14 SR (EW) Celle boring question!?

#1
What, if any, stories did you ever hear about the actual camp building? Im sure ive read stuff about tunnles and the depth of the main building but i cant remember where to look. The only reason i ask is that ive been watching a programme on uktv history about the tunnels around Berlin and other parts of Germany (Sad fook I know) but it does look interesting.

What did you hear about the place? What did you know?

Personally, i got told the building went as deep as was high and that it was flooded soon after the end of WWII after divers went in to see what was in there.
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#7
Salford-Vera said:
What, if any, stories did you ever hear about the actual camp building? Im sure ive read stuff about tunnles and the depth of the main building but i cant remember where to look. The only reason i ask is that ive been watching a programme on uktv history about the tunnels around Berlin and other parts of Germany (Sad fook I know) but it does look interesting.

What did you hear about the place? What did you know?

Personally, i got told the building went as deep as was high and that it was flooded soon after the end of WWII after divers went in to see what was in there.
And it was all b0llocks. Celle = sand. Waterplane = 6 mtrs... Think about it, its a red brick building FFS:roll:
 
#8
Was it? I didnt know that, infact thats the first time anyone has said/wrote that.

Where did you get that info, ie Celle sand waterplane etc and DONT say t'internet otherwise your barred. <insert smiley thingy>
 

Alsacien

MIA
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#9
Salford-Vera said:
Was it? I didnt know that, infact thats the first time anyone has said/wrote that.

Where did you get that info, ie Celle sand waterplane etc and DONT say t'internet otherwise your barred. <insert smiley thingy>
Were you ever there? Did you not go running around a bit? Ever dig a hole? It is only a sparrows tadger above sea level on a ancient flood plain generally known as Luneburger heide. Bottom line is, you would only want to go down to a foundation level - like 1 storey and a bit - otherwise you would have the maintenance issues that eventually caused the celler to get filled in during (I heard from local Germans) the 60's.
 
#10
All bollocks, I'm afraid. Block 14 was built in the Kaiserzeit to accommodate the gallant lads of 2. hannoversche Infanterieregiment Nr 77 - hence the location on 77er Strasse. 1874 or thereabouts rings a bell - in any case, it was a regiment of the former Hannoverian Army, absorbed by the Prussians in 1866 after Hannover chose the wrong side in the Six Week War. Block is red brick and designed to accommodate a full 4000-man infantry regiment in conditions of some intimacy.

The block was huge and had one souterrain basement only - where the troop stores and offices and so on were located in the 1980s. As noted by other posters, that bit of Germany is a bit sandy and the local waterplane is relatively high - no deep basements or dodgy tunnels, I'm afraid.

No dodgy history in WWII, either - formed up Ersatz battalions for the local Wehrkreis, pushed them through basic training and hoofed 'em off to the Front.
 
#11
You have made a fair point and are indeed correct about the sand, i just forgot, sands of time and accute memory loss etc.

The programme that was on lastnight though was really interesting and just got me thinking about Celle and the rumours abound at the time.

Sorry to have wasted your time although it was nice whilst it lasted.
 
#12
Salford-Vera said:
Personally, i got told the building went as deep as was high and that it was flooded soon after the end of WWII after divers went in to see what was in there.
That's a crackin' trick! Not being an expert in this matter I'd have thought the place would have been flooded before the divers went in.

Glad_its_all_over said:
Block is red brick and designed to accommodate a full 4000-man infantry regiment in conditions of some intimacy.
Or an 800 man EW regiment in conditions of some schimpfing!
 
#13
Didn't hear any rumours about flooded cellars etc when I served there in the mid 80s. The only "fact" I ever heard about the main block (apart from some of the info given by Glad its all over) was that it was the largest, freestanding, brick-built building in Europe (whatever that may mean). Also that it had been build by French POWs taken during the Franco-Prussian War. However, life being more bizarre than fiction, we did have a dyslexic post NCO and when one of my mates lost his vetting due to his dependence on alcohol they made him the SGTs Mess barman.....and there' more! :salut:
 
#14
[/quote]That's a crackin' trick! Not being an expert in this matter I'd have thought the place would have been flooded before the divers went in.[/quote]

Flippin eck i'd had a few beers....ok!
 
