A Medicine Hat PoW Journal from 1944, page 7: Capture and transport

Continuing on from A Medicine Hat PoW Journal from 1944, pages 1-6, here is page 7, which tells how the prisoners’ journey started in Africa.

Although this book appears to belong to one man, Rudolf KRUSE, I do not know (yet) who wrote it. It looks like the work of more than one person. The main book, with its typewritten pages and coloured drawings, was made and printed to be shared.

You will need to look carefully at the other pages to see if there are traces of Rudolf KRUSE himself.

Page 7

161207 Medicine Hat POW book page 7

161207 Medicine Hat POW book page 7

Here is an enlargement of the printing.

161207 Medicine Hat POW book page 7 detail

161207 Medicine Hat POW book page 7 detail

In German, the text is like this (less some of the diacritical marks – I don’t speak German!):

Es gibt 1000 Moeglichkeiten, in Gefangenschaft zu kommen. Jeder hat seine eigene Art. Den einen schnappten sie in der Wueste, der andere wurde im Ozean gefischt, manche wurden ueber England abgeschossen, die meisten von uns hat die Invasion auf dem Gewissen. Unvergesslich die ersten Stunden der Gefangenschaft, die ersten Filzungen, die ersten Camps, der erste Hunger und das Raetselraten, geht’s nach USA oder nach Kanada.

Welch eine Weltreise: man wird in Tobruk gefangen, reist ueber Kairo, durch den Suez-Kanal, das Rote Meer, uber Durban und Kapstadt ins sudliche Eismeer, kommt in Rio wieder raus, wird umgeladen nach Westafrika, von da uber Gibraltar nach England gebracht um von dort mit der “Queen Elizabeth”, mit der “Ile de France”, oder sonst einem der Truppen Ozeanreisen in die “Neue Welt” verschickt zu werden.

Here is a rough translation, mainly courtesy of Google.

There are a thousand ways to be captured. Everyone has his own way. One was snatched in the desert, another was fished from the ocean, some were shot down over England; most of us can thank the invasion. It’s unforgettable: the first hours of captivity, the first searches, the first hunger, and the speculation about going to the USA or to Canada.

What a world trip: you are caught in Tobruk, travel through Cairo, through the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, via Durban and Cape Town to the South Sea, get back to Rio, transfer back to West Africa, from there via Gibraltar to England to be sent to the “New World” from there with the “Queen Elizabeth”, the “Ile de France”, or else one of the troops’ ocean trips.

The picture shows the PoWs in rather crowded bunks that hang from chains. Given all the transfers, I am guessing this shows what it was like on board ship.

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