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POW Camps - Prisoners of War

POW Camps and Allied Prisoners of War - Stories, books and keepsakes.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Escape Stories, Internment camps, Nazi Guards, WWII Authors, Historians, German POW.

Five Improvised Gadgets That Helped Allied POWs Escape the Nazis
(1) Glow in the Dark Compasses: Maps were all well and good, but without a reliable compass they would be useless. An ingenious solution was soon found to overcome this problem. Compasses were manufactured consisting of a magnetized needle set on a cork swivel. A small speck of luminous paint from a broken watch face was glued to the tip of the needle to indicate north at night. That`s when the escapers would do most of their travelling to avoid German patrols. (4) Backpacks: With their army haversacks confiscated after capture, the escaping inmates of Oflag VI B needed to make their own backpacks to hold all the gear
(militaryhistorynow.com)

Incredible secret footage from inside a WWII prison camp
It is a tale of extraordinary ingenuity and cunning. Having been defeated in the Battle of France, 5,000 French officers were marched to Oflag 17a, a prisoner-of-war camp in Austria, in 1940. Once in the camp, a group of the officers started to make a secret documentary about their time in prison. Risking death, they recorded the 30-minute film on a secret camera built from parts that were smuggled into the camp in sausages. The prisoners had discovered that German soldiers would only check food sent in by cutting it down the middle. The parts were hidden in the ends.
(bbc.co.uk)

Conflict-Series: A highly rated strategy game series for Android
If you love classic PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, Invasion of Poland 1939, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, the Battle of Bulge, and the Battle of Berlin 1945. In addition there are American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War scenarios available.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store)

Nazi interrogator Hanns Scharff used kindness to lure POWs into disclosing military secrets
During the latter part of World War II lots of allied fliers got shot down over Nazi Germany. Many of the survivors - or terrorfliegers as they were termed by the Nazis - got rounded up and were dispatched to Luftwaffe`s interrogation unit at Dulag Luft POW Camp. After being marched into the camp, they were placed in solitary confinement and in spite of the provisions of the Geneva Convention, they anticipated rough handling. Aircrew who anticipated a Gestapo-style battering were in for a surprise when they encountered Obergefreiter Hanns Scharff.
(bbc.co.uk)

Footage: How French secretly filmed prison camp life in WWII
One of the most extraordinary episodes involving Allied prisoners was recently remembered in Paris. They had been defeated in the Battle of France and marched to the furthest reaches of the Reich. In 1940, Oflag 17a must have felt a bleak, unforgiving place for the 5,000 French officers who were now POW. There were 40 barracks, 20 each side of a central aisle. Escape seemed almost impossible. Almost.... and it is remarkable that we can see it. Through some extraordinary ingenuity the men filmed their efforts. Their rarely seen footage is called Sous Le Manteau (Clandestinely). It is in fact a 30-minute documentary, shot in secret by the prisoners themselves. Risking death, they recorded it on a secret camera built from parts that were smuggled into the camp in sausages.
(bbc.co.uk)

Alfie Fripp, thought to be the longest-serving British WWII POW, dies at 98
The man thought to be the longest-serving British prisoner of war during the Second World War has passed away at the age of 98. Alfie Fripp, who was held at 12 different PoW camps, perished in hospital in Bournemouth the PoW Association confirmed. Fripp spent almost all of WW" in captivity after his plane was shot down during a reconnaissance mission by the Luftwaffe in 1939. As well as spending time in Stalag Luft III, he was also on the Long March of 1945, when thousands of PoWs were forced to march in winter from the camp in Sagan - now Zagan in Poland - to Spremberg in eastern Germany.
(bbc.co.uk)

British World War II POW Eric Lomax forgave his Japanese torturer when they met
Eric Lomax, a British POW whose tale of wartime torture and forgiveness is being turned into a film, has passed away at the age of 93. Lomax was a British army officer when he was captured by Japanese forces as they overran Singapore in 1942. He endured horrific conditions and savage beatings as he was put to work building the infamous Burma to Thailand railway. Lomax endured years of suppressed rage at the torture he suffered at the hands of his Japanese captors, but when he tracked his interrogator down, it set the stage for a dramatic act of forgiveness that formed the heart of his celebrated 1996 memoir, The Railway Man.
(theaustralian.com.au)

