Condolences To The Family Of Anastasia “Nadia” Makosij Dankiw Schell

Condolence message

January 23, 2022.  Saying goodbye to a Camp Ohio resident is always difficult.  So I was very sorry to learn that Anastasia ‘Nadia’ MAKOSIJ DANKIW SCHELL, who had lived in Camp Ohio with her family, passed away on January 20, 2022, following a stroke on December 29, 2021.

Nadia Schell

Nadia Makosij Dankiw Schell.  (Photo courtesy of Anna Foley)

Nadia was one of the first Camp Ohio residents to share the story of her family and their experiences, ensuring that their story will not be forgotten.  Her exuberance towards life was infectious, and made me wish we could have met in person. 

Camp Ohio womens choir

Our deepest condolences go to Nadia’s family and friends. For a link to her obituary see:  https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/syracuse/name/anastasia-schell-obituary?pid=201204397&utm_source=MarketingCloud&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ObitShare_PowerInbox_Neustar_090721&utm_content=ViewObituary&sfmc_id=202371392&env=a6568b88dae938d8ab6d3a547d064f7a48a496b3

Thank you to Nadia’s daughter Anna for taking the time to contact us. “…She enjoyed speaking with you about her life and I am grateful that her story will survive…” Anna wrote.

Do you have a memory or photo of Nadia to share? Comments can be made on this blog or by sending an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca.

Comments can be made on this blog or by sending an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca. Don’t forget to check out the photos on our website at http://www.dpcamps.org/burgdorf.html.  Stay safe.

© Daria Valkenburg

An Immigration Lifeline

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August 30, 2021. In researching the history of Camp Ohio, and the people who lived and worked there, one theme has resounded over and over again…. the steps people took to avoid being repatriated to what had become Soviet territory and to instead find a way to begin new lives elsewhere.  I was reminded of this over the past few days as the desperation of people in Afghanistan to be evacuated has made headlines around the world.

Over the years, stories have surfaced of displaced persons in camps pretending to come from what is now Western Ukraine (which before WW2 had been part of Poland) rather than from Eastern Ukraine.  Eastern Ukraine meant repatriation, but Western Ukraine didn’t.

Former prisoners of war were to be repatriated, so many former soldiers claimed to have been forced labourers and not prisoners of war.  Some even changed their names and details such as places of birth and parentage. 

Once various immigration programs became available, displaced persons tried to find a path to participate in one.  One program in South America looking for Some programs allowed for ‘one dependent per working immigrant’. people with farming backgrounds saw people who knew nothing about agriculture applying.  Why?  The program allowed for families, making it of interest to those with small children and/or elderly relatives.

Some programs allowed for ‘one dependent per working immigrant’. Other programs wanted only single people for specific labour needs, such as coal mining, gold mining, and factory workers.  Some accepted couples if there were no children.  To apply for these programs, many families were separated, sometimes temporarily, but other times permanently. 

Many of the immigration and resettlement programs favoured ‘labourers’ over ‘intellectuals’ resulting in many well-educated displaced persons not disclosing their educational and professional credentials in order to be considered. 

Some religious groups sponsored immigrants of the same faith.  In Camp Ohio, contemporary accounts mention that several people belonged to the Baptist church.  Ivan BODNARUK, Camp Ohio resident and Principal of the Camp Ohio school, had noted that “because the Baptists were assisted by the Baptists of the United States, who sent care-packages to the camp Baptists, they lived better than other camp residents…” 

Several residents became Baptists which gave them an immigration program to apply for.  In 1947, a mass baptism was held, and photos had been sent of this occasion by Elyse Cottone, whose mother Teresa and maternal grandparents, Kazimerez MACHINA and Theodozia MACHINA (nee KOZODY), immigrated to the USA under the sponsorship of the Baptists.  (See https://dpcampohioresearchproject.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/the-camp-ohio-baptist-church-group-baptism-ceremony/)

Some of the people who became Baptists were ‘Baptists of convenience’.  It was a means to an end…. immigration, rather than repatriation. Elyse Cottone explained that “My grandfather made arrangements with a Baptist church in order to get sponsored to come to the United States. He proclaimed his beliefs as being Baptist in order to get his family sponsored but ultimately did not have that conviction….

A few months ago, a relative of Elyse Cottone sent a comment saying that “…My uncle, Kazimerez Machina, was never a Baptist. He was Eastern Orthodox, as was his entire extended family….”  Kasimerez was a ‘Baptist by convenience’. 

The comment was sent to Elyse, who replied that “…My grandfather, Kazimerez Machina, was not a Baptist but his wife, my grandmother Theodozia Machina, was very devout. It caused a lot of strife in their relationship and ultimately led to the breakup of their marriage after moving to the US….” 

Several 1949 newspaper articles from Carthage, New York summarize how the local Baptist church prepared for the arrival of the Machina family, always described as Baptists.

Elyse recently sent “…. a newspaper article that quotes my grandfather Kazimerez Machina in regards to the Baptist church and his sponsor in the US. Feel free to post if you’d like. ….

article by Machina

1949 letter written by Kazimerez Machina to the First Baptist Church in Carthage, New York. (Article courtesy of Elyse Cottone)

Elyse expressed her gratitude to her grandfather. “…I recently became aware of how many people were sent back to the Soviet Union and the desperation to not return.  I’m grateful he did what he did so my mom made it to the US….”  Her mother Teresa became a doctor, an endocrinology specialist.

Kasimerez and his wife Theodosia made a decision about taking a lifeline to immigration during a very difficult period of uncertainty for displaced persons.  We know about the people who were able to find a path to immigration.  Many more were unable to find a path and were repatriated to the Soviet Union against their will. 

