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Herbert Heinemann

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The wartime memories of Herbeit Heinemann

Goole Camp Nr 244 (Later 53)1

This camp was well-situated in the middle of the town. We were housed in huts again after we were shared up to the single ones. Here I met a well-known PoW, his name Karl Gundlach. He lived at the same place where I come from. He had been taken prisoner in Africa and was member of the German Lagerpolizei2 at that time in Goole camp. First of all we had a chat about the news of our hometown. In the following time again and again I was designated to help various farmers in the area besides draining fields. In these cases they gave us Wellington [boots] to be prepared for this kind of a job, a sort of a change anyhow. The camp was not fenced in with barbed wire and [there was] even no English guard. I am rather sure nobody of us prisoners intended to escape. We were paid with one Shilling a day. I remember on a weekend I bought a whole NAFI cake for 5 Shilling and eat all of it at once, hardly to believe but it is true.

At night and on weekends we were watching the people passing our camp, persons out for a walk or shopping or having a pint of beer in one of the pubs. I could not remember even the taste of beer and there was none to buy in our canteen, never mind, but cigarettes called FIFTEENS, they tasted like straw comparing with WILD WOODBINE or PLAYERS.

North Cave Nr 2443

I did not know the reason why I was punished with 14 days detention I was told a farmer was complaining [that] I did not work hard enough, and that was it. Well, [it was claimed that] I was supposed to be lazy, I am sure there was something fishy about it.

South Cave Nr 2445

Outside the camp at South Cave in 1946

Containing about 10 huts, drying room and showers, a shop and a recreation room. First time I met a paper written in German called LAGERPOST4 . I was very interested in that paper. I guess it appeared once or twice a month with news from other PoW camps and [news of] what was going on in Germany and some more [stories].

The camp itself was peacefully situated alike a park with wonderful big old trees. In the very early morning blackbirds were singing, by the way a remarkable peacefully calmness. From the second of April I was ordered to work in HULL building streets in a certain place of the town where bungalows had been [undergoing re-]building at the same time roughly. I was planned to control a concrete-mixer. Sometimes cement bags had to be carried out of a tent [which was] protecting the cement in case of rain. That was a heavy job taking two of the bags at one time to the mixer. You had to bend over backwards all day long. Sometimes I thought I'd never hold out [with all of] this hard work I just was not strong enough. Every morning the lorries took us from our camp into Hull, along the Anlaby Road, to the building site. I could see all the damage caused by German bombs in the city of Hull. There was no doubt about [it,] we had to help rebuilding certain places - there was nothing wrong about it [, the reason] we were put to work for my opinion.

About 25th of April we all were pleased to see an old German film called “Die Geierwalli” and another one at the 18th of May called “Mann mit Grundsutzen”, a very nice change for all of us. I was sorry to leave that camp at the 11th of June.

North Cave Nr 244

I do not remind those 4 days being in this camp once more again.

Goole Camp Nr 53

No comment, see [ North Cave] above.

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