World War II prisoner of war camp - Stalag Luft I

The Photos


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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Photos of Stalag Luft I

Stalag Luft I consisted of a strip of barren land jutting into the Baltic Sea about 105 miles northwest of Berlin.  Two miles south of the main gate a massive Lutheran church marked the northern outskirts of the village of Barth.  A large pine forest bordered the west side of the camp and, to the east and north, the waters of Barth Harbor slashed against the shore less than a mile from the barbed wire fence. 

Enclosing the camp there stretched miles of barbed wire, in two rows four feet apart, attached to 10-foot posts.  Every hundred yards, a Guard Tower mounting a machine gun and a pair of spotlights provided constant vigilance and permitted an unobstructed view of all within the confines of the enclosure.

The Stalag was divided into five separate areas, called compounds.  There were four for prison compounds: South or West, North 1, North 2 and North 3.  The fifth area consisted of the German buildings, in the center, well constructed buildings, green grass, and attractive shubbery, "The Oasis" as the prisoners called this area, was in sharp contrast to the prison compounds.


Prisoners-of-war arriving at Barth train station

Prisoners-of-war arriving at train station in Barth
Courtesy of Heinrich Haslob - German guard

Prisoners of war marched through Barth, Germany

POWs are marched to Stalag Luft I from the railroad station through the town of Barth. En route they pass through the Dammtor Gate, as seen in the background of this photo. The gate was built in the middle of the 14th century and is 35m in height and has an entrance of 4m in width.
 Photo courtesy of Roy Kilminster - RAF POW

Randy Anderson (the navigator and our Dad's plane) sent me these photos.
He has added the attached comments.

Guard Tower at Stalag Luft I - POW Camp - WW2 

Stalag Luft I Guard Tower - One of many guard towers encircling the 3 compounds at Stalag Luft #1, Barth, Germany. Photo taken approximately May 10, 1945 after liberation by the Russian advance troops of armored division. Photo taken by a German camera confiscated from civilians.


Stove used for heating one of the many large barracks rooms - 16' by 24' which was "home" for 24 prisoners of war (when we had pressed coal - one lump per person - seldom!).
  Also had to suffice for cooking (when we had food and coal - even more seldom).


Stove at Stalag Luft I - World war II Pow Camp
Roll Call at Stalag Luft I - German POW Camp in world war II


Stalag Luft I Roll Call - Even after liberation, the Sr. American Officer, Colonel Hubert "Hub" Zemke insisted on daily roll calls as a means of maintaining some degree of military decorum. It helped in keeping track of those who chose to get back to the Allied front lines rather than wait to be repatriated as a group. Illegal but no penalty imposed.



 Photos with comments -  From "Behind Barbed Wire"   by Morris J. Roy

World War 2 Red Cross Parcel for prisoners of war German POW guards at gate to Stalag Luft I prison camp North I Compound at Stalag Luft in world war 2
Potatoes for prisoners at Stalag Luft I POW camp during world war II Bread cart arrives at Stalag Luft I - WWII POW camp Field Kitchen at Stalag Luft I - Medal of Honor recipient Red Morgan
Library at North I compound at Stalag Luft I Wash shed at Stalag Luft I for prisoners Search. party at Stalag Luft I
Church at Stalag Luft I Airfield at Barth - Stalag Luft I Roll Call or appell at prisoner of war camp
Flak school from guard tower at Stalag Luft I in Barth Boxing at World War II POW Camp in Barth, Germany POW class of 1945
Old gate at Barth, Germany shower at prisoner of war camp Dressing room at prisoner of war camp
All out for Roll Call at Stalag Luft I 22 men.slept here - barracks at Stalag Luft I American staff at North II compound at Stalag Luft I POW camp
German headquarters between compounds at Stalag Luft I July 4 at POW camp July 4 at Stalag Luft I POW camp


