1945 · Concordia, Ks.
by [German Prisoners of War]: [World War II]
Concordia, Ks.: [Camp Concordia], 1945. Two volumes. Vol. 1: Nos. 34-35 (1944), 2. Jhrg. Nos. 1-3, 6, 8-13 (1945); Vol. 2: Nos. 1-12 (1945). Two-sided sheet laid into Vol. 1 with an essay on peace from Karl Teufel on one side and an anonymous reflection on the German occupation of Holland on the other. Folio. Original three-quarter green cloth and paper-covered boards, manuscript title in green on cover of Vol. 1. Minor wear and spotting to covers, tidelines to front cover of Vol. 1, stain to upper corner of Vol. 2, reaching corners of about half the pages (no text affected). Trimming to lower margins, with slight loss of text to a few pages. Tight binding partially obscures inner margin in a few issues. Many issues have purple ink stamp and initials of the camp censor; occasional manuscript annotations including translations. Front free endpaper of Vol. 2 is a dedication page: "To Captain Karl C. Teufel as Souvenir for the Time from June to September 1945 [signed] Dr. Georg Graf Kesselstatt, Editor DER AUSBLICK." Occasional tanning. Very good overall. Collected issues of a German prisoner-of-war camp weekly newspaper, which began as NEUE STACHELDRAHT NACHRICHTEN, LAGER CONCORDIA (NEW BARBED WIRE NEWS, CAMP CONCORDIA). With issue number eight in the second year (March 11, 1945), the title changed to DEUTSCHE LAGERZEITUNG: ORGAN DER DEUTSCHEN LAGERFÜHRUNG, CONCORDIA ("GERMAN CAMP NEWSPAPER: ORGAN OF THE GERMAN CAMP COMMAND, CONCORDIA"), likely to align with titles of newspapers at other prisoner-of-war camps. After the war ended, the title changed again to DER AUSBLICK: ZEITUNG DER DEUTSCHEN KRIEGSGEFANGENEN, LAGER CONCORDIA (THE OUTLOOK: NEWSPAPER OF GERMAN PRISONERS OF WAR). This collection contains some two dozen issues from the final years of World War II. The layout and printing of all versions of the newspaper is sophisticated. The title piece of NEUE STACHELDRAHT is hand-designed (possibly a linocut), featuring an image of a watch tower. The article text was initially produced on a typewriter, but the rest of the paper's contents - illustrations, maps, titles, and captions - are all hand-drawn, and then reproduced, along with the typed content, via offset printing. The issues are inconsistently paginated and most articles are unsigned, unless reproduced from external sources; translators are sometimes noted. The editorial staff is not mentioned in earlier issues, although some articles are signed "Hrg." ("Ed."). The issue for April 1, 1945 is the first to name an editor ("Schriftleitung: Oblt. Walberg"). The U.S. agreed to construct P.O.W. camps initially to support the British, who were running out of room for prisoners. The U.S. camps grew quickly; by the end of the war there were some 400,000 German prisoners held in the U.S. Camp Concordia operated from 1943-1945, and primarily housed German Army prisoners captured in North Africa, including Rommel's notorious "Afrika Korps." Concordia was the largest P.O.W. camp in Kansas, averaging 4,000 prisoners during its operation. The camp's aptly-named assistant executive officer and head of indoctrination, Capt. Karl C. Teufel (Teufel can mean "devil" in German) described the prison population as follows: "For the most part, they were members of the crack German Afrika Korps, which had fought under Rommel and had nearly won the North African Campaign....No better German soldiers existed anywhere, and these men came to this country still proud of their accomplishments, still assured of the coming victory of National Socialism over the rest of the World, still confident and arrogant in their own strength, and fully prepared to make things as difficult for their custodians as safely possible. There were a thousand Officers among them, ranging from second lieutenants to Colonels (two of whom were later promoted to General rank), and hence some of Hitler's best military brains were here also." Healthy enlisted prisoners were required to work, mostly on neighboring farms. Non-commissioned officers could only work in supervisory positions, and while officers could not be forced to work, they could volunteer. All prisoners were paid for their work in scrip, which could be spent in the camp canteen, or used to buy newspapers (like these), books, and magazines. The first issue in these volumes is the "Christmas Issue," No. 34, December 24, 1944, which calls on the prisoners to rebuild their physical strength and mental toughness in order to continue the struggle against the Allies. It also reproduces an article from the Associated Press, exaggerating the impact of the V-2 rocket attacks on England. Later