SEVEN YEARS AMONG PRISONERS OF WAR. By Chris Christiansen. Translated by Ida Egede Winther.
Chris Christiansen joined the staff of the Danish YMCA in 1940 and spent the next 8 years involved in prisoner of war relief work. His book is divided into four sections; Part One describes his work among Allied prisoners of war in Germany when he lived in Berlin for four years. In November 1942 he visited Stalag 3C at Kustrin east of Berlin where 7,000 Russian POWs had just arrived. When he returned 3 months later half of them had died from starvation or neglect...(NB: could this camp have been re-used by Red Army to house German POWs and DPs?...Al)..
The YMCA was not allowed to provide medicine, food or clothing, but they did provide musical instruments to some Russian POW camps. It is interesting to read that most of the Polish, French and Belgian POWs were released and repatriated early in the war or forced into employment as civilian workers in Germany. When the war came to an end the Russian forces arrived in Berlin and rounded up the many foreigners still in the city and shipped them eastwards into Russia.
Part Two describes the year that Chris spent as a guest of the Soviets in Moscow where he staged his own hunger strike. Thereafter he was sent to Krasnogorsk outside Moscow where he spent the Christmas of 1945 in company with German POWs captured at Stalingrad. Eventually he was allowed to go home and after a short period of recuperation moved to Britain where a quarter of a million German POWs were being held in 130 POW camps.
Part Three describes his work with the POWs of the defeated Third Reich, who never had to complain to him about the food or conditions in their camps, indeed at 3,300 calories per person daily they were fed more than the civilian population. In Part Four Chris goes to Egypt where the conditions under which the German POWs were kept was causing concern amongst their own chaplains and the YMCA tried to alleviate the situation.
Hardcover. Available from The University of Chicago Distribution Center, Billing Office, 11030 South Langley Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60628, USA. Tel 001-773-568-1550. Price US$34.95 incl postage. ISBN number 0-8214-1069-5.