Bomboo Cage - POW diary of flight lieutenant Robert Wyse 1942-1943 (PDF)
Bomboo Cage - POW diary of flight lieutenant Robert Wyse 1942-1943 (PDF).
(gooselane.com)

NZ bomber pilot Phil Lamason saved a large group of Allied airmen from death by getting a word of their execution to Luftwaffe
Phil Lamason, the New Zealand WWII bomber pilot who saved a large group of Allied airmen from death in the Buchenwald concentration camp, has died at 93. Lamason, a squadron leader, ranked as the senior officer among the 168 airmen marched into the camp in August 1944 and risked his own life to get word to the Luftwaffe, that the men were being held there illegally. The tough New Zealander learned the Gestapo had ordered the execution of the group and worked to smuggle out news of their incarceration. On October 19, 1944, Luftwaffe officers arrived at the camp gates and transferred the flyers to Sagan, a regular Prisoner of War camp.
(stuff.co.nz)

Emperors Irish Slaves: Prisoners of the Japanese in the Second World War by Robert Widders (book review)
Robert Widders tells the story of 650 Irish POWs forced to live and die in the most appalling conditions, in the "Emperor`s Irish Slaves". This is the first book to explore the fate of the 650 British Army-serving Irishmen and women in Japanese POW slave labour camps, mainly on the Burma railway in 1942. Widders explains that the Imperial Army was so brutal because: "The Japanese army trained recruits by a methodology based on fear and brutality. Any mistake, no matter how minor, was punished by beatings with a fist or bamboo stick. It was a system based on blind, unquestioning obedience and terror. Given that this was the norm within the army, it was inevitable that similar disciplinary codes should have been imposed on its prisoners."
(independent.ie)

Charles Heffron lived through 1,278 days as a Japanese POW after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor
Charles Heffron lived through 1,278 days as a Japanese prisoner of war after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor, where he was assigned to Gen. Douglas MacArthur`s staff and was present when the general left the Philippines ahead of the defeat of the important islands. Although he was not on the Bataan Death March in 1942, Heffron suffered through a longer march from Corregidor one month after the fall of Bataan. He endured the Hell Ships, lived through working in a steel mill and then walked out to freedom through the atomic-bombed wrecked city of Nagasaki in 1945.
(knoxnews.com)

British WWII POW stitched hidden anti-Hitler message into Nazi quilt
British POW Major Alexis Casdagli stitched up his German captors after they unwittingly displayed his coded needlework containing the message `God Save the King` and `F**k Hitler` in prison camps where he was held captive.
(telegraph.co.uk)

British WWII POW`s 1940 diary released on Twitter
The wartime diary of Private Ross Taylor, a British prisoner of war whose daily jottings never exceeded 140 characters, is to be broadcast on Twitter (twitter.com/driverross).
(telegraph.co.uk)

£500k grant saves WWII POW camp used for German POWs from collapse in Durham
A WWII POW camp is to undergo £500,000 worth of repairs after an emergency donation from English Heritage. Harperley in Durham, which was built to house captured Italian and German prisoners, needs urgent work after it was hit by last year`s sharp winter. The sheds, many of them with corrugated rooftops and asbestos panelling, were supposed to be temporary buildings when they were put up in 1943. However, it has scheduled monument status which means it is nationally important. It is the only camp in the country to have the classification.
(dailymail.co.uk)

WWII submariner Kenneth Schacht survived scuttling and 3 years in Japanese POW camps
On Feb. 25, 1942, a submarine - the Perch - surfaced to attack a Japanese freighter, but the freighter fired first with its deck gun, damaging the sub`s conning tower. Four days later, while running at the surface at night in the Java Sea, a Japanese destroyer fired at the Perch. "We had to limp away, hopefully to some shallow water area where we could stay barely submerged during the day. We could surface at night and work on the damage. That was the thinking." Later, Japanese ships saw the Perch low in the water, unable to dive and unable to defend itself. With no other choice, the crew sank classified material in weighted bags and jumped into the water to await an uncertain future. The Perch was one of 52 U.S. subs lost in the war. Japans took POWs from seven of them.
(thenewstribune.com)

