Oflag IV-B Koenigstein
Oflag IV-B Koenigstein was a Nazi
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 camp for Allied
In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them...

 officers during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. It was located in Königstein Fortress
Königstein Fortress
Königstein Fortress , the "Saxon Bastille", is a hilltop fortress near Dresden, in Saxon Switzerland, Germany, above the town of Königstein on the left bank of the River Elbe...

 near the town of Königstein
Königstein (Sächsische Schweiz)
Königstein is a town in the Free State of Saxony in Germany. Königstein lies in the Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge District and has a population of 2,898 as of 2005. Near Königstein is the Festung Königstein fortress.- Geography :...

 in Saxony
The Free State of Saxony is a landlocked state of Germany, contingent with Brandenburg, Saxony Anhalt, Thuringia, Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is the tenth-largest German state in area, with of Germany's sixteen states....


After the Polish Defensive War
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

 of 1939, most high-ranking Polish officers were imprisoned there. The staff officers were imprisoned in the casemates and the generals in one of the forts. The lower-ranking officers were incarcerated in the lower levels of the fortress. Despite harsh conditions in the living chambers, the officers were granted relative freedom and had a part of the fortress gardens at their disposal. Apart from Antoni Szylling
Antoni Szylling
Antoni Szylling was a Polish general, considered, along with Generals Wiktor Thommée and Stanisław Maczek, to have been one of the most successful Polish Army commanders during the Polish Defensive War of 1939.-Biography:...

 and Tadeusz Piskor
Tadeusz Piskor
Tadeusz Piskor was a Polish Army general.Before World War I, he was a member of Polish pro-independence organizations. During World War I he served in the Polish Legions, and subsequently fought in the 1919–21 Polish-Soviet War....

, who were imprisoned in Murnau
Murnau am Staffelsee
Murnau am Staffelsee is a market town in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Oberbayern region of Bavaria, Germany.Murnau is situated on the edge of the Bavarian alps, approx. 70 km south of Munich. Directly to its west is the Staffelsee lake.-History:Murnau was first documented in...

, all Polish army commanders taken by the Germans in 1939 were held there. After the Fall of France in 1940, most Polish officers were transferred to either Oflag VIIA Murnau or Oflag VIII E Johannisbrunn, and French officers were imprisoned in the castle.

After being freed in 1941, an orderly to a French admiral wrote that that life there was boring but "not particularly onerous", with "adequate by European prison standards" sanitation, inadequate but regular rations, and cigarettes for purchase. The prisoners quickly found German bug
Covert listening device
A covert listening device, more commonly known as a bug or a wire, is usually a combination of a miniature radio transmitter with a microphone. The use of bugs, called bugging, is a common technique in surveillance, espionage and in police investigations.A bug does not have to be a device...

s in their rooms, and discovered that an "English general" imprisoned with them was a German agent. The orderly estimated that 20% of the 120 French general officers favored cooperation with Germany (with many freed to join the Vichy
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 government), 30% favored the Allies, and 50% were neutral.

The camp was surrendered to the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 on May 9, 1945. The Russians stayed only long enough to remove anything of value, and loading up the German guards, they returned to their HQ leaving the French Generals alone. A short while afterwards, a French light aircraft landed and the pilot informed them that he had come to collect General Saint Ceran of the French Air Force. The remaining inmates asked that he inform the Americans of their plight which he did, and despite Koenigstein being in the Russian zone, a decision was taken to swiftly remove the French generals from the castle on May 11. They were flown back to Paris on May 12, many of them free for the first time in five years. (Diary of General Alfred Fagalde - inmate of Koenigstein)


  • General Henri Giraud
    Henri Giraud
    Henri Honoré Giraud was a French general who fought in World War I and World War II. Captured in both wars, he escaped each time....

     - commander of French 7th Army Group, captured 19 May 1940, escaped 17 April 1942.
  • Generals René Prioux
    René Prioux
    René Jacques Adolphe Prioux was a general of the French Army who served in both world wars. A cavalry officer of great talent, Prioux rapidly rose through the officer ranks and commanded the Cavalry Corps of the First Army during the Battle of Belgium in May 1940. He was captured by the Germans...

  • Admiral Jean-Marie Charles Abrial
    Jean-Marie Charles Abrial
    Jean-Marie Charles Abrial was a French Admiral and Naval Minister. He fought in both World wars, and was known mostly for his actions at Dunkirk in 1940.-Early years:...

  • General Henri Winkelman
    Henri Winkelman
    Henri Gerard Winkelman was a Dutch General best known for his command of the Dutch troops during the German invasion of the Netherlands.-Pre-war:...

     of the Netherlands
    Royal Netherlands Army
    The Royal Netherlands Army is the land forces element of the military of the Netherlands.-Short history:The Royal Netherlands Army was raised on 9 January 1814, but its origins date back to 1572, when the so-called Staatse Leger was raised...

  • General Otto Ruge
    Otto Ruge
    Otto Ruge was a Norwegian general. He was Commander-in-chief of the Royal Norwegian Armed Forces after Nazi Germany's assault on Norway in April 1940.-Background:...

     of Norway
    Norwegian Army
    Norway achieved full independence in 1905, and in the first century of its short life has contributed to two major conflicts, the Cold War and the War on Terror. The Norwegian Army currently operates in the north of Norway and in Afghanistan as well as in Eastern Europe. The Army is the oldest of...

See also

  • List of German WWII POW camps

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