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
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 64 Remembered" website www.oflag64.us
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:
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 erected by Town of Szubin.
Our amazing team of volunteers are committed to our mission.
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.
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.
Pat Thompson, Treasurer
I am native of Northern Virginia who grew up in Arlington and now live with my husband, Carl, in Gainesville, VA. I retired in 2010 after 30 years of federal service as a civilian Information Resource Manager with the US Coast Guard, managing the development of information technology policy, enterprise application projects, budgets and support contracts. After retiring, I joined Assistance League of Northern Virginia (ALNV). This organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose members transform the lives of children through community programs. I’ve been a member of the ALNV Board in various positions for the past 9 nine years. I’ve served as Education Chair, VP Philanthropy, and President. I am now finishing a four year term as Treasurer for this organization.
I’m looking forward to serving as the Treasurer for Friends of Oflag 64. The history of the POWs, known as Kriegies, who were interned in Oflag 64 is an important part of our legacy of freedom in the United States.
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.
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.
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.