Just a very few snippets that I can remember from the little my
father told me about his experiences. They may jog a few memories
for other group members.
My father was a forced labourer in Heidelberg working on railway
maintenance as a welder. He was taken from the Wasiliszki area in
1941. A cousin in Belarus recently told me that the Nazis only
selected single men to be sent to Germany. My father, at 21, was the
youngest of the family and unmarried. The diet in Germany was
basically cabbage water, but welders on the railways were
occasionally fortunate enough to be able to scavenge old potatoes
left behind in some of the goods wagons and bake them on the quiet in
an old piece of pipe heated by a welding torch while they worked.
The average German civilian apparently behaved reasonably well
towards the Polish workers. When he was liberated by the Americans
his weight was very low and he took several months to get fit. He
enrolled in the Polish Army in Paris, but, by this time, the Allies
were trying to keep the Polish Army in Italy as small as possible.
Therefore the Polish Army officials issued the new recruits with
false papers indicating that they were returning to Italy after leave
in Paris, so they set off by train via Marseilles to Milan
to "return" to somewhere they had never been!
Tony Gabis, England.