Bill Moule recalls how his entire family ended up - and survived - in WWII Japanese concentration camp
Bill Moule`s father replanted his family from Grass Valley to a mining operation in the Philippines in 1940, just as war clouds were building in Asia. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines on Dec. 8, 1941, the family would start an 18-month cat-and-mouse game with the Japanese Imperial Army in the mountains. It lasted until malaria took its toll on their health and they were captured. The family spent the next 18 months under Japanese guard – either behind barbed wire at a compound near the mountain city of Baguio or, later, in a converted Manila prison.
(auburnjournal.com)

GI POW camps in photographs
GI prisoner-of-war camps in photographs.
(nationalgeographic.com)

Sketches of life inside Japanese WWII PoW camp discovered in a shoe box
Amazing drawings of British soldiers in brutal Japanese POW camps have turned up on TV`s Antiques Roadshow. The lost sketches showing the appalling conditions the men endured were drawn by artist soldier John Mennie who gave them to fellow PoW Eric Jennings, who never spoke about his wartime experiences and his family were stunned when they found the sketches stashed away in a shoe box after his death.
(dailymail.co.uk)

University of Barbed Wire: How British POWs studied for degrees and trained to be doctors in WWII captivity
Ever since WWII ended, the word POW has been synonymous with escape. But in reality the majority of prisoners were concerned with day-to-day survival. Now "The Barbed-Wire University: The Real Lives Of Prisoners Of War In The Second World War" - a book written by Midge Gillies - pays tribute to the determination that kept POWs going year after year. Up to 200,000 British, Commonwealth and Empire men were taken prisoner in Europe, with 90,000 Allied POWs held in Japan. Most were in the prime of life, with promising careers, when they were captured. They applied their skills in captivity, setting up universities, performing theatrical pieces, devising life-saving medical gadgets, learning new languages, sitting exams and making lasting friendships that crossed class divides and nationalities.
(dailymail.co.uk)

In Hitler`s Hand: Special and Honoured Prisoners of the SS by Volker Koop (Book review)
A new book - In Hitler`s Hand: Special and Honoured Prisoners of the SS` by historian Volker Koop - reveals the secret SS luxury jails that became home for prominent prisoners. While most enemies of the Third Reich suffered in Gestapo cellars and in crowded concentration camp barracks, there were hundreds of important inmates - diplomats, state representatives, industrialists, manufacturers, and aristocrats - who enjoyed champagne, whisky, cigarettes, chocolates and books.
(sify.com)

Louis Zamperini crashed, spent 47 days on life raft, killed shark with screwdriver and was tortured during WWII
Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a promising runner, who in 1940 was closing in on a world record in the mile when the WWII began. Instead of the 1940 Olympic Games in Tokyo he ended up in the U.S. Army Air Corps. On May 27, 1943 his plane crashed in the open ocean near the equator. After living on a life raft for 47 days, during which Zamperini killed a shark with with a screwdriver, the crew ended up in a Japanese POW camp near Tokyo, where they were tortured relentlessly.
(time.com)

Adapt or Die by JD Merritt -- 3½ years as a WWII POW in the hands of the Japanese
JD Merritt, who avoided the Bataan Death March because he fell into a coma in the Battle of Bataan, recalls life in the POW camps: "Most of the people being killed by the Japanese couldn`t understand the commands they were being given. It was pure gibberish."
(cape-coral-daily-breeze.com)

Documentary film "Colditz - The Legend" provides personal take on the WWII prison camp
The story of Colditz, the legendary Nazi POW camp is about to be re-told through the eyes of the survivors in a documentary film made for the Yesterday TV channel. The film, "Colditz - The Legend," offers a fresh perspective and personal view on the World War II prison camp from which no one was meant to escape. It will reveal what motivated, scared, and inspired the officers in Colditz (officially known as Oflag IV-C), and how they coped with daily life. The Germans` plan was to confine all the serial escapees of officer class, but doing so they created an elite academy for escapology.
(tvthrong.co.uk)

