12°. 60 pp., , contemporary binding with hand printed boards and cloth spine (used condition, stamps on the front free endpapers, on the title page and in white margins, old signature on the title page, title page and sporadic pages reinforced on the inner side, two pages with tears in the inner white margin, minor staining in the margins).
A pocket book in German language with an attractive hand-made partly stenciled binding, signed with initials ASNAB and dated October 2nd, ‘43, was owned by a German soldier, possibly fighting in North Africa, who was imprisoned at the POW camp in Colorado.
The book bears a stamp of the POW camp in Trinidad, Colorado, marking it as a private property, a censorship stamp of the camp, a later stamp by Collegium Academicum Heidelberg and a stamp of deaccessioning. Collegium Academicum in Heidelberg was founded in 1945 and encouraged the young German men, previously the members of the Nazi party, to gain education in sciences after the war.
The novel on a girl, who enters a service disguised as a page to the Swedish king Gustav I. Adolf during the Thirty Years’ War was first published in 1882. This edition was published in 1942 especially to be read by the soldiers on the battlefields.
The popular publishing house Reclam from Leipzig, still known for its pocket books, developed already during WWI a special war series, called Feldpostausgabe, which could be practically transported as a travel library in a box on the battlefield. In the WWII they repeated the series, which also included this book.
Colorado POW Camps
During World War II approximately 425,000 Axis POWs were held in the United States, housed in 175 main camps and 511 satellite facilities. The POW Camp system was administered by the U.S. Army Provost Marshal General’s Office, which sensibly elected to place most of the camps in largely rural interior states, to lessen the chance of successful escape. Moreover, the absence of many American men of fighting age from the scene resulted in these largely agrarian states suffering severe labour shortages; it was hoped that the POWs could ameliorate this problem.
Naturally, Colorado was one of the key host states, home to 43 POW camps. Most of the Colorado camps were scattered along the foot of the Front Range, near both major transport routes and agricultural areas.
Most of the prisoners in Trinidad were former members of the Rommel’s Afrika Korps. The camp encouraged cultural events and reading among the prisoners, many of which came from the German upper class and were well educated.