Imagine if this happened at every bridge during Market Garden.
Fun POW stories
Not far from our cottage currently is located were a number of POW camps during WW II.
Here is a fun one:
note the following:
Rapport among POW’s, the O&M employees and guards was generally amicable. If an issue arose the POW camp leader would present the problem to the O&M supervisor and the guards for a resolution. Both Hans Kaiser and Hans Lieberwirth recall the guards to be “easy going and very friendly.” This non-aggressive attitude displayed by the captives combined with the reality that the soldiers were “out of the war” and in the bush with few options for escape likely contributed to the docility of camp life. Mr. Kaiser also noted that the men he was with were not ardent Nazis or strong supporters of the Hitler regime. However, they retained their soldier identity and maintained internal discipline. Given the circumstances they were satisfied with their situation.
For the most part security did not appear to be an issue for the prisoners or for the authorities. In most cases there seemed to be a general rule that the German prisoners were free to roam as long as they stayed within a one mile radius of the camp! Drinking with camp officials and the guards was not unheard of, and illegal distilleries within POW cabins hidden underneath floor boards were known to exist. Friendly relations were also extended to other activities. Hans Luengen, interned at camp 61, remembers going duck hunting with the guards. The apparent trust between guards and prisoners was evident in a story retold by inmate Luengen when a POW had to go to the dentist in Kenora. “One time a guy had to go into Kenora to see the dentist. Two guards went with him and they got really drunk. The prisoner had to put their rifles on his shoulders and drag them back to the boat. He didn’t try to escape. None of us spoke English and there was nowhere to go.”
My dad tells of a similar story - a guard brought two POW’s into town to pick up supplies - flour and the like. While the POWs were loading up the sleds, the guard went to the local bar. The POWs waited for him, and finally tracked him to the bar and pretty much carried him the 5 miles back to the POW camp.
That’s awesome! Thanks for posting.
There’s a simlilar humor in the circumstances revolving around conditions for German POW’s during the Battle of Britain.
Germans were held in dorm like settings in most cases with bunk beds. They were aloud to put pro nazi propaganda and flags on their walls. They were given pool and card tables and treated very well. Though there was strict food rationing in England, they were still aloud as much jam for their toast as they wanted.
These prisoners of course, were almost all pilots. Escape attempts were extremely rare because what was one going to do? Swim the channel?
This however did not stop a few hilarious attempts by hard nosed national socialists. One attempt in particular involved a German pilot who punched out a guard and I believe assaulted another. He made it out of the camp and was promptly caught and put into solitary confinment. His confinment happened to occur over Christmas so the Brits sent him a VERY nice meal complete with a fine glass of wine or port to compliment it. They even had Santa Clause go down to visit and bring him presents!
I guess anything less would be uncivilized. I love it.
In a way, this reminds me of the WW2 vets last year that complained about the use of torture, and advocated “steak & chess.”