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Wednesday 19th January 2022  

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German magazine, Quorn POW Camp, edition 2, late August 1947

During 2021 three magazines turned up on a flea market stall in Germany which were produced by German prisoners of war at Quorn POW camp in 1947. The magazine was called ‘Keibitz’ which although translates literally in German as ‘Lapwing’, also has figurative meanings originating in German/Romany, such as ‘onlooker’, ‘lookout’ or someone who imposes themselves or their opinions whether or not they are wanted. It is thought, possibly somewhat speculatively, that the men writing the magazine used the term in its ‘onlooker’ or ‘bystander’ connotation, as they may have felt that they were living a bystander life until they were finally sent back to Germany.

At this stage the prisoners were waiting to be repatriated, but it was a slow process as Germany was not in a position to take them back. The magazines cover many topics, including the boredom, frustration, wondering what the future holds, poems book reviews, notes about local villages etc.

These are an amazing find as it wasn’t known such a magazine was produced or existed. Despite the limited amount of translation carried out so far, it is fascinating to get an insight into the lives of the prisoners and how they were feeling. It is hoped that to get full translations of some of the articles at a later date.

Attached is a scan of the second edition of the magazine from late August 1947. Using the contents page as a guide this magazine covers the following:

Page 1 – ‘R.A.F. Repatriation and Future Formalities’ An article about their future repatriation, when are we going home? Frustration with the endless delays and pointless questions, not just names and numbers, but if you can play the piano! The boring monotony, playing cards, sitting there for months. Includes comments on living conditions, mentions straw mattresses. It says that a few new faces appear every few weeks. This is thought to be because Quorn was one of the later camps to close.

Page 4 – ‘The Red Thread: In the same boat’ Discussions about what is happening in Europe and America now the war is over.

Page 6 – Extract from Menschliche Betrachtungen zur Politik (Human Considerations of Politics) by Franz Blei.

Page 8 – This is an article called ‘I Met Germans’ by Dennis Brighouse. It is written in both English and German in the magazine. Dennis was born in 1903 and lived with his wife Mary and their children on Chaveney Road. He tells how German prisoners came initially to help with their garden and how they became great friends.

Page 12 – A short story, Das Kapital

Page 15 - ‘Horizon 5 miles’ A description of Swithland and Woodhouse. How picturesque the area is, like a postcard. Mentions Beacon Hill and the military at Beaumanor Hall.

5 Mile limit: Swithland Park
There will be a reward for anyone who has enough porridge in them for a 3-hour March; he will take in some of the nicest corners and a few villages the county of Leicestershire, for which its reputation in England is well-deserved.

So let’s go! Turn right out of the camp gates, and keep on going right! Follow a signpost down on the right towards Swithland. The quiet reservoirs supplying Leicester support a lot of birds, including swans. Swithland is a centuries-old village. But the fortress-like walls with their corner towers do not lead to conclusions about the warlike nature of the villagers; these defiant towers with their fitted oak gates were installed merely to preserve the blessed nightly rest against the drunks who would sleep off their revelries here. At the present time this gate is out of use, although the fine inn still displays an inviting sign outside. The picturesque old church has its building origins back in the 11th century, and its organ is one of the oldest in England (built in 1765 by Snetzler, who was from a famous continental organ-building family). Then just spend a while in the cemetery, under the old trees. It really is a peaceful place, yet even here there was a dispute; Sir Joseph Danvers(?) whose family had ruled Swithland since William the Conqueror, always wanted to be buried with his dog; he must have been a real pet-lover. Of course that was against every convention, here in England an especially serious breach. But a famous compromise was found; the grave was built with the feet end over consecrated ground, built into the wall, and that is where the dog was buried. (A more indulgent interpretation has the assertive Sir wanting to be buried with his feet on his own soil). Anyway you should take a look at the finely carved old gravestones. They are made from the green Swithland slate, mined nearby, which gives the area its distinctiveness, (window frames, walls, wells etc). Its hardness makes it especially weather-resistant, something you can see from the inscriptions on gravestones, still easily readable after two centuries.

Just after this place is the beginning of the so-called Swithland Park with its former slate-works. Today they look like miniature mountain scenery, with their steep rocky walls. Close by the red hard Mountsorrel granite can be found. This natural mix is evidence of a volcanic origin, an exception in the otherwise gentle Leicestershire countryside. The inhabitants of the next place, Woodhouse Eaves, are understandably proud of their extinct volcano, Beacon Hill ( nearly 1000 feet high).

Bear with this trek, comrades, it’s worth it! A picture postcard landscape rises before you to one of the most famous park and hunt areas of England, and very memorable.

Keep going right to get back home; you’ll reach the quiet village of Woodhouse with the elegant country house “Beaumanor”, which like many similar places nowadays are state-run by the military. More attractive, however, are the old stone-built cottages, painted in appealing matt green and pink. The signposted little church contains a carved chancel. This is all concealed under ancient park trees, which, as a thoughtful person observed, are a reflection of the English character; individual and immovable.

In the village centre of Woodhouse a path to the right leads to Quorn. Here are lots of threatening signboards which express the strict German “Verboten” (forbidden) in a variety of adaptations; from the genteel “Private” via a threat of prosecution to the unbelievable claim that a perfectly good motor road is not actually a road at all. You get used to threats. The local population, at least, does not let itself be prevented from enjoying the beauty of this landscape.

Page 17 – ‘To Late’ A story by Anneliese Steinhoff

Page 18 – A poem by Hermann Hesse, a famous German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter.

Page 19 – ‘Ein Wort zu Goethe (A Word about Goethe)’ by Guenter Casper. A literary piece about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, and critic, born in 1749.

Page 21 – ‘On the Bookboard’ Book reviews

Page 24 – ‘On the Edge’ A few comments and continuations of articles from previous pages.

 download PDF This artefact is a PDF document
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 missing information Missing information: Could you translate either of the articles on page 1 or page 15?
Please email us at: team2022@quornmuseum.com
 Submitted on: 2021-10-01
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman, translation assistance from Dave Collier
 Artefact ID: 2467

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