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Tytuł: British sport in POW camps during World War II

Joanna Witkowska
Studies in Physical Culture and Tourism
Strona początkowa:
Strona końcowa:
Słowa kluczowe:
sport of World War II, POW camps, sport of prisoners of war

While doing research on the subject not related to sport Author came across, in the diaries of the British officers kept in the POWs camps during the Second World War, the accounts of sports and other recreational activities played there. Sport in such camps played an obvious role of maintaining a psychological as well as biological balance. It could also, thanks to the spectacularity of the exercises, help to mask preparations for escape and was treated by the soldiers as a kind of a moral duty, e.g. a classic example of a vaulting box taken outside the camp barracks and containing sacks filled with sand and debris from the underground passages dug in the camps, taken out to scatter it on the assembly ground. Sport served not only as a survival technique though but it was also an archival record of great importance, on the one hand enriching the universal character of sports and on the other hand being an interesting and forgotten aspect of the war but also a feature of the human nature performing in a difficult historical circumstances. The role of sports tradition and the activities of the imprisoned British should be researched the more so that in many cases it was the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth citizens who were the main promoters of such kind of human activity. The presentation in question is to bring up the issue and does not lay claim to exhaust the topic. By referring to a few though typical examples taken from the memoirs of the Commonwealth citizens (not only the British) I just want to signal the problem and the need for further historical research on it.