Thursday, 15 May 2008

New book on the Ruhleben British civilian POW camp in WW1 Germany from Manchester University Press.

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I have finally been able to read the just published book British Civilian Internees in Germany: The Ruhleben Camp 1914-1918 by Matthew Stibbe (Manchester University Press), the first serious study of the Ruhleben POW camp since J. Davidson Ketchum's great work "Ruhleben" (1965, Toronto Press).

During WW1, Ruhleben, a former racecourse on the outskirts of Berlin, housed some 5500 British civilian POWs (including hundreds of Scots, my great uncle John Paton included), in the first ever concentration camp on German soil. Unlike Ketchum's earlier study, drawn largely from questionnaires filled in by former prisoners at the camp, Matthew's book not only gives a chronology to the Ruhleben story itself, it also looks at the wider impact of the Ruhleben story in wartime diplomacy and propaganda, as well as the place of Ruhleben in the British memory of the war.

Thoroughly recommended, and available from and .


NB: If you had a relative interned at Ruhleben, visit my free to view online Ruhleben Project at where details of over 1700 of the POWS have been researched and made available online, along with photos and other memorabilia in many cases.

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