Children's Book Printed at the Bandō POW Camp

Drei Märchen: zum Besten der Kriegsgefangenen im Lager Bando (Japan) in Schablonen-Druck gedruckt und gebunden [Three fairy fales: printed using wax-stencils for the benefit of prisoners of war at Camp Bando].

Bandō, Japan: Lagerdruckerei, 1918. Small quarto (26 × 19 cm). Original lithographed cloth; 79 pp. of mimeographed hand-written text to rectos and versos; [8] leaves of chromolithograph illustrations througout, as well as an additional 3 color initials and 5 vignettes; lithographed endpapers. Light overall wear; cloth somewhat rubbed; still about very good.

Rare children's book printed by inmates of the POW camp for German soldiers at Bando, Japan. The present is the second edition, stated to have been a run of 1100 copies ("5. bis 16. Hundert"), although the first edition (printed in 1917) is not known to be held by any institutions.

The Bandō camp was created in April 1917 to house nearly one thousand German and Austro-Hungarian troops, who had been arrested following the successful occupation of Tsingtao, previously under German administration. One of twelve such camps, Bandō was known for its relatively liberal rules and a lack of physical abuse, as well as the opportunities for engaging in athletics, trade and industry. Both due to the lax governance and the presence of many highly skilled professionals among the prisoners, the camp resembled a small town where many goods and services were available, as well as opportunities for further professional training and education. The camp also boasted its own lithographic printer as well as the camp printing shop that utilized mimeography to print ephemera for daily use, technical drawings, books, including children's books, as well as news bulletins and a camp journal (Die Baracke). The camp was closed in December 1919 and most of the inmates returned to Germany, though some remained in the region, where they had been able to establish close ties even during the camps' existence. A fascinating relic of this unique prisoner camp culture in the Far East.

As of June 2021, KVK and OCLC show only one copy in North America.

Book ID: 51324