German tragedy of destiny

French and African camps




In the African campaign about 25,000 German soldiers came in French captivity by the end of 1944. They were first brought to the camp Geryville. Later they were distributed to about 30 camps in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.


Until mid-1947 nearly all the prisoners were transferred to the French motherland to help with reconstruction.


Parallely, from 1945 large contingents of prisoners were taken over from the Brits and above all from the Americans.


Contrary to expectations most of the prisoners transferred were totally unable to work. Of the 103,000 prisoners in the three camps around Dietersheim who were taken over completely by the 7th French Company from the Americans, 32,000 were old men, women and small children, the sick and crippled. For these emaciated people, called "déchets" (waste) by the French, was not a piece of food stored in the camps taken over!


Prisoners of the U.S. camps on the Rhine meadows who hoped for the improvement of their situation in the French camps were quickly disappointed. At the beginning also in the French camps prevailed hunger, violence and exploitation. Thousands of inmates were killed.


All in all, there were about 1,065,000 German prisoners in French custody. The camps were scattered throughout the country.


They had to perform various works. Among them was the mine-sweeping with a death risk of 10 per cent, by all odds the most dangerous work.





Német hadifoglyok Franciaországban