Morbid Fact Du Jour for November 6, 2017

Today’s Badly Fed Yet Truly Morbid Fact!

During World War II, the management of the Concordia lignite mine at Nachterstedt in the Magdeburg district of Germany used a large number of Soviet POWs to replace the German members of its workforce who had been drafted into the Wehrmacht.  (Yeah, I had to look up “lignite” too: “Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is a soft brown combustible sedimentary rock formed from naturally compressed peat.” – DeSpair)  The first 200 prisoners were assigned to the mine in September and October 1941 from Stalag XI C (311) at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. At times, more than 300 Soviet POWs worked at the Concordia colliery and mostly performed physically strenuous excavation, construction and track-laying tasks.


Soviet prisoners pausing for rations in Poland, 1943.

The Soviet POWs were already in very poor physical condition when they arrived in Nachterstedt. Despite this, the rations they received were smaller than those given to POWs from other countries who also had to work in mining. They were so badly fed and in such poor health that at least 45 Soviet POWs died in January 1942 alone, most of them from malnutrition  and physical exhaustion.

In February 1942, the mine’s management asked the physician Dr. Mehl to compile a report on the health and work performance of the Soviet POWs working at Concordia. The doctor concluded that the many death at the Nachterstedt work detail were due to malnutrition and not a lack of hygiene at the camp or other wrongdoing on the part of the company.

Around 150 Soviet POWs died at the Nachterstedt work detail between 1941 and 1945. 

Culled from:  Bergen-Belsen Wehrmacht POW Camp, 1940-1945

 

Vintage Poem Du Jour!

Here’s a lovely poem by Mrs. Elizabeth Turner culled from One Thousand Poems for Children (1903).  I love a happy ending!

This image actually lacks the final verse, which is a bit anti-climactic:

Alas! had Tommy understood
That fruit in lanes is seldom good,
He might have walked with little Jane
Again along the shady lane.

(Well, at least the male was blamed for eating the fruit this time!)

Image culled from the fabulous Strange Company Facebook page.

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