This website provides updates and material relating to the translation of the POW diary Kriegsgefangen in Skipton (POW in Skipton).
We are grateful for funding from the Cultural and Creative Industries Exchange, University of Leeds.
“The present book, which depicts the life of imprisoned German officers and soldiers in the English camp at Skipton (Yorkshire), was written during the time of our imprisonment in the camp and smuggled back to Germany with great difficulty on our return home. It has several objectives. For those dear comrades who shared many painful days far from home and behind barbed wire, and who now rejoice again in glorious freedom, it calls once more to remembrance that strange time with all its challenges and diverse experiences. It hopes to assist all those who wish for some insight into the life of German prisoners of war. Furthermore, it offers itself as a source for historical research into the war. We also keep in mind the families of our fallen comrades: through this book, they might come to know the community in which their loved ones spent their final days.” —From the introductory note (p. 1)
The diary was written towards the end of the First World War (1914-18), by a number of German officers who were being held as POWs in a camp at Raikeswood, Skipton (North Yorkshire). The text of the diary was taken back to Germany by the officers who returned there after the war, and it was published in 1920. As well as giving an account of life in the camp through anecdotes, pictures and poems, the diary bears witness to a rarely explored perspective on the war and its immediate aftermath as they are described through the eyes of the German POWs. A copy (in German) is held at Skipton Library and it is also available online here.
By translating the diary into English, we are hoping to provide a valuable resource for readers and researchers who do not speak German. It is an account of local, national and international history that still resonates with us today, and its style and content demonstrate the time and effort that went into its composition: we believe that the diary contains a story that can deepen our understanding of the impact of war.
All excerpts and translation reproduced on this website are within the boundaries of Fair Dealing on copyright. If you are the copyright holder for the German text or have any information on this issue, please get in touch using the Contact page of the website.