German POWs in Trent Park

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Ron Goldstein, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    As I've mentioned many a time, most days I do an early morning walk in local Trent Park, in Cockfosters.

    There was something in the Reader's Letters page of yesterdays Times about it's wartime role as an interrogation centre for high ranking German officers.

    It makes, I think, good reading.

    Ron
     

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  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Didn't von Thoma, captured in the Western Desert, reveal the emergence of the Hitler's V weapons while in conversation with Cruewell,his fellow high ranking POW colleague while in captivity here, in the circumstances described.He expressed surprise to his fellow POWs that we were not under seige from these weapons.

    Until then we were not sure that places such as Peenemunde existed but Duncan Sandy had a sub committee sitting investigating reports from other intelligence sources such as the Oslo Report.

    von Thoma also revealed that on showing Hitler captured Russian tanks,Hitler retorted that they were no good because they did not have a good production finish,ignoring the fact that Russian tanks were economically matched to their intended task on the battlefield.This revealed to Allied intelligence the extent of Hitler's interference with the German arms industry and not leaving the specialists to deliver.
     
  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Harry

    Didn't know about Von Thoma but I've read enough to know that Trent Park Interrogation Centre more than earned it's keep. The pic below was taken this morning and the existing and original gateway is certainly as it was in WW2.

    You can easily imagine what it was like in those days with a 15 cwt van arriving with the occupants in the back, perhaps blindfolded so that they couldn't identify their whereabouts, with a pair of MPs on motorbykes for an escort.

    The original house owned by the Sassoons is still in place but is now part of Enfield College.

    This, from Wikipedia:
    During World War II Trent Park was used as a special prison for captured German generals and staff officers. They were treated reasonably hospitably with special rations of whisky and regular walks in the grounds. Many of the rooms inside the mansion had been equipped with hidden microphones and listening devices, and thus the British military was able to gather important military information and an intimate inside-view into the minds of the German military elite. They received information about war crimes, political views and got a clearer picture of the military resistance that led to the unsuccessful coup on July 20, 1944. 84 Generals and a number of lower ranking staff officers were brought to Trent Park. More than 1,300 protocols were written by the time the war ended; a selection of these was published in English in 2007 under the title Tapping Hitler's Generals. .[2] [3]
     

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  4. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Ron,

    Its all psychology as you will know.A soldier is captured,treated humanely and the information relating to his postion is likely to be revealed in casual converstion with the captors. It happed often to RAF aircrew who were deceived by the false IRCO questionaire and the fact that Luftwaffe intelligence could reveal their squadron,airfield and squadron commander to those POWs following earlier interrogations suggests that exchanges from loose tongues went beyond the "Name, Rank and Number" reply that POWs were instructed only to offer.

    With the German generals at Trent Park,although in custody they lived a genteel life as appropriate to their rank,having their own mini Wehrmacht structure in place,ideal for passing the days taking about Hitler,the state of the war, politics, etc.All listened to and absorbed by British intelligence.

    These high ranking German prisoners did not know where they were as you postulated their blindfold arrival .von Thoma was recorded as saying that he knew their prison was near London and as they had not heard large explosions,there must have been a hold up in the V weapon programme.On March 22 1943,he was recorded as saying that "no progress can have been made in this rocket business" and went on to say he had been to a special ground near to Kunersdorf with Brauchitsch and that the rocket would go 15kms into the stratosphere.He went on to say "wait until next year and the fun will start....there is no limit to the range".

    Sufficient information for the British dogs of miliary intelligence to bark at the right time.
     
  6. Carbonel

    Carbonel Junior Member

    Hi, I've bumped this old thread on Trent Park because I was wondering if anyone here could help me.

    My grandfather, due to his fluent German, spent the war at Trent Park interogating German POWs.

    I was wondering if anyone here knows whether any records exist of what went on at Trent Park? Or any books?

    He died young, just a few years after the war, before he could write his intended account of that time.

    Many thanks. :)
     
  7. Carbonel

    Carbonel Junior Member

    As I've mentioned many a time, most days I do an early morning walk in local Trent Park, in Cockfosters.

    There was something in the Reader's Letters page of yesterdays Times about it's wartime role as an interrogation centre for high ranking German officers.

    It makes, I think, good reading.

    Ron

    Thank you for posting this.

    I'm interested from the personal pov that this Murray Wrobel might have known my grandfather.
     
  8. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    Hi, I've bumped this old thread on Trent Park because I was wondering if anyone here could help me.

    My grandfather, due to his fluent German, spent the war at Trent Park interogating German POWs.

    I was wondering if anyone here knows whether any records exist of what went on at Trent Park? Or any books?

    He died young, just a few years after the war, before he could write his intended account of that time.

    Many thanks. :)

    Welcome to the forum!