Thank you to Elyse Cottone for sharing her family’s story.  It’s a testament to the love her grandfather had for his family, the generosity of the Baptist Church in Carthage, New York for sponsoring the family, and the importance of showing kindness and understanding to those who are refugees due to war or political circumstances. 

Comments can be made on this blog or by sending an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca. Don’t forget to check out the photos on our website at http://www.dpcamps.org/burgdorf.html.  Stay safe.

© Daria Valkenburg

 

Leaving Camp Ohio For Great Britain Under The Westward Ho! Program

Note: My father, Wasyl Makota, left his native Ukraine at age 14 to be a labourer in Germany under the Nazi regime, and worked first on a farm, then in a bakery.  After the war ended he was in Camp Ohio until April 1948. 

July 1, 2021. After WW2 ended, millions were left displaced.  Eastern European countries were now part of the USSR and citizenships held prior to 1939 were no longer always valid.  This was the case for my father, who was born in present-day western Ukraine with Polish citizenship.  After WW2 he lost that citizenship as Ukraine was now Soviet territory.  Soviet agents in Germany were scooping up anyone who looked like they might be from what was now Soviet controlled territory, and taking them to Siberia.  (See https://dpcampohioresearchproject.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/the-soviet-liaison-officers-part-2/)

In October 1945, Dad entered the safety of the Camp Ohio displaced persons camp. The camp was a temporary solution.  Although he liked Germany it was ‘too close for comfort’ to the Soviet Union.  With no family members living overseas to sponsor him, he began to look at various ‘immigration programs’ as they became available. 

Westward Ho page 1

Page 1 of the Westward Ho! contract Dad signed.

Various countries recruited workers for areas where labour was needed in the post-war economy.  In Great Britain, workers were recruited under various programs for the European Volunteer Workers (EVW) scheme.

‘Westward Ho!’, one of these programs, was for displaced persons to come to Great Britain and work in agriculture, forestry, coal mining and cotton textiles. Established in 1947, it gave preference to applicants with no dependants, or who were willing to initially leave behind any dependants. As an unmarried 19 year old with no family members in Germany, Dad could apply.  He did and was accepted.

According to the recruitment poster that caught his attention, he would work in a coal mine, but first he would be sent to an English Training Centre to learn English for a period of 4 to 8 weeks, and then to a Mining Training Centre to learn how to work in a British coal mine.  A clause in the contract stated that he ‘would work only as directed by the Ministry of Labour and not change his place of work without official approval’. 

Westward Ho Recruitment Poster

In April 1948 he made the journey across the English Channel.  However, instead of the promised English language training, his group was sent to Scotland to pick potatoes.  He never did get language training. That he had to learn on his own.

After a stay at the Mining Training Centre, he was placed in a Miners Hostel. He wrote that he worked “in Wales, close to Cardiff and Boulton, and in Manchester, England…

Dad joined the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (http://www.ukrainiansintheuk.info/eng/03/augb-e.htm), and was a member of an orchestra that played concerts and as accompaniment for a ballet group.  A number of the musicians also played at various dances and weddings. 

Circa 1948 to 51 Manchester Dad with music group

Wasyl Makota plays the accordion in this photo taken in Manchester. Does anyone recognize the pianist or guitar player? (Photo: Courtesy Valkenburg Family Collection)

While Dad enjoyed the social activities and his new life, life soured when he was offered a better paying position in a supervisory capacity, but could not get permission to leave his current place of employment.  (This policy changed later in 1951.)

Then, fate intervened.  In January 1951, a few friends asked for help in applying to go to Canada, where they had relatives.  Would Dad go with them to Liverpool and help with interpretation?  He did.  After his friends were finished, they turned to leave, but the officer asked Dad, “What about you?” 

Dad explained he had no family in Canada to sponsor him.  He was told to apply anyway.  If accepted as an immigrant, the government of Canada would lend the money for a ticket with the promise that he would pay back the fare once he was established there.

So he applied. Dad later wrote that “On March 19, 1951 I received a letter from the Canadian consulate in Liverpool advising me to report for a Medical to travel to Canada...

Wasyl May 10 1951 in England

Wasyl Makota in May 1951. (Photo: Courtesy Valkenburg Family Collection)

Things moved quickly after that.  Dad explained that “…On the 10th of May I was back in Liverpool to process the papers but had to come back with a letter of character. The mine welfare officer where I worked wrote one. The papers were ready and I was to sail on June 9th. On June 8 after 12 midnight I left Manchester by train to go to Plymouth and arrived at 10:30 am. By 4:30 pm we were ready to get transferred to the big ship of Europa and started to sail at 7 pm. We arrived in Halifax on June 16th at 8 am…

Dad when he arrived in Canada aboard Europa

Wasyl Makota (identified by green arrow) aboard the ship Europa in Plymouth, England. (Photo: Courtesy Valkenburg Family Collection)

Dad’s new life in Canada was about to begin.  He was 23 years old.  To read more about my father’s story, see:

Do you know someone who went to Great Britain under the Westward Ho! Program? Do you recognize the pianist or the guitar player in the photo shown above?  Comments can be made on this blog or by sending an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca. Don’t forget to check out the photos on our website at http://www.dpcamps.org/burgdorf.html

© Daria Valkenburg

 

