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Schloss Wilhelmsthal Displaced Persons Camp
5/6/06 Dear Olga :
I was really interested to come across this web site of displaced camps in Germany and to find so many personal stories that were similar to mine. Here is my story:
My Russian parents were processed by the Nazis at Nordhausen in early 1943 and as my mother was eight months pregnant with me, they were sent to a farm west of Nordhausen (Trebra) rather than a slave labor camp. After the War, they moved west into the US Zone and for two years we lived in two dp camps near Calden (Kassel area) in Furstenwald and Moenchehof. After that experience we lived at an IRO Youth Hostel not far from the dp camps. My father basically ran this facility and my mother was on the medical staff. This IRO facility was across the street from Schloss (Castle) Wilhelmsthal. This is now a hotel and the front looks the same as in the past. My wife and I visited this place last September. I have many pictures of Wilhelmsthal taken during 1947-1949 including many pictures of the youths in the camp, many of them about my age.
Here is some more background information about the Wilhelmsthal IRO Youth Center:
I imagine most of the kids were orphans. It was quite a mixture, from pre-school to teenagers. My situation was quite different in that both of my parents worked in this center. My father was responsible for supplies, such as food and clothing, and my mother was on the medical staff (in Russia she was a doctor).
The life of the kids included schooling and plenty of activities with a lot of outdoor and indoor sporting possibilities. It was never dull there and food seemed to be plentiful. Being 4-5 years old, my fondest memories revolved around the park and castle across the road from the Center. We could go sledding and ice-skating (behind the castle) during the winter and there was plenty of space to go roaming around during the warm weather.
Christmas was always a big deal and I remember everyone getting gifts. I have no idea what happened to the kids, that is, whether they ended up in foster homes.
I do not recall any particular funny or tragic events at the Youth Center - it was just a much better life than the typical dp camp. My Dad broke his leg in a car accident and fortunately the medical staff at the Center was able to take care of him. Once we had been assigned a sponsor in Australia and on our way there, my Dad had similar supply-officer stints at Youth camps in Amberg, Bamberg and Regensburg. Our train left Schweinfurt and finally we connected with a ship to Sydney out of Naples. Towards the end of 1949, we embarked on a ship from Naples to Sydney and our first stop was a sheep farm in western NSW (Nyngan). Hopefully this gives you a better idea of life at this Center.
I have been living in the US since 1969. Most of my parent's dp friends emigrated to Australia and the US. Below are small jpegs. Write me if you want the large sizes to print.
George P. Newsoroff: