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Chroniques politiques et culturelles (CP) - 04 JAN 1944 - Anglais
     [CP-1944-00-04-EN]


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Aperçu rapide de l'OCR:
To-night, I'.'propose to take you with me to the village where about
one thirds o f the- intexned. American pilots together with the few
. iateraaed|]pritish pilots are staying. It is a strange sight when you
arrive byJbUs' in that well known holiday-resort. The .main road is crowded
with USAand British uniforms for in that place there is as well
a big camp of British évadés escaped from enemy prisons camps. In thecentre
of a wax-torn*,continent you find yourself surrounded by mass'es.:
of soldiers: in battle-dress from almost every part of the "world.
., ' :'' . - : ' : . -Your airmen are staying in several large "hotels which-in,the
good oíd times were frequented by tourists from all continents. These
.hôtels are guarded, by Swiss soldiers under the command of a senior
'..' officer who is in charge of the?whole camp. For in. contrast to .the::.
status äss of the évadés-,'..Switzerland is bound by international law
to keep the internnes until th$ armistice. is sighed and must therefore "
prevent them from escaping.
But for this military side of the càmp-life the latter is entirely
organized by your boys themselves. È& wmtJtcan officer, major or Captaii
is in charge with a few more officers assisting him, Whilst the majority
of officers are staying in a special camp somevíhere else. At first,, it
has not been so easy a task to accustom the boys, who are used to the
free life of an airman, to the daily Routine life of an internee with
its inevitable rudimentary rules of discipline. But now these initial
difficulties have been overcome and things are going pretty well.
.'Various courses .have been provided for to follow; languages, mathematics,
physics, history, which each one may choose according to', his'..;:.:
liking. Furthermore workshops have been opeT3fed such as work and radio«» ":
shops, where the boys keep themselves occupied, for instance by constructing
model-airplanes etc. Everyone is at liberty wether he wants
to take up one of these courses or not, and not forced ia is applied.
most of them however have discovered by now that some kind of work,
makes time pass much quicker.
Sports of course bring a very welcome change into the internae life.
Whilst last winter everybody was skiing or skating, in summer the -,
favorites are swimming, boxing, tennis, football or base-ball. There-.
are competitions and matches amongst the internas as well as between
' internees and British évadé.s,;':;. é.j¡iie- two, hy the way go on very well
together and you will see them jCtnlng in parties all over the plaeej
ihfact the language of the évadée has "been americanèsed to gc considerable
Much is being done in the line; of entertainment. The picture hal
for instance is the pride of the camp., a very confortable hall with
easy chairs and the most wonderfull modern cinema-equipment.Films "
are shown almost every night, a very popular institution indeed.
Otherwise, the boys spend their evenings in one of the local pubs, having
a drink; or two c?ver a chat or an interesting game of bridge*; That
ia if ü,öt a dance is arranged for, with an American internees band
playing, and very well tool
Among my most impressive experiences in this particular camp
counts the church service at Sunday evenings. Both the USA internées
and the British évadés meet here in a t$ny little village church for
a oommon servies, conducted by a British padre in turn with a Swiss
priest who has lived abroad for many years. The atmosphere in this
church, crowded with soldiers from every English-speaking country,
reflects very accurately the spiritual union which binds together
these men from all over the world.
The Swiss army has set up a special organisation for delivering
talks to the internees an many topics OJï interest. The American commander
is at liberty, to ask for any lectures which to his belief interest
his men, as for instance on the military or political situation
of Switzerland, on history or on any specail problem of technique
or science. I for one have had great pleasure in addressing the camp
several times on current events, which X toied to explain from the ,.
point of view of an unbiassed Swiss citizen. The boys seen very in—
terested indeed ¿judging from the question? they usually fire at me
after the talk, '.quite understandably too, with the course of these
events deciding not only how long they will have to stay in our country
but: also their; future' life in general* Thus Ï have been.lucky in m
ny good friends among the internaes» It is not always easy for them to
realise their position in Switzerland, especially now that the evades
have hopes of being able to leave sooh. But they bear up very well
indeed.They long of course for their beloved ones, for their mothers,
wifes, brides and friends. They send you their love«wherease you may
be, your Earl from Boni sville, Kentucky, or Noël from San Antonia, Texas,
.and they look forward eagerly to the day they are home again.
