Seeing out the war in Switzerland

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Speedy, Nov 8, 2010.

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  1. After following a link in the watches thread in the Old'n'Bold forum I came across this snippet:

    'The Swiss watch industry also heavily promoted its watches to the estimated 5,000 allied escaped POWs in Switzerland (known as évadés), including more than 1,200 US airmen who had baled out of, or landed their crippled aircraft in Switzerland. The Americans, as well as British officers, stayed in luxury hotels in such Alpine resorts as Adelboden, Wengen and Davos, becoming the mainstay of the wartime tourist industry.'

    Wow, if you were an RAF pilot who managed to get there in the early 40's it must have been a wrench to go back to blighty after the war was over. Bombed out cities, rationing and a whole host of other miseries to welcome their return.
    I also wonder how many of these internees managed to escape Switzerland and make it back to the UK?
     
  2. Then of course there were Rolex who sold watches to allied PoW's for a paltry sum and asking only for payment after their releases. Few honoured that !!

    D_B
     
  3. Not all the Allied Airman lived in luxury. there were Actual prison camps for those captured trying to escape and the enlisted men.

    if you were in Switzerland as an escaped POW from Germany you basically were allowed the run of the country with the staus of "Evadeee". As an internee who landed- different kettle of fish, you were kept within certain areas and under guard almost always. Internee Officers were stripped of status at times for their behaviour and for "Crimes".


    Swiss Punishment camps included Straflager Wauwilermoos, Hünenburg, Les Diablerets and Greppen. Wauwilermoos was the most notorious of the punishment camps, due to deplorable camp conditions and a fanatical Swiss Army commander Captain Andre Beguin who was court-martialed after the war for his actions (Beguin was also a member of the outlawed National Front party- a Swiss nazi). In 1946, Beguin was court-martialed in a trail that lasted 149 days. He was convicted of administrative misdemeanors, dishonoring the Swiss and her army, embezzlement, and withholding complaints from inmates. In its decision, the court described Beguin as a "crook, embezzler, con-man and inhuman." Beguin was sentenced to several years of inprisonment, fined, and stripped of his civil rights.



    Straflager Wauwilermoos