Channel Islanders Imprisoned in Dresden Prison:
By Roderick Miller
At least three Channel Islander are known to have been imprisoned in Dresden prisons. It is most probable that Anthony Faramus was imprisoned in Dresden Gestapo Prison (Staatspolizeileitstelle Dresden, Stapoleitstelle Dresden) in the German state of Saxony. In 1936, the Dresden Gestapo fused with the Criminal Police (Kriminalpolizei) under the umbrella of the SS Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei) and thus consolidated their power. By 1938, the Gestapo had moved their headquarters into the former Continental Hotel , just across the street from the central train station in Dresden. The Continental Hotel was built around 1898 and remained in operation until the building was purchased (or expropriated) by the German Reich in 1934, at which point it was occupied by a German aeroplane firm and the German Luftwaffe for several years prior to the Gestapo taking possession of it. It was a standard practice for the Gestapo to use former luxury hotels and former royal residences for their headquarters.
Anthony Faramus was taken out of Buchenwald Concentration Camp in December 1944 and spent between one and three days imprisoned in Dresden, where he was shackled to a wall and repeatedly lashed with at whip. He found himself in a ‘humid dungeon, befuddled, bruised and bleeding, kneeling, squatting and laid out on a floor sodden with body filth and blood.’ This is consistent with other descriptions of cellars used to imprison and torture political prisoners in Gestapo headquarters.
Emma Marshall’s precise place of imprisonment is not known. It is probable that she was either in the large remand prison adjacent to the Supreme Court Building (Oberlandesgericht) on Münchner Platz or the remand prison adjacent to the State Court Building (Landgericht) on Mathildenstrasse in Dresden. Marshall did not mention how long she was in Dresden, only that she ‘… then went to Dresden, another soldiers’ prison, stayed there 50 of us and slept on straw.’ What she meant by ‘soldiers’ prison’ is also unknown, as no military prisons are known to have been located in Dresden, and even then it is unlikely that a military prison would have accommodated 50 foreign women forced labourers. It is possible that she mistook members of the German police (Schutzpolizei) to be soldiers or that they were guarded by members of the German military.
Evelina Garland spent a week imprisoned in Dresden whilst in transit from Kirschau-Bautzen Forced Labour Camp to Leipzig-Kleinmeusdorf Women’s Prison, from 30 December 1944 till 6 January 1945. The delay in her transfer was probably due to transportation difficulties in the German Rail System due to allied bombing attacks. The precise location of her imprisonment remains unknown.
Dresden was severely bombed by the British Royal Air Force on the night of 13-14 February 1945 and between 18,000 and 25,000 people – mostly German civilians, but including foreign forced labourers and prisoners of war – were killed in the ensuing firestorm. The Gestapo headquarters at the former Continental Hotel was destroyed, along with its records. The remand prison at Münchner Platz was damaged and the remand prison on Mathildenstrasse was destroyed.
The Dresden Gestapo was responsible for the deportation and murder of nearly 1000 Jewish residents of the city. Dresden Gestapo member Martin Friedrich Beyerlein was sentenced to death at the 1950 Waldheim Trials for his role in various crimes against humanity and executed. Henry Schmidt, an SS-Obersturmführer, was able to avoid arrest in communist East Germany until he was finally convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987. A number of other former Dresden Gestapo members, such as Johannes Thümmler, were never brought to justice for their crimes against humanity.
There are memorials in Dresden at Münchner Platz and Mathildenstrasse for those persecuted and murdered there by the Nazi regime. The site of the former Dresden Gestapo headquarters is memorialised with a small steel number plate installed in the sidewalk, called a Mahndepot (‘memorial repository’), and the number can be linked online to a description of the former site of persecution.
The three Channel Islanders imprisoned in Dresden survived, but like most survivors, suffered from a variety of chronic physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress disorders for the rest of their lives.
 Variously erroneously called the Hotel Hörtsch (or Hotel Hörtzsch) in several other sources – the correct spelling is Hotel Höritzsch — but this hotel was next door at Bismarckstr. 14 and continued to operate as a hotel during the war. The 1939 Dresden address books confirm the address of the Gestapo as Bismarckstr. 16-18.
Carr, Gilly; Sanders, Paul; Willmot Louise: Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands: German Occupation, 1940-1945, Bloomsbury Academic, London & New York, 2014.
Adreßbuch Verlag der Dr. Güntzschen Stiftung (publisher): Adreßbuch der Landeshauptstadt Dresden, years 1932 to 1942, accessed via SLUB Dresden.
Faramus, A.: The Faramus Story, Digit Books, London, 1954.
Faramus, A.: Journey into Darkness: A true story of human endurance, Grafton Books, London, 1990.
International Tracing Service Arolsen, Catalogue of Camps and Prisons in Germany and German-occupied Territories, 1949-1951.
The National Archives (TNA), Foreign Office (FO) and War Office (WO)
TNA FO HNP/1381, HNP/1901 (Faramus)
TNA FO 950/1162 (Garland)
TNA FO 950/1185 (Marshall)