A Medicine Hat PoW Journal from 1944, pages 1-6

Hello, this is Jill Browne posting after a long absence. As you may know already, I am not an expert in German Prisoners of War in Canada, but I have a lot of relevant photos. Most of these are from the Homefront Collection, which is the long-time work of Regina collector Mr. Robert (Bob) Henderson. Sometimes I call this the Henderson Collection, it means the same thing.

The collection is now with the Provincial Museum of Alberta. I am not affiliated with them.

My pictures come from a period when I was helping assemble a museum exhibit called “For You, the War is Over”.

The pictures in this post may or may not have come from the Homefront Collection; I don’t have a good note to tell me.

This is the first part of a journal from a German prisoner of war held in the camp at Medicine Hat. There are dates from 1944 and 1945 in the journal.

If you have questions about this item it helps if you can give me the link to this blog post so I know which item you are talking about! However, if you put your question in the Comments there is no need to include the link as it will be obvious. Thanks.

The print may not be large enough to read, depending on your computer and its settings.

One way to get a larger view is to use the built-in enlarger in your own computer’s browser. It depends on what system you have, but often you will find that following the View menu will give you a choice of Zoom and then you can enter 200% or whatever size you want.

Another method is to press Control and the Plus sign (+), or on a Mac, it’s Command and the Plus sign.

If for some reason you cannot view these as large as you want to you are welcome to put a note in the comments and I will see what I can do. I don’t load all the pictures at maximum size because doing that can slow down the overall working of the website.

About this journal

I don’t recognize this one right away. It may have come from the Henderson Collection, in which case I hope Mr. Henderson will tell us all what he knows.

In any event the journal is fairly descriptive, even if you do not read German, thanks to the pictures.

Journal pages 1 to 6

Page 1 looks like the name and number of the owner, Rudolf KRUSE, KG 634885. The owner was not necessarily the author of the book.

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 1

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 1

Page 2 is what I have called this one in my original notes when I uploaded the photos but as you can see it has a date of October 14, 1945 and is probably one of the last pages in the book. It looks like a page to commemorate the end of incarceration, perhaps. After the war ended, it took some time before the prisoners were actually sent home.

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 2

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 2

Page 3 looks like a message of good wishes or congratulations for something.

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 3

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 3

Page 4, in a loose translation, means “Memories of Christmas 1944 in Prisoner of War Camp 132, Medicine Hat, Canada”.

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 4

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 4

Page 5 is a celebration of the new year 1945, with the signatures of fellow prisoners.

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 5

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 5

Page 6 says “Ein kleines Buch”, “A little book”. The man is wearing the PoW uniform with the bright red circle on the top and red stripe on the trousers. These were to make it easy to spot an escapee and to make it difficult for a PoW to pretend to be someone else.

The smaller print on this page is shown in the photo below this one.

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 6

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 6

Page 6 detail showing the small print.

“Ein kleines Buch” / a little book

“entsprungen aus dem

Beschaeftigungsdrang der Prisoner

gezeichnet, um

daheim es zu zeigen

geschrieben, um

gemeinsam Erlebtes festzuhalten

gedruckt, um

es allen zu geben”

Here is a bad translation, trying to convey the spirit rather than the literal meaning:

A Little Book

Springing from the prisoner’s need to stay busy,

Drawn to show at home,

Written to share the experiences,

Printed to give to all.

The sense in which this was drawn to show “at home” must mean to show it at his temporary home, the PoW camp, rather than to send home to family. The cartoons, drawings, poems, stories, and so on that some prisoners created were copied and circulated to keep each other busy and entertained. They could not send such material home because of censorship and (I think) limits on the amount of post a prisoner was allowed to send.

Prisoners’ journals like this one sometimes were joint efforts; each man would add to his own book the pages he liked from what others had created.

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 6, detail

Medicine Hat PoW journal page 6, detail

This particular journal is fairly long so I will try and post more when I can.

One response to “A Medicine Hat PoW Journal from 1944, pages 1-6

  1. Regretfully, this book did not form part of the Henderson collection,
    though similar books did. The books were received by a small portion of the PoW, printed in black and white, so any colour pages were completed by the individual PoW.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *