WORLD WAR II (DULAG LUFT) (Special Thanks to Raymond Toliver and Charles Rollings for This Section to get their works you can use the links on the front page under suggested readings)
It should be noted that a discrepancy exists as to the actual name of the post during World War II. All records indicate that the post was known as "Auswertstelle West". Some records indicate that the post was known as "Dulag Luft". The name Dulag Luft is correct for the beginning of the post; however, the "Dulag Luft", transition assignment camp was moved to Frankfurt and later Wetzler. The Interrogation station, "Auswertestelle West", was on the post until 9 days prior the post being captured. Although not technically correct, the Camp is known to most Americans and Allied prisoners as "Dulag Luft".
During World War II the German Air Force found that it needed a place to interrogate allied pilots and gather intelligence. The center was garrisoned by 60 troops. (Pruitt) The farm was located and converted to military use. Not all of the school area was taken. Mainly a couple of farm houses and flat land below the hill. The post underwent many changes. Initially an old farm house was used to house prisoners. Later an addition was added in the flat lands. Which consisted of 3 barracks. After 1942 the interrogation building as well as the cooler was added (Charles Rollings)
Mr. Rollings work is an excellent source for the nomenclature of the post during W.W.II. It also dispels the rumor that the post was hidden as a goat farm as it can be seen in the photo below that the roofs are marked clearly as POW. The goat rumor actually came from the occupant of one of the fields. One of the fields was opened for recreation. This field was actually the territory of a feisty, territorial, goat, which was still on the property.
Arial photo of the post during W.W.II Courtesy of Charles Rollings
"The Interrogator" indicates that function of the post was to obtain and maintain intelligence information on the Allied Air Forces. This data was obtained from numerous sources such as: interrogations; radio intercepts; and items found on the prisoners after capture. The information compiled included such information as allied bases, units garrisoned at that base, unit structures, unit histories, type of aircraft assigned, missions and any other information that could be obtained.
The first prisoners, allied pilots, five British and eight French, arrived in December of 1939.
Picture of first building to house prisoner (Picture courtesy Franz Gajdosch, picture taken in early 1940s)
Upon arrival at the center, pilots had little idea what to expect as they were given stories ranging from wine & women, to torture. (Charles Rollings) Although aircrews were trained, there were numerous scenarios that the crews could be faced with.
The post housed approximately 200 prisoners at a time. They were housed in what was known as the "cooler." The cells were one man cells about 4 feet by 10 feet. The temperatures in the room sometimes were excessively hot, estimated to be about 119 degrees Fahrenheit. The interrogators used the heat as a tool to break prisoner. This became the main issue at the trial held after the war. (Spratt)
Some prisoners earned the privilege of using the civilian swimming pool in the town of Oberursel. One pilot, Einar Axel Malstrom, was taken to an airfield located in Eschborn, a town nearby, and allowed to fly a Messerschmidt 109 aircraft. During these outings, prisoners attempted to obtain information necessary to mount an escape. (Toliver)
Prisoners, with the exception of a small permanent party, usually only stayed at the post for a couple of days or weeks before being assigned to their regular post. More difficult prisoners were kept for a longer time. (This was when the post served as both Dulag Luft and Auswertstelle West. After Interrogation prisoners would be moved to Dulag Luft in Frankfurt or Wetzler prior to assignment.)
Sketch Of Auswertestelle West later named Camp King as it existed in World War II, Drawn By Hanns Scharff, "The Interrogator" (Courtesy of Raymond Toliver)
The method of interrogation is explained in detail in "The Interrogator". Physical abuse of prisoners did not occur. To quote directly from the book "The Interrogator," page 190, "Scharff told me he never had to use persuasion of a physical manner to obtain information .By using the best psychological approaches of statesmanship and befriending the POW, he could obtain all the necessary information from over 90% of the prisoners "
Isolation was a powerful psychological tool. The prisoners were isolated and the only human contact they would have would be with the interrogators. (Toliver)
The technique used is now called "soft interrogation". Some of the techniques used included asking questions to fill out the Red Cross Form. The Red Cross questionnaire was the first test most prisoners faced. The aircrews had been instructed to give name rank and serial number only. The questionnaire would ask questions about place of birth, mothers name, and unit assigned. Most prisoners would not provide the information. Some mental persuasion was placed on the prisoners while they were filling out the form. As an example, they were told that their family would not be notified about their capture until the form was filled out and submitted. This would lead the family wondering what happened to their loved one. Occasionally, the interrogators themselves would dress up as Red Cross workers in order to obtain the information sought. Another method used was to tell prisoners, who were captured in civilian clothing, that unless enough military information could be confirmed they would be turned over to the Gestapo and treated as spies. (Toliver) Interrogators also watched the prisoners for weaknesses that could be exploited. Many walks were taken in the woods surrounding the post in hopes of forming a relationship that encouraged cooperation and overcome the standard answers. The interrogator usually gave a tidbit of information that had already been obtained in seeking the confidence of the prisoner. The information the interrogator would provide would have some relevance to the information that was unknown. In most cases, the information did not need to be something the prisoner held as secret. Most prisoners believed that since the enemy already knew about the information there was no harm in further discussion. Without knowing it, in many cases, pilots gave valuable tidbits of information that were used to piece together information. Many prisoners knew, after the interrogation, that they had given information sought by the interrogator; however, they had no idea what it was. (Toliver)
It is noted in "The History of Camp King" that there was an appearance of fraternization between the interrogation staff and the prisoners. The interrogation methods used were seen by some to be akin to fraternization. This appearance lead to the commanding officers being charged. After a court martial, the commanders were found not guilty.
The German Intelligence community had a vast amount of material. There were many sources of intelligence at the center besides information obtained through interrogations. For example, they had the dates of assignment of the serial numbers for all pilots. Once a pilot gave his serial number, they could tell him on which date he was issued the number and at which training facility. They also had complete unit histories of most allied air force units. Radio Intercept information was also available. One of the more interesting sources was the picture that was in the escape packets given to pilots. Like most mass operations, taking the pictures became an assembly line in which the same photographer, and in many cases same clothes, were used. The ways the photographer took the pictures and the clothes that were worn were giving away the base that housed the pilots. At least one intelligence specialist, Dr. Bert Nagel, could identify the unit and base just from looking at the photo. Another source was meal tickets used by pilots to eat in their dining facilities. It was seen that every mess sergeant stamped or marked the tickets in a unique fashion. Once the Mess Sergeant on the meal ticket was identified, so was the base. Occasionally, cameras from planes were recovered. This allowed the center to identify the mission assigned to the pilot as well as other valuable information. For example, at least once, a reconnaissance pilot tested his camera on the ground and took telling pictures of the base. The plane was later captured and the film delivered to the intelligence center.Although aircrews had been instructed not to bring personal items that would allow for identification, many disobeyed this rule to the delight of the Interrogators. (Toliver)
Escape Photo. These were used by the German Intelligence to determine base of and unit of assignment of captured pilots. (Courtesy of Raymond Toliver from "The Interrogator")
Prisoners that were injured and permanent party prisoners were housed at the Hohe-Mark Hospital, which was within walking distance of the post. (Toliver)
Several prisoners did escape from the camp over the years. In one example, prisoners dug a tunnel which allowed 17 prisoners to escape. All of the prisoners were later recaptured. (Spratt) "The Interrogator" alludes to at least one successful escape by a prisoner believed to be an Allied Intelligence Officer.
A picture of the "Cooler" which housed Allied Prisoners of War during World War II (Courtesy of Raymond Toliver as published in the book "The Interrogator" picture taken in the early to mid 1940s)
As the American Army approached, the Germans vacated the post and the Interrogation Center was dispersed. The American Army captured the post on March 25, 1945, ten days after it had been evacuated. (Rollings) Approximately fifty prisoners were repatriated, mainly from Hohe-Mark. (Gajdosch)
During the war many airmen were processed. It is estimated that more than 29,000 prisoners were interrogated. (Toliver)
Most prisoners were treated well. Occasionally as with any other frustrating pressure situation, an interrogator may have lost his temper and struck a prisoner. This was, however, a rarity. (Spratt) The Mayor stated that many former prisoners had revisited the area, after the war, and all had stated that they were treated as well as could be expected.
The British convened a war crimes trial. The Trial was known as the "Dulag Luft Trial". It was held in Wuppertal, Germany, beginning on November 26, 1945. The hearing was convened due to the allegations of ill treatment of British Prisoners of War. Four officers were charged: Killenger, Junge, Eberhardt, and Bohehringer. Killenger and Junge were sentenced to five years confinement. Eberhardt received three years. Boehringer was acquitted. (Spratt)
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PRIOR TO WORLD WAR II1936-1939
WORLD WAR II "DULAG LUFT" 1939-1945
POST WORLD WAR II (1945-1953)
The Gehlen Organization
AMERICAN MILITARY UNITS (1953-1995)
THE FRANKFURT AMERICAN MILITARY COMMUNITY
EMPLOYMENT TELEVISION, RADIO AND THE STARS AND STRIPES NEWSPAPER
POST SECURITY, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND TERRORISM
THE PEOPLE AND CITY OF OBERURSEL
POST CLOSURE AND FUTURE