Jack Bell - Food shortages

Running time
1 min 40 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


We had our own wireless. It was built in the camp in PG57 and it was monitored closely and by 1943 we knew, well, I never lost faith in that we wouldn't win the war. This German surgeon said to me, I said 'Who do you think will win the war?' Well, he said 'You know very well who will win. Which sides got the most food, they'll win.'

And that's right. You can make armaments but you've got to feed the people, you've got to have food. The German people really were suffering very badly. In the country, fine, but in the cities there was a severe lack of food.

When the Russians broke through and they had three armies surround an army, I mean, that was the end of the war. You could tell there was no possible chance of them ever recovering. Food was always short, there's no doubt about that. Our caloric value was 2000 calories a day. The living standard was 2250 but they starved you in that way and occasionally we would get Red Cross parcels and I mean occasionally.

Sometimes you'd get one parcel to six men and sometimes a parcel each, then go six weeks with nothing. It was a way of keeping you hungry. People like me, being small, we coped reasonably well. If you didn't eat your sauerkraut, well I ate it, but the big men suffered very badly. It was tough for them.

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