P.O.W. Camps

Horsetrack Hooligans’ Jordan Pratt joins us to talk about P.O.W. Camps from the Civil War to Guantanamo Bay.

MUSIC: Roy Rogers “Don’t Fence Me In”


The Great Escape
Kevin: 7/10
Joe: 6/10
Jordan: 7/10
Toren: 7/10

Jordan: 4/10

Empire of the Sun
Kevin: 8/10
Jordan: 8/10
Joe: 7/10

Kevin: 9/10
Jordan: 9/10
Toren: 6/10
Joe: 7/10

Rescue Dawn
Kevin: 7/10
Toren: 6/10

Stalag 17
Kevin: 8/10
Toren: 8/10

Bridge on the River Kwai
Kevin: 7/10
Jordan: 8/10
Toren: 8/10

17 Responses

  1. Very interesting episode guys, and gladly not as gruesome as I feared it might have been (but I won’t tell anyone). 🙂

    I happened to see “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” the other day (and was ridiculously pleased with myself because of it) and one thing I learned was that it was set during the American Civil War and that Blondie and Tuco (?) were captured in a POW camp in the middle of the film. And they had a band in the camp too, which made everything so much more cheery. Good film though.

    Oh, and the Changi prison camp you mentioned is pronounced “Chang-ee”, rather than “Chang-gee”. A lot of Australians were stuck there along with Brits and Americans and other Allied forces, which is why I’ve heard of it. There was a very well-regarded Australian drama mini-series made about it a few years ago (called Changi).

    I would have been interested to hear a bit more about Ye Olde Time prisoner treatment, for example, around the time of the Crusades – there’s plenty of material that would slot right into your show from then.

    Keep up the great work, and I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

  2. The actor that played Schultz actually spent time in a POW camp. He was a Jew fleeing Austria and was placed in an internment camp for processing. Thankfully it was early in the war and that loveable actor managed to escape to the United States.

    I saw Victory more than a few times as a youth as I was a big football/soccer fan back then. The cast of the film chock full of international football stars. Not just Pele. It wasn’t Stallone who wanted to leave but the rest of the team said, ‘We can win this!’

    What I remember about the film was hearing that Stallone, who played the goal keeper, insisted on scoring the game winning goal. Thankfully he was talked out of it. Instead they wrote a scene where he stops a penalty shot to preserve the tie. Only in a football film would a tie game cause a riot allowing prisoners to escape.

    1. Correction, it WAS Stallone that wanted to leave. The rest of the team wanted to stay and win.

    1. Apparently Gordon Banks, England’s World Cup goalkeeper, was training Stallone on how to keep goal properly. Stallone apparently wasn’t interested in listening until he broke a rib and a finger shooting his goal keeping scenes.

  3. You guys didn’t mention the fabled BLACK HOLE OF CALCUTTA! It used to hold British P.O.W’s from the fall of the fort it was in 1756. According to one of the prisoners “123 prisoners died out of 146 prisoners held” making it far more deadly than the Andersonville prison. Although, the Brits apparently died of suffocation, because they were all stuffed into a single room.

  4. It would have been interesting to hear you cover the story of German P.O.W. camps in the U.S. As I understand it the Americans were hoping that by treating the Germans well they would also receive similar treatment for American prisoners of war. They were pretty amazing as the Germans would build their own theatres in the camps and put on plays based on memory. From the documentary it seemed these camps were fairly nice places to stay, although most of it was due in part to the German prisoners who built pretty much anything they wanted from the material supplied by the Americans. They even received donations of musical instruments and put on elaborate orchestras. In father’s hometown the prisoners were allowed out twice a month to watch movies in the local theartre. It seems this good treatment ended near the end of the war when the U.S. found out how prisoners were actually being treated. Despite the U.S. change in tune in attitude towards the German prisoners many stayed after the war and were the subject of this documentary.

    What shocked (or embarrassed) me was if this happened to Canadian or American troops and we were given a pile of wood and instruments I’m not so sure based on the average population of our troops if the end result would be a fully formed theater with full working classic symphony orchestra. Instead we’d probably have a shack full of copper tubing retrofitted into a still from leftover musical instruments.

  5. oh, and thanks for covering “Empire of The Sun” one of my favorite movies of all time, and certainly my favorite movie growing up. This is the movie that made me a Christian Bale fan. (surprise surprise, it wasn’t “Newsies”) thanks again, another great podcast.

  6. The best POW camp I read about was Colditz. The prisoners in that camp showed some impressive imagination in their escape attempts, including tunneling, cross-dressing, having themselves sewn into mattresses, and even constructing a glider out of scavenged parts. A couple of prisoners even faked a successful escape, and hid out in the castle just so that they could take roll call on behalf of prisoners who were escaping to give them more time to get away.



  7. Love all the props for the dutch people 🙂
    a few episodes ago
    all dutch people being engineers made me laugh
    at first i was going to argue against it, but then being in my fourth year of my
    engineering degree, i realized my point would be auto null and void.
    But on the Boer War, i am pretty sure the British “won” the Boer war though with heavy casualties.

  8. Also just to note, I was really glad to see this episode come into the rotation, due to it being one of my requests when i went to the science world event.

  9. I’m a latecomer to Caustic Soda and I’m obsessively binge listening earlier podcasts. My mother grew up on a farm in rural Minnesota and remembers German POW’s working the fields on their farm during WWII. Her mother would cook a big midday meal – roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits and pie – and she and her younger sister would serve them in the dining room and refill their glasses of milk. She remembers being told to be polite and respectful to them and said that the POW’s were always polite and kind to them.