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Sojourn in Silesia 1940 - 1945 Paperback – 8 Jul 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: CompletelyNovel (8 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849141630
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849141635
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 747,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Just over ten years ago I composed the account of my time behind barbed-wire solely for the information of my family, and all purely from memory; no diaries, no written records. However, at that time Freda, my wife, was an enthusiastic member of a writer's group. She and her colleagues insisted that my writings justified wider publicity in book form.

The interest in this book has already engendered is most gratifying and now, because of the website (designed by my eldest daughter, Gillian) the demand for copies is even greater.

I have received, and attempted to answer, many letters - a few from fellow P.O.W.s, but chiefly from their children or, latterly, grandchildren. Sadly, in one case I was able to identify to a nephew his uncle shown in the 1941 group photograph of the coal mine working party, who, regretfully, was shot dead in 1944 by a German guard for not resuming work quickly enough after a break.

A grandson of the late R.S.M. Sidney Sherriff has also been in touch. R.S.M. Sherriff as the S.B.O. was much respected and well known to all who were incarcerated in Lamsdorf and richly deserved the honour he received after his return to the UK. A third example concerns a colleague who was directly responsible for smuggling Wing Commander Bader out of Lamsdorf wearing army uniform to a working party on Gleiwitz Aerodrome in 1942.

Remarkably, an Australian correspondent has tried to persuade me that Bader was not in Lamsdorf in 1942 but in a hotel in Liverpool where the writer waited on him. According to him, the German authorities had allowed Bader temporarily to return to the UK for special treatment to his leg stumps, on the understanding he duly returned to Lamsdorf! I am still not convinced!

In the end, there was so much correspondence that we started storing it in cardboard boxes - and so when writers asked if we'd heard from their old comrades at arms that their relatives had mentioned, it became increasingly difficult and time-consuming to go through all the letters to find out if we had any trace of them.

However, little did I realise then that we were about to enter a technological revolution - and neither did I think at my great age I would be expected to get to grips with it. Fortunately, with the advent of the internet, my daughter Gillian has now been able to create a website called Lamsdorf Reunited (www.lamsdorfreunited.co.uk) on which we keep everyone's contact details on a separate database and the incredible reach of the worldwide web means we can easily bring together people from all over the world.

So, where before I was receiving letters I now mainly receive emails from places as diverse as South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

Where I could not help personally, I advised the correspondents to contact the Ministry of Defence and the Committee of the International Red Cross in Geneva. This applied particularly to relatives seeing information about the sites of graves of those of our comrades who lost their lives, either by gross neglect by the German authorities or unfortunately by 'friendly fire' during the death march in the snowbound months of early 1945.

One factor has surprised me! Not one of my ex-colleagues on the working parties in the coal mine or at Gleiwitz Aerodrome has contacted me. There must be a few still about!

The website (www.lamsdorfreunited.co.uk) has dramatically revived interest in my book, necessitating a Third Edition. I am shortly about to arrive at the eighty-ninth anniversary of my birth and am still fortunate enough to drive my car and disport myself on the bowls greens of Kent.

Please continue to send your letters and emails!

Arthur Evans 2005



Arthur, as you may be aware, passed away on 18 March 2011. His granddaughter Jo Harrison, for several years, has been responsible for the website and the sales of his book. Just before he died, Arthur requested that some of the profit from the sales of the book would go to The British Red Cross. At the time of this request I hadn't realised quite what The Red Cross meant to him. We have recently been reading his letters home, during his 5 years incarceration. Reading about the Red Cross parcels and seeing how important they were to the survival of Arthur and his peers is astonishing. So, we are pleased to be honouring his request and donating monies to this worthy charity.

It is important to note here, we no longer keep contact details. Now that Lamsdorf Reunited has become Lamsdorf Remembered, we no longer take submissions of photos, stories or memorabilia from relatives of former prisoners of war at Stalag VIIIB. But you are welcome to view them on the old Lamsdorf Reunited pages. Alternatively you can submit photos and stories on the Facebook page:
(www.facebook.com/LamsdorfRemembered).

