S/Sgt Ellington Testimony

Judge Advocate General's Department - War Department
United States of America

In the matter of imprisonment under improper conditions and failure to provide Prisoners of War with proper medical care, food and quarters at Camp Wauwilermoos, Switzerland, from 18 September 1944 to 1 December 1944.
Perpetuation of the Testimony of S/Sgt Dale C. Ellington, (serial # omitted).

Taken at: Truax Field, Madison 7, Wisconsin

Date: 30 August 1945

Questions by: Robert A. Crone, Captain, A. C., (serial # omitted)

Q. Sergeant, state your name, rank, serial number, permanent home address and telephone number.

A. S/Sgt Dale C. Ellington, (information omitted).

Q. What is the date and place of your birth?

A. September 8, 1922, at Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Q. Are you married?

A. Yes, sir, I am.

Q. When and where did you last enter the United States from foreign service?

A. January 9, 1945, at Boling Field, Washington, D.C.

Q. What is the extent of your education?

A. I graduated from the SouthDivision High School at Milwaukee in June of 1940.

Q. State at what places you were employed as a civilian, the nature of each job and the period of time employed at each.

A. The Milwaukee Journal Company from October 1941 until April 1942. I was a mail clerk there. The Wesley Steel Treating Company from April 1942 to March 1943 as a steel tester.

Q. Were you a Prisoner of War?

A. No, sir, I was an Internee.

Q. What bomb group were you with?

A. 385th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force.

Q. What target were [you] bombing at the time you were shot down?

A. Augsburg, Germany.

Q. Were you shot down by fighters or flak?

A. Flak.

Q. Did you crash land or bail out?

A. Crash landed.

Q. At what places were you held and state the approximate dates.

A. We crash landed at Dubendorf, Switzerland on 13 April 1944 and after we got out of the airplane, we were met by Swiss armed soldiers. We were taken into the headquarters and interrogated for about five (5) hours and then we were given our dinner and we were taken to a school house in the same touwn and we slept there over night. The next morning, we were put on a train and from there we went to Adelboden, Switzerland and we stayed there from the 14th of April until the 17th of September. We left there in civilian clothes intending to go to France. We tried to escape, but the next evening, the 18th, we were caught by three (3) guards on the French border near Neu Chatel, Switzerland. We were held in a civilian jail for three (3) days until the 21st and then we were taken by two (2) armed guards to Camp Wauwilermoos. We stayed there from the 21st of September until the 1st of December. Then we were taken back to Adelboden and we escaped from there in civilian clother the 8th of December. We contacted the allied forces on the 13th of December.

Q. State what you know of your own knowledge about the imprisonment under improper conditions and the failure to provide Prisoners of War with proper medical care, food and quarters.

A. We were confined to the camp and the beds they had were a large loft with straw on it. We layed on the straw and it was never changed. It was infested with lice and flees.

Q. Did you sleep on the ground or did you have beds to sleep on?

A. It was a wooden loft above the ground with some straw spread over the boards. There were no partitions between the boards. Just a large loft.

Q. How many blankets did you have?

A. They gave us two (2) blankets. One to sleep on and the other to cover with. The barracks were not well heated. We had one (1) small stove in it and there were about fifty (50) or seventy five (75) men in a barracks. All we were allowed to burn was so much wood per mand for each day. I donít remember the exact amount. It usually wasnít warm and we were always uncomfortable. When we asked for more blankets, we were refused. We were given tin dishes and silverware. No hot water or soap to wash them with. The wash rooms had troughs and there was always cold war Ė never hot water. The toilets were nothing but slit trenches. The camp itself was in a muddy unsanitary place. This was Wauwilermoos, Switzerland. The only freedom we were allowed was one (1) little walk about one hundred feet (100í) long. We were allowed to go to the latrine at any time we wanted to. During the night we couldnít leave the barracks after dark. We were inclosed in barbed wire fences and they were guarded by armed guards and the area around the camp was patrolled by trained dogs.

Q. Did the dogs ever snap at you?

A. No, sir, they were outside of the barbed wire.

Q. How many meals did you receive a day?

A. Three (3) meager meals a day. For breakfast we usually got bread and cocoa or bread and coffee. The bread was one quarter of a loaf and it was supposed to last us all day. For dinner we usually had sourp and some other thing like a piece of cheese or meat or some kind of stew. The piece of cheese was about the size of three (3) pats of butter. For supper we usually had bread and jam or bread and butter and jam if we were lucky. On Fridays we were given a small can of sardines.

Q. Did you lose any weight while you were there?

A. About twenty (20) pounds.

Q. How was your food at Adelboden?

A. It was as good as could be expected. The Swiss themselves donít have much to eat. We got by all right Ė we couldnít complain about that. We received three (3) meals a day at Adelboden. For breakfast we got oatmeal or cheese and bread. For dinner we got soup and every other day we received meat and potatoes. Usually soup and potatoes. For supper it was usually spaghetti or macaroni or something like that. I didnít lose any weight there, I lost all my weight at Wauwilermoos.

Q. How long were you at Wauwilermoos?

A. I was there seventy five (75) days. We stayed there forty five (45) days and we were taken to [Bern], the Capital, and we were given a trial and then we had thirty (30) more days. At the trial there were no Americans to represent us. The trial itself was in German.

Q. Tell us about your medical care.

A. They had a doctor at Wauwilermoos you could see every Friday evening. When you did go to see him you werenít taken care of. You couldnít leave the place to go to the hospital until you were very sick. I had some skin disease on my arm and he couldnít do anything about it. He gave me one application of salve and thatís all he did. I donít think he was a registered doctor, but I donít know for sure. He was a Polish Internee himself.

Q. Do you know the name of the commandant at Wauwilermoos?

A. He was Captain Beguin. He was about 5í11Ē and was a large man. He weighed about two hundred fifty (250) pounds I think. He had thin hair and it was brown. He usually wore a hat. He had been a member of the French foreign legion at one time.

Q. How did he treat the prisoners?

A. He had nothing to do at all with the prisoners. He didnít help them, but but he didnít do any personal harm to any of them. He did restrict the Americans from using the small Post Exchange they had and we were supposed to have privileges.

Q. Why did he do that?

A. We said it was because he didnít like the Americans. He was a repulsive person as far as I was concerned.

Q. Did you ever witness any of the Prisoners of War being beaten or mistreated?

A. One of our boys was put in solitary confinement. He was given no blankets and he was kept in a small dark room for ten (10) days for trying to escape. His diet was bread and soup, three (3) meals.

Q. Did they take any of your personal belongings?

A. When we came into the camp they took all our personal belongings, but they returned them when we got out of the camp.
When we received packages from the other Internees at Adelboden if anything was on their ration list they took it away form us and we didnít get it. The packages were always opened. Even the packages that came from the United States were censored.

Q. Did you receive any packages from the Red Cross?

A. We signed a petition and asked the Red Cross to send us American cigarettes and they wouldnít help us out.

Q. Anything else Sergeant?

A. The conditions in the civilian jail we were in were bread and soup for our diet. We were confined to one (1) room for four (4) men and the room was about eight feet (8í) square. The latrine there was right in the room. It was just a pot and the prisoners had to empty it once a day. This jail was in Pruntrut. This was after we were caught trying to escape on the 18th of September.
I guess thatís all.

           Dale C. Ellington

State of: Wisconsin )
           : )SS
County of: Dane)

I, Dale C. Ellington, of lawful ago, being duly sworn on oath, state that I have read the foregoing transcription of my interrogation and all answers contained therein are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Subscribed and sworn to before me the 30th day of August 1945. Frederick A. Feltz, 1st Lt., A. C. Summary Court