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.
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.
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.
Updated 22 November 2014