To-night I propose to take you with me to he village where
about one third of the interned american pilots are staying. It is
a strange sight when you arrive "by bus in that well known holidayresort.
he jaalrw road, is crowded with USA and british uniforms f®&
a i"-*,"* igsBfreT EEFrfxsB 5 1lle3 4a +'r+ "" pTon TT
In the centre of a war-torn continent you find yourselfTsur .-Sunded
by masses of soldiers in battle-dress from almost every part of the
Your ainmen are staying in several large hotels which in the
good old times werde frequented by tourists from all continents
These hotels are guarded by swiss soldiers under the command of a
senior swiss officer who is in charge of the whole camp. For, in
contrast to the status of the évadés, Switzerland is bound by
international law to keep the internees until the armistice is
signed and must therefore prevent them from escaping.
But for this military side of campX-life the latter is entirely
organized by your boys themselves. An american officer, liajor or
Captain, is in charge with a fww more officers assisting him, whilst
the majority of officersotÄ staying in a special camp somewhere else.
At first it has not been so easy a task ta acc*stam the boys, who
are used to the free life of an airman, to the daily routine life of
an internee with its inevitable rudimentary rules of discipline.
But now these initial difficulties have been overcome and things
are going pretty well. Various courses have been provided for to
T&ollow: languages, mathematics, physics, history, and oaohrone
may choose according to his liking. Furthermore work-shops have been
opened wnoro .thoy can do all oorto of haudv-wflT'k,—UcupeiiLiug,—painting
J constructmg model-airplanes etc. Everyone is at liberty wether he
wants to take up one of this courses or not, and no force is applied;
most of them however have tiscovered by now that some kimd of work
makes time pass much quicker.
Sports of course bring a very welcome change into the internee's
life. Whilst last winter everybody was skiing or skating, in
summer the favorites are swimming, boxing, tennis, football ur
Jase-fcall, There are competitions and matches ESwiSJè amongst the
internees as well as between internees and british evades.These two
by the way go on very well together and you wrill see them joyning
in parties all over the place; in fact the language of the evades
has been americanised to a considerable extent.
Much is being done in the line of entertainment. The picture
hall for instance is the pride of the camp, a very comfortable
hall with easy chairs and the most wodderfull modern cinema-equipment.
Films ai 3 shown almost every night, a very popular institution
indeed. Otherwise the boys spend their evenings in one of the
local pubs, having a drink, or two over a chat or an interesting
game of bridge. That is, if not a dance is arranged for, with an
american internees band playing, and very well tool
Among my most impressive experiences in this particular
camp counts the church-service at sunday evenings. Both the USAinternees
and the british evades ¿&&H here in a tiny little village
church for a common service, conducted by a british padre in turn
with a sw'iss priest who has lived abroad for many years. The
athmosphere in this church, crowded with soldiers from every $ï ï
english-speaking country reflects very accurately the spiritual union
which binds together these men from all over the world.
The swiss army has set up a special organisation for
delivering talks to the internees on many topics of interest. The
american commander is at liberty to ask for any lectures which to
his belief interest his men, as for instance an the military or
political situation of Switzerland, on history or on any special
problem of technique or science. I for one have had great pleasure
in addressing the camp several times on current events, which I
tried to explain from an unbiassed point of view ofa3Swiss citizen.
The boys seem very interested indeed judging from the questions they
usually fire at me after the talk, quite understandably too, with
the course of these events deciding not only how long they will have
to stay in our country but also their fuJ'ture life in general hus
I have been lucky in making many good friends among the internees.
It is »f -oouroo notlréasy for them to realize their position in
Switzerland , especially now that the evades have hopes of being
able to leave soon. But they bear up very well indeed. They long
of course arö SH'SWS'ty for their loved ones, for their mother, wife
bride and friends. They send you their love, wherever you may be,
yntH. Earl from Louisvi jj=rÇÎ3r Noel from San Antonios - and they look forward
eagerly to the day they are home again.
v.1.09