The Camp Ohio Christmas Carollers

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December 18, 2020.  As photos come in it quite often becomes a challenge to identify when and where the photo was taken, as well as the context in which the photo occurred.  This was the case when Steve Adkins submitted a photo from his grandfather’s collection.  His grandfather, George West, was with the British troops from the 94th (Dorset & Hants) Royal Artillery Field Regiment who took over Camp Ohio from the American Military in May 1945.  (See A Decorated War Hero Who Served With Col. Concannon )

George West left Germany after January 5, 1946, which suggests that his photo was from the very first Christmas at Camp Ohio.  When Steve sent me the photo he asked if the photo was from a “….religious festival, play or what?…” 

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The Camp Ohio Christmas Carollers.  (Photo courtesy of Steve Adkins collection.  Photo colourization by Ralf Gräfenstein)

It was a group of carollers. (See The First Christmas In Camp Ohio)  Unfortunately, the photo resolution was not the best and it was difficult to identify individual faces.  It was also clear that the photo was NOT taken in Camp Ohio, and the carriage was very ornate for an item that could have been put together by camp residents. 

The photo was sent to Tobias Teuber. He and Dieter Heun identified the carriage as Burgdorf’s catafalque (hearse) and thought the photo might have been taken outside the Catholic Church in Burgdorf, but this has not been 100% confirmed.

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The Burgdorf catafalque (hearse). (Photo courtesy of Dieter Heun)

The hearse dates back to 1888, according to a document sent by Dieter Heun, and was pulled by two horses.  In 1943 the driver was identified in a newspaper article as ‘Heinrich Leinemann, a farmer from Duderstädter Weg’ who had been driving the hearse for 25 years.  Perhaps he was the driver in the photo of the carollers?  With an increase in car traffic in Burgdorf, the days of a horse drawn hearse were numbered, and it’s final journey was made in 1956.

Christmas for Ukrainians is on January 7, not December 25, so I wondered how the photo could have been for the first Christmas, which would have been January 7, 1946, when George West left in early January. 

Then I remembered that in the journal of Bohdan Kowal, he referred to Christmas carollers who gave a concert in which “The revenue from the Christmas concert was intended for the Fund of the Ukrainian Representation in Hannover. Total collected 640 RM”  RM referred to the German marks used in that time period.

When I’d originally read this entry I wondered if the residents of Camp Ohio could have donated that much money.  With the photo by the hearse, it suggests that the concert took place outside Camp Ohio, perhaps in the Catholic Church.  If this is correct, then the photo and concert would have been taken before December 25, 1945, which aligns with the period that George West was still in Germany.

If you recognize this photo (and have a better quality copy of it), any of the people in it, or the circumstances in which it was taken, please let me know.  Comments can be made on this blog or by sending an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca. Don’t forget to check out the photos on our website at http://www.dpcamps.org/burgdorf.html

Thank you to Steve Adkins for sharing the photo, to Ralf Gräfenstein for colourizing it, and to Tobias Teuber and Dieter Heun for identifying the carriage used in the photo, and for sending information on the hearse’s history.

Christmas2020 Photo Daria & Pieter

© Daria Valkenburg

A Decorated War Hero Who Served With Col. Concannon

October 20, 2020.  After reading the posting about the 94th (Dorset & Hants) Royal Artillery Field Regiment that took over Camp Ohio from the American Military in May 1945, Steve Adkins got in contact.  (See Allied Troops Set Up Camp Ohio in 1945 – Part II)

Steve wrote to explain that “My grandfather was the RSM of the 94th a very brave and highly decorated man, George West (GM)…”  RSM is an acronym referring to Regimental Sergeant Major (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regimental_sergeant_major for more information.)

GM refers to The George Medal, an award for gallantry instituted by King George VI in 1940. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Medal) West was awarded the medal for an act of bravery in May 1945, in defusing 6 mines buried by the side of a main road used as a supply route.

George West in yard

George West. (Photo courtesy Steve Adkins family collection)

Steve wasn’t 100% certain if his grandfather was in Camp Ohio, but he recognized the name Colonel M. CONCANNON, whosigned granddad’s ‘mentioned in dispatches’ document and his award for the Croix de Guerre...”. The Croix de Guerre, a military decoration of France, was awarded for leading and inspiring his regiment in maintaining accuracy of fire during heavy action in July 1944.  (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croix_de_Guerre#Individuals_in_World_War_II)

According to the service record, George West served in North West Europe from June 17, 1944 until January 5, 1946, when he was demobbed and returned home.  Steve explained that “He was definitely with the 94th and did have camp duties post conflict because there was an incident with a former SS officer, which could have caused a lot of trouble. Consequently he was returned home from the Bremen area in January 1946 and later left the service…

Steve was able to provide photos of both his grandfather and Col. Concannon.  He explained that in the photo below, “…Col. Concannon is on the phone, other 3 NCO’s are unknown. I believe this was taken inside their commandeered command post / pub re-named the Dorset Arms...

Col Concannon on phone

Col. Concannon on phone with 3 unidentified NCOs at the 94th HQ.  (Photo courtesy Steve Adkins family collection)

Steve went on to note that in a photo taken outside the 94th HQ, “you can see the Wessex division Griffon painted on the sign….

2 NCOs outside 94th HQ renamed Dorset Arms

Two unknown NCOs outside the 94th HQ, renamed the Dorset Arms. (Photo courtesy Steve Adkins family collection)

George West on right

George West on right with an unidentified soldier. (Photo courtesy Steve Adkins family collection)

Through Steve’s contact with Jane Mills, Research Coordinator at The Keep Military Museum, we now know the full name for Col. Concannon:  Michael Patrick CONCANNON. (See https://www.keepmilitarymuseum.org/)

Thank you to Steve Adkins for providing photos of members from the 94th (Dorset & Hants) Royal Artillery Field Regiment.  He’s currently trying to verify if his grandfather was in Camp Ohio or one of the nearby displaced persons camps.  Can anyone help him?

