The meaning of 'soldatenbriefe'

Discussion in 'General' started by Malcolm56, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. Malcolm56

    Malcolm56 Member

    I think that soldaten briefe would usually refer to soldiers' letters, but I am trying to work out what it means in context in a Red Cross report about German pows in the UK:

    There was a complaint about - "Incomplete series of “Soldatenbriefe”.

    Then a response - "No series of “Soldatenbriefe is complete, which renders impossible the continuation of courses and the completion of study programmes recommended by the authorities of the Reich."

    This does not seem to refer to letters. Does anyone know what it does refer to?

    Thank you and best wishes.
  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    What is the date? The 1929 Geneva Convention has an article stating that POWs should be encouraged to study and given every opportunity to do so. I know that some British POWs completed correspondence courses and gained qualifications whilst behind the wire. It would be logical that some German POWs were endeavouring to do the same and possibly the requisite material wasn't getting through. Some POWs on both sides would have been in college if the war hadn't intervened.
    Officers who couldn't be forced to work would be the most likely to have time to study. Before March 1944 German POWs in Britain were not used for work (Italians were used) and the majority were aircrew so that there would be quite a large proportion of officers and NCOs.
    Malcolm56 likes this.
  3. Malcolm56

    Malcolm56 Member

    Hello Robert

    - the report is dated 15 June 1944.
  4. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Numbers of German POWs used for work in Britain were still relatively low - they didn't start to rise until September but some had been shipped back from North Africa. The overwhelming bulk of German POWs employed in Britain didn't arrive until after VE day and left in 1948. So in May/June 1944 many of the German POWs in Britain would be bored officers with time on their hands so it would seem logical that the complaint was about educational material not arriving on time.
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  5. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    I've been reading the diary of Vinzenz Fetzer who was a POW from 1944 -1948. He very helpfully details a typical day of a POW before they were properly organised into work camps and used on the land. In the afternoons many of them attended educational classes which would further support the hypothesis that this refers to educational material
    Malcolm56 likes this.
  6. Malcolm56

    Malcolm56 Member

    Thank you Robert for all your help. I think you are correct, it does refer to education / training materials for German soldiers. Best wishes.

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