Captain Pat Reid sent coded "love letters" from Colditz to a string of girlfriends to pass the messages on to MI9
A British officer held at the Colditz POW camp passed information to MI9 using a clever code he created to write love letters to a string of girlfriends. When Captain Pat Reid, an Army officer and engineer, got sent to Colditz as a WWII POW he continued writing the letters. His fellow POWs, Dick Howe and Rupert Barry, realized that they could communicate with London. Pat and other POWs wrote coded letters to their partners, who passed the messages on to MI9. Brian Degas, Pat`s friend, explained: "Code was based on the frequency of numbers in different words... I could never work it out and nor could a maths professor."
(telegraph.co.uk)

World War II U.S. POWs visit Japan as guests of the Japanese government for the first time
6 American WWII POWs who were held captive by the Japanese Imperial Army travelled to Japan at the Tokyo government`s invitation for the first time - a significant move encouraging postwar reconciliation between the countries. "It will be an interesting trip, in terms of we are going truly as guests of the Japanese government," explained Lester Tenney, a survivor of the 1942 Bataan Death March and former national commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor. After the Bataan Death march Tenney was moved to Japan and used as slave labor by trading company Mitsui & Co. for the next 3 years.
(wsj.com)

Beheadings, starvation, building the Death Railway... WWII POWs in Asia
"Some of the other POWs tried to escape but they were caught. Their heads were chopped off in front of us." Syd Tavender still has nightmares about his time as a Japanese WWII POW. He was captured in 1942 while fighting with the Gurkha regiment at the Battle of Slim River. He was sent to the Pudu Prison in Kuala Lumpur before ending up as one of the 61,000 Allied PoWs and 270,000 Asian labourers building the "Death Railway" connecting Thailand to Burma. "The Allied forces parachuted in to come and get us... 3-4 days after the final surrender... every bone in my body was visible."
(bbc.co.uk)

Unseen cartoons depicting day-to-day life in WWII PoW camp Stalag Luft III (pics)
These previously unseen cartoons reveal day-to-day life in the POW camp made famous by the World War II film "The Great Escape". They were drawn in 1944 by an American air force serviceman held in "escape proof" Stalag Luft III - forming part of a war time log compiled just weeks after 50 allied POWs were executed - on the orders of Nazi dictator Hitler - for staging the breakout. The pencil and crayon drawings along with pages of poetry were created by 2nd Lt John M Bridges. The journal was acquired by a WW2 Polish navigator after the war ended and was found during a house clearance in UK.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Man denied $25,000 POW compensation because he escaped from POW camp to warn of the enemy advance
Australian Fred Collett escaped from a World War II PoW camp in Greece to the island of Crete in April 1941 to warn fellow soldiers of the enemy advance. The Department of Veterans` Affairs denied Collett`s claim for a one-off $25,000 payment for being a PoW in Europe because he escaped - which was his military duty under the law of the time. Now he gets nothing for his wartime heroics, while men who surrendered and spent the rest of the war in a PoW camp are all eligible for the money.
(news.com.au)

British WWII POW recalls the River Kwai: Escaped man had his head cut off with samurai sword
For 60 years Alistair Urquhart, a WWII POW, has been silent about the horrors he endured at the hands of the Japanese army. This extract from his autobiography - The Forgotten Highlander - covers the Death Railway. --- "No man was more sadistic than the Japanese camp commandant Lieutenant Usuki - the Black Prince. ... I was unaware that anyone had escaped until... a sorry-looking chap was dragged before us. The interpreter told us: `This man very bad. He try to escape. No gooda.` Two guards... made him kneel. The Black Prince strode forward and unsheathed his samurai sword. Then he raised his sword..."
(dailymail.co.uk)

Germany puts names of 700,000 captured Soviet POWs online
German authorities put online the names of 700,000 captured Soviet soldiers, most of whom perished in Nazi POW camps. The lists had previously been kept by German authorities who help people in former Soviet nations to discover how their ancestors died. "Now people will be able to do the research all by themselves," said Klaus-Dieter Mueller, of the State of Saxony Memorials Foundation in Dresden, which manages several state-run concentration-camp memorials that document Nazi crimes. The twin websites, dokst.de and dokst.ru, contain the list of men in German and in Russian.
(timeslive.co.za)

