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Prisoners Of War (El Adem)

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 13 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that there are German prisoners of war working on the desert airfield at El Adem who have been there since their capture during the desert warfare and who have been given no indication as to when they will be released; what cultural and educational facilities are provided for these men; and, if they cannot yet be released, whether they will be relieved of their duties at El Adem and given a change of station.

None of the 450 prisoners of war employed by the R.A.F. at El Adem were there before October, 1945. Prisoners in the Middle East have been informed of the system of repatriation. Classes for the study of English, geography, political history and economy are held, and there are also ample facilities for recreation. I understand that the great majority of these prisoners are content with the living conditions and amenities at El Adem and do not desire posting elsewhere before their repatriation. Three hundred will be repatriated during the next six months.

When my right hon. Friend says that these prisoners have been informed about the system of repatriation, does he mean that they have been allocated group numbers, as in the case of prisoners in this country?

Have they asked for these cultural facilities as a high priority?