prisoners of war in Porz (1914 - 1918)
After the first battles
in the west were fought in World War I prisoners of
war were brought to Porz in 1914 already – more
exactly to the moorland of Wahn.
On October 20th 1914 more than 4,000 prisoners are
listed, one and a half years later the number
increased up to 50,000; among them were French
colonial soldiers, so-called Tirailleurs, from North
Africa, but also from Senegal. First the prisoners
were accommodated in barracks of the old military
camp as well as in tents.
Navigation with Google Earth (must be
In 1915/16 the prisoner's of war camp was
reestablished. 76 barracks existed, each of wooden
frameworks with boarding and roofs made of
paperboards. The lodgings in the camp were separated
by nationalities and "races".
The "exotic" prisoners attracted the attention of
the public; photos, which were sold as postcards and
sent, were taken. One could absolutely dedicate
oneself to this fascination, as long as one stood on
the putative side of the winner. In 1917 the camp
was moved to Limburg at the river Lahn.
the German propaganda the instating of colored
colonial troops by their opponents in Europe was
a fateful taboo break because with this the "domestic"
quarrel would be decided between the white "brothers"
by dependent colonial people. The propaganda did
not become tired to repeat, that France – only
to humiliate the Germans - would open the
floodgates to barbarity all over Europe.
Arthur Johnson [From: Kladderadatsch in 1916]
how to shoot on whites“
To hurt France in
terms of foreign policy, German Propagandists
view the instate of French colonial troops
during the First World War as a "sin" against
the whole „white race“, because the Non-whites
on the battlefield would recognize the conflict
their white men have and how vulnerable they
were. The respect before the white colonists
(not only for the Germans) thereby would
disappear and "high spirits" would be its result.
“Black French soldiers learn how to shoot at
white men with cannons.” [From: Illustrated
observer, special number “guilt of France”
Bechhaus-Gerst, Marianne, Afrikanische
Besatzungssoldaten in Wahn
"Besondere Kennzeichen Neger" - Schwarze im
Ausstellungsprojekt des NS-Dokumentationszentrums Köln