German Prisoners of the Great War by Anne Buckley

I had no idea that there were POW camps in Britain. I knew that there were some POWs here, but not that barracks were built for this purpose. Obviously I was very curious to read German Prisoners of the Great War by Anne Buckley*. It is the first English translation of German accounts of life in a POW camp. They were held in Skipton, Yorkshire, during WWI. I’ve been to Skipton a few times, which made me even more curious to read the book.

German Prisoners of the Great War by Anne Buckley

Their account was published in Munich in 1920 and was written by German officers during their stay at the camp, smuggling back to Germany the papers and the illustrations. As one can easily imagine, reading about their experience in their own words is fascinating. The book starts with a great introduction on the history of the camp and tells what happened to a few of the German soldiers held in the camp.

In the book, the prisoners talk about everything, from food to reading and study, entertaining and their efforts to keep up informed with what happened at the front. Their daily routines are dotted with drawings and cartoons and lengthy explanations.

One thing I struggled with, something I did not even think about, was how they were portraying themselves and how “nasty” [my word] were the English [then, like today, many on the continent refer to the whole of Britain as England]. It was enraging, without any exaggeration, when they [as a people] were the ones attacking, by entering a neutral country, a few years before these accounts were written. Also, 20 years after these accounts were published, the Germans, which supposedly were fair in their own words, killed between 2 and 3 million Russians taken as POW. Reading so many books about the Holocaust made me less inclined to feel sorry for people who missed reading a German newspaper and were complaining their diet did not include enough meat.

German Prisoners of the Great War by Anne Buckley

Details about the picture: –
My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: Pen and Sword Military
Year it was published: 2021
Format: Hardcover
Genre(s): History – 20th Century
Pages: 352

About the author: Anne Buckley is a lecturer in German and Translation Studies in the German Department at the University of Leeds. In addition to her research work on the experiences of German prisoners of war in the UK during the First World War and the legacy of their captivity, she worked with the Craven and the First World War Heritage Lottery Funded project which aimed to build a greater understanding of life in Craven during the First World War through public engagement activities.
Website & Social Media Links: Pen and Sword

*I was sent a copy of German Prisoners of the Great War by Anne Buckley for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.



4 thoughts on “German Prisoners of the Great War by Anne Buckley”

    • It’s quite fascinating to see that in a generation or two so much information can be lost. If you would like to know more about camp life, I recommend the book, I’ve enjoyed it a lot.

  • I admire how varied and versatile your reading list is, but this book is not for me. I have read enough books and memoirs about GULAG, so wouldn’t choose to read about a POW camp, even if it is a fascinating account. Is it part of your curriculum this term?

    • Aww, their situation is as far as it can be from the GULAG. In most of the book they are moaning for not having new books or eating horse meat instead of beef. They would have liked more food, but they weren’t starving or anything. I think this book is very interesting because if offers such a different view when compared to the camps we know from WWII.

      I will write an essay about WWI, but it was not recommended by the tutor. It was published earlier this month and I got a review copy from a publisher I worked with for some time. Their books are so interesting and varied.

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