British MI9 told POW to stay in camps after Italy surrendered - only for them to be seized by Germans
A mistake by British military intelligence allowed the Nazis to seize 50,000 Allied POWs from the Italians during World War II and sent them to camps in Nazi Germany where thousands died. Evidence reveals that MI9, a top-secret branch of the Ministry of Defence, ordered British POWs in Italy to remain in their camps after Italy surrendered. The order, issued in June 1943 as Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery was planning the invasion of Italy, and revealed in a book, "Where the Hell Have You Been?" by Tom Carver, was transmitted in code by a BBC broadcast. In some camps, British officers set up their own guards to prevent the men from leaving.
(guardian.co.uk)

For sale: World War II POW camp used as a historical tourist attraction
The owners of Harperley PoW camp are selling it online after running out of money while attempting to turn the piece of World War II history into a visitor and education centre. James and Lisa Mcleod, who have run the 17-acre property as a historical tourist attraction since 2004, have spent 1m pounds on turning their dream into reality before admitting defeat. The camp housed Italian POWs who originally slept in tents. But in the 1940s huts were built by Italian PoWs who stayed there until September 1944 when 900 German POWs were transported to the camp. Among the POWs was Bert Trautmann, who became a professional footballer for Manchester City after the war.
(dailymail.co.uk)

British World War II POWs forced to extract gold from corpses of Jews
British WW2 POWs were forced to dig up the corpses of Jews and take the gold from their bodies, reveals a new first-hand account. In spite of objecting to the practice, Nazi guards forced POWs to comply, said James Wicketts, who was held in Stalag XXIB in Schubin. "Prisoners were initially made to sleep in the open... Later ... on wooden bunks in barracks infested with rats. The only thing we had to eat were dirty boiled potatoes. One of the tasks... was the digging up of graves in a Jewish cemetery and taking the gold from the corpses." The task echoes that given to the Sonderkommando: extracting gold fillings from the bodies of Jews killed in the gas chambers.
(telegraph.co.uk)

Mysteries of Colditz Castle revealed as archives of Allied POWs go online
Willing to fight for their country, they instead spent much of WWII behind barbed wire. But the 100,000 British POWs in Nazi Germany still kept huge numbers of enemy troops occupied with their escape attempts. Now the German records of all the captured Britons are available online for those researching their ancestors. The most infamous of the Nazi PoW camps was Colditz Castle (Oflag IV-C), used to house Allied soldiers who had already escaped from other camps. Almost professional escapers, many of these men dedicated all their time to finding ways to outsmart the Nazi guards. Schemes included making German uniforms or gliders.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Sought-after: Huddersfield RAF men who created secret POW newspaper in Stalag Luft VI
Historian John Reid is asking people to help him track down RAF POWs who produced a secret newspaper. He is seeking details of 10 Huddersfield men who were in the German POW camp Stalag Luft VI during WW2. Along with 290 other Yorkshire POWs, they put out a newspaper in 1944. Reid said: "The 84 pages contained news of life in Stalag Luft VI plus many very fine drawings, caricatures, poems and cartoons. I`m keen to obtain photographs, documents and letters that I could copy and place in an album." He would like to talk to any of the 10 men: T.J. Brook, E. Booth, P. Blackburn, A.P. Holdsworth, B. Harker, A. Makin, G.D. Morton, A. Parfitt, D. Sykes, W. H. Whitwam.
(examiner.co.uk)

Thomas E. Grove recalls facing German Panther tank, POW time
It was Jan. 5, 1945, and Pvt. Thomas E. Grove watched in horror as the German Panther tank raised its long 88-mm cannon toward him. He was manning a 30-caliber machine gun in the second-story window of a brick house. It was the third house he had retreated to during the Battle of the Bulge. He prepared himself: "Death was inevitable... Shooting that tank with a 30 would be like throwing rubber balls at it." The shell from the Panther tank went through the wall below him, wounding or killing most of the platoon. Outside, there was a cacophony of small-arms fire as the rest of the men from Company D, 345th Regiment, 87th U.S. Infantry Division, were encircled.
(thestate.com)

