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Civilian Workers

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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asked the Secretary of State for War how many German prisoners of war have asked to remain here as civilian workers, and of these how many are domiciled in the Russian zone.

On 1st January, 19,700 German prisoners of war had applied. Separate records are not kept of those whose homes are in the Russian zone of Germany.

Can the Under-Secretary say whether a limit is being set to the total number which is being accepted, and if so, whether favourable consideration will be given to those who have good reasons for not going to the Soviet zone?

There will certainly be a limit. Applications are sorted out by boards which operate in each county.

Has any decision been reached with regard to those Germans who Wish to remain here being able to bring over their wives and families?

Does the Ministry of War get any information regarding the fate of repatriated German prisoners of war who happen to live in and go to areas which are the other side of the "Iron Curtain"?

How long does it take on an average for these cases to be accepted or refused?

It is a continuing process. A number have been accepted, but the process is going on continually.


asked the Secretary of State for War what are the regulations applying to prisoners of war in the matter of clothing and other civilian necessities after they have been accepted as voluntary workers; and why many of them are still in the position of having to wear a prisoner's uniform.


asked the Secretary of State for War, in view of the recognised valuable contribution prisoners of war are making, whether they will be supplied with one civilian patchless suit and overcoat, particularly if they have volunteered for a further period of work in this country.

I would refer my hon. Friends to the reply given on Tuesday last to my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. Dumpleton).

Will the Under-Secretary bear in mind the case, about which he knows, of those prisoners who came from America in 1946, bringing with them clothing which was their personal property, but which was used in lieu of issued clothing until it was worn out; and since His Majesty's Government gained something from them at that time in this respect, will he reconsider this matter sympathetically now?

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that to issue clothing coupons without allowing any sterling with which to buy clothing, simply means that these men are obliged to parade themselves in their prisoner's uniform, which again puts them in an unpleasant position in the eyes of the public?

It should be borne in mind that it is not uncommon for these people to work in uniforms, and to use their coupons for clothing which they wear when not working.