For Franz Schweiker jun. 1945 was the only ‘year of war’. According to family yarn his mother had multiple times successful blocked the draft of her 16 year old son for the ‘Reich Labour Service’ (abbreviated RAD – Reichsarbeitsdienst) by letting disappear the call-up letters. However, at the end of 1944/beginning of 1945, he had to follow the call for the RAD. There is still a letter dated the 11.03.1945 he wrote from the RAD camp Herrenhof near Georgenthal.
At the 30.03.1945 Franz Schweiker was transferred as a Wehrmacht soldier to a grenade launcher company stationed at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This is shown by a letter he wrote the 31.03.1945 informing his family about his arrival. The time he stayed there isn’t known. Maybe he could witness the hullabaloo when Adolf Hitler’s 56th anniversary was celebrated in a big party at the big posh hotel and section military hospital ‘Alpenhof’ there.
At the end of April 1945 he became a POW. Where exactly is unknown. Though, in a letter dated November 1945 he stated that the first POW camp he stayed, was the POW camp Heilbronn.
In spring 1945 the US Army raised the POW camp Heilbronn in the open country west of the present urban district Böckingen. First there were two detached camps in immediate surrounding. One of those was closed soon in the end of July 1945. At the time of the greatest expansion of these two camps, there were nearly 140.000 POW on an area of about 270 hectare (= 1.04 square miles), what complies with the threefold of the population of the city of Heilbronn at this time. Both camps were situated on cropland at the edge of settlement. The camp C-3, designed for 100.000 POW started on 03.05.1945, the camp C-4 on 06. or 13.05.1945. Because of pressure of time both camps started as soon as possible and so both consisted only of barbed wire fence without any shelter or sanitary facilities, which where foremost established in the following months. In this section as in others (f. e. food, medical supply) the US Army violated central issues of the Geneva Convention of 1929, which wasn’t possible for them, partly due to external circumstances (poor supply conditions and mostly destroyed German infrastructure in 1945) as well as personal and logistical excessive demands of their units. The POW stayed the nights exposed winds and weather and protect themselves if applicable with tarpaulins. Lasting rain for days turned the camps into deserts of mud, soaked the clothes of the prisoners and forced them to permanently staying. Since mid-May 1945 provisional tents were pitched but only at beginning of June all prisoners were provided with primitive housings at least. The greatest problem in the camp was the food for the prisoners. In 1945 foodstuffs in Germany were generally short. In the first time the prisoners received finished rations (ration packs), then after completion of kitchen installations acquired German food stocks and at last delivered American meals. Although the US-Forces did all they could to ensure the supply, the prisoners got only short rations due to their large number. Overall the food in the first three months was qualitatively and quantitatively insufficient, especially for the numerous prisoners who after the exertions of the transport arrived Heilbronn already weakened - despite of all efforts of the local American units, which tried to improve the food situation by large requisitions and usage of civil facilities (i. a. bakeries).
It’s not known how long Franz Schweiker jun. stayed in the POW camp Heilbronn. But the above-mentioned letter shows that he was, after Heilbronn, at least two months at Darmstadt in a former barrack in war-captivity. There he was involved in the improvement of the prisoners housings.
In spring 1945 the POW camp PWTW A 21 was established for 25.000 German POW at Darmstadt on the area of the former barracks of the 6. Dragoner-Garde-Regiment (6th Dragoon-Guards Regiment). The position might have been at Untere Rheinstraße, Darmstadt.
From Darmstadt he was transferred to Frankenberg/Eder to Stalag IX/C Schreufa (3 km north of Frankenberg, Hesse). From this camp he wrote a letter to his family dated 18.11.1945 in which he told them about his remain.
VFor the factory site of the chair factory Otto Stölcker, est. 1925, was large-scale fenced, the US Army used it as a prison camp for German Wehrmacht-soldiers. Since mid-May 1945 there were 4.000 prisoners placed on this area. The Stalag IX C, so the designation of the camp, was used until 1946. In February 1946 the last Wehrmacht-soldiers were transferred.
The family history tells that after receiving the letter, the mother of Franz Schweiker jun. went off for trying to take him home and prevent a detention to the USA. The story isn’t verified - but a short time later Franz was amongst his family at home.