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The Gestapo's Most Improbable Hostage

The Gestapo's Most Improbable Hostage

Sqn Leader Hugh Malory Falcanor
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
This World War 2 story of a British serviceman’s captivity in German hands Is an ‘easy to read’ book, the text quite flows. It has been edited by the subject's daughter using her father’s notes. He was captured by the Germans while wearing civilian clothes behind enemy lines, and while on Operation Torch in North Africa. He was a French speaking agent for SOE, and when captured he was carrying a radio receiver in a suitcase; for some reason he was able to fool the local Gestapo into believing he was innocent of espionage, despite his civilian dress and carrying some of the tools of his trade.

Mallory, for reasons quite unknown to himself was kept until war's end as a hostage for a future prisoner exchange with the allies. During his captivity he shared cells with ‘Wings Day’ and Peter Churchill. He got a tour of the evils of the Third Reich and was moved between the most evil of concentration camps, such as Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Dachau, he tells of the most horrendous happenings while he was held a prisoner in all three camps. Uppermost was watching about 500 children, all twins and about seven or eight years of age being marched in three ranks onto a parade ground for inspection by Dr Mengele. Also on another occasion when short of materials to kill mass prisoners, the prisoners were lined up on a parade ground naked, and in well below freezing conditions, so that the prisoners succumbed and eventually dropped in ones and twos to the ground and died.

The in-depth description of the SS soldiers and their attitude and dedication to their trade is quite unbelievable, for instance when short of prison cells, they just entered a cell and shot the occupant in the back of the neck, this seemed the favourite way of dispatch, the dead man would be left for some hours lying in the cell after the new occupant had taken up abode.

There was a famous German clown comedian in Buchenvald. He was there because he had used the German expression ‘ Lies travels on short legs’ (Der lugner haben kurse beine) He had then remarked; ‘In Germany lies travels on one short leg and one long one’ He was referring to Herr Goebbels’s club foot. This had delighted the German Herrenvolk, but Joseph Goebbels had got to hear of it, and locked the comedian up for the duration. However the SS guards liked him, he got them into stitches of laughter and, though hard to believe, the guards ensured that he survived.

When it became obvious that the war was being lost, some SS Guards extracted ‘written references’ from some inmates to state what good and caring men they had been, other SS guards dressed themselves up as prisoners and occupied prison cells to await the allies.

It is an interesting and enjoyable read, but on occasions the reader may feel that the author has ‘gilded the lily’ a little. I award it 4 stars, but would balk at the price of £20.00.


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