Section I.—Prisoners of war (Art. 214 to 224)
The repatriation of prisoners of war and interned civilians shall take place as soon as possible after the coming into force of the present Treaty and shall be carried out with the greatest rapidity.
The repatriation of German prisoners of war and interned civilians shall, in accordance with Article 214, be carried out by a Commission [Page 367]composed of representatives of the Allied and Associated Powers on the one part and of the German Government on the other part.
For each of the Allied and Associated Powers a Sub-Commission, composed exclusively of Representatives of the interested Power and of Delegates of the German Government, shall regulate the details of carrying into effect the repatriation of the prisoners of war.
From the time of their delivery into the hands of the German authorities the prisoners of war and interned civilians are to be returned without delay to their homes by the said authorities.
Those amongst them who before the war were habitually resident in territory occupied by the troops of the Allied and Associated Powers are likewise to be sent to their homes, subject to the consent and control of the military authorities of the Allied and Associated armies of occupation.
The whole cost of repatriation from the moment of starting shall be borne by the German Government who shall also provide the land and sea transport and staff considered necessary by the Commission referred to in Article 215.
Note to VI, 217
By article 8A(b) of the Finance Ministers’ Agreement of January 14, 1925 Germany was credited with the expenses of repatriation of prisoners of war, and the following gold-mark credits were made: France, 3,311.69; Great Britain, 29,884,758.81; Italy, 119,881.81; Belgium, 655,972.38; Serb-Croat-Slovene State, 110,445.74. Two claims by Rumania were submitted to arbitration under article 26 of the agreement of January 14, 1925. Walter P. Cooke, the arbitrator, decided that Rumania was entitled to a credit for repatriation under the armistice with Germany and before the entrance into force of the treaty of peace with Germany, but was not entitled to credit for repatriation in virtue of the treaty of Bucharest.
Prisoners of war and interned civilians awaiting disposal or undergoing sentence for offences against discipline shall be repatriated [Page 368]irrespective of the completion of their sentence or of the proceedings pending against them.
This stipulation shall not apply to prisoners of war and interned civilians punished for offences committed subsequent to May 1, 1919.
During the period pending their repatriation all prisoners of war and interned civilians shall remain subject to the existing regulations, more especially as regards work and discipline.
Prisoners of war and interned civilians who are awaiting disposal or undergoing sentence for offences other than those against discipline may be detained.
The German Government undertakes to admit to its territory without distinction all persons liable to repatriation.
Prisoners of war or other German nationals who do not desire to be repatriated may be excluded from repatriation; but the Allied and Associated Governments reserve to themselves the right either to repatriate them or to take them to a neutral country or to allow them to reside in their own territories.
The German Government undertakes not to institute any exceptional proceedings against these persons or their families nor to take any repressive or vexatious measures of any kind whatsoever against them on this account.
The Allied and Associated Governments reserve the right to make the repatriation of German prisoners of war or German nationals in their hands conditional upon the immediate notification and release by the German Government of any prisoners of war who are nationals of the Allied and Associated Powers and may still be in Germany.
- To give every facility to Commissions to enquire into the cases of those who cannot be traced; to furnish such Commissions with all necessary means of transport; to allow them access to camps, prisons, hospitals and all other places; and to place at their [Page 369]disposal all documents, whether public or private, which would facilitate their enquiries;
- To impose penalties upon any German officials or private persons who have concealed the presence of any nationals of any of the Allied and Associated Powers or have neglected to reveal the presence of any such after it had come to their knowledge.
Note to VI, 222
Germany was credited on reparation account with expenses entailed by these provisions.
Germany undertakes to restore without delay from the date of the coming into force of the present Treaty all articles, money, securities and documents which have belonged to nationals of the Allied and Associated Powers and which have been retained by the German authorities.
The High Contracting Parties waive reciprocally all repayment of sums due for the maintenance of prisoners of war in their respective territories.