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I.B. Tauris

British PoWs and the Holocaust : Witnessing the Nazi Atrocities

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British PoWs and the Holocaust
Author(s): Russell Wallis

In the network of Nazi camps across wartime Europe, prisoner of war institutions were often located next to the slave camps for Jews and Slavs; so that British PoWs across occupied Europe, over 200,000 men, were witnesses to the holocaust. The majority of those incarcerated were aware of the camps, but their testimony has never been fully published. Here, using eye-witness accounts held by the Imperial War Museum, Russell Wallis rewrites the history of British prisoners and the Holocaust during the Second World War. He uncovers the histories of men such as Cyril Rofe, an Anglo-Jewish PoW who escaped from a work camp in Upper Silesia and fled eastwards towards the Russian lines, recounting his shattering experiences of the so-called 'bloodlands' of eastern Poland. Wallis also shows how and why the knowledge of those in the armed forces was never fully publicised, and how some PoW accounts were later exaggerated or fictionalised. British PoWs and the Holocaust will be an essential new oral history of the holocaust and an extraordinary insight into what was known and when about the greatest crime of the 20th century.

“[The] book raises interesting questions on the uses and abuses of testimonies and the retelling of stories in the service of constructing postwar public narratives and memory. In this respect, British POWs and the Holocaust is recommended to anyone interested in the public history of British POWs in the Second World War and the question of witnessing the Holocaust.” —H-War

ISBN:  9781784535032