Two World War II POWs recall two very different experiences
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Ben Trimboli was one of the first American paratroopers into Normandy, crash-landing in a glider. "I unbuckled because I knew we were making a nosedive, and I landed on top of the pilot and co-pilot, who were dead." Ben, of the 82nd Airborne Division, fought the Nazis foxhole to foxhole, but June 9 his luck ran out. "I got hit with a hand grenade. I saw my leg go up in the air..." Wounded G.I.`s were put in a shelter together with wounded German soldiers. "French girls were feeding... They wanted to feed us first, but we told them: `No, we are the prisoners, feed the other German soldiers that are wounded.` Germans treated us all right."
(msnbc.msn.com)

Collecting pieces of a secret POW camp in America - one veteran at a time
Recently National Park Service employees encountered a largely untold piece of American history. It involves a secret World War II interrogation camp at Fort Hunt, where thousands of top Nazi POWs were interrogated. Soldiers at the site also prepared special "care packages" (including maps, radios and other escape tools) for American POWs that they sent overseas. The National Park Service has been piecing together the story of the facility code-named P.O. Box 1142. On June 16, Brandon Bies interviewed Elvin Polesky as part of the Fort Hunt oral history project, hoping he can fill an important gap in the story - Were some of the POWs Underground?
(npr.org)

Japanese try to id British POWs in secret photos
The grainy pics show POWs in 1944 in Yoshima Camp, which was attached to a coal mine in Fukushima Prefecture. Others are of wooden prison blocks and groups of soldiers captured in the Far East, with some dated after Tokyo declared its surrender. "Who took the photos is a mystery, but they were kept by the daughter of Neuchi Giichi, who worked as a translator of the camp. We went to the site of the camp in July as part of our research and, by chance, were introduced to Hiroko Kobayashi, the daughter of Mr Giichi... all the official records were destroyed before the Allies arrived," explained Yoshiko Tamura, a member of the Prisoners of War Research Network Japan.
(telegraph.co.uk)

Douggie Moir assisted in the assembly of the glider in the attic of the Colditz castle
Lieutenant-Colonel Douggie Moir, who died aged 89, was taken POW in 1940 and made a series of escape attempts from Nazi PoW camps. He was commissioned into the Royal Tank Corps, later the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR), and was a troop leader in 3RTR, part of 30th Infantry Brigade, during the rearguard action to hold Calais, where he was caught. Moir`s escape attempts caused his transfer to Oflag IVC at Colditz. There he perfected his skills as a lock-picker and aided in the assembly of the famous glider in the attic of the castle, a daring venture which the arrival of the Americans in April 1945 made redundant.
(telegraph)

World War II POW Vic Morris faced Japanese sword
Vic Morris signed on with the Army Air Corps in June 1940 because he knew war was coming. By enlisting, he expected to stay out of the shooting by learning to be an aircraft mechanic. Good plan, but his experience as a mechanic led him to become a flight engineer on a B-29. On May 24, 1945 he found himself jumping out of a burning B-29 during a raid over Tokyo. Townspeople, not too happy with the B-29 firebombing raids, cut Morris down from his parachute and began beating him until Japanese military police arrived on motorcycles. One pulled out a sword and pushed it against Morris chest.
(bnd.com)

Joe Kerns - American WWII POWs escaped from Soviet Union
Joe Kerns, a gunner aboard a B-24 Liberator, is fighting to make sure people remember his WWII story. His B-24 was bombing a Japanese-controlled island when the plane had to land in Russia. The Russians took Kerns and 50 other troops to the Russian mainland, where they crossed Siberia, sometimes forced to march on foot. In 1944, Russian officials set up an escape for the American troops. In U.S. they were told to keep quiet because their imprisonment never officially took place. It took 45 years to recognize the troops as POWs. "It was a big secret. There was no public... records of our existence by the U.S. military or the Russians."
(azstarnet)

Nowell Peach: I studied surgery as a Japanese PoW
Nowell Peach has a special memento of his World War II years: a copy of Gray`s Anatomy, the legendary medical textbook which has its 150th anniversary this year, which was at his fingertips throughout the 3 years he was a Japanese POW. A beginning surgeon, he was allowed to keep a copy of the book throughout his captivity - and he spent all the time that to study it from cover to cover. "The Japanese allowed me to keep it with my notebooks... They put an official stamp inside saying I was allowed to keep it." He knew the material so well by the time he was freed that he sailed through his surgical exams first time.
(bbc)

