A Short History of Junkers Camp, Bettenhausen, KasselDonald F. McGonigal, UNRRA, 1947 (monograph)

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number without clearance from the DP Officer. By June 26th, the Latvians numbered over 300.

Camp Administration and Latvian Self-Government.

The camp administration was a very simple affair and most of the camp's activities seem to have been carried on through the elected leaders of the the various nationalities. When the first Latvians arrived, the Poles were the only nationality group to have a committee. On June 26th, when the camp numbered over 300 Latvians, they held a general meeting, wrote the names of any person who wished to become a committee member on a blackboard, and then proceeded to elect five committee members by written ballot. The five persons elected chose a chairman or commander, one Rudolf Shefflers, an ex-officer in the Latvian Army, and a Secretary, Mr. P. Olekalns, formerly a school-teacher.

The Latvians were good workers and Mrs. Shepe says that she came to rely on them for most of the work around the camp.

Latvian Club.

In June, the Latvians organized a club which they called "Erika", and installed it in a basement air raid shelter. Reports concerning it are conflicting: some maintain it was a chess club while others assert it served chiefly as a locale for the sale of schnapps. It probably served both purposes, but in any event, it is still in existence and it is now devoted solely to chess.


The first DPs to be repatriated were the Hollanders, who went back to their country in June. The Latvians stood by and wept at the sight of people who were able to go home. The Poles, Yugoslavs and others also stood by, and when at the last minute the Hollanders were forced to leave behind all their belongings except one suitcase for each person, they promptly made away with most of the abandoned belongings.


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