Camp Reports – Working Camp Berlin and Tegel

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 Surgeon Karl Ohnesorg U.S.N. on visits to certain working camps


A coal yard In the Paulstrasse: Fifteen British, including one Sergeant, W.S. Ferguson of the Dorset Regiment, were found at work here. They are all from Müncheberg Their work consisted in unloading coal and coke from barges and storing it in the yard. They receive one mark daily in wages and no work is required of them on Sundays. They have nine working hours daily. They are fed by the company, a contract having been made with a nearby restaurant. The food is of good quality. The housing conditions are unsatisfactory, this is due to the fact that they are quartered in a small room, approximately 27’ x 27’ with a vaulted ceiling, the centre of which is about 12’ in height. This room is placed in the stone elevated structure of one of the main railway lines entering Berlin. The entrance is directly off the sidewalk, the room itself is immediately beneath the tracks and is therefore constantly, day and night, subject to the noise of passing trains. Off the main room is a small room for the two guards and on the opposite side the water closet and facilities for washing. The entire front of the room consists of large windows which are screened from the street by muslin curtains. The men justly complained of these quarters and also complained of lack of proper bathing and laundry facilities. They had been taken the previous Sunday and I was informed that it would be continued, to a bathing pavilion where they paid thirty-five pfennigs for a bath, The coal yard Is one of several which Is owned by a large Company and it would

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Seem as if they should provide better accommodation for the employed prisoners sf war.


Eight French and ten British privates work in a large machine shop in this suburb of Berlin. They are employed in the manufacture of motor plows . Eight marks are given them as a weekly wage and no labour is required of them on Sundays. They are housed in a very large, well ventilated and lighted room, in one of the shop buildings. Cots, such as are used in the German army barracks, supplied with good straw mattresses and blankets are provided. The sanitary arrangements are good and they have shower baths with hot and cold water whenever desired. An adjoining yard gives them .an opportunity for exercise, games, etc. Their feed is provided by their employer and is prepared In a large kits hen, which also serves to prepare the food for the prisoners of war who are employed at a neighbouring manufacturing plant.

Karl Ohnesborg

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