Stalag Luft III

Part VI – Food


Food was always very close to a prisoner’s heart. Germany, involved in a total war, had difficulties enough feeding its own people. Feeding POWs was well down on the list of priorities. The German POW rations were insufficient to sustain health and failed to meet the requirements of the Geneva Convention. Had the International Red Cross not shipped food parcels to all Allied POW camps except to the Russians, serious malnutrition would have been common. The Red Cross offer to feed the Russian POWs was spurned by Stalin.

The receipt of the Red Cross food parcels suffered from the uncertainties of the wartime rail service in Germany and the caprice of the Germans who would withhold delivery of the food as group punishment

Kriegies stashed food for special occasions. A few spoons of British cocoa here or a few lumps of sugar there all went into a special reserve for what the Kriegies called a bash. Loosely speaking a bash was the Kriegies’ way of celebrating a special event, perhaps the Fourth of July, Christmas, or even a birthday. Its ingredients had been saved laboriously for months. It was a feast.

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