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Avey, Denis George (IWM interview)

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Catalogue number
  • 22065
Production date
2001-07-16
Subject period
Alternative Names
  • object category: IWM interview
Creator
Category
sound

Object description

British NCO served with 5th Bn Rifle Bde in GB and North Africa, 1939-1942; POW in Camp PG 65 Gravina, Italy and E715, Stalag VIIIB, Poland, 1942-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Recollections of life in Essex, pre-1939: life on farm, Northwold; leisure activities; description of farming methods; education; opinion of father; awareness of events in Europe; attending technical college; employment as apprentice at Tate and Lyle; visit to Germany, 1938; social life; outbreak of war, 9/1939. Aspects of joining London Rifle Brigade, 9/1939 and training. REEL 2 Continues: training; condition of troops returning from France, summer 1940; reunion with friend. Recollections of posting with London Rifle Brigade to Western Desert: journey to Middle East; desert training at Bitter Lakes; war situation in Western Desert, 1940; opinion of Italian artillery; conducting inventory on section of Italian guns; adapting to life at war. REEL 3 origins of name 'Desert Rats'; attitude towards Wavell; bombing of dummy tanks and vehicles by Italian Air Force; operation to recover disabled tank; description of night patrols; duties; description of operation into desert where 3 out 10 men survived; story of waking from dream to find comrade urinating on him; operation to cut road from Fort Meikeli and Agidabir; number of Italians taken prisoner; story of conducting inventory on Italian goods and using money found to buy bar near Benghazi; coping with lack of water in desert. REEL 4 Continues: patrols to assess German strength outside Tobruk; story of rescuing officer from sea and reward of 'cushy' job in South Africa; physical impact of life in desert, desert sores; living conditions and duties in South Africa; sight of troops bound for Western Desert and decision to return to 7th Armoured Div; action in El Adem area; wounding and capture by Germans; treatment at German Advanced Dressing Station; being put on cargo boat bound for Italy; torpedoing of ship; escape from sinking ship. REEL 5 Recollections of period on Akritas Island: physical condition; being taken in by Greek farmers; capture by Carboneri, Italian Secret Police; physical and mental condition; imprisonment in Pilos outdoor camp; living conditions in camp; move to Italy. Recollections of period as POW in Italy and Austria: conditions at outdoor camp near Bari; move to Camp 65 at Gravina; physical condition; interrogations; move to camp on Italian/Austrian border; living conditions in camp; being sent to Graudenz punishment camp for not saluting German Officer; interrogations; attitude towards Geneva Convention. Recollections of period as POW in Katowicz, and E715 Workcamp, Stalag VIIIB, Poland, 1943-1945: forced labour at coalmine at Katowicz; physical condition and treatment of Russian POWs; move to Auschwitz complex. REEL 6 Continues: journey by cattle truck; living conditions for POWs in barracks; move to E715 camp and less comfortable barracks; duties working for I G Farben; organising sabotage; methods of sabotage; gaining information from Ukrainian slave labourer; treatment of POWs and slave labourers by guards; psychological impact of time in camp; treatment of political prisoners in camp; attitude towards organisation of I G Farben factory; products produced by I G Farben. REEL 7 Continues: methods of sabotage; morale; reaction of father to learning of his imprisonment; gaining information on situation in Auschwitz and Birkenau; receiving Red Cross parcels; camp food rations; story of prisoner that smuggled chicken out of I G Farben; physical condition; lack of medical treatment; organisation of British POWs in E715 camp; 'Ferrets' planted in camp by Germans; use of British POWs for German Propaganda. REEL 8 Continues: POWs football matches photographed by Germans for propaganda; killing of 'Stripey', political prisoner?, by female guard; bombing of camp and deaths of 38 POWs; burial of dead POWs in mass grave; story of how this grave was bombed and the bodies was reburied post-war in Krakow; tracing the graves post-war; contrast between conditions in Birkenau and Monowitz; hearing of Australian POW that worked as stoker in crematorium; question of pay; attitude towards reports written about conditions in Monowitz post-war; question of compensation; writing letter of complaint to Prime Minister Tony Blair. REEL 9 Continues: reads SS Edict published in German newspaper; bombing of camp, late 1944/early 1945. Recollections of march from Poland to Germany: conditions on march; escape attempts; accommodation in farm billets, Regensburg; escape; meeting up with US tank squadron; journey to Brussels and interrogation by US military; journey to Britain by aircraft. Recollections of life post-war: inability of him and his father to talk about their POW experiences; mental condition; lack of interest from authorities in his experiences as POW; friends killed during war; career in engineering. REEL 10 Continues: career in engineering; physical impact of war; loss of eye post-war due to beating when POW; war pension; psychological impact of war; problems with nightmares; method of coping whilst in Camp E715 difficulties in talking about experiences; coming to terms with wartime experiences; memories of grandfather.

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  • Londoner :

    21 January 2014 at 22:12
    This man contradicts with his own posterior writings. His book is regarded as “manifestly obvious” fraud and the British government have now been embarassed for giving Avey a medal as a “British Hero of the Holocaust” He should be heard with caution as even the Jewish Chronicle advises. People are aware that so many of such witnesses have been proved to be a fraudsters. So attention!
  • Peter :

    23 September 2012 at 23:24
    It's a great shame this is not available online as many people round the world would be interested in it. P.N.

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