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4th December 1918: POW Camp Education Officially Recognised


On 4th December 1918 the German POWs in the Skipton camp received notification from the Prussian Ministry for Education and Cultural Affairs (via the Swiss Embassy) that permission had been granted to the qualified teachers in the camp to set oral and written examinations for their 16 ‘pupils’ (younger prisoners) who had been studying for their Abitur (German ‘A’ level equivalent) in the camp. Prisoner Willy Bibeljé describes the reaction in the camp:

“As everybody has worked with such diligence since the start of the course, an increase in effort was hardly considered possible so on receipt of this permission from the Ministry the studiousness of the pupils was taken to above its limit. From 6 o’clock in the morning (and getting up at such an early hour in the cold, dark, wooden barracks certainly required considerable willpower) until late in the evening when the bell signalled time for the evening roll-call, the young comrades worked enthusiastically and undaunted and with indefatigable diligence – they barely took any time out for meals. The teaching committee decided to increase the number of lessons to 47 per week.”

Kriegsgefangen in Skipton page 172, translated by Anne Buckley

'Studying hard' by Erich Dunkelgod