#15
Salford-Vera said:
Flippin eck i'd had a few beers....ok!
Sniffing around, the glory moment for the Heidekaserne (Taunton Barracks as it became) was the Celler Hasenjagd in 1945, when concentration camp inmates en route from a smaller camp to Bergen Belsen area staged a mass escape and were hunted down and the lucky ones shot out of hand by Wehrmacht, Police, Hitler Youth and any old Eric with a blunderbuss before the survivors were stashed at the barracks and pretty much left to die of their wounds and starvation before the Brits got there, which, fortunately, they mainly did.

Lovely place, Celle, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but a distinctly dark edge to its history 1933-45. Not many non-Nazis in evidence, at least until early May 1945 when the entire population miraculously became Social Democrats.

In many years of living and visiting Germany, I think I've only ever met one German veteran who hadn't served on the Eastern Front, he said. The honourable exception was one of the drivers at Langeleben who'd been a CSM in the engineer battalion of the Leibstandarte, had been captured by the Americans and escaped in order to head North and surrender to the Brits instead, as "they treated me correctly and allowed me to wear my decorations and rank". Fair play to him, he made no secret of his politics, however repulsive they were - and on odd nights in Schoeningen, dealing with the local Gastarbeiter, you could kind of see what he was getting at.
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#16
Glad_its_all_over said:
Salford-Vera said:
Flippin eck i'd had a few beers....ok!
Sniffing around, the glory moment for the Heidekaserne (Taunton Barracks as it became) was the Celler Hasenjagd in 1945, when concentration camp inmates en route from a smaller camp to Bergen Belsen area staged a mass escape and were hunted down and the lucky ones shot out of hand by Wehrmacht, Police, Hitler Youth and any old Eric with a blunderbuss before the survivors were stashed at the barracks and pretty much left to die of their wounds and starvation before the Brits got there, which, fortunately, they mainly did.

Lovely place, Celle, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but a distinctly dark edge to its history 1933-45. Not many non-Nazis in evidence, at least until early May 1945 when the entire population miraculously became Social Democrats.

In many years of living and visiting Germany, I think I've only ever met one German veteran who hadn't served on the Eastern Front, he said. The honourable exception was one of the drivers at Langeleben who'd been a CSM in the engineer battalion of the Leibstandarte, had been captured by the Americans and escaped in order to head North and surrender to the Brits instead, as "they treated me correctly and allowed me to wear my decorations and rank". Fair play to him, he made no secret of his politics, however repulsive they were - and on odd nights in Schoeningen, dealing with the local Gastarbeiter, you could kind of see what he was getting at.
I heard the burgermeister was a full-on, badge wearing party member who was particularly unpopular in the local area beyond the town limits. Many prosperous business people lived in Celle who would have gone that way for business if not ideological reasons. There were also some variations on theme as to why Celle remained undamaged, also mixed in are rather nasty stories of Brit activities around Winsen and other villages. This on a backdrop of the discovery of Belsen (which is just up the road for those who don't know the area).
Have to do some digging in German when I have the time.
 
#17
Alsacien said:
Glad_its_all_over said:
Salford-Vera said:
Flippin eck i'd had a few beers....ok!
Sniffing around, the glory moment for the Heidekaserne (Taunton Barracks as it became) was the Celler Hasenjagd in 1945, when concentration camp inmates en route from a smaller camp to Bergen Belsen area staged a mass escape and were hunted down and the lucky ones shot out of hand by Wehrmacht, Police, Hitler Youth and any old Eric with a blunderbuss before the survivors were stashed at the barracks and pretty much left to die of their wounds and starvation before the Brits got there, which, fortunately, they mainly did.

Lovely place, Celle, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but a distinctly dark edge to its history 1933-45. Not many non-Nazis in evidence, at least until early May 1945 when the entire population miraculously became Social Democrats.

In many years of living and visiting Germany, I think I've only ever met one German veteran who hadn't served on the Eastern Front, he said. The honourable exception was one of the drivers at Langeleben who'd been a CSM in the engineer battalion of the Leibstandarte, had been captured by the Americans and escaped in order to head North and surrender to the Brits instead, as "they treated me correctly and allowed me to wear my decorations and rank". Fair play to him, he made no secret of his politics, however repulsive they were - and on odd nights in Schoeningen, dealing with the local Gastarbeiter, you could kind of see what he was getting at.
I heard the burgermeister was a full-on, badge wearing party member who was particularly unpopular in the local area beyond the town limits. Many prosperous business people lived in Celle who would have gone that way for business if not ideological reasons. There were also some variations on theme as to why Celle remained undamaged, also mixed in are rather nasty stories of Brit activities around Winsen and other villages. This on a backdrop of the discovery of Belsen (which is just up the road for those who don't know the area).
Have to do some digging in German when I have the time.
Also heard something about that, didnt both governments have some agreements of places not to bomb such as Bath for instance.*


















*Please note i may be talking out of me choccy star about this but i must say it is somert i heard, although i could have been drunk which wasnt/isnt uncommon for me.
 
