Work and Play
The single most significant difference in the prisoner-of-war experience of other ranks, as against that of officers, related to employment. Jobs could be immensely tedious and fatiguing, a world away from the concerts, games, and other forms of recreation working men imagined were available to ‘Stalag Wallahs’ and those confined in oflags. Many officers at Colditz took goon baiting to a level of rambunctiousness bordering on sometimes outright violence that was rare in most prison camps. The prisoners of war at Oflag IVC worked hard at playing, and for some of their transgressions against enemy authority would pay the penalty in the form of German retaliatory actions. Yet relations never deteriorated to the extent feared by some, and Colditz in fact turned out to be the very opposite of a Straflager, insofar as most of its inhabitants avoided the mass reprisals imposed on the men of other oflags or stalags. In a paradoxical way, being a prisoner at Colditz turned out to have its rewards.
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