articles criticize the Allied bombing of German cities for the loss of German civilian lives and historic buildings. Also included are updates about battles and German military advances. But then there are schedules for Christmas services (for both Catholics and Lutherans), Christmas hymns and stories, announcements of concerts (including Rossini and Tchaikovsky), updates on camp sports (mainly soccer and handball), upcoming film screenings, and a list of birthdays for the week. Nevertheless, keeping the peace in the camps was challenging. One of Capt. Teufel's main jobs at Concordia was weeding out the hardcore Nazis from the merely patriotic soldiers, and then relocating them to Camp Alva in Oklahoma, a maximum security facility specifically for uncompromising Nazis. This not only served to maintain peace in the camps for the American guards, but also kept average German soldiers safe from more extreme soldiers. The newspaper content was inspected and censored before publication. Blatantly pro- Nazi messages were prohibited (though oblique references slip in), but patriotic sentiment is allowed. Subsequent issues have similar recurring content as in the Christmas issue, especially pro-German material, such as uplifting passages to stay strong in the "Kampf," and slanted articles highlighting German successes in contrast to Allied laziness and incompetence. For instance, in a recurring section, "Kultur und Leben" (Culture and Life), in the issue from January 14, 1945, there are several articles on Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811), a Romantic poet who had been appropriated by the Nazis for his nationalistic leanings. Included is a passage from Kleist: "Was gilt es in diesem Kriege...Eine Gemeinschaft gilt es, deren Wurzeln tausendästig, einer Eiche gleich, in den Boden der Zeit eingreifen; eine Gemeinschaft...in deren Schoss die Götter das Urbild der Menschheit reiner als in irgendeiner aufbewahrt hatten." (What is important in this war...It is a community whose roots branch into the soil of time like an oak; a community...in whose lap the gods had kept the archetype of humanity more pure than in any other). The article concludes: "Uns hat dieser Krieg reif und hart gemacht auch für ein letztes Begreifen jener Kleistschen Welt." (This war has made us ripe and ready for a final realization of that Kleistian world). There are regular updates from the Pacific front, but also a wide variety of general interest articles and stories, including: oilfields in the Middle East and the evolving "concession areas" in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, et al.; German history; the Chinese Civil War; Japanese culture; astronomy, historical and contemporary; U.S. politics and history along with feature articles on various states; economics and biographies of important industrialists; health concerns; and reviews of local beers. There are also lists of new books purchased or donated to the camp library, on topics from German history to agricultural engineering to (quite surprisingly) Aaron Copland's WHAT TO LISTEN FOR IN MUSIC (in English); and crossword puzzles and other games. The April 15, 1945 issue is the first to acknowledge that the Nazis may not, in fact, be winning the war after all. The cover features the first stanza ("Daimon") of Goethe's ominous poem "Urworte, Orphisch" (Orphic Primal Words): "Wie an dem Tag, der Dich der Welt verliehen,/Die Sonne stand zum Grusse der Planeten,/Bist alsobald und fort und fort gediehen/Nach dem Gesetz, wonach Du angetreten./So musst Du sein, Dir kannst Du nicht entfliehen,/So sagten schon Sibyllen, so Propheten;/Und keine Zeit und keine Macht zerstückelt/Geprägte Form, die lebend sich entwickelt." (As on the day you were granted to the world,/The sun stood to greet the planets,/You likewise began to thrive, forth and forth,/Following the law that governed your accession./You must be so, you cannot flee yourself,/Thus sibyls long ago pronounced, thus prophets,/And neither time nor any power can dismember/Characteristic form, living, self-developing). There is no editorial acknowledgement of Germany's occupation, but there are several translated excerpts from TIME magazine, noting Gen. Lucius Clay's appointment as "der Spitze der Zivilverwaltung" ("Head of Civil Administration") for occupied Germany. The final iteration of the camp newspaper, DER AUSBLICK: ZEITUNG DER DEUTSCHEN KRIEGSGEFANGENEN, LAGER CONCORDIA inlcudes a monthly insert on current affairs, entitled QUERSCHNITT (CROSS-SECTION), along with a less regular insert on arts and culture, entitled SYMPOSION (SYMPOSIUM). A brief editorial introduction to the new newspaper sets forth a stark