Stalag 383 Bavaria written by Stephen Wynn and published by Pen & Sword Books – £19.99 – Hardback – Pages 192

Stalag 383 was somewhat unique as a Second World War prisoner of war camp. Located in a high valley surrounded by dense woodland and hills in Hofenfels, Bavaria, it began life in 1938 as a training ground for the German Army. At the outbreak of war it was commandeered by the German authorities for use as a prisoner of war camp for Allied non-commissioned officers, and given the name Oflag lllC. It was renamed Stalag 383 in November 1942.

For most of its existence it comprised of some 400 huts, 30 feet long and 14 feet wide, with each typically being home to 14 men. Many of the British service men who found themselves incarcerated at the camp had been captured during the evacuations at Dunkirk, or when the Greek island of Crete fell to the Germans on 1 June 1941.

Stalag 383 had somewhat of a holiday camp feel to it for many who found themselves prisoners there. There were numerous clubs formed by different regiments, or men from the same town or county. These clubs catered for interests such as education, sports, theatrical productions and debates, to name but a few.

This book examines life in the camp, the escapes that were undertaken from there, and includes a selection of never before published photographs of the camp and the men who lived there, many for more than five years.

Stalag 383 Bavaria is a fascinating and interesting book indeed. A subject, prisoner of war camp, I find quite fascinating and intriguing that gets overlooked by historians and the public in general. Which is surprising when you think about how the Great Escape is on every Christmas. This book is full of great information about a camp that was seen as a bit of a holiday camp including having its own pool. We learn a lot about all the clubs and activities that went on and the usual attempts to cause problems for the guards and various escape attempts. Especially the couple of prisoners that tried to escape to Austria as a married couple but were discovered in an Austrian cafe. A couple of things stand out from the book for me, these are how the camps are different by who the prisoners are, and the huge amount of excellent photographs of the camp supplied in this book. The book is certainly very informative and one I would happily recommend to others.

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