Moosburg Online:
Stalag VII A: Oral history

Ernestine Sanford

Capitulation and Looting

"My name is Ernestine Sanford née Münzloher and for the past 40 years I have lived in North Carolina, USA, as a US citizen.

I was born in a little town called Moosburg in Bavaria, Germany, and during the war we had a Prisoner of War camp there. It was because of that, that we were spared the bombings that occured all around Moosburg. But as I remember, Moosburg was punished by giving the former POWs free reign of terror for 24 hours. However nobody was killed during that time.

I can still see in my mind the POWs being escorted to the camp's cemetery, and as a child I was afraid of them. They also worked at the hospital, and at different businesses in town. My grandmother was assigned by the officials to work in the kitchen of a school that was temporarily made into a military hospital for German soldiers. POWs worked there, too. Grandmother used to trade bread for chocolate with them.

My grandfather was working as a welder for a firm called Steinbock. They were making the frame of the launching pad for the V2-rocket. He used to share his food with some of the Russians that worked with him.

After the capitulation they somehow found out where we lived and we had the house full of former POWs, mostly Slovacs and Russians. They brought my grandfather stolen watches to fix. They used to say "Oh papa, you good" and brought him tabacco, cigarettes and chocolate from the care packages they had finally received after the war. I remember being carried around by a young Russian who promised to write after he got back to Russia, but we never heard a word from anyone.

We then also had to post all the names, sex and age of the occupants on the front door of the house. The women where afraid of being raped in our house, I remember them hiding under the bed. One young woman next door jumped out of the second floor to escape from rape and hurt her foot. During the 24 hours of looting we were offered candy by some colored POWs. They couldn't get in the house because there were iron bars on the windows. I think they are still there today. They said: "We want women. Open the door and we give you candy." And one of the young women in the house sneaked out of the back and got hold of an American soldier who then saved the women.

After the capitulation, we were walking down Landshuter Straße. The streets where littered with empty shells. The Americans rounded up all the men that where left (mostly old men and boys). I still have in mind how the barber M. gazed around the corner at the Schwemm inn (then Hofer's inn) and suddenly started running towards Breitenberg hill and our house. I think that my grandmother burned his swastika armband which was probably a badge of the Volkssturm (people's storm). As we were walking down the street the American sodiers were taking the jewelery off the German women. Yes, I saw it. "

Top Source:

  • E-mail by Ernestine Sanford to Moosburg Online, December 1998

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