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 7a

The Döberitz Gazette:
An International Magazine for the Kriegsgefangene Interned at Döberitz

image British prisoners at Döberitz published this thirty-two-page magazine for the benefit of the camp inmates, with the first issue appearing on news stands in March 1915. The Döberitz Gazette covered a wide range of local issues of interest to POW's. Sporting news, covering rugby games, the soccer league, boxing matches, and even a rifle club (the prisoners purchased three air rifles and organized shooting competitions in a tent) was very popular. The magazine also featured articles on social news, such as interviews with camp celebrities and theater and concert notes. Intending to inject humor into the camp, the magazine offered cartoons and humorous pieces which explained "How I Caught My Cold," how to cook peas, and answers to correspondence. The camp YMCA even had its own section, which listed the scheduled lecture topics. The gazette also had a serious function, offering an "Exchange and Mart" section, in which prisoners could swap belongings for other more desirable items through a free ad service. While the magazine cost three pence, the editors earned additional revenue selling advertisement space. These ads promoted the sale of army rations, stoves, and services such as barbers and the latest theatrical production. The Döberitz Gazette earned its "international magazine" status by printing articles written by French, Russian, and Polish prisoners in their native languages. The seriousness of the enterprise is best represented by the editorial board's standard: "If you buy and are pleased, tell your friends. If not pleased, don't tell us."1


Note 1: The Döberitz Gazette: An International Magazine for the Kriegsgefangene Interned at Döberitz, I, No. 1 (March 1915). Armed Services Records Box-55, Folder: "Prisoners of War-Miscellaneous Articles, Publications, and Reports-ca. 1914-1918," Kautz Family YMCA Archives, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. back