PG Wodehouse and the Berlin Broadcasts

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After a failed attempt to escape from his home at Le Touquet, France, PG Wodehouse was taken as a prisoner of war by the Germans.
Here is Wodehouse's own account of what happened after his release in 1941
After the account there are links to the transcripts of the actual broadcasts

"What happened was this. I was released on June 21, 1941, a few months before I was sixty. I should
have been released automatically on reaching the age of sixty, and I imagine that I was given my
freedom a little earlier because of the agitation which had been going on in America for my

"On arrival in Berlin I ran into a very old friend of mine, a German who had been at Hollywood
with me. I was telling him about life in camp, and a friend of his, who joined us, suggested that I
might like to broadcast an account of my experiences to my American readers. It was so
exactly what I wanted to do that I jumped at the idea. All through the last ten months of my
internment I had been receiving letters from American readers, very anxious to know how I
was getting on and I had not been able to answer any of these, as in camp you are allowed to write
only to near relatives.

"I can honestly say that it never occurred to me for a moment that there was anything wrong in
using the German radio as a medium for getting in touch with people in America to whom I was
very grateful. (Some of them had sent me parcels). I can see now, of course, how idiotic it
was of me to do such a thing and I naturally regret it very much, but at the time it never
struck me that I was doing anything wrong.

"While in camp I had roughed out a humourous book about camp life, and I condensed this
material into five talks, covering the five phases of my internment - the first week in Loos prison,
the second week in Liege barracks, the next five weeks at Huy citadel and the rest of the time at
Tost in Upper Silesia, starting with a description of my arrest at Le Touquet. I recorded these talks
on wax and went off to stay in the country and thought no more about it. It was only when my
wife arrived in Berlin on July 28, just after the last talk had been broadcast, that I heard of the
reaction in England.

"I see now, of course, that I was tricked into making these talks, and I naturally feel a damned
fool, but I hope I have made it clear that there was never anything in the nature of a bargain
with the Germans. I was released before there was any suggestion of a broadcast, and there was
never any idea that my freedom was dependant on my broadcasting"

Links to the complete transcripts of the Berlin broadcasts © Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate

First Berlin Broadcast    Second Berlin Broadcast    Third Berlin Broadcast   
Fourth Berlin Broadcast    Fifth Berlin Broadcast


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