One of the interesting aspects of reconstructing this period was that no two reports of the SL III evacuation agreed about everything that happened. Even for those within the same compound, men at the front of the line came away with different impressions from those at the center or rear of the line. For the first couple of days, visibility was extremely limited during the day and nonexistent at night. So each man was aware only of things happening in his immediate area. Some left friends unconscious in the snow, but other marches farther to the rear managed to revive them. And many simply marched and marched and marched in misery, seeing little and remembering even less.
For the South Compound, there are two detailed official reports, and even those do not agree even as to the date the prisoners arrived at Stalag VIIA. One account says 4 February, the other says 2 February, and a war crimes deposition says 5 February. The dates reported in this chapter are based on sequencing events that are universally agreed upon, like the stay in the glass factory. When that is done, one is led to the conclusion that the men arrived at Stalag VIIA
on 4 February 1945.
The South Compound on the march, with a sled of provisions being dragged over the snow.
From the scrapbook of Gen. AP Clark, courtesy of Air Force Academy archives