Do you have any photos or stories to share, or identify any of the men in the photos? Comments can be made on this blog or by sending an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca. Don’t forget to check out the photos on our website at http://www.dpcamps.org/burgdorf.html.  Stay safe.

© Daria Valkenburg

The Camp Ohio Motorcycle

September 14, 2020.  Sometimes you never know when a reader can add information on Camp Ohio on a topic you never even considered!  This happened after Steve Adkins read the posting about the 94th (Dorset & Hants) Royal Artillery Field Regiment that took over Camp Ohio from the American Military in May 1945.  (See Allied Troops Set Up Camp Ohio in 1945 – Part II)

While in contact with him, I learned that Steve is a motorcycle enthusiast, and asked him if he could identify a photo of a bike used by the North German Timber Control and ridden by Gregor KUSCHTSCH. (See North German Timber Control)

Gregor on motorcycle

Steve came through, explaining that “…This is obviously a military bike, the service vehicle number is clearly visible: C (C = Commonwealth) then 53XXXX usually 5-6 numbers…” In the photo, only the first two numbers are visible due to the rider covering up the other numbers.  He also was able to identify the model.  “…Looks like a Matchless to me, probably a G3/L….

My husband Pieter then researched the bike to try and answer the questions I had: How did a British motorcycle end up in post-war Germany? Was it brought over after the war?  Was it someone’s personal bike?  Was it left over from the war period and put to use in the camps?

Pieter learned that the bike was developed by the British Army during WW2 and used by dispatch riders and for convoy escort. 80,000 were in use during wartime. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matchless_G3/L)  Motorcycles for military use were green or khaki coloured.

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Side view of a Matchless G3/L. (Photo from http://www.roncobb.com)

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Side view of a Matchless G3/L with dispatch bag. (Photo courtesy Steve Adkins)

How did the motorcycle end up in Camp Ohio?  That’s still unknown, but as it was a military bike, not one for civilian use, it was likely surplus war equipment and not brought over in the post-war period.

In 1940 the British War Office requisitioned every available Matchless motorcycle to replace those lost at Dunkirk. During the evacuation the British Army left enough equipment behind to outfit several visions. Among the items left behind were 20,000 motorcycles! The German military ‘retrieved’ the equipment left behind in the chaos. The bike used in Camp Ohio may be one of these bikes, or one produced after Dunkirk. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dunkirk and the movie ‘Dunkirk’ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5013056/)

Thank you to Steve Adkins for identifying the motorcycle, and to Pieter Valkenburg for delving into the history of Matchless bikes.  Can anyone shed more light on the motorcycle in the photo?  Do you have any photos or stories to share about motorcycles used in Camp Ohio? Comments can be made on this blog or by sending an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca. Don’t forget to check out the photos on our website at http://www.dpcamps.org/burgdorf.html.  Stay safe.

© Daria Valkenburg

Condolences To The Family Of Harald Scherdin-Wendlandt

September 2, 2020.  A few months ago, in the posting about Camp Ohio resident Dmytro Jalowy, I wrote that there’s a special bond between those of us who never lived in Camp Ohio, but had a relative who did.  I was referring to myself and Dmytro Jalowy’s son Harald Scherdin-Wendlandt. (See Camp Ohio Resident Dmytro ‘Jim’ Jalowy)

Over the years, we’ve shared many laughs and swapped stories about our collective experiences as children of Camp Ohio residents.  In June the story of Harald’s father was told, and I was in the process of translating Harald’s memoir, which he had sent in July.

This afternoon Pieter and I were deeply saddened to learn from Ralf Gräfenstein that Harald fell at noon on Friday, August 28, 2020 in Berlin, where he lives, and the fall ended his life.  “…I am deeply shocked and saddened to inform you…” Ralf wrote.

CIMG8106 Aug 31 2017 our table at mayors reception in Burgdorf

August 31, 2017 at the mayor’s reception in Burgdorf. Left to right: Harald Scherdin-Wendlandt, Marianne Rurka, Gene Rurka, Pieter Valkenburg, Daria Valkenburg, Roman Berezowsky, Marilyn Berezowsky. (Photo: D. Valkenburg collection)

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Harald Scherdin-Wendlandt and Ralf Gräfenstein in Berlin, June 2020.  (Photo courtesy of R. Gräfenstein)

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Harald Scherdin-Wendlandt by the memorial plaque in Burgdorf.  (Photo credit: Bettina Scherdin-Wendlandt)

Words fail us, as we are numb with shock at the loss of this vibrant and caring man.  Ralf advises that Harald’s funeral will take place on September 23 in Berlin.  Our deepest condolences go out to Harald’s wife Bettina and their sons Niko and Tino.

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Thank you to Ralf Gräfenstein for advising of this sad occurrence.  Do you have a memory or photo of Harald or his father Dmytro to share? Comments can be made on this blog or by sending an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca. Don’t forget to check out the photos on our website at http://www.dpcamps.org/burgdorf.html.  Stay safe.

© Daria Valkenburg

 

Camp Ohio Resident Dmytro ‘Jim’ Jalowy

June 29, 2020.  There’s a special bond between those of us who never lived in Camp Ohio, but had a relative who did.  Not only do we want to know more about the life and times of our relative, many of us also try to put a spotlight on that period of time.  It’s why I started the Camp Ohio Research Project in 2005.

