The Heater [electronic resource]


This page in Mitchener's diary from World War II includes a drawing of a group of prisoners who are passing time by playing cards. They are sitting next to a heating stove that, according to Mitchener, has a six-foot radius. He writes,"There's at least one 'Ladies Aid' per room - - Underneath the drawing he explains that the men are playing bridge, staving off hunger, and using a small amount of coal to keep warm. They are actually using wood stumps as a substitute for coal.
Mitchener was shot down and captured as a POW during World War II after a bombing mission in Germany. Each compound at Stalag Luft III (there were five) contained around a dozen barracks called blocks, a cookhouse, a shower building, a laundry, and a theater and a chapel building. The winters in Silesia were quite cold, and a chilly wind penetrated the cracks in the walls. The men were frequently cold and uncomfortable. Usually bored, they attempted to pass time by playing cards.
Zagan (Poland).
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