Szubin, Poland - 2006
Railroad Station – Szubin – my father arrived here in a boxcar with 53 other American Officers. Oflag 64 is 2 miles from here.
Station tower. By looking closely you can see “Szubin”, painted over the German renaming of the town, “Altburgund”
Outside the museum in Szubin,
Sept. 14, 2006
Museum Ziemi Szubinskiej
Second from left, Kamila Czechowska, museum director. Far left, is Anna Duda, friend of Kamila, who spoke English, - the man in the back is the newspaper photographer, and the lady on the right is a helper at the museum.
Jackie Pettigrew, presenting a copy of the diary of her father, Perry D. Swindler, to Kamila. He had kept a diary from the day that he was captured by the Germans, until he arrived back in the U.S. It of course, included his time at the prison, Oflag 64.
Jackie and sister, Charlotte Webber, with the carved shaving box given to our father by a Polish family after he was free, and they were tending to his physical recovery.
Left to right, Anna, Jackie, Charlotte, and Kamila. The Museum has a nice collection of letters, stories, e-mails, etc. from former prisoners. They also have a few pieces of memorabilia from survivors and their families.
The story of the carved box. Click to read it.
Standing by the car is Stanislaw Mankowski, and the driver is the historian at the museum.
Stanislaw’s story. Click to read it.
The main building, housing the first prisoners captured in North Africa. The camp was 300 x 200 yards, and was surrounded by two barbed wire fences. It was formerly a Polish college.
The main building is far right, out of photo. The memorial is on right in photo, and the hospital in background.
Another look at the monument honoring Polish, American, and all other prisoners held there. The tall piece supposedly represents an eternal flame.
1939-1940 - Honoring Polish prisoners
1941-1945 – Honoring all other prisoners
Frasers Fir in memory of the American POW’s
This was the hospital with a 30-bed capacity. It was not equipped to handle those seriously ill or wounded. There were several doctors and one dentist
This was said to be one of the buildings of Oflag 64 used as a bakery.
This building was said to have been a workshop.
This is the only barracks left. The others have been burned or destroyed. It is in back of and nearly far left from the hospital.
There were 3 barracks originally used, until the last few months of the occupation. They were 120’ long and 40’ wide, and subdivided into cubicles 7’ by 10’.
This is such a beautiful chapel. It is closed up and unused. I don’t know if it was used by the prisoners, or if they used a room in one of the buildings, but I know that they held services. My Dad sang in the choir, and wrote that they sang from Handel’s “Messiah”, at Christmas time in 1944.
Back of the chapel. It remains unused and neglected.
Former barracks across the street from Oflag 64, where the Germans were billeted. Note the dog in front of the building.
Other end of the former barracks
I read several reports about the guard dogs at Oflag 64.
This is the exact road that the POW’s walked. This photo is just outside the entrance to the estate where they spent the first night of their march in January 1945.
The entrance gate to the estate.
This is one of the barns. There are only 2 barns left of the original barns of the estate. This is the one furthest from the estate house.
This is the path leading from the estate house to the nearest barn/building. If you stand on the front porch of the house, this is to your right, and up.
Our interpreter, Renata, gazing at the barn/building.
The estate house – our group
The estate house was where some of the men who escaped or couldn’t continue the march stayed. My Dad stayed there for 11 days. Stanislaw and his family made sure they were warm and fed.
The house is in bad need of repair. The man who is the past Mayor of Szubin lives there with his small family. They are the caretakers.
Back of estate house
Back of estate house
Stanislaw speaking with Renata and Kamila.
Stanislaw with Jackie and Charlotte. He really enjoyed remembering all the events of the time that the men spent with his family. We felt very blessed to meet him.
The house where Stanislaw and his family lived as caretakers. He remembers the men coming over often to listen to the radio for news of how the war was progressing.
The former Mayor, on left, presenting a calendar to us that has the photo of the estate house in the center. The Polish people refer to this as a castle. We were honored to receive this calendar, and very blessed to visit the place that has so much meaning to our family.
Szubin is a lovely town, and the people there were very kind. Dad would be happy that we could meet the family that helped him and others during their great time of need. We gave a donation to the Museum there in honor of Stanislaw and his family, and in memory of our father. We will always remember our trip into history.