In Germany, Harald Scherdin-Wendlandt, the son of Dmytro JALOWY, was one of 7 members of the “Arbeitsgruppe Stadtgeschichte Burgdorf” (Burgdorf History Circle). One of the members, historian Ralf Gräfenstein, explained that the group began in September 2012, following a public meeting in Burgdorf at which Harald spoke for the first time about his search for his father (who had been a forced labourer in Germany and later a Camp Ohio resident), and at which Ralf reported on a Skype interview he’d had with my father, Wasyl MAKOTA.

This meeting and “Harald’s search for traces of his family history in his hometown of Burgdorf and in Poland, his questions about where Camp Ohio was, where his father Dmytro Jalowy lived, and his contact with Pastor Rudolf Bembenneck were the reasons for the beginning of research on Camp Ohio and forced labour in Burgdorf from 1939 to 1950…” (In 2017, the group published a book.  See How To Order a Copy of ‘In The Shadow of The Forgotten’ for more information.)

Both Harald and I had fathers who lived in Camp Ohio and we wanted to know more.  In September 2014, we had a chance to meet in person in Burgdorf, and again in August 2017.

CIMG3629 Sep 12 2014 Harald and Daria in Burgdorf near where the windmill formerly stood

With Harald Scherdin-Wendlandt in Burgdorf in 2014.  (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

Harald’s father, Dmytro (“Jim”) JALOWY, was born September 29, 1924 in the small village of Jalyna, Poland, located near Sucha Wola and Lubaczow.  He was the son of Iwan Jalowy and Ahafia Bachir, a farming family.

In 1942, Dmytro had to report to the local employment office and was taken, along with 5 other young people from his village, to Germany as forced labourers…. three young men, three young women.

In April 1942, Dmytro was placed on a farm in the village of Rühen, located near Vorsfelde, Lower Saxony and worked for a farmer that records have identified as being Wilhelm Müller.  It was not a happy experience.

In a July 1999 interview with his son, Dmytro related a few of his experiences, remembering that he was always hungry. “I had to eat in the corner like a dog and was not allowed to say anything, otherwise he would call the police…

Dmytro’s tasks were not easy, especially for a young person without enough to eat. “I cut rye, he told me to work quickly. I said I can’t work fast, I’m hungry. He said to his daughter, get the police. Only 2 potatoes and water…” was his nourishment. “He was not a decent human being…

In contrast to the farmer’s behaviour, “His wife was very good. The daughter was not as bad as her father. She said when I came to Germany: you are “Polish-Russian swine”. Afterwards she was good...

In February 1943, Dmytro ended up in Wolfsburg City Hospital with a throat abscess, and said he had a dental operation. “…I couldn’t eat or drink…” and he recalled that the hospital had a problem with lice.

His situation changed when he went to work for a farmer named Schulz in Brechtorf, located 1 km from Rühen.  “…this farmer was good… the wife was good, and there was good food…” he told Harald.

Dmitri Jalowy ca 1947

Dmytro Jalowy circa 1947.

On January 21, 1946 Dmytro was registered as a resident in Camp Ohio in Burgdorf.  When asked how he came to know about the camp, the answer was one I’d never heard before.  “It was on the radio, from English people…”  It appears that British officials provided information through the radio, asking former foreign forced labourers to come to British camps or registration offices.

It was at the Astoria cinema in Burgdorf that Dmytro met Waldraut Andres, nee Scherdin.  Waldraut herself had been homeless after fleeing Pomerania and a widow after her husband, Walter Andres, a German soldier, died in the Soviet Union in 1944.

According to the Camp Ohio registration document, Dmytro left for Hannover on May 13, 1946. He worked in a former ammunition factory, now converted to making uniforms for the British. His responsibilities included loading and unloading goods and washing uniforms. He lived a kilometre away from the factory.

In the July 1999 interview with Harald, Dmytro explained that “in May 1947 Waltraud visited me in Hannover...

On December 12, 1947, their son Harald was born.  The couple made plans to immigrate to the USA, but Dmytro left for Australia … alone.

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Book published by the International Tracing Centre in Bad Arolsen in 2014.

In an interview with Suzanne Liedtke for an article entitled “Die Heimat in den Armen des Vaters gefunden” (Home found in the arms of his father) published in 2014 in the book “Freilegungen: Leben im Transit: Überlebende zwischen Repatriierung, Rehabilitation und Neuanfang” (Disclosures: Rebuilding Lives – Child Survivors and DP Children in the Aftermath of the Holocaust and Forced Labour), Harald explained that his mother “…was very disappointed when, on the day of his three-month baptism, she waited in vain for the father of their child in St. Pankratius Church in Burgdorf. Dymtro Jalowy had gone to Australia without her…

On March 2, 1948 Dmytro left Bremerhaven aboard USAT ‘General Black’, arriving in Melbourne on April 27, 1948.

Upon arriving in Australia he spent 3 weeks at the Bonegilla Migrant Reception Centre in northern Victoria.  Bonegilla was the temporary accommodation for immigrants, like Dmytro, who agreed to do two years of mandatory labour in exchange for passage.

While in Bonegilla, Dmytro had three weeks of English language lessons, and then was sent to cut sugar in Queensland for his two year mandatory service.  After that period, he was free to work and live where he chose.

In the Liedtke article, Harald explained that he grew up in Burgdorf, raised by his mother.  Packages with sweets and cowboy toys were sent by Dmytro, and in 1952 there was talk of Harald and his mother immigrating to Australia.  However, “one day there was no answer from Australia. The last letter before the emigration date had not reached its recipient and had been returned to my mother in Burgdorf…

In 1980, Harald and his future wife Bettina travelled to Australia to search for his father.  With the help of George Trost, a German-born journalist living in Australia and old schoolmate of Bettina’s father, Dmytro, now known as Jimmy, was found in Queensland.

Dmytro & Harald 1980 photo George Trost

Dmytro ‘Jimmy’ Jalowy with his son Harald Scherdin-Wendlandt exchange photos in 1980.  (Photo credit: George Trost)

Dmytro had settled in Redbank Plains, outside Brisbane, where he worked in a meat factory, and was the father of 7 children with his wife Maureen.  The first meeting between father and son occurred at the meat factory.

Harald’s recollections were quoted in the Liedtke article: ““I was ready,” he describes the feeling of waiting in front of the meat factory where his father worked. They had let him call out there over the loudspeaker during working hours. This first encounter should not take place in his private environment, since it was by no means certain whether he had told his Australian family about a son in Germany. He remembers every second of the reunion: “When I saw him coming out of the factory gate, small, tanned and with blood spatter on his apron, he did not correspond to the picture I had made myself over the years.” Then, when they were facing each other, everything fell into place. His father said in broken German: “Okay, so you’re my first son and eighth child,” and finally hugged him…

Harald meets Dmytros family photo George Trost

In 1980, Harald’s father introduces him to his step-mother Maureen, and half-brothers and half-sisters.  (Photo credit: George Trost)

While he stayed in contact with his son Harald, Dmytro never saw his family in Poland again.  In 1945, Jalyna was destroyed, along with other Ukrainian villages in the area, during fighting between the UPA (Ukrainian Patriot Army), the Polish Militia, and Soviet troops. When Harald and Ralf Gräfenstein visited the area in 2011, Ralf noted that they found “…only gravestones from former Ukrainian villages and from villages of German colonists…

Harald became a psychotherapist and moved to Berlin with his wife Bettina, where he still lives and has his practice.  Harald’s mother Waltraud died September 16, 2007 in Berlin.  Dmytro ‘Jimmy’ Jalowy died in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia on March 12, 2011.  Harald remains in contact with his Australian family.

In the Liedtke article, Harald explained that “My dream is that one day a sign will hang in Burgdorf at the current vocational school or library that commemorates the fate of the DPs who had to live in the Ohio camp at the time. That would be a great way to honour their lives and sufferings…

On September 1, 2017 that dream came true, when a memorial plaque was placed at the former location of Camp Ohio II. (See Unveiling Of The Memorial Plaque in Burgdorf)

P1010364 Sep 1 2017 Harald by memorial plaque haralds wife

Harald Scherdin-Wendlandt by the memorial plaque in Burgdorf.  (Photo credit: Bettina Scherdin-Wendlandt)

Harald’s quest to find his father and learn about his heritage has had far-reaching results in furthering the history of Camp Ohio and the town of Burgdorf. Thank you to Harald Scherdin-Wendlandt for telling his father’s story, and to Ralf Gräfenstein for providing the records to verify dates and events.

If you remember Dmytro ‘Jim’ Jalowy, have a story about a resident that you would like to share, or recall how you or your family member came to Camp Ohio, please send an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca. Don’t forget to check out the photos on our website at http://www.dpcamps.org/burgdorf.html.  Stay safe.

© Daria Valkenburg

 

Searching Options For Camp Ohio Information

20200326_095121 archives research blog

Research efforts continue. (Photo credit: Pieter Valkenburg)

May 2, 2020.  We are nearing the 75th Anniversary of the end of WW2 in Europe, and the liberation for many of our ancestors who were far from their homeland due to war, whether as labourers in Germany or fleeing their countries ahead of the advancing Soviet Army.  It’s a time to reflect on what they went through as we all feel the effects of a worldwide pandemic.  Pieter and I are still in social distancing and have been since the second half of March, when we returned early from our winter vacation after our government asked all Canadians to come home.

We are well and hope all of you are too.  Thank you to those of you who have stayed in contact over this period, and a special thank you to those who asked about my recovery from surgery.  All went very well and, as I told the surgeon, I feel 50 years younger now that I have no pain and can walk unassisted again.  Pieter quipped that I’m back to being a teenager! (I wish!)

Staying home has been an interesting time for us, and after the first few weeks spent cleaning and organizing…. which got old very quickly…. we have started concentrating on our various research projects. Some of you asked about our commemoration trip to The Netherlands last fall.  A short YouTube video, “He Died That We Might Live … the story of Halifax L9561”, was made of this event and the link is here should you wish to watch it: https://youtu.be/odkWjLicOz0.

For those of you wondering what to do with your time at home, there are a few places you can search for information on families who were in Camp Ohio, or information on the times they lived in.  Perhaps some of you have been going through photos and letters at home and have found some information to add to the knowledge of your own family’s experience.

Recently, several archives have made their digitized records available free of charge.  One of these is The National Archives in Kew, England.  Free access to digital records is available while the Archives building is closed to the public due to coronavirus. For more information, see https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/digital-downloads/.  You won’t find many listings for ‘names’ of people, unless the person was someone of interest to the British Government, but there are many records available about post-war Germany, and other places.

The British Museum has made 1.9 million images available for free while the Museum is closed to the public.  See https://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2020/04/28/british-museum-makes-1-9-million-images-available-for-free/.

