Little Britain of WWI

This week marks 100 years since the outbreak of WWI and with this, an unlikely, very British story has risen to the surface. By what is now the Olympiastadion in Ruhlebahn, was once home to the most unlikely of WWI POWs and expats...

With this week marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War, people across the globe will be remembering the trenches and battlefields their forefathers fought upon. However, many of the events that took place throughout the first “Great War” have often gone unrecognised and under-publicised. One bizarre event in particular has until now, completely bypassed the attention of the mainstream…

Upon the outbreak of the First World War, thousands of British men including captured sailors, musicians, jockeys and football players (to name a few), found themselves stranded in Germany and instead of being extradited, were promptly interned in unheated brick stables resembling giant human-sized hen-houses right here in Berlin, in Ruhleben (close to where the Olympiastadion now stands).

Despite the desperate conditions prisoners endured within the barbed wire encircled camp by the Spree, something extraordinarily British occurred… Gentleman’s clubs, horticultural societies as well as music groups and sports associations sprung up, mirroring the societal and cultural trends of their beloved homeland.

If you want to know more, listen to BBC iPlayer for Steven Evans’ full segment on The World Tonight. Segment starts at 34:20.