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History of the Barracks


1938

Start of construction of the barracks for infantrymen as a consequence of
Nazi’s rearmament.

1939, Nov. 15th

The not yet completed barracks are transformed in a camp for prisoners of
war from Poland called Stalag VI E

1940, June 5th

Renamed in Oflag VI A (camp for officers)

1940, July 31st

Arrival of about 1300 French officers.

1945, April 6th

Freeing of meanwhile more than 5000 prisoners of war by allied troops. The
camp is renamed in “Camp Vantelot”

1945

Accommodation of displaced persons of different nationalities.

1946

Arrival of expellees from the Eastern part of Germany.

1951

Clearing of the camp and takeover by the Belgian army and renamed in
“Barracks Colonel BEM Adam” after a Belgian resistance fighter.

1994

The Belgian army leaves Soest.

1995 The barracks are entered in the list of memorials.
since 1997 The buildings are used by different cultural initiatives.



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History of the French Prisoners of War

When defending their eastern borders French troops were captured by the Germans in Lorraine. From Nancy French officers were deported by train to Soest where the first big group arrived on July 31st, 1940.

According to the Geneva Convention officers must not be committed to work. So they had to arrange their daily routine themselves. Creative heads among them initiate an intense cultural and religious life in captivity.

Most of the officers stay in the Soest camp for five years. Allied troops free them on April 6th, 1945. This date is also the end of the war for the city of Soest. Only two weeks later the repatriation of the prisoners of war starts.

 

 


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History of the Expellees

The refugees and expellees arrive at Soest in May 1946 via Siegen-Wellersberg a main transit camp. He who cannot find lodging in the destroyed town gets a place in the camp for refugees and expellees - the former Oflag VI A - a camp for prisoners of war which is in a very bad condition. Partly doors and windows are missing and there is no furniture. The people spend the night on the floor on a layer of straw. The single living sections are separated temporarily from each other by means of cloth and blankets.

The majority of the expellees stay in the camp for 5 years. The conditions of living and accommodation are improved only slowly and the integration into the population of Soest is progressing very poorly.

In the course of Germany’s re-militarizing the camp is cleared to then accommodate Belgian troops. Within the record time of 100 days the Süd-Ost-Siedlung – a housing estate in the south-east of Soest – is produced out of thin air where the former Silesians find a new home.




 

 

 

 

 

Gedenkstätte Französische Kapelle Soest
Meiningser Weg 20
59494 Soest
Germany

Mailing adress:
Geschichtswerkstatt Französische Kapelle e.V.
Detmolder Str. 12
59494 Soest
Germany

phone:
+49 2921-943808 oder
+49 2921-81177

eMail:
info@franzkapellesoest.de

 

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