Koncentrations Lager 3
Allied aircrew who had been shot down over France and the Low Countries while supporting the Normandy landings were held in a prison at Fresnes (near Paris). On the 15th August they were taken by train to Germany and after five days they arrived at the Konzentrationlager Buchenwald. During their first three weeks at Buchenwald, the Allied prisoners were totally shaven and forced to sleep outside, without any shoes or shelter. Eventually they were moved into a very overcrowded hut where they were forced to sleep on wooden shelves. They were so tightly packed that in order for one person to turn over in the bunk, the other four people in the same bunk had to turn over at the same time.
The Kleine Lager
A note was smuggled out to the Luftwaffe to inform them that 168 airmen were being held by the SS in Buchenwald. After a fierce exchange of telegrams between the Luftwaffe and the SS the prisoners were moved to Stalag Luft 3.
Unfortunately, F/O P D Hemmens contracted septicaemia, rheumatic fever and pneumonia and died. The official date of death is October 18th but it is believed that he died on September 27th 1944.