These photographs are from a book about foreign prisoners of war in German camps. The book reinforced the notion of fighting against ‘alien’ combatants amongst the German population, with details such as what kind of food Muslim prisoners ate and what Russian prisoners looked like.
During World War One, about eight million men were held in prisoner of war camps, around 2.9 million of them in camps of the German Empire. The pictures here illustrate the everyday life of the German-held prisoners, and give the impression the camps were well-organised and relatively civilised places. In reality the situation was often dire, especially in terms of how much food prisoners received. However, the chance of surviving the camps was higher than surviving the front line.
- Article by:
- Heather Jones
- Life as a soldier
What was the reality for prisoners of war in World War One? Dr Heather Jones looks beyond the propaganda to consider the facts around prisoner mistreatment, labour and death rates across Europe.