Posted 23 November 2004 - 11:32 pm
Niederzwehren - Does anyone know anything about this POW camp?
I've had a quick look on Google and come up with very little data. The cemetery was apparently started in 1915 for POWs who had died at the camp, and during the war almost 3000 Allied soldiers & civilians were buried there. These included French,Russian & Commonwealth POWs.
In 1922/23, when it was decided that the burials of Commonwealth servicemen all over Germany should be concentrated into four permanent cemeteries, Niederzwehren was one of those chosen. In the four years, more than 1,500 graves were brought into the cemetery from 190 burial grounds in Baden, Bavaria, Hanover,Hesse & Saxony.
There are now 1,795 First World War servicemen buried or commemorated in the Commonwealth plot at Niederzwehren. This total includes special memorials to 13 casualties buried in other cemeteries in Germany whose graves could not be found.
The following cemeteries are among those from which graves were brought to Niederzwehren:
BAYREUTH TOWN CEMETERY, Bavaria, 24 burials of 1918.
DARMSTADT FOREST CEMETERY, Hesse. In use from 1915. 102 burials.
DIETKIRCHEN POW CEMETERY, Hesse-Nassau. 45 burials (28 of Irish Regiments) of 1914-18.
FREIBURG IN BREISGAU MAIN CEMETERY, Baden 43 burials of 1918.
GERMERSHEIM CEMETERY,Palatinate. 26 burials of 1915-18.
GIESSEN MILITARY CEMETERY, Hesse. 99 burials of 1914-19.
GOTTINGEN MILITARY CEMETERY, Hanover. 88 burials of 1914-1919.
HAMELN POW CEMETERY, Hanover, 70 burials of 1915-18.
INGOLSTADT CEMETERY, Bavaria. 23 burials of 1917-18.
LANGENSALZA POW CEMETERIES Nos. 1 & 2. Prussian Saxony. 225 burials of 1915-18.
MAINZ MILITARY CEMETERY, Rhein-Hessen. 23 burials 1915-19.
MANNHEIM MAIN CEMETERY, Baden. 21 burials of 1916-18.
MESCHEDE POW CEMETERY, Westphalia. 49 burials of 1917-18.
OHRDRUF POW CEMETERY, Thuringia. 107 burials of 1915-18.
PADERBORN CEMETERY, Westphalia. 29 soldiers burials of 1914-18.
QUEDLINBURG CENTRAL CEMETERY, Prussian Saxony. 102 burials of 1914-18.
SENNELAGER POW Cemetery, Westphalia. 32 burials of 1914-18.
I have heard that many deaths at Niederzwehren POW Camp were caused by maltreatment at the hands of a nasty commandat, possibly Major Seebom or Seebohm. Does anyone know of him?
I also believe that tales of maltreatment in German POW camps were common, but others tell me that all belligerent states made prisoners work and that conditions, hours, etc. in factories and mines, etc would have been akin to what working men of that era would have known at home. The tales of hunger can apparently be explained by the effectiveness of the Allied blockade, poor harvests in Germany, etc, and the level of hunger in camps was probably no more that found among German civilians at the time. Is any of this true?
I'd appreciate your views.