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 8d

Paroles de Consolation et d'Encouragement

(Words of Consolation and Encouragement)

image Albert Nicole, the chaplain at the German prisoner of war camp at Zossen, wrote this sixteen-page pamphlet for the benefit of French and Belgian POW's. This book is representative of the spiritual readings WPA secretaries distributed to Allied prisoners across Germany during the war. The Furche (Furrow), the publication branch of the German YMCA Student Association, produced the book (a list of other inspirational publications available to prisoners are printed on the inside back cover).1

Nicole opened the work with a Bible verse from the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15, Verses 11-24) and uses the story as his message of consolation and encouragement for war prisoners. Far from family members and facing an undetermined period of incarceration, spiritual relief became a key service for YMCA secretaries for languishing prisoners. The Association strove to distribute Bibles, religious tracts, spiritual pamphlets and other devotional materials to POW's in a wide range of languages. The promotion of spiritual health among war prisoners was equally as important for the YMCA as POW's physical and mental consitutions.


Note 1: Albert Nicole, Paroles de consolation et d'encouragement, Germany: Furche, No Date. International Division Box 292: "Germany: Student Work, West German Bund, Miscellaneous Printed Material," Folder: "Germany: General Publications: Misc. Print, ND-1915," Kautz Family YMCA Archives, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. back