Spectator in Hell: A British Soldier's Story of Imprisonment in Auschwitz
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In 1942 the young soldier Arthur Dodd was taken prisoner by the German Army and transported to Auschwitz, joining hundreds of British POWs. While there, he sabotaged Nazi industrial work, risked his life to alleviate the suffering of the Jewish prisoners, and aided a group planning a mass breakout. This important historical account includes material regarding the German businesses that operated at Auschwitz and the British government's failure to care adequately for the POWs who returned.
SIX here were two currencies in Auschwitz, the lager (camp) mark and a system of bartering, the latter of which was by far the most widely used. Guards and labourers who came into the camp from the town were bribed to bring in commodities otherwise unavailable. Red Cross food parcels, though, were the main source of bartering. The most sought after goods were soap, coffee, cigarettes, chocolate and clothing. It was this system that gave the prisoners something to live for. Due both to its
his chest, back and limbs and the intolerable pounding in his head, he knew he was very lucky to be alive. In hindsight, Arthur always wondered why the Nazis spared his life on this occasion but after much reflection on the subject, he reached the conclusion that his I. G. Farben hosts had a high regard for British technical expertise. In essence, the products from the German chemical giant were vital to the war effort. He did not see Sergeant-Major Innes again. He was told he had been heavily
in frustration at the lack of confirmatory evidence. Camp IV provided a similarly disappointing result. After the war, local farmers and smallholders stripped the wooden buildings from the camps and built new serviceable amenities. Just yards from a smart memorial to all races who lost their lives at Monowitz, upon which Arthur placed some flowers, stood a small, very ordinary-looking wooden stable. Its weathered laths aroused deep feelings in Arthur. ‘I could have slept in you,’ Arthur murmured
between two or four prisoners but later on, when scarcity heightened, this number increased to six. Canadian parcels usually contained a tin of bully beef or spam, a packet of biscuits like Jacob’s cream crackers but much thicker, butter, coffee, sugar, powdered milk called ‘Klim’ and a small bar of soap. English parcels were less lavish but offered an attraction in the variety of tinned meats, puddings and vegetables. Each group of POWs would decide on a weekly menu on receipt of a parcel,
men in his company, without an officer present, waded on to the shore, but once they were there they had no idea what they were supposed to do or to where they were supposed to report. They were finally approached by a sergeant carrying a clipboard under his arm who was attempting to impose some semblance of order. ‘Can anyone here ride a motorbike?’ he asked, clearly hassled and distraught. When Arthur answered in the affirmative, he got the impression it was the first piece of 26 Spectator in