Members of Polish American Foundation
Members of Polish-American Foundation

Background

Friends of Oflag 64, Inc. is the nonprofit fundraising arm in the U.S. for The Polish-American Foundation for the Commemoration of POW Camps in Szubin. In partnership with the Town of Szubin, the Foundation is involved in creating the Museum of POWs in Szubin. For more information see www.szubinpowcamps.org/en

Our Mission, Vision, and Goals

Our Mission

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Friends of Oflag 64 supports the Polish- American Foundation by fundraising, collecting artifacts, publicizing and promoting the Museum of POWs, so that the history of the POW camps in Szubin and the courageous Polish citizens who assisted them will be preserved for generations to come. 

Vision

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 To help the Museum of POWs commemorate and preserve the history of POWs in Szubin, Poland. 

By working with the Polish-American Foundation and through partnership with the Town of Szubin, we will assist the museum to provide the rich historical and cultural heritage of the POW camp by means of education, research and exhibits of original artifacts. A unique aspect will be to show how the POWs of Oflag 64 remained a functioning military unit through strict discipline, organization and ingenuity. 

Goals

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To support the Polish-American Foundation in the development, construction, and sustainment of the museum as well as collecting and identifying  artifacts to be exhibited in the museum.



Values

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Transparency


Loyalty


Perseverance


Commitment  


History of oflag 64

Oflag 64 was a World War II German prisoner-of-war camp for American officers located in Szubin, Poland, which was occupied by Nazi Germany. Reportedly, it was the only German POW camp set up exclusively for U.S. Army officers, although other camps holding several nationalities were usually divided into separate national compounds. The camp was built around a Polish boys' school by adding barracks. Initially, it was Stalag XXI-B for Polish soldiers until December 1940. Then it became Oflag XXI-B for French and British officers, subsequently for Soviet officers until June 1943. On 6 June 1943, the camp was re-designated Oflag 64 and became a U.S. officers' camp with the arrival of about 150 officers captured in the North Africa Campaign in Tunisia. 


Over the next year and a half the camp grew in size until on 21 January 1945, the roll call established a total of 1,471 men. Due to German concerns over approaching Soviet troops, all the men capable of walking were marched out of the camp towards Germany. Two days later, on 23 January 1945, the Soviet 61st Army liberated the camp. However, approximately 150 Americans, medical personnel and patients, and a few men hidden in an abandoned escape tunnel remained in the camp. An additional 200 men had escaped from the marching column and returned to the camp. 


The group that marched out of Szubin reached Oflag XIII-B at Hammelburg on 10 March. They marched through snow and bitter cold for almost 2 months, covering nearly 400 miles. About 400 escaped on the way or dropped out, too weak to march. A number were shot. Part of the group was again marched out from Oflag XIII-B to Stalag VII-A, Moosburg, where they were finally liberated by units of the U.S. 14th Armored Division on 29 April (three weeks after Hammelburg had been liberated by the same unit). 


For more information go to "Oflag Remembered" website www.oflag64.us

The original barbed wire fence that still stands at site of Oflag 64.
The original barbed wire fence that still stands at site of Oflag 64.

our story

Establishment of the Foundation and the 501(c)(3)

 

In September, 2016, talks between nine visiting POW descendants and the Mayor of the Polish Town of Szubin and its town council led to the idea of creating a POW museum on the former Oflag 64 POW Camp site.  Subsequently, during the week of July 22-29, 2018 in Sterling, VA, volunteers from the Oflag 64 Family met with their Polish advisor and advocate, Mariusz Winiecki.  The purpose of the meeting was to decide how they could assist the Town of Szubin establish a museum with the goal of preserving the history of the POW experience and the courageous Polish citizens who helped them.   

The following decisions were made:

  • The Oflag 64 Family delegates will begin the process of registering a Polish-American Foundation in Poland that will be the vehicle supporting the establishment of a museum on the grounds of the former Oflag 64 site. The founder will be Wilbur Sharpe, Oflag 64 ex-POW.
  • The Oflag 64 Family delegates will seek a nonprofit status (501(c)(3)) for their future organization to enable fundraising and marketing for this endeavor.

At the conclusion of the week’s meetings, the Council hosted a reception for families and friends of former Oflag 64 POWs. Many renewed old acquaintances and made new connections. The Washington Post covered the reception [You may access the article: Americans, Poles meet in Va. to plan how to save a nearly forgotten Nazi POW camp].

Monument to POWs at Oflag 64 site
Monument to POWs at Oflag 64 site

About Us

Our Team

Our amazing team of volunteers are committed to  our mission. 


Officers
Cindy Sharpe Burgess, Chairperson (Daughter of ex-POW 2nd Lt. Wilbur Blaine Sharpe, Jr.)
A military spouse and former educator, Cindy is a Past President of the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Assistance League and served on their national Board of Directors. Cindy received a B.S. in Education from the University of Maryland at College Park. 

Cindy.Burgess@szubinpowcamps.org


Nancy Thompson Wyatt, Secretary (Daughter of ex-POW 1st Lt. Robert T. Thompson)
Nancy has been a registered pharmacist for 39 years. Her hospital leadership positions have been Operations Manager and Clinical Manager. She has been an active member of Toastmasters International since 2003 and is a past president of The Woodlands, Texas Toastmasters Club. Nancy received her B.S. from the University of Oklahoma and Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Florida.


Anne Hoskot Kreutzer, Treasurer (Daughter of ex-POW Lt. Colonel Nathaniel R. Hoskot)
Anne continues to research her father’s WWII story, from his D-Day jump into Normandy through his POW experiences at Oflag 64. She was the Secretary/Treasurer of a small business founded with her husband Tom and operated in Woodbridge, Virginia, for 33 years, where they were very involved in their community. Anne has a B.A. in French from Mary Washington College.