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Vocapedia > War > Prisoners of War (POWs)




Released Vietnam prisoner of war

Lt Col Robert L Stirm

is greeted by his family

at a California air force base

on 17 March 1973.


In the lead is Stirm’s daughter Lorrie, 15,

followed by son Robert, 14, Cynthia, 11,

wife Loretta and Roger, 12.


Photograph: Sal Veder/AP


Sal Veder's best photograph:

a Vietnam PoW's joyful reunion with his family


Thursday 8 October 2015    07.00 BST

Last modified on Thursday 8 October 2015    07.03 BST


















Released prisoner of war Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm

is greeted by his family at Travis Air Force Base

in Fairfield, California on March 17, 1973,

as he returns home from the Vietnam War.


AP Photo/Sal Veder


Boston Globe > Big Picture

Vietnam, 35 years later        7 May 2010



Other caption / source

Released prisoner of war Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm

is greeted by his family

at Travis Air Force Base in Foster City, Calif.,

as he returns home from the Vietnam War,

March 17, 1973.


In the lead is

Stirm's daughter Lori, 15,

followed by son Robert, 14;

daughter Cynthia, 11;

wife Loretta and son Roger, 12.


AP Photo/Sal Veder

















Geneva convention












Prisoner of War    PoW / POW        UK















Prisoner of War    PoW / POW        USA







































captivity        USA










forced labor        USA






in custody





prisoner swap





detainee        UK











Corpus of news articles


War, Terrorism > Prisoners of War (POWs)




April 18, 1945


A Nazi camp and its history


From the Guardian Archive


Wednesday April 18, 1945



Records kept by the SS Oberführer in charge show the deaths at the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar numbered 6,477 in January, 5,614 in February, 5,479 in March, and 915 in April. The April toll was only up to the 10th of the month. The next day the American Third Army overran the area and brought release to the 21,000 inmates at this resort of starvation, torture, hangings and shootings.

Mostly the inmates were pitiful wrecks. At one time up to 80,000 people from a score of nations were here made to work long hours on the production of bombs.

When the sound of gunfire from the approaching Americans was heard, thousands of the inmates were marched off by 600 SS Guards to an unknown destination. Then the camp underground acted, overpowered the remaining guards, locked them up in small cells, and ran the camp themselves till the Americans arrived.

There were mass exterminations of 12,500 Jews in May and June, 1938. After the Nazi occupation of Austria a great influx of political prisoners and Jews took place.

With the outbreak of war several thousand Vienna and Polish Jews were slaughtered. One hundred and four Polish snipers taken prisoner were left foodless until they died. After the Munich beer-cellar bomb incident in 1939, 21 Jews were shot at random and the remainder forbidden food for five days.

In July, 1941, two truckloads of prisoners taken to Pirna died under poison-gas experiments. In March, 1942, four truckloads of 90 Jews each were taken to Bernburg experimental laboratory and died there.

In October, 1941, about 7,000 Russian prisoners of war were shot in the stables at Buchenwald, the usual scene of the shootings. According to prisoners, the outstanding place of extermination was Auschwitz, near Cracow, where they said 4,000,000 Jewish, Polish and Russian men, women, and children were liquidated. Buchenwald evidence repeatedly writes off hundreds as transported to Auschwitz.

Some 60,000 to 75,000 opponents of Hitlerism have perished at Buchenwald. Here, over these acres of suffering and misery enclosed by electrically charged fencing, is the stark gruesome reality of Fascism, with cells, a crematorium - in the ovens of which still lay charred skeletons and piles of ashes - a gallows, an experimental laboratory and a cellar store in which normally 500 bodies awaited transfer to the busy crematorium.

Hangings were carried out in a cellar from which an electric lift carried the bodies to the incinerators above.

From the Guardian Archive > A Nazi camp and its history,
Wednesday April 18, 1945,
Republished 18.4.2006,






October 21, 1918


Our prisoners are being overworked


From the Guardian archive


Monday October 21, 1918



The following are extracts from letters written by British prisoners of war in Germany.

These letters are censored in Germany, but sometimes through carelessness, the complaints are not deleted, and sometimes passages marked by examiners as undesirable are left in or only partly deleted. In this way we learn what these men are suffering. One writes: "I am working in chemico-manure works near Stettin. It is heavy work, loading up sacks of manure in railway trucks and unloading barges of ironstone. We work ten hours a day, barring Sundays. We get half a pound of bread and three bowls of soup a day. There is no stay in the food for a man to work on ... I never felt so weak before."

Another letter runs: "We have been working here three months. It is what they call a surface mine or an open mine; the hours are too long ... The Germans told us it was a reprisal, as our people were keeping German prisoners in our trenches."

Most of the letters complain of the long hours. One man states that he is working in a coal pit for twelve hours a day, and for this he is receiving the sum of five shillings a week.

Another writes: "I came to work at six this morning, and won't finish till six tomorrow morning. I tell you it's no joke." And another writes: "I still manage to put a letter together, such as it is. Yes, work, and it's all work, only 14 hours per day, not long when you say it quick."

The worst cases are in the mines. Here is a sample: "The bosses in the mines are all-powerful, and frequently order men who are prisoners of war to work two shifts, which means 16 hours underground, or 19 hours' absence from their living quarters, and that on four small slices of brown bread, unless they take some with them out of their pockets; also they are abused without the slightest provocation.

"There are 24 young English lads who arrived here last week, and who, ignorant of the language and mining alike, have been beaten with sticks. Slapping the face with the hand is a common occurrence, and you have to consider the name 'swine' a term of endearment. In my own case, I have been very savagely attacked on two occasions by under-bosses, because I resented this face-slapping and being ordered to work two shifts without reason, and I have ample evidence in the shape of big scars on my head made by a pit lamp."

These are the things that have escaped the German censor. What of those that he has blotted out?

From the Guardian archive,
October 21, 1918,
Our prisoners are being overworked,
Republished 21.10.2006,










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