    The transcripts of the conversations recorded at Trent Park are available at the National Archives, Kew.
    An edition has been published a few years ago; it covers the conversations of some high ranking German officers on various subjects. The title is 'Tapping Hitler's Generals' by Sönke Neitzel; I warmly recommend you read it.
    In addition various more recent studies have been published about the so-called tapping protocols, such as 'Soldiers' by Welzer and Neitzel along with the antology 'Der Führer war wieder viel zu human, viel zu gefühlvoll', the latter not having been translated from German though.

    Did your grandfather leave anything about his time in Trent Park?
     
  9. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  10. Carbonel

    Carbonel Junior Member

    Welcome to the forum!

    The transcripts of the conversations recorded at Trent Park are available at the National Archives, Kew.
    An edition has been published a few years ago; it covers the conversations of some high ranking German officers on various subjects. The title is 'Tapping Hitler's Generals' by Sönke Neitzel; I warmly recommend you read it.
    In addition various more recent studies have been published about the so-called tapping protocols, such as 'Soldiers' by Welzer and Neitzel along with the antology 'Der Führer war wieder viel zu human, viel zu gefühlvoll', the latter not having been translated from German though.

    Did your grandfather leave anything about his time in Trent Park?

    Thanks so much for your reply!

    I've ordered 'Tapping Hitler's Generals' & 'Soldaten', the third I think my mother could read as she grew up speaking German.

    Sadly, my grandfather left nothing about his time at Trent Park. Partly because he died young. He was demobbed in '48 (he went to Naples in '44 as part of AMGOT) & was ill when he came home until he died in the early 50s.

    I can't even find any service record for him, perhaps because he went straight to Trent Park after being called up & completing his training.
     
  11. Carbonel

    Carbonel Junior Member

    Carbonel

    Welcome aboard !

    Have a look at this thread as well
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/ww2-news-articles/48047-secretly-recorded-conversations-german-prisoners-war.html
    And this one
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/general/13923-merged-threads-recordings-german-military-captivity-6.html

    Ron

    Hi, thanks very much. I've read through these threads you've linked.

    If anyone's interested I've found there's a talk on Trent Park at the Jewish Museum in Primrose Hill on January 20th. I've booked tickets...
     
  12. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much for your reply!

    I've ordered 'Tapping Hitler's Generals' & 'Soldaten', the third I think my mother could read as she grew up speaking German.

    Sadly, my grandfather left nothing about his time at Trent Park. Partly because he died young. He was demobbed in '48 (he went to Naples in '44 as part of AMGOT) & was ill when he came home until he died in the early 50s.

    I can't even find any service record for him, perhaps because he went straight to Trent Park after being called up & completing his training.

    Shame that you have no further info on it.
    So your grandfather spoke German?

    'Tapping Hitler's Generals' is a good choice.
    I wrote part of that anthology with the awkward title. PM me if you'd like to have access to it.
     
  13. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Carbonel,

    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    Do you have any further information on your Grandfather, perhaps from family members that may be of help?

    Applying for your Grandfathers Military Service Record will at least show what he was doing unless it is still classified.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  14. Carbonel

    Carbonel Junior Member

    Shame that you have no further info on it.
    So your grandfather spoke German?

    'Tapping Hitler's Generals' is a good choice.
    I wrote part of that anthology with the awkward title. PM me if you'd like to have access to it.

    Yes he spoke German & Italian. He many friends in Germany & Austria before the war...

    So you're a German historian..?

    My mother grew up speaking German & she would no doubt be fascinated by 'Der Führer war wieder viel zu human, viel zu gefühlvoll', but my German only runs to 'freundliche Grüße'...:unsure:
     
  15. Carbonel

    Carbonel Junior Member

    Carbonel,

    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    Do you have any further information on your Grandfather, perhaps from family members that may be of help?

    Applying for your Grandfathers Military Service Record will at least show what he was doing unless it is still classified.

    Regards
    Tom

    My mother has no living relatives & her father died when she was 16, so there's not much info to go on.

    I had a quick look in the free military service records website, but the listings under his name weren't him.

    I don't have his army number, although my mother may have it somewhere.

    All I know is that he was put into the Pioneer Corps, which he was really cross about, but then, as I said, went straight to Trent Park & wasn't posted abroad until 44/45. (That was as part of AMGOT he wasn't fighting).

    So I'm not sure if he would appear in Pioneer Corps records...

    Thanks enormously for people's replies, its really kind. :)
     
  16. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Carbonel,

    It helps if you have an Army Number, but it is not absolutely necessary and the full name and date of birth should suffice for a record request.

    Link to Army record request site.

    Army Personnel Centre - British Army Website

    Regards
    Tom
     
  17. Carbonel

    Carbonel Junior Member

    Carbonel,

    It helps if you have an Army Number, but it is not absolutely necessary and the full name and date of birth should suffice for a record request.

    Link to Army record request site.

    Army Personnel Centre - British Army Website

    Regards
    Tom

    I forgot to thank you for this link Smudger, I've sent off for his records. :)
     

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