Planning post-war London in Stalag Luft III
This is one of the posters painted by our maternal grandfather when he was a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany (now in Poland) during the second world war. The poster advertises a lecture in the camp’s theatre. The County of London Plan referred to is presumably Patrick Abercrombie and John Henry Forshaw’s Plan, which was published in 1943 in anticipation of the reconstruction that would be needed when the war ended. Our grandfather must have carried the poster with him on the long march when his camp was evacuated in retreat from advancing Russian forces in January 1945.
Paper, ink and paint were in short supply in the camp, arriving in occasional Red Cross parcels. Projects such as this poster were also a cover for the forgeries he would be working on at the same time, which would be hidden underneath the ‘legitimate’ project whenever a guard came in to sight. The forged documents were provided to those attempting escape.