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Les dépôts de prisonniers de guerre de l’Axe

en Alsace et en Moselle 1945 - 1948

"Camps of Axis prisoners of war in Alsace-Moselle 1945 - 1948"
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At the Liberation of France, the prisoners of war (POW) from the Axis forces were regrouped in depots that were numbered according to the military region they were depending upon. The 10th military region covered Alsace and included 5 depots in Strasbourg, Mutzig, Haguenau, Colmar and Mulhouse. The 21st military region in the Moselle department included 4 depots located in Metz, Saint-Avold, Sarrebourg and Sarralbe. In addition, three camps operated by the US Army were located in Moselle at Sarrebourg, Longeville-les-Saint-Avold and Sarralbe.

The prisoners of war were spread out in a number of secondary camps, detachments or work commandos, assigned to agricultural work, reconstruction, road repairs, mine clearance, etc... Most of the municipalities had their own commando regrouping POW who were spread among farmers, craftsmen and shopkeepers. From April 1947 onwards, many POW elected to become free workers ("Freiarbeiter"), in order to benefit from an early release and the same social benefits as French employees.

The closure of the depots, like their opening, was staggered over time. In December 1948, there was only one depot left per military region, which closed at the end of the year: depot no. 105 in Strasbourg for Alsace and depot no. 2101 in Sarralbe for Moselle.

After a presentation of the POW depots, the book focuses first on the correspondence forms used in the camps, then on the postal censorship and finally on the administrative mail (vaguemestre, trustworthy men) and on the charitable organizations that intervened in the camps (Red Cross, Catholic Relief Committee, YMCA).

Michel FRICK's book will be of interest not only to those who are fond of history of the Moselle but also to all those who are interested in the history of the Prisoners of War.

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