14. Juni 1945
|GEO & MIL INFO|
|Ventspils, and the presumable camp position|
|26 June: Foundation of the United Nations|
••• S. 286 •••14 June 45. Arrival in the officers' camp Ventspils. Rotten earthen huts. Just under one metre deep with sloping board roof. We are gradually upgrading them. The administration passes from the Red Army to the NKVD (Ministry of Interior).
There is a Catholic and a Protestant clergyman among us who take turns to hold services every Sunday. Receive the holy sacraments. On Sundays we still wear all our war decorations. Latvian women bring us bread. The Russian sentry hands it to us over the fence. Other guards, on the other hand, bring the Latvians to the guard when they only want to talk to us through the fence.
We march in groups to bathe in the Venta, swim across to the other bank without the guard stirring. On one of these paths a woman meets us and gives us a bag of strawberries she had just bought on the market. The population shows great sympathy for us. The Latvians still hope for English intervention to liberate them.
A short dysentery epidemic is nipped in the bud. But at least we finally get the often and urgently requested toilet paper, namely a whole library of religious books. Probably they were simply requisitioned from a pastor. First we pick out the best ones to read.
We form working groups to combat boredom. I give a lecture on the formation of rock and soil layers. We also engage in a lively barter trade with the details from other Windau camps working outside. We officers do not work, according to the Geneva Convention. I trade myself a complete equipment again with the help of my cigarette ration, because I don't smoke.
I show the number "BP 383" on the back of my jacket.
The Russian guards are very reluctant to go into the forest with the timber details. They fear the Latvian partisans hiding in the woods.
In the evenings we often sit together in a large circle and sing "Home, your stars".
The Russian camp commander, a lieutenant, is very friendly and allows us a lot of freedom of movement in the camp..
In Windau there is a second camp occupied by our people. Contact is kept up by means of secret messages and visits which we are occasionally allowed. My last battalion leader Dietsch is also quartered there. I got into brief trouble with him when he tried to get hold of my watch through a devious machination. But it was settled quickly and amicably.The Russian major objected to the pictures of naked girls from Simplicissimus that the officers had pinned to their walls.
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- acc. to the description given by Bogg (p. 24-25)
- Bogg (p. 22) arrived on 15th.
- acc. Bogg (S. 22) "Earth bunker camp. Ten wooden huts, half buried in the earth"
- Bogg (p. 26) mentions a registration of prisoners by the NKVD.
- Is this the young Protestant clergyman and lieutenant in the Flak artillery that Bogg (p. 39) reports about from Salaspils, the camp after next?
- acc. to Bogg (p. 23) also cake
- similarly Bogg (p. 24)
- Bogg (p. 23) found the words "Milais bralins" - dear brothers - on the wrapping paper of the above-mentioned cake.
- cf. Bogg p. 23
- The author was a geography teacher in his civilian profession (see also footnote to this photo).
- like this in the original. What looks like a "B" is a Cyrillic "W": ВП, военнопленный, [və(ɪ̯)ɪnːɐˈplʲenːɨɪ̯], prisoner of war.
- Bogg (p. 25) also mentions this song, which was popular at the time; text (excerpt as in the diary p. 359, transl.: ed.):
Heimat, deine Sterne – sie strahlen mir auch am fernen Ort Homeland, your stars - they shine for me even in the far-off place Was sie sagen, deute ich ja so gerne – als der Liebe zärtliches Losungswort. What they say I so willingly interpret - as love's tender watchword. Tausend Sterne stehen in weiter Runde – von der Liebsten freundlich mir zugesandt A thousand stars are standing in a wide circle - kindly sent to me by my beloved In der Ferne träum’ ich vom Heimatland In the distance I dream of the homeland
- Bogg (p. 23) describes him as "about 24, lean, ash blond, 1.70 m, Karelian"