Jewish prisoners from Bergen-Belsen
During the autumn and winter of 1944/45, some 72 Jewish prisoners were transported to the internment camp in the Wurzach Castle. They were transferred on two separate days, 17th November 1944 and 21st January 1945, from the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen to southern Germany.
The plan had been to exchange them via Switzerland for German-held prisoners who had been interned by the Allies. Without any explanation, the prisoners were told to disembark from the train in Ravensburg shortly before arriving at the Swiss border which would have led them to freedom.
Thankfully however, they were not returned to Bergen-Belsen, but split up and sent to the internment camps in the Württemberg towns, Liebenau, Biberach and Wurzach. The prisoners were of Dutch, British, German or Polish origin, and had been captured and held in the transit camp, Westerbork, in the north of occupied Holland; they were to be transferred to the specially set up concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen and then used as head counts for possible exchanges. The majority of the prisoners had “dual citizenship” , i.e. they had both British and American nationality or even papers from South and Central American States, although their actual validity was somewhat questionable.
Of the 72 Jews who were brought to the Wurzach Castle, approximately half were British nationals; the rest gave their country of origin as Honduras, Paraguay and Ecuador. According to statements from the Jersey internees, the Jews were in a terrible state on arrival, emaciated and frightened. Thanks to the improved nourishment and the additional Red Cross packets, they recovered relatively quickly and were able to celebrate their liberation in Wurzach, with the exception of Alfred Miranda who died during internment