Photograph of a group of Prisoners of War cast in a performance of the play 'Outward Bound' at Stalag XXIA camp

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A black and white group photograph taken at a prisoner of war camp, dated between 1939 to 1945. On the other side of the photograph, a stamp identifies the camp in question as 'Stalag XXIA.'

Taken at some point during the Second World War, this black and white photograph was taken at a prisoner of war camp, capturing twenty one individuals who appeared to have been interned there at the time. Gathered together, each man appears to be involved in a camp production of “Outward Bound,” a play originally written by writer Sutton Vale, as made evident by the caption emblazoned on what seems to be a placard at the forefront of the assembly. Several of the men appear to be in costume, as evidenced by a handful of the photo’s subjects wearing recognisably feminine clothing. The back of the photograph bears the stamp “Stalag XXIA,” which would appear to indicate that the photo was taken in Ostrzeszow, Poland, which was the location of one such prisoner of war camp bearing this particular German designation during the Second World War.

A strangely personable photograph despite the surrounding, more dramatic context of the Second World War. I chose this item not on account of its somewhat disarming joviality, but its ability to make one appreciate the bonds of fellowship and various amusements that must have been born amidst the men interned there. Although this particular cast production has long since finished its run, I am glad it’s found a kind of enduring immortality through the photograph in question being part of the Red Cross Archives.

Audio recording by Daniel Macnaughton (Volunteer), Edinburgh.
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