SHORT HISTORY: 1942-1943.

A Protecting Power report of January 1942 records that there were still no British POWs in the main camp, but that 357 of them were located in the kommandos at Grube Erika and Grube Brigitta, both in the Hoyerswerda area, north east of Dresden, 2 were at the postal station at Prossen, near Hohnstein, and an unspecified number at the Reserve Lazarett at Konigswartha. Given the number of British prisoners, the representative felt that there should be a British Man of Confidence in the main camp and raised the issue with the Kommandant, Major Moritz. In July, another Swiss report clarified the positon, noting that there were kommandos for British POWs at 2 other mines [Ostfeld and Heye III], but that those at the latter were soon to be moved and replaced by Russians.
According to an ICRC report of October 1942, the number of prisoners under the control of the Stalag had increased to over 32,000 located in well over 700 labour detachments. Of these there were 765 British POWs, including 4 in the castle, 1 of whom [Q.M. Sergeant Adams] was in the role of Chief British Man of Confidence for the whole Stalag. Conditions in the main camp appear to have been satisfactory. By now the Kommandant was Oberst Senff, transferred from Stalag IVB.
The situation appears to have remained much like this during 1942, though with some kommandos housing British POWs being set up in Dresden itself, and with the Stalag being, according to a Swiss report in January 1943, simply the administrative centre for the kommandos under its control. However, this may refer only to its role in respect of British POWs, with other POWs not the subject of the visit also being held there. By July 1943 Oberst Kratz had replaced Oberst Senff and had under his control some 910 British POWs in 9 kommandos and several reserve lazaretts.
It was now that events in Italy, with the overthrow of Mussolini, the declaration of neutrality by the Italian Government, the invasion by Germany and the recapture of most of the British POWs held there, presented the Stalag, like those elsewhere in Military District IV, with a major challenge. It appears that Stalag IVB, Mulhberg an der Elbe was used as a dispersal point for many of the POWs transferred from Italy and that these ended up during 1943 in stalags across Saxony, including Stalag IVA and its kommandos.
Revised: August 2013

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