Magazine. I was quite proud at the time. I have no copy because my wife burned all magazines, news papers, etc. at once, because after we had lost the war, how the occupying forces react toward the families or members of the vanquished forces.  Morgenthau - I forget what office he held under Roosevelt - demanded or suggested that 50,000 German officers should be shot. Rather safe than sorry, she thought, as my writings and photos were the property of the Ministry of Propaganda.   I had only few proofs of publications written or photographed. In reality nothing happened after the war and I was [working], for awhile after my return, one year after the war, first by the Americans and most interestingly by the French occupying forces. I speak fluently English, French, and Italian. The latter not too well.

Coming back to the inspection trip of Göring and Galland to our J.G. 26 (Hunter Squadron - in German Jagd Gescharaderen) lasted only a few hours. It was an episode one would never forget.  Fatso,"Der Dicke" in German, loved his Luftwaffe.  He was very jovial, he smiled broadly at me (probably because I took pictures of him.)  It would take several pages if I wrote the turmoils he loosened, the clowning of the Luftwaffe Chief, which I sure he did not realize.

If you would enjoy very much to hear it, I will write you the story of this Göring - Galland episode.  As Fatso wanted to be loved by all, particularly by the privates and NCOs. He promoted all, and we had nobody any more to do the dirty work, after he left. For weeks our outfit was in a mess.

I used to be proud of my flawless English, also orthographically, but with my 92 years of age, I am loosing rapidly the knowledge.

Thanks again for your letter.


        (signed) Ulrich

N 13
The photo in the N.Y. Times you find on page 18 of the "Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe".  I did not know personally the other 3 officers. Of course I knew their names.

P.S. Since several years I stopped using my typewriter.

October 12, 1996

Dear Phil,

Thank you for your letter of 10/3/96 and the letter of the Historisches Archiv  to Mr. Dort. It could well be that the missing number #43 of the Kölnischen Illustrieten with Göring/Galland cover had found a desirer.  Figuring that this weekly magazine, with 52 numbers, the # 43 would have been an October number (For 1996, the issues for the month would be #40 - 44).  I had no diary. To keep such would have been prohibited for a war correspondent to write or keep. So I try to recall my memory of activities of fall 1941 or spring '42.

To please Herr "Meier," [Göring] also known as "der Dicke," which would be the equivalent of "Fatso," we, the pilots including Galland, went hunting (Galland was still a full colonel). I shot a photo during this hunt, which showed that - as he always prided himself that he shot with both eyes open. I was then in his good graces for a week or so. With the prospect of Göring's visit, and Göring being a hunting nut, all the killed birds were to be displayed at the backyard of our château for his inspection.

He arrived in his open car, wearing his long light gray uniform coat. Stepping out of the car, his civilian valet (wearing a black bowler hat - what a ridiculous sight - unpeeled "Fatso" out of the military long coat and held out a fur collared short civilian "hunting coat" and a civilian hunting cap. Thus he was properly dressed for a non-military inspection of the birds - nicely lined up on the lawn. "der Dicke" was very pleased with us and went back to the Mercedes car. The valet helped him out of the fur collared hunting short coat, put him back into the long coat and held out the military cap. Only then "Fatso" entered the château. For about ten minutes he had been a civilian. One must always be properly dressed for the occasion.

After lunch, we all went out to inspect the lined up fighter pilots and the mechanics, etc. That was when I took the photo of Göring and Galland. Göring gave me a big smile, he always wanted to hear that he was a nice guy.  His heart was with his officers and his enlisted men. He promoted practically all enlisted men. The outfit was in a turmoil, because we had no privates, etc. - only corporals anymore.

I write these incidents, hunt, hunting coats, or long coats - incidentally, Galland, as I still remember, wore his long black leather coat so it must have been fall weather, and #43 should be the right one.

As I do not collect war memorabilia, I feel the Archiv  letter and photos are for use in your hands, and I return them to you.

Excuse my terrible orthography. It's age my friend - the age creeps up on me.


(signed) Ulrich

P.S. The photo showing Galland with his cigar: Smoking close to the airplane was strictly forbidden. Galland was the only one who smoked in his plane, also during aerial battle.

April 10, 1997

Dear Phil,

   Thanks for card of "Burg Staufenberg," which you sent from Neuilly in France. Incidentally, my wife was a tutor of a Staufenberg son-in-law in the upper-classes of High School and first few semesters of college in French, English, and higher math. Later, after the war, he married a Staufenberg daughter. He was a physician and passed away rather early.

   Now to the map of Oberusel.  Your judgment of the "Aussenstelle West," which was the official name of the interrogation camp (for airforce prisoners of the western front). Your placement of the camp was within a few hundred feet - as I remember.  I heard that our barracks and offices were renamed Camp King.

   The prisoners were held in solitary before and during interrogation. When we, i.e the interrogators, released them, the the prisoners were sent to a collection camp [Dulag Luft in Wetzlar] and then distributed to P.W. camps in Germany. The U.S. forces used - as I  heard years later - the A.S.W for its own interrogation purposes.

   The name of the street on which A.S.W. was situated is, as you rightly indicated,  Hohmarkstraße corner of Eichwäldchenweg (see the blue square Kupferhammer). About 15 - 20 minutes walk along the Hohmarkstraße, westward within the forest, was the hospital for wounded or sick P.O.Ws.  They were marched - if physically possible - to the interrogation - or in rare occasions for "after hours interrogation" in our private quarters, if we thought it would make them more talkable. On such occasions we could request a bottle of booze from the office to make a "homey atmosphere." It took a great deal of persuasion by  the interrogator to break out a bottle or two.

   I had only one such event. A colleague invited me to participate in a special "home style" private interrogation of two British pilots. Two bottles of Scotch, plenty of cigarettes, and two P.O.W.s from the hospital. My colleagues invited me to "The Party." The two prisoners were brought down by two guards. The result was a hell of a lot of fun! We two interrogators and the two P.O.W.s ended up in a terrific drunken spree. We sent the guards off, telling them we would return the "guests" to the hospital ourselves. We ended up dead drunk and too tired to take them back and decided the P.O.W.s could find their way back by themselves. Luckily it worked, and no trouble came of it.

   To understand this caper, one has to realize that by December 1944 all of us knew that no serious work was done anymore, and for our side the war was lost, and we - or rather most of us - were pretending. From the commanding officer down to us lowly lieutenants we were just waiting till it would all be over. But each one of us had to be very careful not voice our opinion.

   Say hello to your wife. For yourself a hearty "Horrido."

                                                   (signed)  Ulrich

Ulrich Hausmann and W. Lewis Curry at WWII reunion

Ulrich Hausmann (at age 90) and the 36th Fighter Group C.O., W. Lewis Curry.
Photo taken at the 36th FG reunion in Seattle in 1994

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