Jump to content

The WWI Practice of Parole of Honor


Croix de Guerre

Recommended Posts

Croix de Guerre

Parole of Honor

I am doing a study of the practice of allowing prisoners to temporarily leave their prison camps under oath that they would not attempt to escape. To the best of my knowledge this practice was only afforded to officers. While under a light guard officers were allowed to go on extended walks in the countryside or through town. Have any of you ever heard of an Allied prisoner violating this practice by attempting to escape while on guarded parole?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not know about paroles, but I do know a story that is the opposite of what you are asking about.

 

In the movie "A Very Long Engagement" (which I highly recommend)......the French release a prisoner unarmed into no man's land as punishment to make him fend for himself.

 

I always thought it was an idea of fiction.....but in the book "The Remains of Company D" (about Co. D, 28th Infantry, 1st Division) the author relates a similar story from a first person account.

 

I know it's not exactly what you are looking for.....but perhaps worth noting.

 

MW

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

I know that the practice was allowed in neutral countries in both World War I and World War II. There is a great movie called "The Brylcreem Boys" which documents the soldiers and sailors of both the Axis and Allies who were interred in Ireland during World War II. The movie actually shows that the Irish authorities were nicer to the Axis prisoners than the allies- specifically the British who were interred.

 

In the US Civil War, there were a number of instances where soldiers were paroled from POW camps and allowed to go home so long as the prisoners gave their word of honor that they would never again pick up arms against their enemy.

 

It is also documented that in some areas here in the USA, that certain prisoners were allowed to leave the POW camps for work release and short trips into town without guards. I realize that the above examples aren't exactly what you are looking for, but I believe that there had to have been some precedence for the practice to have been accepted.

 

Allan

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know of WWI pilots from England and Germany that were allowed to go home for the funerals of their mothers, and then return to captivity. Both of these event have been recounted on the forum.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Salvage Sailor

Parole of Honor

I am doing a study of the practice of allowing prisoners to temporarily leave their prison camps under oath that they would not attempt to escape. To the best of my knowledge this practice was only afforded to officers. While under a light guard officers were allowed to go on extended walks in the countryside or through town. Have any of you ever heard of an Allied prisoner violating this practice by attempting to escape while on guarded parole?

 

 

 

Aloha,

 

Look for the book "Prisoner of the U-90" and official reports submitted by USN LT Edouard Victor Michel Izac which details the capture and escape of this USNA class of 1915 officer. The original is difficult to locate but the later work published by the Naval Institute Press is out there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have read about cases in the German Luft Stalags where some airmen were given temporary paroles to "walk around the outside of the camp or go swimming", but I have never come across a copy of an original document,

 

Kurt

Link to post
Share on other sites

German and Italian POWs were granted parole during WWII in the western US to work in the fields, they were paid for their work the same as other workers, but they were paid in camp script. I do not know of any violating their parole. At the same time, a couple of German POWs escaped from the Rupert POW camp, but when they heard the coyotes howling, they turned themselves into the camp as they thought they were wolves.

Link to post
Share on other sites

German and Italian POWs were granted parole during WWII in the western US to work in the fields, they were paid for their work the same as other workers, but they were paid in camp script. I do not know of any violating their parole. At the same time, a couple of German POWs escaped from the Rupert POW camp, but when they heard the coyotes howling, they turned themselves into the camp as they thought they were wolves.

 

I'm not sure if this was a parole or a work detail.

 

My mother's family had a farm with apple trees. German POW's were brought out at harvest time to pick the apples and fill the bushel baskets. But they were accompanied with a guard. My Mom used to take water out them and pick up the apples on the back of a stripped down farm truck. By her account they were nothing but polite.

 

There's a story in the Midwest about a similar work detail where the truck brought the POW's back from the farm at night. When they counted everyone, they were a man short. Everyone was sure there had been an escape attempt, and the local law enforcement was mobilized. Just as the search was being mounted, the very exhausted man came walking through the front gate. The truck had stopped on the way back so that the men could relieve themselves... and had taken off before this unfortunate had a chance to get back on! He was quite unhappy that he had to walk the remaining miles back!

 

We have an account in another thread about Italian prisoners being allowed to work in various industries around Chicago, often with Italian-American owned businesses.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I'm not sure if this was a parole or a work detail.

 

If the POWs are escorted by a guard, then it would not be parole, but when the are allowed to leave with out escort, I would think that it would have to be considered parole. My mother tells of picking up prisoners to work on her father's ranch in Oregon, she said that she did not think about it then, but now thinking about a 15 year old girl picking up three enemy soldiers seems a bit odd. Here in Idaho, I understand most of the work details were escorted by an armed guard, in one case, an American soldier gave his rifle to a German POW to guard the others while he took a nap.

Link to post
Share on other sites

During WWII, Allied prisoners at Stalag Luft 1 near Barth, Germany were given paroles to go outside the camp for swimming excursions in a stream outside of camp. In the book "For You Der Var Iss Ofer" by George Perry, he says he was allowed four such paroles. I believe such paroles are also documented in the book "Behind Barbed Wire" by Roy Morris which is also about Stalag Luft 1.

 

Marty

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is from Wikipedia:

 

Parole is "the agreement of persons who have been taken prisoner by an enemy that they will not again take up arms against those who captured them, either for a limited time or during the continuance of the war".[9] The U.S. Department of Defense defines parole more broadly. "Parole agreements are promises given the captor by a POW to fulfill stated conditions, such as not to bear arms or not to escape, in consideration of special privileges, such as release from captivity or lessened restraint".[10]

The practice of paroling enemy troops began thousands of years ago, at least as early as the time of Carthage.[11] Parole allowed the prisoners' captors to avoid the burdens of having to feed and care for them, while still avoiding having the prisoners rejoin their old ranks once released; it could also allow the captors to recover their own men in a prisoner exchange. Hugo Grotius, an early international lawyer, favorably discussed prisoner of war parole.[12] During the American Civil War, both the Dix-Hill Cartel and the Lieber Code set out rules regarding prisoner of war parole.[13]Francis Lieber's thoughts on parole later reappeared in the Declaration of Brussels of 1874, the Hague Convention, and the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.[14]

In the United States, current policy prohibits U.S. soldiers who are prisoners of war from accepting parole. The Code of Conduct for the U.S. Armed Forces states: "I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy".[15] This position is reiterated by the Department of Defense. "The United States does not authorize any Military Service member to sign or enter into any such parole agreement".[16]

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.