#ForgottenFriday – The Kriegie Edition
This wartime publication was extremely famous, it was created by a man named Richard Pape who was from Leeds. He was imprisoned by the Germans, and placed in camp Staglag Luft VI. To try motivating his fellow prisoners, who were also from the same area of Yorkshire, he created this special edition to help them feel slightly at ease from homesickness. He also used this editorial to communicate coded information to his allies.
The Kriegie Edition went down in history as one of the best achievements of a British Prisoner of War. Its name the ‘Kriegie’, German for prisoner, was indeed smuggled out of his camp, and was even noticed by Winston Churchill himself who branded the information as ‘interesting and resourceful’.
Pape spent from dawn until dusk compiling its contents and edited it by himself. It consisted of 30,000 words complied into 93 pages, it left him on most nights falling into bed with exhaustion and still wearing his boots.
When completing the contents of this edition, wily lookouts kept watch for German guards, calling out codewords as a warning. “Goons up” meaning Pape himself had to quickly remove three floorboards to hide his papers and lie on his bed complaining of chest pains. A cry “Goons gone” and the work resumed.
It was finished in five weeks, bound using two sheets of plywood, polished with brown shoe polish to give it “the look of seasoned oak” and carved with the Yorkshire Rose. As the copy was smuggled out of camp, and transported back to Britain, souvenir copies were given to their next of kin to see what realities the prisoners were suffering through. Maybe this was used as propaganda?