New book edited by Anne Buckley: 'German Prisoners of the Great War. Life in a Yorkshire Camp'

An online book launch was held for German Prisoners of the Great War. Life in a Yorkshire Camp, which describes Skipton’s First World War prisoner-of-war camp where over 900 Germans were incarcerated.

The book, which has recently gone to number 1 in the publisher's best seller list, contains the first full English translation of the book written by the German prisoners, Kriegsgefangen in Skipton, which was written in the Skipton camp and smuggled back to Germany where it was published in 1920. The translation has been a collaborative effort by staff and students of the University of Leeds and local volunteers.

Vivid stories of life in the camp and numerous sketches provide a unique insight into the experiences of German soldiers in a British First World War POW camp. In their own words the prisoners describe the conditions in the camp, the daily routines, their activities, relationships with the guards and their thoughts of their homeland.

The book also contains an extensive introduction based on research carried out into the history of the camp and the lives of the German prisoners. A full list of the prisoners is included as an appendix.

An online book launch event took place in April 2021, which was attended by 150 people. The online format of the book launch allowed five descendants of the German prisoners to meet one another - from Germany, UK, America, New Zealand and America!

The speakers at the event were:

Actor Wolf Kahler, whose grandfather Fritz Sachsse was the senior German officer in the camp and who compiled the book written by the German prisoners, Kriegsgefangen in Skipton, shared memories of his grandfather and read from his foreword to the book.

Sylvia Reineke, whose grandfather Heinrich Haase was one of the orderlies in the camp, talked about her grandfather’s life after the First World War and read a section from the book about the experiences of the orderlies in the camp.

Charlotte Smith and Sabine Schlüter, who were part of the team of 30 translators during their year on the MA programme in Applied Translation Studies, discussed the challenges they faced when translating the century-old German text.

Anne Buckley, Lecturer in German and Translation Studies at the University of Leeds and Skipton resident, talked about her role in leading the project to produce an English translation of Kriegsgefangen in Skipton and described the research into the camp and the men.

Find out more about the project and follow @skiptonpow on Twitter.