     Photos with descriptions taken before and after liberation at Stalag Luft I
Click here to view all these plates full size - or click on individual thumbnails to view, individually. WWII German POW camp photos - Plate 3 - Stalag Luft I WWII German POW camp photos - Plate 4 - Stalag Luft I
WWII German POW camp photos - Plate 5 - Stalag Luft I WWII German POW camp photos - Plate 6 - Stalag Luft I WWII German POW camp photos - plate 7 - Stalag Luft I
WWII German POW camp photos - Plate 8 - Stalag Luft I

WWII German POW camp photos - Plate 2 - Stalag Luft I


    From Dana Harding - son of William J Harding

Barth Kommandant and guards at Stalag Luft I in World WarII

Liberation day in Barth, Germany in May 1945

William J. Harding - Stalag Luft I POW

 Barth Commandant and administration

Liberation May 1945

WIlliam J. Harding

POWs visiting the town of Barth, Germany after liberation

Roll Call at Stalag Luft I

POW getting haircut

POW getting hair cut - notice the Stalag Luft I Dog Tags he is wearing (along with US issued ones)

POWs visiting Barth after liberation

POWs line up for roll call

Stalag Luft I guard tower in winter

Stalag Luft I

US Flag after liberation

Snow covered Guard Tower in winter

Stalag Luft I

US Flag after liberation

POW by stove, reading and doing laundry


Capt. Don Warren of North 2, Barrack 5, reading and doing laundry



      Photos from the book "From Wings to Jackboots" by Barry Keyter 
South Compound Barracks 6 - room 18 at Stalag Luft I  The cooler in the South Compound at Stalag Luft I The mess behind the kitchen in the South Compound at Stalag Luft I

South Compound Barrack 6, room 18 

Guard room and isolation cells - South Compound The 'Mess' behind the kitchen in the South Compound
Theatre Church in the South Compound of Stalag Luft I    
Sharing guard duty with the Russians after liberation at Stalag Luft I French political prisoners in WWII German concentration camp in Barth, Germany
  The Theatre / Church - South Compound
   Guard duty with the Russians after liberation   French political prisoners from the concentration camp in Barth

The sports field in the West compound of Stalag Luft I

South/West Compound and Sports Field at Stalag Luft I in Barth, Germany during World War II.

Inside barracks at Stalag Luft I

Inside the Barracks at Stalag Luft I


Inside POW barracks at Stalag Luft I - POWs reading and passing time

Stalag Luft I Prisoners of war passing time reading in their barracks.  Harold "Hal" Peters is in upper left hand corner with pipe.


Photos below compliments of Fred Kennie and Edwin Davidson

View of Flak School from Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany   South Compound at Stalag Luft I.     Departure day at Barth, POW camp, World War II   
Flak School as seen from our POW camp. South Compound taken from one of the guard towers. Barracks 1, 2 & 3 in the picture. Barth Airport, May 13, 1945  note charged wire. Col. Malmstrom, Capt. Smedley (leaning over)  P-38 model he made showing on his cap.  This is departure day from Barth.
Roy Dutton reading bulletin board at Stalag Luft I 1945  Grady Embree shaving at Stalag Luft I. World War II Dell Meyers saying goodbye to Dwight Hartles - WWII   
Roy Dutton reading bulletin board. Grady Embree shaving, Room 7, Block 2,  South Compound Del Meyers saying goodbye to Dwight Hartles.
German Guard Tower at Stalag Luft I    Russian giving a speech at Stalag Luft I - WWII     Mitch Mullholland gets his wings at POW Camp.  WWII   
Guard tower located near the kitchen, South. Flak school is just out of the picture to the left - across fields. A Russian giving a speech.  Major Pritchard behind Russians. Mitch Mulholland being presented w/ Sr. Pilot Wings, May 1945.  Art Smedley is doing the honors while Ed Cannon , Fred Kennie
Phil Jenny and Walsh eating in room at POW camp Arrival of Americans to POW Camp in World War II   Phil Bern - March 1945, Stalag Luft I - POW camp WWII 
Phil Janney (hard to see him) and Walsh at chow in room 7, Block 2, South.  Following the arrivals of the Russian troops. Arrival of Americans in a jeep. Phil Bern and our beloved Blackie, the only cat that survived the month of March 1945.
Phil Janney coming thru the gate at Stalag Luft I    Arrival of first Americans at Stalag Luft I - World War II Prisoner of war camp  


