Whatever happened to the former Stalag 13, or "Stammlager XIII C" as it was officially known?
The camp, Lager Hammelburg, is still there, down the road from the town of Hammelburg, and is now the home of the German Infantry School (Deutsche Infanterieschule) for the modern German army, or Bundeswehr.
Most of the camp is now a restricted military area, but the main road south of Hammelburg goes through the eastern edge of the camp and many buildings can be seen from the areas accessible to the public.
The wooden barracks that housed the enlisted men of Stalag 13 C have been torn down, but some of the permanent buildings from the officers' camp are still standing.
The officers' barracks in Oflag 13 in the photo of the liberation of the camp are still there as well; they're in the restricted area, but easily viewed from a parking area next to the main gate.
On the map below, I've marked the locations of the first building and the tank, as well the main gate of the camp and a good spot for viewing the remaining buildings. (Thanks to Geoff Walden of thirdreichruins.com in identifying it.) For more info, see the History of Stalag 13.
The main gate and entrance to the Deutsche Infanterieschule looks just about the same as it did years ago, except it has been spruced-up quite a bit.
Even the little village of Bonnland, taken over by the army during an expansion in 1938, is intact; the residents were moved out and the deserted town is now used for urban warfare training. (See second training video below)
Below are the woods around "Stalag 13". Naturally nothing like the Southern California vegetation with fake snow you see Hogan and his men running around in!
Continuing along the main road will bring you into the camp and turning right on Bonnlanderstrasse will take you past two well-maintained cemeteries that still contain the remains of some of the soldiers who died during captivity in both world wars.
All of the American, British, Commonwealth, French and Italian men who were buried there were returned to their homelands after the war. One cemetery holds the bodies of 2,987 Russian soldiers and the other graveyard has 35 Poles, 73 Yugoslavs and 50 Russians.
Marker in remembrance of the Soviet soldiers buried there.
The above notice was posted at the POW Cemetery, in German and Russian. The English translation is roughly:
"This piece of earth became the final earthly home of 3031 Russians. They died as prisoners of war: 44 in the First World War and 2987 in the Second World War.
In the early 60's, the German War Graves Welfare Organization recovered 427 dead from temporary quarters in 76 Bavarian municipalities and placed them here for a lasting rest.
In 1974, the organization gave this gravesite its lasting form. Reverence and sympathy watch over the peace of the dead."
True to Hammelburg's history as a garrison town, it is swarming with German soldiers...not surprising, being the home of the German Infantry School. I saw dozens of young soldiers coming and going from the Hammelburg Bahnhof and driving in and out of the town.
Service in the military is mandatory in Germany, although exemptions for conscientious objectors are readily given.
There are still residents living in Hammelburg who remember the POW's arriving at the train station. The building hasn't changed at all, except for a swastika scraped off one side. The Bahnhof is just a short walk from the town center.
There are a variety of training areas and firing ranges inside the camp.
Curious about what's happening in the former Stalag 13 nowadays?
Here is a YouTube clip of German soldiers training at Lager Hammelburg. Horseplay and urban warfare tactics in the ghost town of Bonnland, inside the camp.
Lager Hammelburg is only about 2 and 1/2 miles (4 km) south of Hammelburg along the main highway.
It can be reached easily by bus if you're without a car. Bus #8164 from the bus station (Busbahnhof) on Weihertor Platz in Hammelburg travels out to the camp many times a day (you can get the schedule from the Tourist Office on the Markt).
There are three stops in the camp; if you get off at the first stop, "Lager, Saaleck Kaserne", you can walk the length of the camp from there. Follow the road Rommelstrasse in the same direction and it will take you through the eastern edge of camp, past the main gate and many buildings. Turn right on Bonnlanderstrasse as the fence turns and you will reach the cemeteries and the firing range.
There were four Stalag 13's in Germany. Near the town of Weiden, near Nuremberg, there was a POW camp called Stalag XIII B. Take a look at Stalag 13B to read an interesting account of one of the Polish POW's there.