It was opened in 1942 with the first
prisoners arriving in April of that year, and was just one of a network
of Air Force only PoW camps.
The Germans treated captured Fleet Air Arm aircrew as Air Force and put them all together. There is no obvious reason for the occasional presence of a non-airman
in the camps, although one possibility is that the captors would be able to spot "important" non-Air Force uniformed prisoners more readily.
Despite being an officers-only camp, it
was not referred to as Oflag (Offizier Lager) like some
other officer-only camps. The Luftwaffe seemed
to have their own nomenclature.
It must be made
clear that the German Luftwaffe, who were responsible for Air Force
prisoners of war, maintained a degree of professional respect for
and the general attitude of the camp security officers and guards should not be confused with the SS or Gestapo.
The Luftwaffe treated the PoWs well, despite an erratic and inconsistent supply of food.
Prisoners were handled quite fairly within
the Geneva Convention, and the Kommandant, Oberst (Colonel)
Friedrich-Wilhelm von Lindeiner-Wildau
was a professional and honourable soldier who won the respect of the senior prisoners.