Stalag XXA and the Enforced March from Poland written by Stephen Wynn published by Pen & Sword Books – £19.99 – Hardback – Pages 157
Stalag XXA was a Second World War Two German POW camp for non-commissioned officers located in Nazi occupied Poland. The cap under the name Stalag 357, was used to house Polish prisoners of war, British POW’s didn’t arrive until 1940, from campaigns in Norway, Dunkirk and St Valery. At its peak, the camp housed more than 10,000 men and was liberated by the Russian forces on 1st February 1945. This book examines in detail what life was like in the camp which over the course of the war more than 60,000 men housed from all over Europe. The bulk of the book is written in diary form kept by Leonard Parker, a prisoner from Stalag XXA who with his colleagues was forced to march from the camp to the russian town of Odessa.
Under the format of a diary this book tells the story of Leonard Parker, his life and daily struggle of living in a prison camp. In my opinion the best way of getting across the information and story of real happenings, it’s not usually full of excuses or immaterial things, this is real life everyday occurrences which makes it far more likely to be accurate and honest. I always find these types of story fascinating because they are nothing like the ‘classic’ films we see on tv from WW2, they are always so much more grim, depressing and harsh it never amazes me how the men find it so hard to cope with in reality. And all this despite the men themselves to form gangs of friends, work teams and even show like troops to perform to the men every so often. This was a great read, sometimes hard and I must admit I thought it would be a bit longer than it was. But very well put together/ and written by the author Stephen Wynn. A usually underplayed part of the war, I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend this book to all.