Prisoner of war

Photo of the Day

YEARS AGO?Marthe Cohn as a young woman in the 1940s. Photo: Marthe Cohn

YEARS AGO?: Marthe Cohn as a young woman in the 1940s. Photo: Marthe Cohn

Marthe Misses Nothing

The Lady was a Spy

?During World War II, Marthe Hoffnung was a French espionage agent in Nazi Germany, posing as Martha Ulrich, a 25-year-old ‘Fr?ulein’ whose cover story was that she needed to find her fianc? at the German front

???You should never accept to be kept under the boot of anybody; you have to fight back.?

Marthe Cohn

Marthe Cohn (nee Hoffnung), was crouching in a forest, dressed in a skirt and jacket, with white socks covering her silk stockings. She took a deep breath and grabbed her suitcase, taking leave of Georges Lemaire, the Swiss intelligence officer who had accompanied her to this spot on the Swiss-German border. Marthe began crawling through the underbrush toward the stretch of road patrolled by two German sentries. She waited until they met midway and reversed direction, so their backs were to her.

This was her cue. She was to pose as Martha Ulrich, a German nurse searching for her fianc?, but she was suddenly paralyzed by fear, overcome by the enormity of her mission, so she just lay there for more than two hours. Then she thought about a captain named Mollat, the French officer who had overseen her previous 14 missions to infiltrate enemy territory, all unsuccessful, and who had doubted her abilities.

She rose, pulling herself up to her full 4-foot-11 height, and walked to the road. ?Heil Hitler,? she greeted the sentry coming toward her, presenting her papers. ?Go on your way,? he said.

It was April 11, 1945, two days before Marthe?s 25th birthday.

Marthe Cohn was an unlikely World War II spy. At just 4 feet, 11 inches, Cohn was petite with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was also Jewish. Never hesitant to resist an unjust cause, especially during the Nazi reign in World War II, she courageously risked everything and contributed to the Allies? victory.

With her fair features and flawless German language skills, however, she was able to convince Nazi officers she posed no threat.

?I was now in Germany,? she said.

Cohn had no compass, map, radio or weapons, only clothes without labels and German money and vouchers.

?Everything I needed to know was in my memory,? she said with a smile. ?I have a pretty good memory.?

Now 96 years old, Cohn said she feels compelled to travel around the country to share her story with others. ?It?s important that people know that Jews fought,? she said. ?We were not just waiting to be arrested.?

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Photo Of The Day

Remarkable: Captain Robert Campbell returned to a German PoW camp after being given permission to leave to visit his dying mother in Britain by the Kaiser.

Remarkable: Captain Robert Campbell returned to a German PoW camp after being given permission to leave to visit his dying mother in Britain by the Kaiser.

Prisoner of Honour

A British Army officer captured by the Germans during World War One was granted temporary leave from a prisoner of war camp to visit his dying mother on one condition ? that he returns.

Robert Campbell, pictured above, served as a captain in the British military in World War I. As the conflict went on, so did the number of prisoners of war held by both sides, and by the summer of 1916, Germany held more than 1.6 million such POWs. In December of that year, Captain Campbell became one of those POWs for the second time.

Captain Campbell was captured early in the war; the UK declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, Campbell became a POW before the month was out. He spent more than two years at a German prison camp in the town of Magdeburg and, like many POWs, was allowed to write letters to friends and family back home.

But after two years in Magdeburg Prisoner of War Camp the British officer received word from home his mother Louise Campbell was close to death.

He speculatively wrote to Kaiser Wilhelm II begging to be allowed home to visit his mother one final time. He was astonished to be given permission ? on condition that he promised to return.

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How Monopoly was used to send escape kits to POWs in WWII

How awesome is this, Monopoly was sued to send escape kits to Allied POWs held in Germany with built in escape kits and supplies:

During the war, large numbers of British airmen were felled over enemy airspace and then held as prisoners behind enemy lines. Germany, however –?in part?as a nod to the?Geneva Convention?– allowed humanitarian groups like the Red Cross to?distribute care packages to those prisoners. And one of the categories of items that could be included in those packages was “games and pastimes.” So the Allies?took military advantage of this human kindness: Posing as “charities” (one of the better fake names: theLicensed Victuallers Prisoners Relief Fund), they sent packages to their POWs that featured clandestine escape kits — kits that included tools like compasses, metal files, money, and, most importantly, maps.

And: They disguised those kits as Monopoly games. The compasses and files? Both disguised as playing pieces. The money, in the form of French, German, and Italian bank notes? Hidden below the Monopoly money. The maps? Concealed within the board itself.?”The game was too innocent to raise suspicion,” ABC News’s Ki Mae Heussner?put it?– but “it was the ideal size for a top-secret escape kit.” ? Read more »