St. Denis

When we arrived in St. Denis on February 25, 1942, we were taken to a large military area, Number 1996. There were about 1,000 internees mostly with British nationality. I say mostly because we found out after a while that two or three inmates had false British passports. When the Germans, who were by then guarding us, found out, we learned that they were hanged by a butcher’s hook through the throat.

In this camp we were fortunate in a sense, because we were not persecuted like at some of the other camps in Poland and Germany. Of course , we were interned, which meant we could not go out. We were allowed visitors once a month, but we did not have any, because the people we knew in Paris were all Jewish and they were frightened to come.

We played a lot of sports in the camp, like tennis, football, volleyball and basketball. The military area had a vast amount of ground, so we walked frequently. We had a library and many people studied other languages. I learned Spanish. There were several Canadian priests who I presume must have been studying in Paris or somewhere in France, and there were quite a few Jews, all of whom were British. I remember there was someone related to Lord Halifax in our camp, his name was Wood.

St. Denis:

This is the official document stating that Joseph was kept in the “Stalag Lager”

 

We used to get Canadian parcels from the British Red Cross and quite often we received cigarettes, as we didn’t smoke we used to exchange them for other things.

As the war raged on, the tide started to turn. On June 6th 1944, the Allies launched D-Day and as the planes flew over the camp they didn’t drop a single bomb on us. It was as if they knew to avoid the British prisoners interned there.

 

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