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
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.
Navigator Bailing Out of a B-17
From his Limited Edition book, "Not As
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
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.
over Big B
This vividly portrays the battle over Berlin.
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.
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
Rumor of War's End
Protecting powers visit camp
American Bombers over N. Germany
Girls on parade
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.
Kriegie in winter
Kriegie in summer
Stalag Luft I
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
Barth, Germany - a watercolor by Daniel McCarthy
Pilot on wing
of P-38 by S. L. Barton
Oscar Williamson's handmade Birthday Card - given to
him April 23, 1945 by his roommates in North 2 Compound
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
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
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 by Sgt. Lester H. Russell - Stalag Luft
It saved them when the going got tough.
(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.
This B-17 model was 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.
From Amy Baker's collection
Gene Trumpower's wings acquired in the camp
Stalag Luft I POW 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.