Stalag Luft III
Part V – The Germans
The German garrison of Stalag Luft III was composed of non-flying Luftwaffe officers and enlisted personnel who were generally not qualified for frontline duty. Many of the guards were old and uneducated. Some had been wounded in combat and wore the patches of famous battles on the Eastern Front against Russia.
For the enlisted men, guarding prisoners was probably regarded as better than duty in the East, but for the officers it must have been one of the least desired assignments. Some officers and men of the camp’s garrison were genuinely hated by the prisoners. Most of the others tried to be decent to the POWs, often under difficult circumstances and the threat of severe punishment if they were caught doing anything that could be considered contrary to Germany’s war effort.
This general feeling of mutual respect is reflected in the fact that Gustav Simoleit and Hermann Glemnitz were invited as guests to the 20-year reunion of the American Former Prisoners of Stalag Luft III. They were warmly received.