64,000 U.S. POWS SENT HOME, REMAINING 20,000 AWAITING SHIPS

From the June 6, 1945 edition of Stars and Stripes

Except for a few stragglers, all of the 84,000 U.S. prisoners-of-war taken by the Germans have been recovered from Germany and 64,000 of them have been shipped home, Lt. Col. W.P. Schweitzer, chief of the ETO Provost Marshal’s Recovered Allied Military Personnel Division, said yesterday.



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Liberated POWs at Stalag 11B on 16 April 1945. (Photo: War Office Second World War Official Collection)

The remaining 20,000 have been processed, he said, and are awaiting transportation home at the Lucky Strike Evacuation Camp near Le Havre.  They will ship out for 60-day furloughs as fast as ships come in to take them.

The RAMP chief said the total figure for American POWs would range between 84,000 and 86,000. The difference, he said, could be accounted for by the evacuation through hospital channels.

Schweitzer revealed that Gen. Eisenhower’s order for immediate evacuation of all American POWs from Germany speeded the recovery process to the point where 30,000 a day were pouring into Lucky Strike, overtaxing its facilities.

He said that while the camp has its limitations as to comfort, it was chosen because of its nearness to Le Havre and the availability of manpower to staff it.

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Liberated POWs at Camp Lucky Strike.

“We wanted to keep the men in hotels,” he said, “but that wasn’t possible. We had no choice.”

The camp is under canvas. It was built as a staging area for troops arriving in Europe for combat.

In addition to this camp, approximately 9,000 men have been evacuated through the United Kingdom. These happened to be the 161,087 British POWs sent to the United Kingdom.

Men awaiting transportation to the U.S. are “packaged” in groups and each group moves out in the sequence assigned to it. With their processing completed, there is no further routine for the ex-POWs.

After 60-day furloughs in America, these men return to active duty if fit. They have no discharge priority, Schweitzer said. Under present War Department regulations, ex-POWs will not be deployed to the Pacific.



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2 thoughts on “64,000 U.S. POWS SENT HOME, REMAINING 20,000 AWAITING SHIPS

  • Peter Kubicek says:

    The liberation of American POWs, reminds me of my own liberation at the end of the notorious 12-day Sachsenhausen Hunger March. That happened on May 2, 1945 — a date I will never forget until my dying day.

  • The liberation of American POWs reminds me of my own liberation at the end of the notorious 12-day Sachsenhausen Hunger March. The date was May 2, 1945 — a date I will not forget until my dying day.

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