Russians arriving at Stalag Luft I  
Phil Janney coming through the gate between the South Compounds. The arrival of the first Americans. Russian "wheels".  Major Pritchard in background
Ed Cannon at Stalag Luft I    Del Meyers and Art Smedley with German sword at POW camp.    Field Forces at Stalag Luft I after liberation   
Ed Cannon Del Myers and Art Smedley examine a German sword.  Del obtained the camera after the Germans fled the arrival of the Russians. Dwight Hartle, Keathley, Sands, Joe Martin as "Field Forces"
POWs in their rooms at Stalag Luft I    Jerry Kites, Ju88 and FW190    
Ed Cannon reading on Schisler's sack.  Phil Janney at the window of Room 7, Block 2 South. Jerry Kites, Ju88 and FW 190  

Photos below compliments of Roy Kilminster - RAF POW - to read his report on the secret activities at Stalag Luft I click here

Russian girls dancing

Russian Dance Troupe entertaining the POW's at Stalag Luft I in Barth after liberation

Russian dancers with prisoners of war at Stalag Luft I    

Russian Dance Troupe girls with Stalag Luft I POW's in Barth

Russian Dance troupe entertaing the POWs at Stalag Luft I  

Russian girls dancing
South Compound w/ Flak school in background

South Compound with Flak school in background
Inside barracks at Stalag Luft I

American POWs inside barracks at Stalag Luft I
Digging Foxholes in preparation for Russian advance

Digging slit trenches in preparation for Russian advance. To protect the POWs in case of being caught in a crossfire between Germans and Russians
fences at Stalag Luft I

Fences at Stalag Luft I
Sentry or Guard Tower at Stalag Luft I

Sentry or Guard Tower at Stalag Luft I
Barracks and guard tower at Stalag Luft I

Barracks and Guard Tower at Stalag Luft I



Secret camera at Stalag Luft I used for forgery purposes

Secret camera at Stalag Luft I

Acquiring this camera by means of being smuggled in with the personal parcels route, was of considerable help in the forgery business. Not only did it enable a record of an original document to be made in a relatively short time, it was an essential for producing acceptable identity photographs for inclusion in forgeries of identity cards. The camera came complete with a supply of film and photographic processing chemicals.




  Camera in it's hiding place

Camera in it's hiding place

Across the middle of the barrack hut there was a brick fire-wall, a brick was removed from the fire wall in the loft area where it was quite dark and a wooden box was constructed to the same size as the brick; that box was just large enough to take the folded camera. The box was fitted back into the fire wall and a slice of brick was fixed to each end of the box to match the rest of the wall. One of the slices of brick was removable, being fixed with-counter-sunk screws. The top of the screw holes were then filled with a paste, made of chewed, German 'black' bread, that made a reasonably­ good match to the texture of the brickwork, and it could easily be removed and replaced whenever the camera was to be used.  This camera was never found by the Germans.


Camera set up

Camera set up

This photograph shows the camera when adapted to copy documents. The arrangement included an extension bellows made from brown paper; we could then photograph an original document at any size we wished up to full size. To vary the reproduction size, the camera was moved along wooden rails. There was also a sliding copyboard to facilitate positioning of the original document; and for illumination, a lamp in a reflector made from a dried-milk tin.

