The life of British soldiers in a Nazi prison camp has been revealed in a remarkable series of photos taken by an airman using a covert camera hidden inside a book.
The pictures at Stalag IV-B show British soldiers burying their comrades after they were executed by German guards, before enjoying lighter-hearted moments with an evening drag show.
British prisoner Terry Hunt built the camera himself while in captivity and hid it inside a hollowed-out Bible with the viewfinder poking out of one end.
The prisoner-of-war camp, around 30 miles from Dresden in what is now eastern Germany, was one of the Nazi regime’s largest with some 30,000 inmates.
British prisoners bury a fellow soldier who had been executed by Nazi guards and whose coffin was draped in a flag at Stalag IV-B, one of Nazi Germany’s largest prison camps during World War II with some 30,000 inmates. The pictures were taken with a covert camera
The burial of a British prisoner – one of thousands of UK troops who were kept in Stalag IV-B near Dresden – after he was shot by German guards. Despite the Nazi soldiers’ role in the British man’s death they saluted his coffin and fired their rifles during the funeral service
Hunt carried the book around with him and took fascinating snaps of camp life , a huge risk as he would have been shot had he been caught.
One of his photos shows the funeral of a British serviceman who was executed by guards, possibly for trying to escape.
A dozen German soldiers can be seen saluting the airman’s Union flag-draped coffin – despite being responsible for his death – by firing their rifles.
Another harrowing snap depicts a huge cloud of smoke in the distance from where an American Flying Fortress bomber had crashed.
Other photos show a lighter-hearted side of camp life, including well-organised drag shows put on by the PoWs.
One snap shows a night of entertainment with a group of male performers dressed as women, performing on stage with hand-made scenery.
British troops kept at the German prison camp boosted morale with a drag show. One of the snaps shows a night of entertainment with a group of male performers dressed as women, performing on stage with scenery they had made themselves
Russian prisoners at the German prison camp, captured during Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union which began in 1941. After the camp was liberated Russian military forces temporarily turned it into a Soviet secret police camp before it was closed in 1948
The entrance to the camp, which was opened at the very start of World War II in September 1939 and was first used to hold Polish prisoners captured during the invasion which led to Britain’s declaration of war. It later housed many British, French and Russian captives
Terry Hunt, pictured left, built the camera himself while in captivity and hid it inside a hollowed-out Bible, pictured right, with the viewfinder poking out of one end. He had been a film cameraman before the war and went on RAF sorties to make newsreels
Further images show the contrasting treatment the German captors handed out to British, Polish and Russian PoWs.
One photo is captioned ‘swap shop’ where Brits exchanged unwanted food for cigarettes, while starving Russians rummage through empty tin cans for food.
They can be seen receiving soup from the British prisoners and one Russian even holds out his cap for potato peelings.
Hunt had been been a film cameraman before the war and went on RAF sorties to make newsreels.
He was dressed as a sergeant in the RAF in case he was ever captured, which he was after his plane was shot down.
In one image in the album – taken by a different camera – he is seen clutching the covert camera inside his Bible.
Stalag IVB opened in September 1939 and by the time it was liberated by Soviet troops in April 1945, there were about 30,000 crowded into the facilities, of which 7,250 were British.
The album was compiled by fellow PoW David Courtney, of the RAF’s 102 Squadron, whose Halifax bomber was shot down near Berlin on January 20, 1944.
Russian prisoners captured on the Eastern Front during Germany’s ill-fated attempt to invade the Soviet search empty tin cans for food at the Stalag IV-B camp in what is now eastern Germany. Their treatment at the camp differed from the experience of British and French men
French prisoners holding a church service at the Stalag IV-B camp. The first French captives arrived at the Nazi prison camp after German forces invaded France in 1940
Smoke is visible from the Stalag IV-B camp after a Flying Fortress – an American bomber – crashed following an Allied raid on Leipzig. The camp was around 30 miles from the city of Dresden which suffered fearsome Allied bombing during the war
A review of prisoners by a German commandant at the camp. The album of covert pictures has been for sale by a British private collector and is expected to fetch around £500 at auction
Courtney survived his time in the camp as the album comes with a telegram dated May 24, 1945, to a Mrs Courtney, possibly his wife, telling her he had ‘arrived safely in England’ and would be ‘home soon’.
His album, which contains 39 snaps, has been consigned for sale by a British private collector with Peter Wilson Auctioneers, of Nantwich, Cheshire.
Chris Large, valuer at Peter Wilson, said: ‘This is a phenomenal World War Two Stalag IV-B photograph album compiled by a prisoner, David Courtney.
‘There are images of French prisoners, Russian prisoners, a theatrical group, the camp swap shop and the scene of a burial of a British prisoner who was shot by the Germans.
‘Courtney also lists his Halifax squadron crew members including those who perished or were wounded and you can see the camera used to take the photos disguised within a book.
‘The album has come from a long-time collector who has owned it for many years so unfortunately we know very little about Courtney.’
The album is being sold on October 11 for a pre-sale estimate of £500.
French prisoners are seen at the camp in one of the covert pictures taken by Terry Hunt. He was dressed as a sergeant in the RAF in case he was ever captured on one of the sorties, which he was after his plane was shot down
The camp ‘swap shop’ where soldiers held at Stalag IV-B could exchange food for cigarettes. Stalag – an abbreviation of Stammlager, meaning main camp – was the name given to several Nazi prisons including Stalag Luft III, which inspired the film The Great Escape
Russian prisoners queue for soup. The Soviet prisoners were treated less well by German guards than their British and French counterparts, as the brutal conflict was raging between Hitler’s forces and Soviet troops on the Eastern Front after the German invasion in 1941
A radio which the British prisoners made, on which they could receive news from the BBC . When the camp was liberated by Soviet troops in 1945 around 7,250 prisoners were British
Tents provided extra accommodation for the prisoners as the German camp became ever more crowded over the course of the war, housing 30,000 people by the time it was liberated in 1945 by Soviet troops marching towards Berlin