Sunday, 3 September 2017
The men in this photo look happy enough despite the fact that it was taken in a German prisoner-of-war camp on Christmas Eve, 1941. These men were in a work camp designated 10029/GW, located in Klagenfurt, Austria, a satellite camp of Stalag XBIIIA which was located in Wolfsberg. Typically, it accommodated about 220 prisoners but the numbers. went as high as 380. The prisoners were a mix of British, Australians and New Zealanders. Some were captured on the battlefield during the failed Greece Campaign but most were captured during the evacuations of Kalamata in Greece and Crete.
The first winter of captivity (1941-42) was a particularly cold one but the men were optimistic it would be the only one they would spend in captivity. Sadly, this wasn't to be the case. In fact it was just the first of four that they would spend as prisoners of the Germans.
During their internment, six POWs, were killed by 'Friendly Fire' when on Sunday, 19 February 1945 an Allied bomber dropped its bomb load on the Camp. Three more died from industrial accidents and illness.
This website is a tribute to the men who died and survived this work camp, most of whom spent four long years as prisoners of war.
It also commemorates the life of Michael Cister, the first of the 12 Klagenfurt POWs to be killed. Michael was not even a soldier. He was a South African galley boy, a crew member of a Merchant Ship that was sunk during the evacuation of Crete. When Michael arrived at the Camp he was just 16 years old. You can read how he died in "Bomb Raid on the Lend Canal."
If you think you might be related to a Klagenfurt POW, I recommend that you begin with the Roll Call however you are free to view the photo galleries and read the stories in the order you wish.
My father, Kevin Byrne was a Klagenfurt POW. There are links to his memoir to some of the stories he told me over the years.
My name id Michael Byrne. Feel free to contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org