MARVIN CAVENDER, DELPHOS, IOWA
U.S. ARMY, WWII
P.O.W. Stalag IXB (Bad Orb) Germany, Liberated
Stalag IXB in Bad Orb was located approximately 30 miles northwest of Frankfurt. Here, French, Italian, Serbian,
Russian, and American P.O.W.s were held. It ranked as one of the worst German camps. Approximately 4,700
American infantrymen who were captured during the Battle of the Bulge were incarcerated at Stalag IXB in late December of
1944. The arrival of the American by far exceeded the camp's capacity which resulted in severe conditions for the P.O.W.S.
The P.O.W.S were liberated April 2, 1945 by the U.S. 44th Infantry Division.
When the 44th reached Stalag IXB the
P.O.W.S were too weak to great their liberators.
In just one month, between February 8 and April 1, 1945, 32 Americans
died of malnutrition and pneumonia. Those who survived lived with an infestation of bedbugs, fleas, lice, and other vermin.
40 latrine seats accommodated the needs of 4,000 men. Because there wasn't enough room in the barracks to allow all of the
men to lay down at one time, they slept in shifts, laying on straw. As many as 15 men shared a single loaf of bread.
The Russian P.O.W.S were treated far worse than the Americans, and
were interred in mass graves. There is a monument to the Russian Dead located at the grave site.
It is unknown the
number of French, Italian, Serbian, and Russian P.O.W.S who were held at Stalag IXB.
Those who could walk rushed with joy to meet their liberators on April 2, 1945.
Stalag IXB photographs courtesy of National Archives
Compiled by Sharon R. Becker, July of 2009
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