Sound: POW camp entertainment

Hear George Trundle talking about how POWs kept themselves entertained.


Apart from chess, what other things did you do to keep yourselves entertained?

Well we actually had our own university in the camp. We used to teach languages, philosophy, logic, all kinds of things. There were a lot of talented people in there-artists from the French particularly, also we had a marvellous section of actors and they put on plays....

We did shows by Wilde, 'The Importance of Being Earnest', always something with a comic touch. Guys, they knew how important humour was... They didn't need - they were all humorous anyway . We all liked to laugh-that was what kept us going, I guess. That and the sport, but this entertainment-they'd put on a show for a week you know, at a time. They made all the stage props, marvellous stuff, just out of cardboard and packing cases, and debris that was around the camp. They'd paint it up. It was lifelike. Marvellous. And the shows were really good.

Now, the quiz shows, would that be like inter-hut competitions?

Yes, exactly right. It was...

And the university that you had there was this something that was informal or..?

It was formal, had proper timetables and tutors and that... I taught Italian and French, as I say, with a vocabulary of about 200 words! But it went over and worked.

Programme for Stalag VIIIA, 1944/45:

The Dramatic Society at Gorlitz also held regular play readings and a Shakespeare Reading Group functioned with readings supplemented by talks on the history of drama and on Shakespearean literature in general.

  • 22 February: 1944 Blithe Spirit
  • 7 March: Pot Pourri
  • 21 March: Here We Go
  • 11 April: Gaslight
  • 25 April: The Bumbles of Bumbleton
  • 18 May: Once a Crook
  • 30 May: Whizz-Bang
  • 14 June: Youth at the Helm
  • 27 June: Melody Parade
  • 19 July: Hay Fever
  • 3 August: New Edition
  • 17 August: The Milky Way
  • 29 August: Ermatrude's Follies
  • 12 September & 24 October: The Man Who Came to Dinner
  • 30 December: Choose Your Shoes
  • 15 January 1945: Musical Highlights

See also: related images of POW camp entertainment

Community contributions

6 comments have been posted about Sound: POW camp entertainment

What do you know?

Geoff Muir, Waiheke Island

Posted: 28 Jun 2017

Ross, I knew your Dad through working on the Tote with him. I visited a Museum in Chiavari, Italy over last weekend and the archivist there is an expert on the Nino Bixio. I spotted your dad's name among the survivors! Was he in Campo PG52 nearby? I would like to get in contact.

Ross Noble

Posted: 21 Jul 2016

My father A W (sandy) Noble of Wanganui spent the 1941-1944 years in Stalag V111A. He was transported there following the torpedo attach on the Nino Bixio a POW prison ship during the African campaign. Does anyone else have information on the incident and life at the camp.

George Rogers

Posted: 25 Dec 2012

Felix Crandle was my teacher at Otakiri School in the Bay of Plenty. I knew he had been to the war and understood he served as a major in tanks. He was a person whom we all repected as he knew how to treat us as young adults, not children. most of the class were 13 and 14 year of age, milked cows and worked on farms. Every now and again I think back to my school days and he is one person the memory recalls.

Gerry Lock

Posted: 19 Nov 2012

My brother Tom died recently and I found copy of "Interlude" in his things and intend to visit Stalag V111A. Can you please help me with the relevant details?
Gerry Lock
E/mail [email protected]
Phone UK 0161 282 0360

Terry Crandle

Posted: 23 May 2011

My father, Felix Crandle wrote/eddited "INTERLUDE' the book mentioned on this page. I have visited VIIIA site and a private museum established over 30 years by a Polish professor. I have considrable information and photos which I gladlt share.
Terry Crandle Auckland


Posted: 25 Apr 2011

My father, William Carberry (born 8th June 1917), from Petone Wellington, was at Görlitz - Stalag 8A from 1941- 1944. His army registration nummber was: 14882. I am hoping to find out more infomation about his time during the war. Are you able to assist me, or suggest where I could find out more about his time there?
Many thanks,
Stephen Diegelman