From: Lieutenant J.S. Marriner, R.N.V.R.
  O.N.I. - Op-16-Z-P/W.
  Navy Department
To: Captain C. Wynne, R.N.
  N.I.D. 18.
Date: 25th January, 1944.
                  The following is a summary of the current means of handling German naval prisoners of war in the United States.  A nominal roll of all German naval officer prisoners of war is contained in an appendix.
2.                Arrival and Reception
                  a.  Prisoners not yet interrogated:  On receipt of a signal that a vessel or aircraft bearing German prisoners of war not yet interrogated is due to arrive at any point in the U.S., an officer, or officers, of Op-16-Z is ordered to proceed to the point of arrival.  There he conducts a brief preliminary interrogation of the prisoners, the object being to establish their nature, their origin and which of them it is considered desirable to ship immediately to the Interrogation Centre, it being at present impractical to take more than a limited number at a time.  On conclusion of his interrogation, he requests the military authorities accordingly.
                  b.  Prisoners already interrogated:  The process is for the military authorities to take charge from the moment of landing.  Such prisoners are not made available to the U.S.N., nor are the naval intelligence authorities notified of their arrival in the U.S.  A number of naval prisoners has recently arrived without Op-16-Z being notified, the military authorities evidently assuming that such personnel, deriving wholly from the Mediterranean area, had already been interrogated.  It is believed that in some cases at least, this was not in fact so.  Such prisoners are always sent immediately on arrival to their final camp.
3.                Custody prior to Interrogation.
                   In cases where more prisoners arrive than can be accommodated at the same time at the Interrogation Centre and when it is considered desirable nevertheless to interrogate them all, the balance is held temporarily at Fort George Meade, Maryland.  The facilities available here have been unsatisfactory to date, in that no proper segregation was possible between new arrivals from ports of entry and prisoners already processed and awaiting transport to final camps (See para 4 below).  The military authorities are, however, aware of the inadequacy of these facilities and have recently remedied the situation by erecting barriers between the two compounds and by providing a small new barracks shed - capacity 36 prisoners.  An attempt has also been made to hold prisoners awaiting interrogation at Camp Pine



Grove Furnace, Pennsylvania.  As, however, this camp was also being used by the Army for the temporary custody of prisoners awaiting transport to final camps, segregation was again difficult and the attempt was abandoned.  It is considered that the completion of the new Interrogation Centre at Fort Hunt, Virginia - due 1st March, 1944 - should go far towards solving the present holding difficulties, since the building now used for interrogation may then be used for holding.
4.               Custody following Interrogations.
                  When the U.S.N. interrogators have completed interrogation of a prisoner he is handed over to the Military Intelligence Service, who are at liberty to interrogate him on non-naval topics if desired.  Prisoners who have been completely interrogated are then transported to Fort George Mead, Maryland, where they are kept in custody until a sufficient number have been accumulated to justify the running of a special railway car to their final camps.  It has recently been ordered that prisoners may no longer be transferred in ordinary passenger trains.
5.                Surveillance at Final Camp.
                   While the physical security of the prisoner when at his final camp is the Army's responsibility, the U.S.N. participates in the sphere of his intelligence security.  This is the duty of the officer of Op-16-Z attached to the U.S. Postal Censorship at New York who, in addition to supervising the security of the prisoner's mail and extracting intelligence from it, pays occasional visits to the final camps in the guise of a welfare officer.  In this was he is able to gain first-hand acquaintance with the conditions of custody and is available to advise the military authorities on any intelligence problems that may arise.  In order to allay possible suspicions on the prisoner's part, this officer visits the German naval officer prisoners as a welfare officer either at Fort Hunt, Virginia or at Fort George Meade, Maryland prior to the prisoner being transported to his final camp.  It is felt that the close liaison thus achieved between the Naval and Military authorities in this field has been of value and surprise has been expressed that there is no similar system in the U.K.  It is stressed, however, that the duty outlined above is entirely unofficial.
6.                Merchant Naval Personnel.
                  Prior to summer 1943, all merchant naval personnel were placed in "detention stations" at Fort Stanton, New Mexico, Fort Lincoln, North Dakota and Kenedy, Texas.  These stations were administered by a civil body known as the Immigration and Naturalisation Service.  In summer, 1943, however, is was decided thenceforth to place all merchant naval personnel captured in prisoner of war camps.  This has caused much complaint among the merchant seamen affected, who constantly declare their rights to civilian detainee as opposed to prisoner of war treatment.  The last unit of prisoners to be treated as civilian detainees was the KOTA NNOPAN.  In summer 1943 all captured German seamen from German ships were concentrated in Stanton and all German seamen from other ships, in Lincoln.  Kenedy was then made available for



