Three French Prisonniers de Guerre / Landwehr Inftr Regt Nr 120, originally uploaded by drakegoodman.
Three French Prisonniers de Guerre / Landwehr Inftr Regt Nr 120
Letter on reverse (below) with admin stamp from Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 120 and postage cancelled 8.6.1918 at an unspecified location.
Three French Prisonniers de Guerre, two of whom are Senegalese ‘colonials’.
In late 1915 the prisoners’ hardship and suffering prompted the French government to issue protests through neutral countries and threaten reprisals against German prisoners. Germany responded by cutting the Allied prisoners’ food rations, reducing their mail and sending some to harsher special camps in Lithuania.
By 1916 some 300,000 Frenchmen were in captivity. Most, except officers, were forced to do agricultural or factory labour. Over 30,000 worked in the Krupp factories in Essen. Exhausting conditions, brutality and insufficient food often proved lethal.
French prisoners in Turkey and Bulgaria endured similar hardships. In 1915-1916 the embassies of the United States and, later, the Netherlands, joined their efforts to help Frenchmen interned in the Ottoman Empire.