Die Zeit am Tyne
Die Zeit am Tyne Easter 1947 held at<empty> Northumberland Archive, Woodhorn Museum, Ashington . Copyright Northumberland County Archives Service, NRO 4906-10.

Featherstone Park
<empty>Photograph of Featherstone Park POW Camp held at<empty> Northumberland Archive, Woodhorn Museum, Ashington. Copyright Northumberland County Archives Service, NRO 6238-08.

Memorial Plaque
Memorial Plaque, Featherstone Park POW Camp,<empty> Copyright June Stanworth.

Eastgate Roman Altar
Original Location: Featherstone Park POW Camp, Haltwhistle
Current Location: Northumberland Archives, Woodhorn Museum Theme: Military
Period: Modern
Date: c.1946-8

What is it?
Die Zeit am Tyne was a newspaper published by German prisoners held at Camp 18, Featherstone Park, between 1946 and 1948.

What is its relevance to the North Pennines?
Camp 18, Featherstone Park, was briefly used to house Italian POWs but, after the end of World War Two, was converted to hold German officers - including many senior officers and enthusiastic Nazis - who were required to undergo a course of ‘denazification’ before repatriation.   Camp 18 was one of the largest POW camps in Britain, at one time housing 4000 officers and 600 orderlies.

Many POWs volunteered to work on local farms – under the Geneva Convention officers were not obliged to work– and the November 1946 edition of ZaT reports that up to 850 unsupervised volunteers went to 18 drainage sites and 250 farms to help with the harvest.  However there were also opportunities for study, with courses run by academics from Durham University and King’s College Newcastle (then part of Durham University).  One team undertook archaeological excavations at several sites on Hadrian’s Wall in collaboration with King’s College.  The camp had three orchestras, two theatres and a choir. Die Zeit am Tyne – an important part of these cultural activities - was printed in German at Hexham on The Courant presses.

Why is it important?
Die Zeit am Tyne was uncensored and therefore provides an invaluable record of the lives of German POWs in Britain after the war.  In January 1947, a special English edition of Die Zeit am Tyne was produced describing the harvest festival held by the POWs in Hexham Abbey and describes the barbed wire around the camp being torn down.

Articles also considered the future of Europe and in the last edition of March 1948 the camp’s interpreter, Captain Herbert Sulzbach, looks forward to the prisoners’ return to Germany.  Sulzbach had fought for Germany in WW1 and won two Iron Crosses but, as a Jew, had emigrated to Britain in the 1930s.  When war was declared, he was interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien but was then accepted into the Pioneer Corps and spent most of the war building coastal defences. In 1944, he volunteered to work as an interpreter with German POWs and dedicated himself to working for British-German reconciliation, eventually receiving the OBE.

Further Information

    Text References:
  • Temporary settlements and Transient populations.  The legacy of Britain’s prisoner of war camps, Dr J Anthony Hellen, Erdkunde, Band 53/1999
  • The Boys’ Own Papers: The Case of German POW Camp Newspapers in Britain 1946-8, Ingebord F Hellen, German Historical Institute London Bulletin, Bd. 30 2008 Nr. 2
  • Private Papers of Captain Herbert Sulzbach OBE, Imperial War Museum Documents 400

  • External Links:
  • www.hexhamcourant150/co.uk
  • www.pegasusarchive.org
  • www.royalpioneercorps.co.uk

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