Long Hard Road: American POWs During World War II
"Long Hard Road: American POWs During World War II", by history professor Thomas Saylor, is a story symbolizing the over 110,000 Americans who were taken prisoner by German, Italian or Japanese forces. The book is made up of individual recollections of almost 100 former POWs. Each tale is different, because of the different experiences in the various camps throughout the 3 countries. Another was the difference in handling by the older soldiers in Nazi Germany, who rarely resorted to violence against prisoners. This was in contrast to younger soldiers who had been raised under the Hitler Youth program, which taught lack of respect for people and for life.
(newsok)

Artist`s World War II diary goes on display for first time
The Second World War diary of artist Robert Buckham, including illustrations he made of his experiences as a WWII POW, is featured in an exhibition at the West Vancouver Museum. He was shot down over Nazi Germany during a bombing sortie on April 8, 1943. He was captured and imprisoned in at the Stalag Luft III camp in Sagan. He recorded his PoW experiences in a diary and drawings that he managed to conceal in milk cans. "Behind the Wire: the Wartime Diary and Art of Robert Buckham" runs Nov. 7 to Feb. 9.
(ctv)

British submarine Turbulent killed 300 prisoners of war   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Memories of being a trapped POW in a torpedoed ship will flood back into Bob Roger`s mind. 65 years ago his trip from Bengazi to Brindisi was interrupted by a loud bang. What followed was a fight to escape the Italian cargo ship Nino Bixio. A British sub Turbulent, under the command of Lieutenant Tubby Linton, hit it with 2 torpedoes. The submarine`s actions were accepted as a wartime tragedy. Rogers said the official explanation was that those in charge thought there were only Italian troops on board. But research had proved this to be wrong: "All ships sailing from Africa to Italy were known to be carrying POWs and that Empire soldiers would be part of them."
(stuff)

Drawing kept World War II prisoner sane
The last time Luba Estes was in Japan she wept. She was flooded by memories of WWII. Estes`s father was a POW in a Japanese camp located in Hong Kong. "We went to see him every day, but we couldn`t act like we knew him. We would walk by the chain-link fence, just to have a glimpse of him." In "painful irony," Colonel Isawa Takanaga, head Japanese commander of the POW camps in Hong Kong, chose Estes` family`s home as his residence. ...She peeked out the window and saw 3 Chinese men piled on top of each other. They were being bayoneted by Japanese soldiers. She watched as the soldiers stabbed the men over and over again.
(staugustine)

Stalag 17-B : Brief meeting with field marshal Erwin Rommel   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Jack Petersen`s B-17 encountered mechanical trouble over France. "We kept falling behind the other planes." Then came another problem: On their first pass, the ME-109 fighters killed the bombardier and co-pilot and wounded Petersen, hit in the leg and hip by bullets... In the prison hospital, they had a visitor, the famed German field marshal Erwin Rommel. "We heard people saying that Rommel was coming, and we were saying, `Who the hell is Rommel?`" The field marshal paused at Petersen`s bed. "He peeled the sheet off me and in German he asked someone what had happened to me. He was told I had been shot in the butt. He laughed, said `Heil, Hitler` and walked out."
(presstelegram)

A group to to buy WWII camp which housed Nazi prisoners
A group of villagers in Perthshire has launched an attempt to buy a former World War II camp which once housed notorious Nazi prisoners. The community in Comrie is putting together a bid to buy the Cultybraggan camp from the Ministry of Defence. The maximum security facility, which opened in 1939, held up to 4,000 Nazi prisoners during World War 2, including SS troops. Its high-profile prisoners included Hitler`s deputy Rudolph Hess, who was held there for one night after he crash landed his plane in Scotland.
(bbc)

Last WWII prisoner from Russia arrives back to Germany
On Sept 5, a train left Vladivostok - onboard was the last prisoner of WWII. Ursula Rosmaye was captured by Soviet troops in Soviet-occupied territory in East Germany 60 years ago. Since then she has been a prisoner. When the WW2 ended, Hiddensee Island was occupied by Soviet forces. One day, while clearing ruins, Ursula was picked up by a Soviet patrol. She became a servant of the Soviet garrison headquarters. One day, she was brought to a command officer who beat her with a belt and forced her to admit that she was a Russian. She repeatedly refused citizenship and tried to escape several times.
(pd)

