Lahde Displaced Persons' Camp, Germany

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Lahde -
Minden, a city in Westphalen region, is the closest city where you can find archives. Lahde in now a community (See, part of the city of Petershagen. (See ) There were 4 camps, #3137, #32/137, over 7,300 residents, Land Niedersachsen (British zone), mostly Poles 7,500, UNRRA team 65. The NRW archive has research all about their towns; it was said they have something about Lahde, too. See

There is a book in German about workers' camp in Lahde: Arbeitserziehungslager Lahde 1943-1945. Ein Buch gegen das Vergessen Stadt Petershagen (Herausgeber), zusammengestellt von Bernhzard Marowsky, Ideen und Druck, Lübbecke, Petershagen, 1995

Landeskirchliches Archiv -- is the Protestant church archives and they have something about Lahde in their archives, too. I don¬ęt know if they have anything about DPs, but it might be worth a try. Their archives are said to be good.

Landeskirchliches Archiv der Evangelischen Kirche von Westfalen
Altstädter Kirchplatz 5
Postfach 10 10 51 (The street address is Ritterstrasse 19)
D-33602 Bielefeld
Tel: 0521 594-296
Fax: 0521 594-129

2/3/07 Hi Olga
I have only recently found your wonderful site filled with so much information and wonder if you can help me. I am trying to reseach some information on my dad, Josef Jarema, from Polish Ukraine, whose address of last residence outside UK shown on his PWX/DP identity card is UNRRA team 65 Lahde, which I believe was absorbed into the newly created UNRRA Area Team 911 located in Minden/Westfalen and my Mum, Helena Skorek (? Skoryk) from Russia Ukraine. Mum and Dad met and married in their time in the camps but what I am trying to find out is where and when they got married and if records would have had to have been kept and if so where. If you are able to tell me where I would be able to get this information I would be very grateful. With very best wishes.
Margaret Tansey

9/26/10 Dear Mrs. Kaczmar,
My name is Hermann Kleinebenne. I am the local mayor of the village Petershagen at the river Weser in NW Germany. In 2008 I published a documentation “Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar”. It deals with the incidents in the Petershagen-Lahde area at the end of WW II where an education camp had been established by the Gestapo in 1943 and where a DP camp of UNRRA team 65 was established from 1945 – 1949. If there should be any questions about this camp I would like to help you.
Best regards,
Hermann Kleinebenne

Short History of the Displaced Persons Assembly Centre Lahde at the Weser River, NW Germany
by Hermann Kleinebenne
In  May 1945, after the capitulation of the German “Reich”, the 3rd (UK) Infantry Division took over the Westphalian area securing the rear area of 21st Army Group. The division changed from the fighting role to its new occupational role. In the Petershagen-Lahde area, the 2nd Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment officially established the DPAC Lahde on the eastern banks of the Weser river.

Many former slave workers and POWs had been assembled by 2 RWR at this natural catch line, when they fled westwards from the combat zone in the Hannover and Lüneburg area.

The DPAC 32 Lahde consisted of different elements.

The first thousand Displaced Persons could be billeted in a former SS-work education camp and a slave workers camp north of Lahde. Some weeks later, seven villages were totally or partly evacuated from the inhabitants, and the DPs were billeted and supplied there. The various nationalities lived in the villages of Lahde, Frille, Wietersheim, Raderhorst, Bierde, Päpinghausen, Cammer, Steinhude, Hagenburg and Loccum Heath. Most of them were Poles and Russians. The Russians mainly lived in Bierde, from where they were repatriated to Russia in 1945. The vacant houses were filled up with Poles from different DPACs in Westphalia. The repatriation station of the DPAC 32 Lahde was Porta Westfalica. A special element of the DPAC 32 Lahde was the Camp Netherland. The Dutch people lived on their ships between 1945 and 1949 in the vicinity of Lahde.  

The total number of DPs in this area is estimated between 12,000 and 17,000.

Every village, now called “Camp”, had its own society and structure (UNRRA administration, mayor, police, workers in different professions, hospital, welfare). The mass of the DPs behaved in a normal manner in those years. They worked, married, children were born, and the people who died were buried on the local cemeteries. On the other side, there were a lot of criminal incidents (looting, assault, rape) which caused trouble between some groups of DPs and the Germans civil population in the area outside the camps between 1945 and 1949.   

On September 8th, 1949, the last DPAC (Lahde) was closed, and the last former inhabitants were allowed by the Military Government to return into their houses. 

Sept. 1, 2014 Dear Mrs. Kaczmar,
Some time ago I offered my support to you concerning the events in DPAC Lahde. In 2014 there were several investigations about this camp and a visit of a couple from Australia. We spent some days together in the Weser region, and it was really great.

In the meantime I have become more and more familiar with the history of the Gestapo/SS work education camp in Lahde, where the Displaced Persons, especially the Balts had been billeted after the allied occupation in the post war period until 1948.

A short story about the work education camp Lahde is attached. If there should be investigations about this camp please contact me.

Best regards,
Hermann Kleinebenne

Short story about the Gestapo/SS work education camp Lahde/Weser
This work education camp was built up in accordance to a huge power station and a canal in the Lahde area. In this camp there lived about 700 Gestapo prisoners, guarded by SS personnel. They were forced to work building the elements of the power station Lahde or producing gravel in a quarry near Steinbergen/Weser Hills. Most of the prisoners were former slave workers from Russia and Poland, the minority of them came from Netherlands or France. The death rate was high. From March 1943 to April 1945 about 700 prisoners died or were executed without real reason. They are buried on several cemeteries in the region.

In the first April days 1945 the camp was evacuated to Hannover-Ahlem and afterwards about 80 Russian prisoners from the work education camp Lahde were executed on the Seelhorst cemetery in Hannover.

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