Tips for Researching a WWII POW in Germany

By David A. Fryxell Premium
Q. My father, now deceased, was captured by Germans while serving in the Army in World War II. I’d like to know more about the prison camp, which I believe was in Saxony.

A. A POW camp in Saxony would’ve been part of Germany’s Military District IV, headquartered in Dresden. Camps in this district included:

• Stalag IV-A Elsterhorst
• Stalag IV-B Mühlberg (Elbe)
• Stalag IV-C Wistritz bei Teplitz, Stalag IV-D Torgau
• Stalag IV-E Altenburg, Stalag IV-F Hartmannsdorf
• Stalag IV-G Oschatz, Oflag IV-A Hohnstein
• Oflag IV-B Koenigstein
• Oflag IV-C Colditz Castle
• Oflag IV-D Elsterhorst
Stalag was a prisoner of war camp; oflag was a camp for officers. The US National Archives doesn’t have much information about these camps, other than papers from war crimes trials (see Publication T-1021). The Army Heritage and Education Center has some POW accounts. The Holocaust Memorial Museum includes POW camps in its photo collection.
If your father’s Army records tell you where he was held, you could learn a lot from a web search. Stalag IV-A in Elsterhorst, for example, is part of the Wartime Memories Project. Google Groups are devoted to researching specific camps, such as Oflag IV-A in Hohnstein. A blog about Stalag IV-A and its work camps is at.
The History Forum has entries for many POW camp, and the Pegasus Archive includes stories and photos of WWII POW experiences.
From the October/November 2014 Family Tree Magazine