Project to explore German prisoners of war in Leicester after Second World War

Posted by ap507 at Oct 30, 2015 10:43 AM |
University of Leicester student study seeks to interview people throughout Leicestershire

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 30 October 2015

A local resident studying at the University of Leicester is keen to hear from people with information about German prisoners of war who were held in Leicestershire camps during and after the Second World War.

Sue Bishop, a Chartered Accountant who worked for 19 years in NHS Finance, is just about to start the research for her third year undergraduate dissertation in the University of Leicester’s School of History.

As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the project aims to uncover why a number of the prisoners remained in Leicestershire once they were finally released.

The project will involve understanding their experiences of life in England, what local people thought of them and how this changed once the war was over.

Sue said: “Members of the general public may be surprised to know that German prisoners of war made up a significant component of the local workforce during those early years after the war. Most of the men worked on farms alongside the Women’s Land Army, and schoolchildren who were brought in to help at harvest time.

“They were also used on early ground works for the New Parks Estate in the second half of the 1940s and helped to keep roads open by clearing snow through the long hard winter of 1946-47.”

As part of the project, Sue is keen to hear from any surviving German prisoners of war who live in the county, their relatives and friends or anyone who can remember the men during that time and who are willing to help.

She added: “Individuals sometimes underestimate the relevance and power of their memories. Their knowledge will shed a completely different light on what happened and why. Unless such recollections are recorded future generations will continue to have only the official version of events to look back on.”

Dr Sally Horrocks, Lecturer in Modern British History from the University of Leicester’s School of History, added: "Sue’s project will explore a fascinating but neglected aspect of local history and add a new dimension to our understanding of why and how this group came to be part of Leicester’s diverse postwar community."

The research project is to be completed by the beginning of 2016.

ENDS 

Notes to Editors:
For more information please contact Sue Bishop on sb649@student.le.ac.uk

 

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