Pursuit of an 'Unparalleled Opportunity'
The American YMCA and Prisoner of War Diplomacy among the Central Power Nations
during World War I, 1914-1923.
by Kenneth Steuer

Appendix 6e

Inauguration of YMCA Reading Hall at Crossen-an-der-Oder

image This program commemorates the opening of the YMCA reading hall at the prison camp at Crossen-an-der-Oder on 29 May 1915. The cover of the program features a photograph of the main entrance to the prison camp at the top and a photo of the new reading hall with a German flag waving above the building on the bottom. The inauguration ceremony was divided into two parts. The first featured addresses by the camp's commandant, Lieutenant Colonel Haase, and presentations by YMCA officials including Pastor G. Schrenk (a German WPA Secretary), G. Rosenkranz (the director of the German National YMCA), and Gerhard Niedermeyer (the General Secretary of the German Christian Student Movement). The camp orchestra performed at the inauguration along with Russian folk singers. On the third page of the program, German participants could find the translation of the Russian songs. The second part of the program featured gymnastic and marching exhibitions by Russian and French prisoners.1


Note 1: Programm zur Einweihungsfeier der Lesehalle im Kriegsgefangenenlager Crossen a/Oder 29. Mai 1915, 29 May 1915. Armed Services Records Box 53, Folder: "Prisoner of War Work in Germany-1915-1917," Kautz Family YMCA Archives, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. back