Nazis and Needlework
September 8, 2011 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Tony Casdagli took on a passion for needlework from his father - a POW who learnt to sew as a means of smuggling out messages past German censors.
posted by mippy (6 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, the ordeal of captivity was above all a mental one for those who found themselves inside. Reading the diaries of POWs, one gets a sense of the psychological extremes that boredom and anxiety could inflict [Self link. Sorry.] The whole article reminds me of this haunting little passage in Georges Connes' Other Ordeal, on mental world of WWI French POWs:
The officer-prisoners have nothing to do to keep themselves busy. The conventions forbid making us work. It is our damnation. We would be delighted to dig up potatoes or more gravel, but these distractions are forbidden to us. What does one do to kill so much time? Some poor fellows, not in the habit of using their brains in order to fill in their leisure time, have never gotten the hang of it. There is one guy whose sole activity consists of announcing the time. He learns that it is 2:45 or 5:30 and believes he has to inform his companions about it, a good way to exasperate his fellow prisoners to the point where one explodes.
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:48 AM on September 8, 2011

There's an image of the Fuck Hitler cross-stitch on Lulu.
posted by Nelson at 9:51 AM on September 8, 2011

That was a hell of a final line. Damn.
posted by aramaic at 9:51 AM on September 8, 2011

best of the web. Great post!
posted by pointystick at 10:21 AM on September 8, 2011

For Soviet POWs, beatings, starvation and executions. For western POWs, respect for the Geneva conventions and tolerance of undergraduate pranking.

At the bottom was a Union flag. National flags were forbidden in the camp, so Casdagli sewed a canvas flap over it with "do not open" written on it in German. "Each week the same officer would open the flap and say, 'This is illegal,' and Pa said, 'You're showing it, I'm not showing it.'"

So splendidly bizarre. The same officer? This was a running gag between them? Col. Klink, is that you?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:01 AM on September 8, 2011

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