From 1943 to the end of 1944, the prisoners of Stalag 344 at Lamsdorf produced a regular camp newspaper called 'The Clarion'. It is fascinating reading, and gives a real insight into what life was like for these prisoners. Some had been there since the start of the war (and would be there until the end), and rather than let themselves sink into apathy they got on with life as best they could, with sports, education and many other activities. That doesn't take away from the terrible hardships they faced daily, not the least being constant hunger. The autumn edition of The Clarion from exactly 70 years ago had this report about an Arts and Crafts Exhibition they organised - with 750 entries! Whatever happened to all those pieces of artwork? Especially the chessboard and pieces made out of toothbrush handles! I suspect they were all abandoned when the camp was evacuated for the Long March of January 1945.
For some years I have been helping people to research and preserve the
memory of their Prisoner-of-War relatives from the Second World War. I have been
astonished by their stories of courage, suffering, resourcefulness and
determination - stories too little known. They deserve to be discovered,
remembered, commemorated and honoured, and 12th November, the day after we
honour those who fell in war, seems a most appropriate date.
We rightly remember and honour those who fell in war, particularly on 11th November each year. May
it always be said: "We will remember them".
But remember too those men - often the forgotten victims of war - who still served their countries and who often suffered greatly - the Allied Prisoners of War. Let's make 12th November the day to remember and honour those POWs so that their names, their stories and their sacrifices will never be forgotten by this or future generations.
12th November: Remember POWs
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