Stalag XVII B

On October 17th, 1943, my father, S/Sgt.William J. Doubledee, USAAF, 8th AF, 351st BG, 511th BS, entered the German prisoner of war camp Stalag XVII B, located near Krems, Austria. At that moment, he became Kriegsgefangenen Nr. 99237. Eight days earlier, his B-17F "Cue Ball" was shot down near its target of Anklam, Germany. He was captured, taken first to a Dulag (Durchgangslager) for two days of interrogation, then taken to a train and herded into an overcrowded, windowless baggage car filled with other POWs. With nothing to eat or drink and had no toilet facilities, he and the rest of the POWs traveled eastward for days through Germany and deep into Austria. When he arrived at Stalag XVII B, he was assigned to Barracks 36A, where remained there until April, 1945, when the Germans forced the evacuation of the camp ahead of the approaching Soviet forces. After a month-long death march across Austria, he was liberated by American troops, taken to France and returned to the United States.

In the summer of 1969 I went to where Stalag XVII B had once been 25 years earlier. It had been torn down, and only one large pile of rubble overgrown with grass remained. Next to it was the abandoned hangar of the old USAAF liaison airfield of Langenlois. The beautiful blue sky and rolling green fields showed no signs that day of what had happened where my father once stood.

My dad seldom talked about the camp and his forced march across Austria in one of the worst winters there.

He died unexpectedly in May, 1986. He never told me his story.

I started this web site almost twenty years ago in memory of my father and his service in WWII, and to help me find some answers to the many questions I had about what he experienced before, during and after his imprisonment. And over the years, as I read more books and came in contact with other POWs and their families from around the world, I began to see what happened in Stalag XVII B and how it affected the lives of so many people.

This website represents only a tiny portion of the complete story of Stalag XVII B. I hope the information here helps all of us to better understand what these young prisoners experienced, and what they did not want to talk about after they returned home. This site is always a work in progress; almost every day, I learn more about the camp, its history and the prisoners who were held there. I welcome all information, documents, letters or pictures that you'd like to share. If you have questions, I will try to answer them, or help you find answers.

To help your search for answers, please visit the Stalag XVII B networking site that I created where Kriegies and their families from all nationalities can meet, share things and keep in touch. Please visit and join our group.

And (for Americans) please take a moment to register yourself or a loved one at the WWII Memorial website.



Updated 07 April 2014



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