Forged pass with photo taken with secret camera

Forged pass containing a photo of an American POW taken with the secret camera


Drawing of secret radio hiding place

Drawing of secret radio hiding place

The radio was hid in Roy Kilminster's bunk at Stalag Luft I - illustrated here.





  another photo of radio hiding place

Secret radio hiding place

The radio was constructed by one of Roy's room-mates, W/O Leslie Hurrell. Although the major components would have been acquired in the usual way by bribing or blackmailing guards, building a working radio under the conditions in a POW camp  required considerable improvisation and ingenuity. Finding our radio ultimately became one of the prime objectives of abwehr searches. As the radio was relatively bulky, hiding it securely whilst still being able to use it easily, had presented some major problems.  The radio was never found by the Germans.

  Actual photo of secret radio hiding place

Actual photo of secret radio hiding place.

The wallboard with the radio on the back has been put in place, pictures and maps from German newspapers have been pasted over the joins of the wallboards, Roy's bunk-bed has been pushed back into position against the wall and a book-shelf fixed over the critical position. To make contact with the radio, wires were pushed through holes in the wall boards. Those holes were positioned as inconspicuously as possible and normally filled with plugs made to match the rest of the wall. This photograph shows the radio ready to be used. The batteries to operate the radio are on top of the books on the bookshelf, the earphones are resting on the blanket of Roy's bunk-bed.

screwdrivers used to tune radio

Screwdrivers used to tune radio

To tune-in the radio stations it was necessary to adjust the two variable capacitors in the radio by means of screwdrivers also pushed through holes in the wallboard. Unavoidably, those holes were in a more-exposed position and, to camouflage them, the holes were bored through one of the newspaper maps that had been suitably positioned on the wall.

Plugs for those holes were then disguised to look like the towns that were genuinely part of the map. Those plugs could be removed with a pin when the radio was to be used. For security, we chose a map of a remote geographical area.  On the left of this map of Burma, screwdrivers can be seen inserted through our two fictitious town. Even the most observant guards were unlikely to have noticed anything strange about our alteration to the topography of such a remote and little-known area








secret radio revealed

Secret radio revealed

This is the actual radio that was used to record the news published in the secret newspaper - POW WOW.  This illustration shows a board pried from the inner wall of the hut with the radio fixed to the back of the board. As can be seen from the photo­graph the radio was a two valve job.


  German Junkers 88 with bombs on ground

A Junkers 88 and Roy Kilminster at the Barth airport after liberation. The bombs left lying near to this plane might be an indication of the haste with which the Germans finally departed.



Junkers 88 at Barth aerodrome

Another Junkers 88, a fighter bomber, and a very nice looking aircraft.


B-17 at Barth for evacuation

B-17 at Barth for evacuation


JU 88 Cockpit

Burnt out aircraft at Barth aerodrome
JU 88 cockpit

JU 88 cockpit

A typical room in a prisoner of war camp in Germany during WWII

Flak damaged B-17 airplane - World War II

From the book Stalag Luft III
An example of a typical room in a German POW camp

Example of flak damage to a plane that was able to return to base.


Other Photo Pages:

Photos and Video of the evacuation of the POWs from Stalag Luft I in May 1945  **NEW**

Color Photos of Stalag Luft I - From the book "The Mighty Eighth - The Colour Record" by Roger A. Freeman

Photos of Stalag Luft I - The Wilcox photos Ken Wilcox was one of the POWs that took over the photo lab at Stalag Luft I after liberation.

Heinrich Haslob's (a German Intelligence Officer at Stalag Luft I) personal photo album - Contains photos of the tunnels dug by the POWs in their escape attempts.

Group Photos of the men at Stalag Luft I - Can you identify someone in these photos?

Photos of the German Administration and Guards at Stalag Luft I

Photos of the POWs returning home on the Liberty Ship Admiral Mayo - The Admiral Mayo was carrying 5,000 former Prisoners of War home to the United States.  The ship picked up the POWs at LeHarve, France and transported them to Boston, Massachusetts.

Photos elsewhere on web of Stalag Luft I and POWs

September 2001 Stalag Luft I Reunion Photos in Barth Germany

Memorial Photos in USA and Europe


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