Treatment of Wounded Australian Prisoners of War
In 1919 the Australian
Government issued a booklet entitled "How the
Germans Treated Australian Prisoners of War". [Click here for view of the cover of booklet] It was published "By Authority" and issued
by the Defence Department, Melbourne, Australia. It included
extracts from Statements made by Repatriated Australian Prisoners of
War, most of whom had been wounded.
Some of these Statements make disturbing reading and it appears that
many Allied prisoners of war were very badly
treated. It should, however, be remembered that conditions in Germany,
during the last years of the war, were very
difficult with food in short supply as a result of the Allied naval
blockade. Most Allied prisoners of war would
have starved to death if it were not for the Red Cross food parcels
that were sent to them.
Four typical sample accounts are given, followed by the Report of the
Acting Consul for Switzerland, in charge
of German interests. This contrasts the accounts of the Australian
Prosoners of War with the way that German Prisoners
of War were treated at the Holdsworthy Prisoner of War Camp in New
South Wales where there was no shortage of food.
by an anonymous Australian soldier, captured at
Villers Brettoneux in 1918 and subsequently repatriated
by an Australian private soldier, captured in 1916. He was
seriously wounded in the left shoulder and was eventually
repatriated, on an exchange basis, to England.
account by a severely wounded soldier His treatment by the Germans
was good but he would have died of starvation if it were not for food
A detailed account by a severely wounded
officer, captured at Pozieres. This includes his assessment of the quality
of the various Prisoner of War camps that
he experienced before his repatriation to England.
The Report from the Acting Swiss Consul,
concerned with German interests
who issued a report on the conditions in Holdsworthy Prisoner of War
in New South Wales, Australia.
Dr M Geoffrey
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