civilian detainees only.  Survivors from the ANNELTESE ESSBERGER are still in Brazil.
7.                Enemy Medical Officers.
                   German naval officers of the medical corps are believed to be purposely distributed among the several camps so as to ensure their being able to attend to Naval personnel.
8.                Transfers from United Kingdom.
                   Survivors from U-175 (sunk in the spring of 1943) were the first prisoners to be interrogated in the United Kingdom and subsequently to be sent for safe custody to the U.S.A.  Prior to that time, all U.K. prisoners had been sent to Canada.  A decision by the Canadian Government not to accept any more prisoners for the moment led to the U.S. Government accepting British-held prisoners.  It is believed here that all British held prisoners are now being sent to the U.S.A. whenever a sufficient number has accumulated.  It is thought possible that the Canadian Government will agree to accept more prisoners shortly, in which case the position would presumably come up for review.  Prisoners reaching the U.S.A. from the U.K. are not subject to further interrogation.
9.                Position of Midshipmen Prisoners.
                   The position of midshipmen prisoners is obscure.  The office of the Provost Marshal General refuses to recognize them as officers and they consequently do not get an Officer's pay.  Their treatment varies from camp to camp.  In Indianola, Nebraska, for instance, they are on a parity with the ratings, whereas in Crossville, Tennessee they are quartered with the officers.
10.                Constitution of Prisoner of War Camps.
                    All prisoner of war camps, of which there are about fifty, are designed to accommodate personnel of the naval, military and air services.  The following are the sole camps to which German naval officer and midshipmen prisoners of war have hitherto been sent for final custody and there are no indications that there will be any change from this procedure:
  a. ALVA, Oklahoma - Officers & ratings.  "Difficult" cases are usually sent here.
  b. BLANDING, Florida - The naval compound accommodates both officers and enlisted men.  The remainder of the camp is for enlisted men only.  This is a pleasant camp and only naval personnel who have proved especially amenable are sent there.
  c. CLINTON, Mississippi - for enlisted men only.



  d. CONCORDIA, Kansas - for Officers only.  Was commenced in June 1943 to take part of the overflow from CROSSVILLE.
  e. CROSSVILLE, Tennessee - Officers only.  This is the oldest prisoner of war camp in the U.S.A. and the majority of U-boat officers are sent there.
  f. INDIANOLA, Nebraska - Enlisted men only.  A new camp.
  g. MEXIA, Texas - Officers only.  Opened in June 1943 to accommodate prisoners resulting from the Tunisian campaign.
  h. PAPAGO PARK, Arizona - For naval ratings only.  At present this camp accommodates a large number of U-boat ratings and the D.E.M.S. ratings from the KOTA NOPAN.
  i. SPRINGTOWN, Oklahoma - Originally intended for naval ratings other than U-boat survivors.  At present closed.
  j. TRINIDAD, Colorado Officers and ratings.
Attempts have been made to persuade the military to segregate naval from other personnel but these have so far met with no success.
11.                Allocation of U.S. Prisoner of War Numbers.
                     Prisoners captured by the U.S. Navy have serial numbers assigned by the Navy Department.  These are made up as follows:
                    a.  The number of the naval district at which the prisoner was landed.  
                    b.  "G" - denoting German nationality.
                    c.  The prisoner's individual serial number.
                    d.  The symbol NA - denoting a naval prisoner.
                    Prisoners not captured and landed here by a U.S. naval unit receive serial numbers similar to those allotted to Army and Air Force prisoners.



12.                Hospitalisation of Prisoners.
                     There are a number of hospitals in the U.S. at which prisoners of war may be detained.  The most usual are:
                     a.  Mason General Hospital, Brentwood, Long Island
                     b.  Halloran General Hospital, Staten Island, N.Y.  
                     c.  Ashford General Hospital, West Virginia
                     d.  The Naval Hospitals at the several ports of entry.
                                                                                            J. S. Marriner,
                                                                                            Lieutenant, R.N,V,R,



Click the icons to view the associated records

Return to the Permanent Internment page
Return to the POW page