#18
I did go through the museum and the local newspaper archives in idle moments while I was serving there and the 33-45 period was something of a blank, for obvious reasons.

The local Party was very strong, probably because of the high proportion of locals who worked for the Prussian state government and some Reich agencies and Party membership was expected of many of them after the late 30s - the surrounding agricultural areas took a slightly different line and there was significant KPD/SPD activity in some of the less privileged villages.

I'd heard the same of the wartime Mayor and some good things about the first post-War mayor, who was apparently the real thing.

The Brits did take some fairly firm action immediately post-liberation of Bergen-Belsen; anecdotally, my old feller was there at the liberation by 6th Airborne and, as a foreign national from an occupied country, was an enthusiastic proponent of the "let's just shoot all the SS and not **** around, here" school of thinking. I gather that philosophy extended, as you say, to some local initiatives around Winsen/Aller and Wiezenbruck, to name only two locations.

Re leaving undamaged, I understand this was policy as Celle was nominated as one of the AMGOT centres for the British Zone - and, of course, besides the Prussian State Stud (as it then was) and the Bee Research Centre, there was bugger all of targeting interest in the area.
 
#20
Alsacien said:
http://www.celle-im-nationalsozialismus.de/

For those with more time than me, I am sure a lot can be uncovered on this site and its links.....
What a useful site. What it has to say on the Celle Hare Shoot:

Am 8. April 1945 war Celle Ziel eines Luftangriffs. Güterbahnhof, Gaswerk und ganze Häuserreihen östlich der Bahn wurden zerstört. Viele Celler Bürger, Soldaten und Flüchtlinge fanden den Tod. Doch sie waren nicht die einzigen Opfer. Denn die Bomben trafen einen im Bahnhof stehenden Transport mit KZ-Häftlingen aus dem Außenlager Salzgitter-Drütte. Die Hälfte der 4000 in 60 Waggons zusammengepferchten Menschen überlebten den Angriff nicht. Die anderen versuchten zu fliehen, aber sie wurden von den Wachmannschaften verfolgt. Und nicht allein von ihnen: Männer aus der SA, dem Volkssturm und der Feuerwehr, aber auch andere Celler Zivilisten beteiligten sich an der Treibjagd auf die Häftlinge. 200 bis 300 wurden bei dieser Treibjagd getötet, rund 1100 wurden wieder gefangen genommen und 30 von ihnen sofort exekutiert. Etwa 500 wurden zu Fuß nach Belsen getrieben, die andere Hälfte auf dem Gelände einer Kaserne untergebracht, wo sie zwei Tage später von den Briten befreit wurden.
13 Männer wurden 1947/48 von den Briten im "Celle Massacre Trial" angeklagt. Zwei wurden zum Tode verurteilt, fünf weitere zu langjährigen Haftstrafen verurteilt. Die Todesstrafen aber wurden außer Kraft gesetzt und der letzte der Verurteilten konnte schon 1952 das Gefängnis verlassen.


"On the 8th April 1945 Celle was the target of an air attack. The goods station, gas works and whole rows of houses to the east of the railway were destroyed. Many Celle inhabitants, soldiers and refugees were killed. They were not, however, the only casualties; the bombs also hit a train full of concentration camp inmates from the Salzgitter-Druette satellite camp, which was halted in the station. Half of the 4000 people crushed together in the train's 60 wagons did not survive the attack; the other half attempted to flee but were pursued by the train's guard force - and not only by them; members of the SA, the Home Guard and the Fire Brigade, as well as ordinary Celle civilians, joined in the hunt.

2-300 of the escapers were killed during the hunt, around 1100 were recaptured (of whom 30 were immediately executed). Around 500 were forced to evacuate on foot to Belsen and the others held on the open space of a barracks, where they were liberated two days later by the British.

13 individuals were prosecuted by the British in the "Celle Massacre Trial" in 1947/8. Two were sentenced to death, five others received long prison sentences. The two condemned men were reprieved, however and the last of the prisoners was released as soon as 1952.

'Die Celler "Hasenjagd"' by Tim Wegener (2003) gives a detailed account of the events."
 

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