Ralf Gräfenstein advises that two new collections are available at Arolsen Archives in Germany. The Archive notes that the new collections “document the crimes committed by the Nazis:

  • Card index of forced laborers – original documents and copies of documents about millions of forced laborers that make it possible to trace the fates of individuals: registration cards, questionnaires, correspondence
  • Deportations – of Jews, Roma and Sinti from the former German empire, Austria, Bohemia, and Moravia: transport and deportation lists with information about millions of people deported to concentration camps and ghettoes. ...”

For more information, see https://arolsen-archives.org/en/news/26-millionen-dokumente-ueber-ns-verfolgte-online/.  Unlike The National Archives in the UK, the Arolsen Archives includes records on individuals.

Thank you to Ralf Gräfenstein for the information on the new collections at Arolsen Archives.  If you do find information or photos relating to Camp Ohio or its inhabitants and workers, please share so that the Camp Ohio collection continues to grow. Comments can be made on this blog or by sending an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca. Don’t forget to check out the photos on our website at http://www.dpcamps.org/burgdorf.html.  Stay safe.

© Daria Valkenburg

The Camp Ohio Soccer Team

December 17, 2019.  For the residents and staff in Camp Ohio, sports were popular, particularly soccer…. or football, as it is known in Europe.  Camp Ohio had its own team ‘Zaporozhets’ which played matches with other camps, with quite a lot of rivalry and competitiveness.

1946 Camp Ohio Soccer Team

While a photo of the Camp Ohio soccer team is dated from May 1946, with player surnames identified by Stefan Genik-Berezowsky, the first mention found of a soccer match comes from a July 12, 1946 entry in Bohdan Kowal’s journal: “At 18:00, there was a football game between the team from Camp Colorado in Hänigsen (the Russian camp) and the team of our camp, which was won 3-0 for Camp Ohio. The goals were scored by Basenko, Berezowsky and Fiterenko.”  No information is available about BASENKO as yet.  Berezowsky refers to Stefan GENIK-BEREZOWSKY, and Fiterenko refers to Mykyta Fiterenko, whose real name was Egidius ‘Ed’ FÜTTERER.

This was followed by a July 12, 1946 entry: “The football team of Camp Ohio played against the team from Camp Hallendorf 3-1. The advantage was on the side of the team from Hallendorf.

On July 28, 1946, the entry noted that: “Our football team played against the Hannover football team from the camp in Hannover, Germany. The game ended 0-5 for Hannover. The team from the Hannover camp, which is called Lysenko, plays much better. This is explained by the fact that the camp in Hannover is much larger than ours, and it is possible to seek out better football players.

The August 4, 1946 entry was followed by a typewritten summary in Ukrainian giving the results of the sports competitions in the British Zone to date: “The football match between the teams of ‘Colorado’ and ‘Ohio’ ended in a draw.

Results Of Sports Competitions In The British Zone

We give a brief overview of the results of the competitions in football and volleyball.

In connection with the competitions, the British Zone has been divided into three groups: Eastern, Western and Southern areas. The Eastern group consists of: Münster, Heidenau, Falkenberg and Kiel.   The Western group consists of: Goslar, Göttingen, Delmenhorst and Bielefeld, while the Southern group consists of: Braunschweig, Burgdorf, Hallendorf and Nordheim (only volleyball).

Following are the results of the competitions in the Southern group: 30.06.1946 – Hallendorf – Braunschweig (3-0). Braunschweig can’t take part in the football competition due to the absence of the football players.

30.06.1946 – Burgdorf – Hanover (0:2) (0:1)

07.07.1946 – Hannover – Hallendorf (1:1): 1 (0:1) during the last game, Hannover protested against the referee, Eng. Berezowsky, as he did not award a penalty kick against Hallendorf. The Executive Commission had the final word and rejected the protest as baseless by Hannover. (Note: Eng. refers to Stefan Berezowsky’s profession of engineer.)

07.07.1946 – 14.07.1946 – Braunschweig – Hannover (0:3) (0:3) 14.07.1946 – Braunschweig – Burgdorf (0:3) (0:3) Burgdorf – Hallendorf (1:3) (0:2) During this game there was a protest by Burgdorf against the Player A. Ankeschow, who had probably had no right. The Executive Commission rejected the protest as baseless.

28.07.1946 – Braunschweig – Hallendorf (0:3) (0:3)

28.07.1946 – Hannover – Burgdorf (5-0) (2:…) Hannover leads in the Southern group.

A football game between the teams from Hallendorf and Hannover takes place on Sunday the 4th of August. This is a crucial game for the football championship in the Southern group. The winner will reach the finals for the Cup in the British Zone. Whoever wants to attend the game in Hannover should contact either A. Kuhut (Sports Hall) or W. Dmytruk (4th block, room 43). (Note: We have no information on either of these men.)

The results of the competitions of the Eastern Group are the following:

30.06.1946 – Heidenau – Münster (1:2) (0:1)

07.07.1946. Münster – Heidenau (1:3) (0-2) During both games, Heidenau protested against the two referees. The protests were rejected as baseless.

07.07.1946 Kiel – Falkenberg (3-0) (3-0).  In fact, the game ended 4-3 for the Kiel team. But Falkenberg’s team filed a protest against the result on the grounds that the Kiel team brutally played football and the referee decided for Kiel. This protest has not been noted, since the Falkenberg team finished without the permission of the referee under point 9 letter G of the “competition rules in football”.  (Note: In other words, they walked off of the field.)

14.07.1946 Falkenberg – Münster (0:3) (0:3) The game ended with the score 0:0. The Munster team protest against the players Lenjuk and Kenskyj, who were allegedly not entitled to play. The Commission confirmed the fact. The protest of the Münster team was honoured by the Executive Commission, under point 9 letter W of the “competition rules in football”.

