WE WERE FREE by Constantin Joffe


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This is another story of a man's experiences in a German concentration camp much on the order of Marcel Headrich's Barrack Room 12. It gives the same sense of unexaggerated truth, though in handling it is less restrained, more bitter -- more violent in its condemnation of Germans as whole, from soldiers to guards to civilians seen along the way. The author is a Russian brought up in France who fought in the French legion of foreign volunteers. Beginning with the last hopeless battle, he describes his actual experiences from then on through his capture, the long journey through Germany, transfer to a camp in Austria where treatment was more human, and repatriation after nine long months of imprisonment. In describing the day by day routine of prison life, Joffe brings out the same aspects of that life as Haedrich, the deadly monotony, the preoccupation with hunger, the simple amusements and self-invented diversions, German propaganda tricks, thumbnail sketches of other prisoners, and finally the effect of sudden freedom. But there is much more emphasis on German brutality, somewhat overwritten in its heavy . The market can be partially gauged by the Haedrich book.

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1943
ISBN: 0548073325
Publisher: Smith & Durrell