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War Surgery and Medicine

Salonika Transit Camp Hospital

Salonika Transit Camp Hospital

At Salonika, the most northern port of Greece, there was a transit camp for prisoners of war on their way to Germany. Conditions at the camp were deplorable in every way. In a period of six months some 30,000 prisoners of war were passed through the camp. At a hospital staffed by five British medical officers and thirty orderlies, including some New Zealanders, there were three thousand patients of all nationalities during the period. Seventy-nine of them died. Sickness included malaria, sandfly fever, pneumonia, bronchitis, diphtheria, jaundice, beriberi, nephritis, enteritis, typhoid, typhus, and poliomyelitis. Most of the surgical cases were sent to a Greek hospital under control of the Germans. At one time there were over 800 patients in the transit camp hospital, including ‘through’ patients from Kokkinia and other hospitals. Many of these patients were taken on to Germany, in a journey lasting up to eleven days, in cattle trucks, with straw for a bed and no blankets, very little food, and no medical attention.