Memoir of French POW captured in 1940

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Hoplophile
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Memoir of French POW captured in 1940

Post by Hoplophile » 06 May 2022 02:17

Years ago, when the world was young, I read a memoir of the prisoner-of-war experience of a soldier of the French Army who had been captured in 1940. The author was an Austrian who had fled to France before the war and subsequently enrolled in a unit of foreign volunteers. While a prisoner, he served as a translator. (He explained his knowledge of German to his captors by claiming to be from Alsace.)

Does anyone have any knowledge of this book?

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Loïc
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Re: Memoir of Foreign Volunteer POW captured in 1940

Post by Loïc » 13 May 2022 01:16

Hans Habe (János Békessy 1911-1977) author of A Thousand Shall Fall ?
Hungarian-jewish newspaperman educated and living in Austria, working also in Switzerland before to be volunteer in the 21e RMVE in 1939-1940

being perfectly german-speaking he spoke with a simulated bad german or imitating the swiss-germanic accent where he said to come from, a French soldier he met having previously given him his identity and unit

after his capture during the march in POW's columns a german thought he was Alsatian as he spoke german, that's all, after in the POW camp/frontstalag I think for someone coming from Austria Switzerland it would have been quite hard for him to pretend to be from Alsace whithout being betrayed by his accent or something else, the dialect is not exactly the german and actually the soldiers from Alsace didn't remain in POWs camps, they have been quickly separated from their compatriots and released by the german authorities in july 1940, that is precisely why he became interpreter, he replaced a released Alsatian interpreter

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Hoplophile
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Re: Memoir of French POW captured in 1940

Post by Hoplophile » 16 May 2022 20:00

Thank you so much, Loïc! This is the book that I had in mind.

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