They Shall Not Have Me - the Capture, Forced Labor and Escape of a French Prisoner of War

They Shall Not Have Me - the Capture, Forced Labor and Escape of a French Prisoner of War

by Jean Helion


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They Shall Not Have Me - the Capture, Forced Labor and Escape of a French Prisoner of War by Jean Helion

JEAN HiUQN THEY SHALL NOT HAVE ME ne mauient pa The Capture, Forced Labor, and Escape of a French Prisoner of War BOOKS NC. DISTRIBUTED BY E. P. DUTTON COMPANY, INC. NEW rORK f 1943 TO MY COMRADES IN CAPTIVITY WHOM I HAVE LEFT IN GERMANY DIGGING POTATOES ON THE FARMS WORKING FOR LONG HOURS AS LITTLE AS THEY CAN IN FACTORIES THIS BOOK THEIR STORY IS DEDICATED BINDERY M 271949 OC7 2 2 CONTENTS Part I Downfall CHAPTER PAGE 1. War Game to Us ... n 2. Days of Rout . 14 3. Capture 44 K Captivity 4. Days of Hunger 53 5. A Prison Camp in France .... 65 6. Live Cargo for Germany 93 7 . Stalag II B, a Concentration Camp for War Prisoners in Pomerania 101 III Forced A A PHISOM OH THE POLISH 8. Fail 119 9. Winter 154 E A PRISON CAMP IN A BIG HARBOUt i o. Bound for Nowhere on a Banana Freighter 175 ii. Life around the Ko mmndofuhrer . 179 Contents CHAPTER PAGE 12. Life around the Lagerfiibrer . . . . 223 13. The Vertrmienmmnn 234 14. Nazi Propaganda in the Camp . . . 237 15. The Prisoners 256 1 6. Distractions and Intellectual Life . . 275 17. 87,461 Justice of the Peace .... 294 8. Letters, Packages and Red Cross Gifts . 304 1 9. Night Life on SS. Nordenham . . . 316 20. Story and Midnight Trial of a Barber . 347 21. My Last Kommmdofuhrer .... 355 IV Escape 22. Exit One Kriegsgefangene . . . . 373 23. Veillee DArmes ....... 384 24. Berlin Express ....... 394 25. In the Shade of Swastika Blossoms . . 399 26. With Thanks to the German Police . . 406 17. Reserved Quarters ...... 423 28. A Sick City . ...... 427 29. The Last Border ...... 434 PART DOWNFALL CHAPTER 1 to Us I WAS not sent to war. It came to me in Aiezieres en Drouais, a charming village west of Paris, where, for months, I had crawled upon the hills, ducked under blank shots, dug model trenches, and absorbed soporific chapters from the infantry sergeant handbook, very peacefully. Early one June morning, with the sixty men of my training platoon, I was sketching from a hill the valley beneath, accord ing to the military convention of perspective, when a slow column appeared in the hollow of my model vehicles of all descriptions buggies, farm wagons drawn by four, six, some times eight horses strangely loaded. Cattle and pedestrians followed. It dragged on towards the south, uninterrupted. Then cars, with trailers and carts in tow, shot by the horses and formed a dotted line to their left. I recognized it. It seemed to jump out of my past. Twenty two years ago, after a maddening night of bombing, I, too, fled from the north, hauling a cart. My mother pushed, her feet soon bled. Red and blue flares and explosions tore the sky beyond the city. Enormous and scarlet, the sun came up and washed out the lights of the battle of the Somme. Then I saw that the woman ahead of us wore a dressing gown, and carried an alarm clock, a beauty kit, and a ladle. Next to her, a girl pulled a wheelbarrow with her mother in it. Bundles were piled in the emaciated arms of the old woman, but her jaw hung open. She was dead, and the bundles fell on the road, one after the other. The girl didnt know it. 11 Downfall This was the same fatal hemorrhage, miming, flowing out of the deep wound that the invasion had, once more, Inflicted on my country. As if the exodus had propagated a plague, the villages around became devitalized. The popukticn disappeared, deserting crops, stock, cellars. Training was Interrupted. We spent days ardently combing the woods for parachutists, and found none. Formed into regu lar companies, we expected to leave for the front, and were eager to fight but our train never came. On the ninth of June, the next railway station, at Dreux, was neatly sprinkled with bombs by fifteen German dive bombers, hardly bothered by a weak antiaircraft fire. Where were the Allied airplanes We never saw them any more. German observation planes took their place above us, and strafed us a bit, every day, for fun. Paper headlines swelled enormously Treason . . . Our officers became nervous...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781406773286
Publisher: Nielsen Press
Publication date: 03/28/2007
Pages: 436
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.97(d)

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