14.07.1946 Heidenau – Kiel. The game did not take place, because the Heidenau team arrived too late. The Executive Commission set another date for the game – 18.08.1946.

21.07.1946 – Münster – Falkenberg (4-0) (3-0)

21.07.1946 – Kiel – Heidenau (2-0) (1-0)

Leading is the Münster team with 7 points.

Following are the results of the competitions of the Western Group: 14.07.1946 – Göttingen – Goslar (2:4) (1:2)

14.07 – Delmenhorst – Bielefeld (the competition did not take place, the date has been moved, but is still unknown)

21.07.1946 – Bielefeld – Göttingen (3-0) (3 3-0)

21.07.1946 – Goslar – Delmenhorst (3:1)

28.07.1946 – Delmenhorst – Goslar (2:6) (0:4).

The football competition at the regional level takes place on Sunday, the 4th of August, in Braunschweig.

The above report gives a lot of information.  First, that there was a volleyball team, as well as a soccer team, in Camp Ohio.  Second, the above report was TYPED on a typewriter in Ukrainian using a Cyrillic keyboard.  The report likely was posted in gathering spots in the camp and/or on a notice board in each barracks.  It’s unlikely that a copy was provided to each resident, due to paper shortages.  The report also mentions the names of several players and the various teams and that there was an organized league.

An August 8, 1946 entry in Kowal’s journal recorded that “A football match between ‘Colorado’ and ‘Ohio’ was held. Result: 4:0 for Ohio. The team of our camp was better than that of the Russian camp. The goals were scored by Zinchenko, Fiterenko.” Unfortunately, no information on ZINCHENKO has been found as yet.  Camp Colorado was in Hänigsen and had mostly Russian-speaking residents.

An unpleasant incident was recorded in the August 25, 1946 entry in Kowal’s journal, suggesting that the political situation had spilled over into sports…. “The football team ‘Zaporozhets’ from Camp ‘Ohio’ took part in a game with the football team of the Russian Camp ‘Colorado’ in Hänigsen, with the score 2-0 for our team. The game proceeded with the clear superiority of the ‘Zaporozhets’ team. Some players of the ‘Colorado’ team behaved very rudely during the game. The referee was replaced three times. This happened every time at the request of the players of ‘Colorado’. The football players of ‘Ohio’ promised never again to play with ‘Colorado’.”

Roman Berezowsky recalled his father, Stefan Genik-Berezowsky, also mentioning a difficult team.  “Did I ever mention my father’s soccer days at Camp Ohio? Their camp team competed against teams from other DP camps in the surrounding area, and were one of the best, if not the THE best. There was one team, however, predominately Russian, which they played against and which turned out to be a virtual bloodbath. Next time around, the Camp Ohio team gladly accepted a defeat by default, rather than risk serious personal damage.

The September 9, 1946 entry in Kowal’s journal records that “The team of Camp ‘Ohio’ played a football game with a Polish team from Sehnde with the result: 2-2.

The Camp Ohio team played matches with teams other than other displaced persons camp, as summarized in Kowal’s September 12, 1946 journal entry…. “Our camp defeated the team of British pilots with the result: 8:3. The team players were: I. Dmytrak, Pavlenko, Browa, Zinchenko, N. Fiterenko.” No further information on DMYTRAK, PAVLENKO, or BROWA has been found to date that would identify them as one of the players.

On September 14, 1946, Kowal’s entry noted that “A return match with the Polish team from Sehnde ended with a defeat for the Poles 3-1.

The next entry regarding soccer in Kowal’s journal comes on March 23, 1947.  “The camp team had the first football game with the English team of RAF. Result 2:2. The English began with 5 German footballers. The game went badly on the part of the football players of the camp.”  RAF refers to Royal Air Force.

A charity match was recorded in the June 15, 1947 entry.  “A football match was held between a group of drivers and other office workers. The revenues were intended for charitable purposes. The group of drivers won 3-0. The game sparked a lot of laughter.

Two poor quality photos exist from this event.

Jun 1947 charity soccer match 1

Jun 1947 charity soccer match 2

Kowal’s entries regarding the soccer team are fewer and fewer compared with 1946.  On August 27, 1947, his last for 1947, he recorded that: “A friendly game took place in the camp with Münster. Result: 2-2. The team from Münster, Germany played much better than our football camp team.

Roman Berezowsky submitted a photo from his father’s collection from a match in Bielefeld. Unfortunately, we have no more information on the match other than that of the two teams:  Zaporozhets (Camp Ohio) and Bystrystsya.

1947 Bielefeld soccer team

By 1948, as people left Camp Ohio for new lives as immigrants, the soccer team was not only composed of residents. Roman Berezowsky noted that “Based on my parents’ photo collection, the team had even included several British soldiers.”  A January 1948 photo identified a player as ‘Price (an Englishman)’.  We have no further information on PRICE.

Jan 21 1948 Camp Ohio soccer team

The last entry in Kowal’s journal regarding the soccer team was on May 24, 1948.  “The football team ‘Zaporozhets’ played with a Jewish Club with result that the camp team lost 8:1. The defeat can be explained because a lot of good players already immigrated.

Many of the players identified in the photos and reports are noted by their surname only, although sometimes a first initial is also noted.  If anyone can provide more information on these men and what happened to them after they left Camp Ohio, it would add to our body of knowledge.  Do you have more photos or stories to share about the soccer team?  Comments can be made on this blog or by sending an email to dariadv@yahoo.ca. Don’t forget to check out the photos on our website at http://www.dpcamps.org/burgdorf.html.

© Daria Valkenburg