Excerpts

Like any soldiers in a POW camp, those interned in the Skipton had an ambivalent relationship with the locals of the nearby town. ‘Außer Schloß und Kirche sahen wir nicht viel von Skipton. Einige mächtige Schornsteine erhoben sich weiter rechts, nach dem Villenviertel zu, und dazwischen schauten wir auf einige...

A turn in the season marked a shift in confidence for the German officers imprisoned at Skipton, who began to feel apprehensive about the outcome of the war. ‚Als nach Wochen der Sommer seinen Höhepunkt erreicht hatte und die grünen Buchenblätter unseres kleinen Wäldchens fahl wurden, da geschah etwas ganz...

As the start of term approaches for schools and universities, here’s an insight into the intellectual activities of the Skipton POWs: “Der Fleiß war groß, die geistige Tätigkeit rege im Lager Skipton. Eine große Zahl jüngerer Kameraden, die der Krieg aus den Klassen der höheren Lehranstalten, aus den Hörsälen der...

As Proms season continues, the diary shows that the period from July to September was one of increased music-making in the camp: “Noch war die Auswahl der vorzutragenden Musikwerke dem technischen Können der immerhin recht begrenzten Gesamtzahl der Spieler anzupassen. Das Orchester bestand aus 8 Violinen, 2 Bratschen, 1 Cello,...

The POWs at Raikeswood often had the opportunity to make and hear music.  Here, the authors of the diary have the opportunity to compare the musical abilities of the Germans and the English. “Jubelnd erklangen in der Frühe des 1. Mai die Stimmen unserer braven Sänger über das noch stille...

Following the Armistice, the prisoners in Raikeswood Camp were eager to return to Germany and felt increasing frustration as their imprisonment continued.  The following is an extract from a letter written by the prisoners to the Swiss Embassy, responsible for the welfare of German prisoners of war during and after...

The prisoners did try to escape the camp, and one attempt is described in detail. Just the opening of the story, starting on a normal summer evening, is given here… „Ein Sommerabend bricht herein. Ein lauter Pfiff erklingt zum Zeichen, daß der Sportplatz geschlossen wird und ihn daher alle Prisonöre...

The officers held in Raikeswood Camp were educated men, and often reflected in philosophical terms on their experiences of war and imprisonment. As we look back today to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, the German POWs also looked to the Napoleonic Wars for a different perspective...

The beginning of June 1918 brought stricter conditions for the officers in Raikeswood camp, as a reaction against the reported poor treatment of British officers in German prisoner-of-war camps.  One anecdote reflects the effect of this on the mood in the camp: “Druck erzeugt Gegendruck. Kampffreudige Stimmung schlich durchs Lager....

This week’s extract is taken from a section of the diary that describes how the imprisoned officers built a den for themselves in the corner of a barrack, using unusual building materials… “Als Bindemittel oder Mörtel sollte Porridge verwandt werden. Porridge klebt, leimt, kittet alles. Porridge verwandelt die unglaublichsten Rohstoffe...