assessment of the prisoners' situation: "Wir beurteilen unsere Lage nüchtern und haben nur ein Ziel: alle Kraft so rasch wie möglich unserem deutschen Vaterland zur Verfügung stellen zu können. Wenige in der Heimat werden den kommenden Aufgaben körperlich und geistig so gut gewachsen sein wie wir. Est ist unsere Pflicht, unsere Leistungsfähigkeit immer weiter zu steigern...Möge sie dazu beitragen, unsere Lagergemeinschaft sachlich und klar zu unterrichten und zum Nachdenken anzuregen." (We assess our situation soberly and have only one goal: to be able to provide all our strength as quickly as possible to our German Fatherland. Few at home will be as physically and mentally up to the tasks ahead as we are. Thus it is our duty to keep enhancing our abilities...This paper will help keep our camp community objectively informed and will stimulate thought). The introduction goes on to note that they really do intend to provide objective information, without aligning to any particular party. After all: "Denn jeder von uns, ganz gleich wie er zur Vergangenheit eingestellt sein mag, muss in voller Klarheit erkennen, dass das System des Nationalsozialismus mit seiner Staatsform nicht mehr besteht." (Because each of us, no matter how he feels about the past, must recognize with complete clarity, that the system of National Socialism no longer exists as a form of government). Not much has changed with the paper otherwise, all features about camp life, etc. are still included. The QUERSCHNITT features reprinted and translated articles from major publications (NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE, BUSINESS WEEK, TIME, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, et al.), but there is very little editorial comment. Interestingly, in the June 17, 1945 issue of DER AUSBLICK, there is a full page letter from the Senior German Spokesman, Col. Eduard Waltenberger: "Ich bin überzeugt, im Sinne des Lagers zu sprechen, wenn ich folgendes festelle: Die durch den vorgeführten Film und die uns vorgelegte amtliche Broschüre belegten Grausamkeiten und Massenmorde in den Konzentrationslagern erfüllen uns mit tiefstem Abscheu gegen jeden, der in irgend einer Form schuldhaft an ihnen beteiligt war. Wir sind der Auffassung, dass die Täter und ihre Auftraggeber den deutschen Namen auf das schändlichste befleckt und sich für immer aus der Gemeinschaft aller ehrenhaften Deutschen ausgeschlossen haben. Wir deutschen Soldaten des Kriegsgefangenenlagers Concordia haben offen und anständig unter Einsatz des eigenen Lebens für unsere Heimat gekämpft. Weder wir an der Front noch unsere Angehörigen haben gewusst, dass gleichzeitig in den deutschen Konzentrationslagern ein Verbrechertum der niedrigsten Art am Werk war. Wir halten es für ein Gebot unserer Soldatenehre zu erklären, dass wir mit ihm nichts gemein haben." (I am convinced that I speak for the whole camp when I set forth the following: The atrocities and mass murders in the concentration camps documented by the film shown and the official brochure presented to us fill us with the deepest disgust towards anyone who was guilty of them in any form. We are of the opinion that the perpetrators and their associates have stained the German name in the most shameful way and have forever excluded themselves from the community of all honorable Germans. We German soldiers from the Concordia Prisoner of War Camp risked our own lives, fighting honorably for our homeland. Neither we on the front line nor our relatives knew that at the same time there was a crime of the lowest kind going on in the German concentration camps. We think it is imperative to our soldier's honor to declare that we have nothing in common with them)." There is no mention of Jews, however there is an article on mass movements and mass psychosis later in the issue. One month later, in the July 15, 1945 issue, there is a brief article, in German and English, from Capt. Teufel. Attempting to calm prisoners' anxiety about repatriation timelines, Teufel explains that he simply does not know what the repatriation procedure will be: "...it is my opinion that repatriation may not come for many months. This is only a personal opinion and not to be construed as an official statement. The fact that some men are being transferred out of this camp is not proof that they are being repatriated immediately. The fact that you have not been transferred out is equally not an indication that you will be repatriated later than those who have been transferred, nor that there is necessarily a prejudice against you." Of course, while the war was over in Europe at this point, the war in the Pacific continued. The August 5, 1945 