Behind Barbed Wires (1944)


First Edition of Behind Barbed Wires: Among War Prisoners in Germany, 1944

Berg, Erik R.. Behind Barbed Wires. Among War Prisoners in Germany. Rock Island, Illinois: Augustana Book Concern, 1944.

Octavo. Paper Wrappers. 1st American Edition.

First edition of this work on life in the WWII German POW camps by a Swedish aid-worker affiliated with the YMCA. Originally written in Swedish by Eric Berg who spent three years visiting POW camps on behalf of YMCA, Behind Barbed Wires deals with the situation of the POWs in Germany during the Second World War. While the work focuses perhaps a little more than necessary on religious life in the POW camps, it also offers vignettes on the men Berg met in the camps. Writing as a religious worker from a neutral country dependent on German goodwill, Berg often seems at great pains to portray the camps as humane and well-administered--something any World War II scholar knows was often not the case. However, Berg does manage to highlight to self-improvement efforts of the men; their general comradery with each other; and the humanity of the prisoners. In that sense, this work offers an important portrait of life in a POW camp during World War II.  Previously published in Swedish the same year. Shallow soiling and staining to edge of text block, a bit of rubbing and darkening to wrappers. An extremely good copy.