Transcript from copy held at US National Archives.
Source Document: US National Archives Washington (NARA) ; RG 84 Records of Foreign Service Posts ; Diplomatic Posts – Great Britain – Volume 0763
Reports of Dr. D.J, McCARTHY and Surgeon Karl Ohnesorg U.S.N. on visits to certain Working Camps.
All the below mentioned places were visited on Tuesday April 18, 1916.
Thirteen British and four French privates were found here. They are employed by the farmers of the village in agricultural work for which they receive a daily wage of thirty pfennigs. No work is required of them on Sunday save feeding the livestock. Nine of the British were quartered in a large well lighted, ventilated and sufficiently heated room – the dance and recreation room of the local inn. Sanitary arrangements were good. The remaining four British were quartered in a well-appointed room in the house of a large land owner of the village. The sanitary arrangements were here good and the men well cared for. All of the prisoners of war are subsisted by their employers, eating at the same table with them and receiving the same food, which was good in quality and sufficient in quantity.
There were no complaints on this or any other score.
The men appeared to be in excellent health and in good nutrition. There is one Corporal, Daniel Crawley, among the number detailed at this working camp.
An inspection of the camp at Boetzow was made about 11 a.m. 15 British, 16 French, and 2 Belgians, were employed here in farm work. 8 British and Z French prisoners of war were employed in work in the neighbouring
forests in lumbering, but ware quartered with the other. Corporal Griffiths of the Naval Brigade, the only non-commissioned officer in the camp, was employed in a farm in the village. The men were lodged in the large dance and recreation hall of the village inn. The room was large, with plenty of light, heat, and ventilation.
Beds and plenty of bed covering was supplied to each man by the farmer by whom he was employed. The sanitary conditions were good. The latrines were of the pail- system and in good order. Corporal Griffiths reported for his men, that they were well treated by their employers, and had sufficient food. The men were paid 30 Pfgs for a day’s work of 9 hours; during the harvest time the day is extended beyond this time. They were asked to feed the cattle on Sunday, but after this necessary work was finished, they were free for the rest of the day. They returned to their employers for the midday and evening meal. They had no complaints to make, either as to their treatment, their employers, or the guard, or as to food. Some of the men were present at this camp for eight months.
RUBBISH SORTING PLANT (MUELLVERWALTUNG GESEILSCHAFT)
Near the village of Boetzow is this large plant for the sorting of rubbish and waste from the city of Berlin and the use of such material as tin, cloth, paper, etc. gleaned therefrom. This rubbish is brought from Berlin by railroad in large open cars and the twenty-eight British and fifty-seven Russian prisoners of war are employed in unloading the oars and distributing the rubbish
material over a large field area for eventual assortment. Inasmuch as this material Is largely composed of ashes and dirt the men work constantly in a thick aloud of dust. The men were supplied by the company with dungarees and goggles (glasses). Many of the men were not wearing the latter. The men complained bitterly of this work. On account of this dust laden atmosphere continued work of this nature would be detrimental to the health of the individual. The representative of the company, who accompanied us on our inspection, stated that on account of the inefficient results accomplished by the British the military authorities said that they would only he retained at this work for one month and replaced by a new group. The British prisoners of war had only joined the working camp on April 15, 1916. The men complained bitterly of the food supplied them. During the three days in which they had been in the camp, they stated that no meat had been given them in their diet.
The food was prepared in a kitchen in the central manufacturing plant and distributed to the men in an adjoining dining room. The midday meal was cooked and ready for serving at the time of our visit. It consisted of bread and a vegetable soup. The soup was made of the following, the amounts given us by the manager.
Potatoes 1200 grms
Cabbage 1100 ”
Margarine 55 ”
Condiments 35 ”
There was neither meat or fish in this soup or were either of these articles supplied separately for this midday meal. Two hundred and eighty grams of bread was supplied each man for the day’s ration. The manager stated that the reduction in the amount had been in effect during the past two weeks.
