Suddenly, While Abroad
According to Christopher Ryan, it was a 'rule of the camp that no one could be allowed to rest, but must be kept on the move.' He thought it was a 'grim joke' on the part of the camp guards to make the prisoners run around the camp at night, when most of them could hardly stand. Each guard carried a length of weighted hose pipe. 'Prisoners were just slashed at random,' Ryan remembered, 'Sometimes, they used wires or whips - sometimes just their boots and fists.' There were also a number of Alsatian guard dogs, which could be set upon the prisoners. The SS personnel at Farge would sometimes amuse themselves by staging boxing matches between their captives: the winner would gain an extra ration of bread - and the starving men fought each other with a passion born of hunger and despair. At other times, one of the camp's Kommandants, Karl Walhorn, would arm himself with a hunting rifle. He would place a small piece of potato or turnip on a rubbish tip and then hide in one of the huts until a prisoner ran out to retrieve it - at which point he would open fire.
Kommadant Walhorn had joined the SS in Bremen in 1934. Two years later, he was transferred to the Totenkopfvebande — the Death's Head units in charge of concentration camps. He justified his setting of traps and shooting of prisoners by claiming that he 'had to make an example': 'There was a death penalty for those disobeying economic decrees in Germany', he told a military court, 'and I was told that I should pay for it with my head if all the potatoes were not accounted for.' He claimed that he was entitled to shoot 'because I had issued an order expressly forbidding potato stealing.