issue included extended treatment of the Potsdam Conference and Declaration, and then the August 12, 1945 issue begins with the article, "Am Ende des 2. Weltkrieges." (At the End of the Second World War). A few pages later, there is a brief article inset titled, "Heimkehr der PoW" (Homecoming of the P.O.W.), which begins: "Am letzten Donnerstag gab Unterstaatssekretär im Kriegsministerium, Patterson, in Washington bekannt, die Amerikaner beabsichtigen 400,000 deutsche und italienische Kriegsgefangene so bald als praktisch möglich - aus den Vereinigten Staaten nach Europa zurückzuführen." (Under- Secretary of State Patterson, at the Department of War, announced in Washington last Thursday that the Americans intend to return 400,000 German and Italian prisoners of war from the United States to Europe as soon as it is practical). The postwar articles tend to focus on rebuilding in Germany and speculation on when the prisoners will finally return, but most continue the regular content of reproduced news articles, and so forth. However, some policy developments have immediate repercussions in the camp. As is usually the case in POW camps, the Nazi soldiers continued to wear their uniforms during their detention (with American uniform manufacturers providing replacements as time went on). In the August 30, 1945 issue, there is a brief inset article announcing updates to the uniform regulations: "Durch Verordnung der letzten noch zu Recht bestehenden Deutschen Regierung unter Gross- admiral Dönitz wurde die Einheit von Partei und Staat, sowie von Partei und Wehrmacht aufgelöst. Da das mit dem Hakenkreuz versehene Hoheitsabzeichen auf den Uniformstücken kein militärisches Abzeichen, sondern das Symbol der Einheit Partei- Wehrmacht darstellt, entspricht das Tragen dieses Abzeichens, zumindest aber des daran befindlichen Hakenkreuzes weder der entsprechenden Verordnung der letzten Deutchsen Regierung, noch den inzwischen eingetretenen Verhältnissen." (By decree of the final legitimate German government under Grand Admiral Dönitz, the unity of party and state, as well as the unity of the party and the armed forces, has been dissolved. Since the sovereign swastika is not a military symbol but the symbol of the Wehrmacht [Nazi armed forces] party unit, wearing uniform devices with the swastika on it does not correspond to the decree of the last German government or the current conditions). In the same issue is the announcement that the U.S. government will start returning German P.O.W.s to assist with reconstruction as soon and as quickly as is feasible. However, no timeliness are provided. The final issue in this collection (as possibly the last one produced) is that of September 9, 1945. On the first page is an announcement from the editor: "Mit dem Grossteil unserer Kameraden haben von vierzehn ständigen Mitarbeitern des "Ausblick" elf in dieser Woche Concordia verlassen. Die heutige Ausgabe kann daher nur in gekürzter Form gebracht werden." (Along with the majority of our comrades, eleven out of the fourteen permanent employees of AUSBLICK left Concordia this week. Today's edition can therefore only be published in abbreviated form). Indeed, the issue is less than half the size of previous issues. The sole article on the first page is titled "Courage" (which means the same in German and English), and includes encouraging words about rebuilding a broken Germany. The rest of the issue includes similar articles and updates, but with much less flourish, as one would expect with a diminished staff. Nevertheless, there's one more soccer game announced before all the prisoners departed in October and the camp finally closed in November. This newspaper is rare, with most institutional holdings being incomplete, and then often only in microfilm. The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek holds almost the same physical copies as found here (starting with No. 34), suggesting there may have been additional similar collections assembled. We were unable to identify any complete physical collections, with the possible exception of the Kansas Digital Newspapers program at the Kansas Historical Society. OCLC 15160000, 84823569 (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek), 15155315, 15155342. Karl C. Teufel, "The History of Camp Concordia from Site Survey to Deactivation." Record Group 389, Box 1612 (Washington D.C.: National Archives, 1945). Mark P. Schock, "Bloodied Kansas: Nazi Retribution in a Kansas POW Camp" in FAIRMOUNT FOLIO JOURNAL OF HISTORY, Vol. 7 (2005): pp.45-56. Kirk Wetters, DEMONIC HISTORY: FROM GOETHE TO THE PRESENT (Evanston, Il.: Northwestern University Press, 2014).
(Inventory #: WRCAM55330)