How Friendship Helped Scots WWII PoWs make it
Two soldiers who worked in a Nazi salt mine more than 60 years ago have been reunited. Roddy Macpherson and Alex Morgan had not seen each other since the end of World War II. Like other prisoners of war, Alex and Roddy endured appalling conditions in the mine. They sweated through 12 hours of hard labour every day, with just one loaf of bread every four days. And as he hugged his old pal, Roddy said it was their friendship that helped them survive life at the notorious Stalag IXC camp. They never met on the battlefield but they were part of the heroic 152 Brigade whose task was to delay the German advance while troops retreated from Dunkirk.
(dailyrecord)

WWII prison camp run by Japanese Imperial Army
John Redl, member of U.S. Army`s 59th Coast Artillery, was witness to the horrors of World War II. All his family heard from him for 3 years was one postcard, from the Japanese Imperial Army, that he was being held as a prisoner of war. All he could add to the postcard was his signature, and whether he was in "excellent, good, fair or poor condition." He underlined "good." The truth was that he`d lost 90 pounds. "They took everything away from us. If you had a ring on and couldn`t take it off, they`d cut the ring off, cut the finger off. We lost quite a few out there in camp. Most of them just gave up living and died."
(wcfcourier)

PoW who improvised camera to snap photos of marines
Terence Sumner Kirk, a former World War II prisoner of war who built a pinhole camera from cardboard scraps and used smuggled-in photo supplies to snap photographs of fellow malnourished Marines, has died. He built the camera, although he could have been killed if Japanese soldiers found out, because he wanted to document the horrors the POWs endured during his four years in captivity. Kirk kept his secret for 38 years after signing a document with the War Department prohibiting prisoners held by the Japanese from telling their stories without government permission.
(ap)

POWs sealed into a ship as it sank off Shanghai
The cruel deaths of hundreds of British POWs, captured in Hong Kong and sealed by Japanese jailers into a ship as it sank off Shanghai, is told in a book about the forgotten WWII incident. Some six decades after one of Britain`s worst maritime tragedies, Etiemble is still alive to tell the tale of the Lisbon Maru, he can recall the cries of his comrades moments before the ship slipped beneath the waves on. "Down in the hold there was an Irish gunner and I heard him shout out `Give them a song, lads` and they started singing out `It`s a Long Way to Tipperary`. That was the end of them. 200 died in that hold."
(dofundodomar)

Adolf Hitler`s British Slaves - Slavery under the Third Reich
The Third Reich was not famous for following the rules, but what is not widely known is that under Geneva Convention Article 27 all able-bodied POWs below the rank of corporal were obliged to work. And boy did they work: in farms, factories, mines - and clearing bombsites under horrible conditions. That was the fate of 200,000 Commonwealth men captured between the defeat of the British Expeditionary Force and the war`s end. George Marsden of the Duke of Wellington`s Regiment: "A slave is someone who is made to work under threat to his life. We were given a bowl of soup and bread made from sawdust. It you didn`t do as you were told you were shot."
(examiner)

New Book Details Nazi Treatment of POWs in WWII
The mayor of Cheboygan says a lot has been written about the Holocaust, but little about the inhumane treatment of World War Two prisoners of war. James Muschell was a prisoner at a Nazi slave labor camp and has written a book about his experiences. It`s called "From Bloody Herrlisheim to a Slave Labor Camp" and gives a first-person account of Muschell`s captivity. Muschell says prisoners endured torture and inhumane conditions, and some men starved or were worked to death.
(archives.record-eagle.com)

Archives reveal the suffering of British World War II PoWs
The handwritten accounts of more than 80,000 POWs including Sir Douglas Bader, Donald Pleasence and Ronald Searle, are to be made public for the first time. The accounts, which were given to British intelligence by the servicemen shortly after they were liberated at the end of the WWII, provide an often harrowing insight into life in some of the most infamous PoW camps, including Colditz. Some contain descriptions of torture, escape attempts and acts of sabotage as well as the names of those suspected of collaborating with the enemy.
(telegraph.co.uk)


See also:
Escape Stories
Internment camps
Nazi Guards
WWII Authors, Historians
German POW.