Immediately adjoining the dining room was a large wash room and opening off of this was a smaller room containing eight shower baths. Hot and cold water was supplied. The men were given the privileges of the shower baths every second day.
The sanitary conditions surrounding the living quarters of the prisoners were very unsatisfactory.
Two rooms of a cement and brick building situated some six hundred yards from the plant were used as their living quarters, the British occupied one of these rooms while the Russians were quartered together in the second. Between these two rooms was a small room for the use of two members of the guard. The room occupied by the British was overcrowded. While the cots supplied were of the regulation German army barrack type none had mattresses, the men sleeping on loose straw spread over the springs, on some of the cots there was so little straw that the men were practically sleeping on the springs.
The attention of the manager was called to this and he stated that straw sacking had been ordered but delivery was delayed and they were not expected for at least five days. A very small courtyard in front of the building, surrounded by the usual barbed wire fencing, gave the only space for recreation or exercise. The latrine, of the sink type was insufficient for the number of men
and an especially bad feature was that this latrine was situated outside of the enclosure. The men were locked in the building at night and in the event of their needing the use of the latrine it was necessary for them to be accompanied by a member of the guard.
The prescribed hours for work were from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. Forty-five minutes were allowed them for dinner and their day’s labour ended at 6 p.m. The men complained that of the forty-five minutes allowed them for the midday meal so much of this time was taken up in walking from the place of work to the dining room, washing up and returning that they really only had about thirty minutes for this midday rest.
While the manager stated that ordinarily two men would complete the unloading of a car in a day it took four British prisoners to accomplish the same amount of work in this time and for this reason their work was unsatisfactory.
The prisoners received a daily wage of seventy-five pfennigs.
Eleven British and one French private are quartered in a large room in the third storey of a dismantled brewery building. The quarters were clean, bedding good and sanitary arrangements satisfactory, bathing facilities were supplied in the neighbouring inn. Latrines were of the sink type, clean and satisfactory. The men were employed in farm work and messed with their employers. They received thirty pfennigs for the week day’s labour and twenty pfennigs for the incidental work on Sunday in caring
for the stock. No complaints were made concerning food or their treatment. Some of the British had been employed since June 1915.
The farmers of this village employ Nineteen British prisoners of war. They are all housed in a spacious well lighted and ventilated room which is the usual recreation hall of the village inn. The mattresses of straw were placed on the floor and they were supplied with good and sufficient bedding. The usual pay, thirty pfennigs daily, hours of work and messing arrangements described in other farming camps prevailed here and no complaints were forthcoming. The men were not compelled to do work on Sunday and had been given considerable liberty within regulations which some of the men had abused and for this reason had been recently somewhat curtailed, football was however to be permitted.
This is another farming camp. There were eighteen British and five Russians housed together in the large assembly room of the hotel. Beds and bedding were supplied by the individual farmers for whom the men worked. The sanitary conditions were good The men were fed by their employers, took their food at the same table and had no complaint to make either as to quality or quantity. Treatment was good by their employers and the guard. The usual pay of thirty pfennigs a day was given them and they were only required to do the necessary Sunday feeding and caring
This camp is similar to the previous one. The twenty-five British and two French are housed in the assembly and recreation room of the village inn. This is large, well lighted, ventilated and heated. Beds and bedding were supplied by the individual farmers employing the men. The hours for work, the pay received and the subsistence of the men is the same as described in the previous reports of farming camps.
Three men were found in bed suffering from trivial ailments. If a prisoner became seriously ill or complained of illness longer than one day a physician was consulted.
One corporal, Wm. Moody, of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers, is one of those detailed in this camp.
The men did not speak well of the German soldier comprising their guard. They said he was continually nagging them and they recited one instance when he struck one of them with his rifle. Communications which the corporal said he had addressed to their parent camp the guard had torn up. The treatment by their employers and the civil population was good.