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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree January 2019 > To Hell and back

To Hell and back

Becky Slack and members of her family took an emotional journey to visit the prisoner of war camp where her grandfather was held during World War II and found a new sense of gratitude and pride in his achievements

Reader story


Becky’s grandad William Slack (centre) in his kilt, and the author (on the right) with dad Tom Slack and sister Hannah Croxon on the path to Lamsdorf camp that William was marched down after his capture

On 23 September 1943, Private William Slack of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders arrived by cattle car to a remote part of eastern Germany. He was then marched down a narrow lane to Lamsdorf, the prisoner of war (PoW) camp that was to be his home for the next 18 months.

Seventy-five years later, almost to the day, we walked that very same path – my father, sister and I, along with a small group of relatives of other former Lamsdorf residents.

We were making this emotional journey to the site, which is now a museum, in Poland, try to understand more about what life in the camp was like for our loved ones, because, as with so many people affected by World War II, little of their experiences had been recounted once home. What we discovered were living conditions that we struggled to comprehend.

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About Family Tree

Kick-start your research with the January issue of Family Tree - packed with ideas to help you plan for a great year of family history and inspire you to new discoveries. Get the latest! Our crop of experts talk about upcoming and breakthrough projects they're looking forward to in 2019. Plan your research month by month! Read a genealogist's diary of the past 12 months, and decide what you want to accomplish in the year to come. Hone your research skills! Join in with part 1 in the brand new series of the Family Tree Academy. Each month through the year to come the Academy will give you the chance to get better and understanding and using those all-important family history records. Read Family Tree and become the best genealogist you can be!