HC Deb 06 October 1942 vol 383 cc1047-8
1. Mr. Summers

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will give an immediate denial to the statements made that German prisoners in Canada are not receiving their letters as they should do, in consequence of which British prisoners at Offlag VI B and Stalag VIII B are deliberately having their letters withheld as a form of retaliation; and whether he will take all possible steps to rectify this situation?

The Secretary of State for War (Sir James Grigg)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and Kinross (Mr. Snadden) on 29th September.

Mr. Summers

Will the Minister note that information received only to-day shows that officers in Offlag VI B have been known to have received their letters just recently, having been transferred to Offlag VII B?

Sir J. Grigg

I do not quite understand my honourable Friend's supplementary question. There was some suspension of correspondence but my information is that it is now getting better, after representations.

28. Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has any information regarding conditions in the war prisoners' camp at Alessandria in Italy?

Sir J. Grigg

I do not know of any camp at Alessandria, but I think my hon. and gallant Friend probably refers to one some 20 miles from it. This camp was opened in June and is a mediaeval fortress standing on a steep hill. Many complaints have been received of the dampness of the rooms and the lack of space for exercise. The representative of the Protecting Power, however, who visited the camp in July, reported that the walls were then quite dry. The attention of the Protecting Power has nevertheless been drawn to the complaint of dampness and we have also asked them to represent to the Italian Government that facilities for exercise outside the fortress should be provided, and to revisit the camp at an early date.

Sir A. Knox

Does my right hon. Friend realise that letters from prisoners give quite a different story? They say that it is not a mediaeval fortress but a prison and that prisoners of war are confined to cells, which are very damp? The food consists almost entirely of cabbage and the reservoirs of drinking water are under latrines.

Sir J. Grigg

That is why further representations have been made.

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