Reports of the American Consulate in Königsberg (1940-1941)

eHistorians who research the history of prisoner of war camps during World War II seldom point their attention towards the records of diplomatic representations of neutral states in Nazi Germany or countries occupied by the Nazis. The most important ones were the embassies and consulates of Switzerland – the country which had become the protecting power for most Western prisoners of war held in Europe. When the U.S. entered the war against Nazi Germany at the end of 1941, the Swiss took over this role for British and French prisoners. A side note: Sweden became the first protecting power in Europe, taking custody over Polish prisoners of war in September 1939.

For Szubin, from 1940 to 1941, the nearest U.S. diplomatic mission was located in Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia). The consulate was moved there in March 1940 from Danzig (Gdansk, Poland), 20 years after its founding in April 1920. The consulate operated in the capital of East Prussia for over a year, until July 1941. The first and only U.S. consul in Königsberg was Clark Porter Kyukendall (1896-1957), a career diplomat. Because the U.S. was functioning as the protecting power for British and French prisoners of war, Kyukendall and his personnel visited at least three POW camps during the Summer and Autumn 1940: Stalag XX A Thorn, Stalag XX B Marienburg in XX Military District, and Stalag I B Hohenstein in I Military District. The reports from these visits are valuable, as the visits took place months before the arrival of International Committee of the Red Cross or YMCA War Prisoners Aid delegations.

It remains open whether similar documents have been written for Stalag XXI B Schubin, located in another (although neighboring) XXI Military District. Keep your fingers crossed as research continues!

 

 

Illustration: Clark Porter Kyukendall in the beginning of 1939 as an American consul in Free City of Danzig (APG 260/824, p.7).