So, as we enter a fourth reprint we hope you continue to enjoy this firsthand account of life behind the wires as a prisoner of war.

Kathy Gower, May 2011
France

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Auntie Katie on 12 July 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I read this in one go - once I had started I couldn't put it down. I cried more than once but also, despite the subject matter, laughed out loud in several places. Arthurs writing is lovely and the description of the conditions, the scenery and the unlikely "friendships" that were made during his time in captivity are amazing. I believe this is a book for everyone and, as there are sadly so few of our heroes left, will soon be the way to come anywhere near understanding how tough things were and how clueless and lucky we are today. I have thought about Arthur and his comrades in someway everyday since I read this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steve B on 16 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
It is difficult to imagine the terror of being held captive during WW2, we all now know how it all ended, but at the time prisoners of war didn't. Waking up every morning thinking that it could be you last, must take a massive toll on your health and well-being. To have to sustain this for 5 years is imaginable to me, but Arthur did and still managed to keep his perspective on life.

What I soon grasped when reading his own account of WW2, was that Arthur was a gentleman first and a soldier second. His respect for his fellow inmates and even of some of his enemies shone through. He did what he had to do to survive which must have been soul destroying at times, especially having to work down a dark and dangerous mine.

Other people did play a part in keeping Arthur's spirit up, mainly the odd letters from home and the amazing work of the Red-Cross, along with people from his home town who aided this support.

His family are entitled to feel honoured to have been part of the life of this Gentleman Hero.

Read this book and count your blessings, I know I did.

Sojourn in Silesia: 1940 - 1945
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Travelling Nanna on 18 Mar 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My father was in the N.African desert during WW2 and never said much about it. Everyone should read books like this to know what really happened. I never knew men were so reliant on Red Cross parcels. An evocative book which I read in a day.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By teacher on 5 Mar 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Sojourn in Silesia, by Arthur Charles Evans, CBE, is a first-rate first-hand account of one Prisoner-of-War's experiences during the length of World War Two. From how he came to be taken prisoner, to the life and death remembrances of captivity, to enduring the rise and then fall of the German Army, Arthur faithfully recounts all he can remember of significance from the years 1940 through 1945. Engrossing reading, with references to people, places and activities everyone familiar with this dark period will recall. Highly recommended to anyone wishing to more fully understand personal response to institutional horror.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By pjred on 6 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book after it was recommended to me. Most enjoyable with tears in my eyes, probably on more than one occasion. It is amazing what the human body can take when subjected to the harshness of war?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Nov 2004
Format: Paperback
A very readable story of one man's account of being a prisoner of war. The pressures, anxieties and comradeship. It certainly gives food for thought about how anybody could not only survive the ordeal, but learn from it. Not the "Great Escape", but somehow all the more poignant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Booketta on 26 Jun 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was honoured to be asked to review this book by my RISI and Facebook friend Jo Harrison, Arthur Evans granddaughter, who is the editor of this story. Shameless plug here for Jo's website. Yes, I use the word story because it is Arthur's story and it is special not only to those close to him, family and friends, but because it is a humbling reminder of what our forebears went through during the World Wars of the 20th century.

I found Arthur's story very interesting partly because I had not read any accounts of POW's. This story is not full of terror, it is told in such a way that it keeps the reader interested. It does not dwell on horrors but gives a rounded view. The German officers were described as ordinary humans just carrying out their jobs and you could sense that many of them did not actually like keeping these men prisoners, they were not the Gestapo. Many of the POW's friends and comrades were killed and stories reached the inmates of Stalag VIIIB that some of those who had already left the camp had subsequently died. The POW's weren't treated too badly, compared to many of the atrocities we read about in the German prison camps and Arthur Evans was fortunate to build up a relationship with the German officers which helped his fellow inmates. A special man, he taught himself to speak German to not only help himself and the other prisoners, but it also made it easier for the Germans. His story shows that the Germans respected him. Of course, the POW's would not have had parcels of food and clothing if it were not for the work of the Red Cross and later on we hear that Mr Evans own family and friends in his home town contributed financially to ensure that he received clothing and food.
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