• the end of Featherstone Park PoW camp

    On 2 June 1948 Herbert Sulzbach arrived at Kings Cross Station, London, 'with lots of hand luggage'.

    He had completed two and a half years of duty as Interpreter at Featherstone Park PoW camp, which had eventually closed as the remaining prisoners had been repatriated over the previous few weeks. There were many accolades for the work that he had done there. A Red Cross Inspector wrote to him from Geneva,

    'I think your methods are one of the best arguments I know for the humanitarian ideals embodied in the Geneva Convention!'

    From his home in Hanover, an ex-PoW who had been one of Sulzbach's clerks, wrote in a letter to the Manchester Guardian,

    'Captain Sulzbach, by his conduct towards us, gave us a perfect example of a humanitarian. The seed sown in Camp 18 will bear its fruit, of that there is no doubt.'

    The gates to the camp finally closed on 15 May 1948, and during the preceeding two weeks hundreds of German officers had gone by bus to the local train station at Haltwhistle – and from there to clearing camps elsewhere in Britain before finally reaching Germany.

    The final edition of the camp newspaper carried a farewell message from Sulzbach, in which he urged the men to,

    'Remember the tolerance you witnessed here, and remain as stable-minded as you became here. Take home positive values such as consideration, reflection, enlightenment, and a widening of your outlook on the world.'

    Working parties of British soldiers remained at the camp to tidy up and then they left too.

    In October 1948 there was local criticism of a plan to convert the camp for the use of migrant workers and their families, and then the local council turned down an offer of using the huts for temporary housing accommodation. In 1950 a local paper reported the sale of the camp.

    'Nearly three-quarters of the huts, along with radiators, boilers, and other equipment, have been disposed of by the Ministry of Works, some of the huts being sold for as little as £4, while others bought for as much as £50.'

    (photo: a scale model of Featherstone Park camp, made by the prisoners.)


Photo crop (passport)

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On my blog I write about biography, Anglo-German reconciliation, and the life of Herbert Sulzbach.


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