Dog tag worn by an inmate (unknown) at the Stammlager XIII C POW camp
The Holland Museum contacted us late last year concerning a suitcase that was donated to them by Claire Zweip and wondered if we would be interested. We were and took on the task of accessioning the items inside.
The case originally belonged to Mrs. Zweip’s brother-in-law, Gerald Vollink of Beaverdam. This was no ordinary suitcase. You see, Gerald Vollink served in WWII and like many soldiers he brought back souvenirs or what I like to call war memorabilia.
The suitcase was actually a German medical kit that contained a large variety of Nazi artifacts along with some uniform buttons and ribbons from uniforms of the U.S., British, Australian and South African Armies.
As I was going through this case, I noticed a peculiar item. It almost looked like an oversized razor. There were several packs of the regular size single and double blades in the case as well. I decided to look more closely at it and noticed it had stamped letters and numbers, “M-Stammlager XIII C 20245”. I did a Google search and discovered it was a dog tag worn by an inmate (unknown) at the Stammlager XIII C POW camp outside the town of Hammelburg, 50 miles east of Frankfurt, Germany.
The Stammlager XIII C POW camp was also known as Stalag 13, made famous in Hogan’s Heroes, the popular TV series that ran from 1965 to 1971. The camp began as a training camp for German soldiers, becoming a POW camp in WWI, then a children’s home in the 1920s and once again becoming a POW camp for the enlisted in 1940. If you would like to learn more about the POW camp, there is a really good article titled, “History of the Real Stalag 13”, found at the Uncommon Travel Germany website.
The artifact is currently in the Military Collection storage.
Written by Wendy Combs, Curator and Archivist - April 2019