The Gettysburg Compiler
July 8, 1944


Prisoners at the camp caused a minor "strike" on Wednesday and were placed on a "bread and water" diet. Quantities of food were taken to the Gettysburg Ice and Storage for preservation during the disturbance.

Captain Laurence Thomas, camp commander, declined to comment or make a statement this afternoon other than "everything is under control now and all the men are back at work."

When asked if the prisoners had been placed on a "bread and water" diet Captain Thomas said: "Now, you are putting me on the spot. All I can say is that everything is under control now and all the men are back at work."

The nature of the disturbance was not disclosed.


Thomas Kostaniak, 27, and Axel Ostermaler, 22, who once fought for Hitler, were captured, removed to this country and then transferred to a war prisoner' camp at the outskirts of Gettysburg are still at large after escaping from the camp stockade sometime after last Monday morning.

The object of a two-state manhunt under the direction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, assisted by State and local police, the two fugitives have eluded capture. No tangible clues as to their whereabouts have been uncovered or reported.

Escape Detection

As mysteriously as they have disappeared the two former German Army infantry sergeants have managed to escape detection despite the fact that they are unable to speak English and are wearing blue denims, shirt and pants, with the initials P W painted on the back of the shirts and the seat of the pants, unless they have been outfitted with other civilian attire.

Believed to be without money, or with a very small amount, the two young fugitives apparently are subsisting on the land. They may resort to stealing food although most police believe that they would not have much difficulty surviving on the fruit crop if they are within the area of orchards. Other garden vegetables are also available to them.

Discount Rumor

Not a trace as to the direction they took after leaping the wire fence surrounding their camp has been found. No one has reported that they actually saw the prisoners after they fled the stockade.

Camp officials had previously reported that the two men were in their bed at midnight Sunday, when a check of the prisoners was made by the camp guards.

A report that gained wide circulation in town today was to the effect that the prisoners had been shot and killed and that this information is being withheld by the police.

The rumor was discounted by the FBI office in Philadelphia from where the search is being directed. The FBI told the Gettysburg Times at noon today that there were no new developments in the case, and that the hunt was being relentlessly conducted over a wide area.

No New Developments

The FBI would not reveal the nature, if any, of any new clues received during the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, at the local camp, it was officially reported that guards had been increased about the stockade as well as on the trucks that carry the prisoners to and from canning plants in the county, where they are employed.

State police this morning investigated without success a report telephoned them Wednesday by Robert Deardorff of Orrtanna that a neighbor, Mrs. Clarence Mickley, had been asked for food by a youthful stranger dressed in blue whose speech could not be understood. He walked along the road leading to Knoxlyn, the report stated.