Friday, March 1, 2013

German POW Camp Libraries in WWI

I have a special interest in military libraries during wartime. Most of the items in my collection on this topic are about U.S. libraries, but in this post I am featuring two items for German prisoner of war libraries during World War I. By the end of World War I the number of prisoners held in camps operated by Germany reached almost two and a half million prisoners. Dealing with this overwhelming number of prisoners led to some atrocious conditions in the camps. However, many of the camps had libraries by 1915. Most of the books came from donations by organizations set up to provide aid to prisoners. The postcard above shows prisoners using the library in the camp at Heuberg, Germany. The envelope shown above was mailed by the librarian of the library at the Parchim, Germany camp to Paris, France. The Wikipedia article on German prisoner of war camps provides a good overview of the camps.

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