The authorities in Canada have now chained up a number of German prisoners equal to the number of British prisoners chained up in Germany. What the devil are we coming to? [1]

[1] The Germans chained some 2,500 Allied prisoners (mainly Canadian) taken at Dieppe because they claimed that British Commandos had chained their German prisoners. The British War Office denied this. Canada then manacled 1.376 German prisoners. On 15 October, the Swiss Red Cross offered to mediate. See Orwell’s (unpublished) letter to the Times, 12 October 1942, in which he argues that by such retaliation we ‘descend…to the level of our enemies’ (CW, XIV, pp. 97-8). On 18 October, Hitler ordered German troops to shoot all captured Allied Commandos ‘to the last man.’

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2 Responses to 11.10.42

  1. Medawar says:

    This incident is referred to in the memoirs of Franz Von Werra “The One That Got Away”. His view was naturally self-righteous, but he did perceive that his Canadian guards were extremely angry about the treatment of Canadian prisoners by the Germans.

  2. Philip Wainwright says:

    Worth noting that the Times did publish many other letters making the same point, and even expressed its own mild disapproval in an editorial. The Canadians had provided most of the soldiers, and presumably therefore the prisoners, in the Dieppe operation.

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