This 1943 Stalag 4B photo of Ralph Hoag was originally attached to his prison record. The prisoners took their own records from the office at Luckewalde after the Russians liberated the camp.
Many of the accounts on this site are of men who escaped from Camp 59 and made their way south to the Allied forces, or who were protected by the Italian farm families, the “contadini.”
Ralph Hoag, on the other hand, was free after the Camp 59 breakout for only nine days before being recaptured by German paratroopers.
He said of the escape:
“After the 59 breakout, eight of us were together—way too many to expect an Italian family to care for. We didn’t keep moving, but stayed in the woods and went to a farm for occasional food. I’m sure they reported our whereabouts to the Germans, because the Germans came right to us.
“We were returned to 59 along with most all of the others—half of which were British Tommies. I guess we were there two days. When it was time to move out there were two or three missing at roll call. The Germans threatened to shoot every tenth man until they were found.
“Finally, we were jammed into boxcars with crates of loot and bags of macaroni—so much so we couldn’t all lay down at once. That was a long 8–9 day trip. I think they let us out of the boxcars twice. We went through the Bremer Pass, into Germany—to Stalag IV-B.
“The German paratroopers respected the three for attempting to escape. They were hiding in the camp. The Germans knew no one had gotten out. They were treated fine and sent on to Germany, where they rejoined us a few days later.”
In addition to Camp 98 Sicily and Camp 59 Italy, Ralph was interned at:
Stalag 4B, Muhlberg Sachsen
Stalag 2B, Hammerstein, West Prussia
Stalag 3B, Furstenberg on the Oder, Brandenburg
Stalag 3A, Luckenwalde, Brandenburg
Read Ralph Hoag’s account of his POW experience at the combatvets.net site under “Bios/Memorials.”