“Die Insel-Woche“faithful to the basic principles of the newspaper, is aware of the large heterogeneousness of prisoners, not all, naturally attracted by the culture or the arts. So they are careful not to abandon their companions which have interests more down-to-earth, more”concrete“, even utilitarian. The practice of various sports, the craft activities, and also the domain of education and training are regularly the object of articles or reports in”Die Insel-Woche".
Numerous articles, reports of competitions, or small notes in the camp magazine “Die Insel-Woche” testify of an important sports life within the camp. See e.g. this insert of N° 42, p. 4 which informs us about the diversity of the practised sports
- Anzeige “Olympische Spiele” /
Annonce “Jeux Olympiques” /
Advertisement “Olympic Games”
- Insel-Woche, Neue Folge, 1. Jahrgang Nr. 42 S. 4 /
Insel-Woche, 2nde série, 1re année n° 42, p. 4
OLYMPICS ----------- PROGRAM --------- 1918 PENTECOST
Guided by the intention to promote good-companionship between prisoners and to take into account not only the psychic sufferings of its prisoners, but also to create, more than now, the interest for physical exercises (textual: build bodies as hard as steel ), the German Help Committee took charge of the organization, for Sunday and Whit Monday, May 19th and 20th, of OLYMPICS, within the limits of the current circumstances. By the present document, he invites all the prisoners to participate as much as possible. The German Help Committee already got in touch with the leaders of the various associations of gymnastics where this initiative was greeted with interest and consideration. An events committee, asked to specify and to communicate all the details, will be created very soon.
Whit Sunday Morning : Football and eventually, tennis,
Afternoon : Gymnastic exhibition
Whit Monday : Morning : hockey and base-ball
Afternoon : athletics
Gymnastic exhibition :
Physical Free style exercises by all the gymnasts, if possible.
Exhibition of gymnastics of all the sections: horizontal bar, parallel bars, pommel horse, beam, etc.
Model section of a young persons team,
Model section of a senior team of parallel bars (average age: 40 years),
Free style exercises by the best gymnasts of the association,
Races of various distances,
High jump and long jump
The winners will receive diplomas.
OLSEN, president of the German Help Committee.
As shows on this program, apart from tennis, these sports belong to the three most classical domains of sport:
· team sports (soccer, hockey, handball “Schleuderball”,and skittle.
It seems however, that according to the state of mind during that time (beginning of the 20th century), it is gymnastics which plays a dominating major role. Whether it is the gymnastics with apparatus, on the ground or the “free” style (without apparatus), this sport activity is not considered at that time as a simple pastime, but more as a duty towards oneself, towards the family and – firstly- towards the nation. One of the barracks was even transformed into a “Gymnasium”.
Very informative on this point, the article « Was will die deutsche Turnerschaft? » « What do the German gymnasts community want? », appeared in Die Insel-Woche N° 40, p. 4, who explicitly makes a reference to Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, call " Turnvater Jahn”, the great prophet of gymnastics as an universal and especially National remedy. See: [http: // [fr.wikipedia.org / wiki / Friedr] http:
[ // fr.wikipedia.org / wiki / Mouvem...]->http://www.zum.de/whkmla/sp/1011/ra...]
- Fussball / football / soccer
- Schlagball / base-ball / rounders
Among the team sports, it is of course soccer which seems to attract the largest number of players. The men of the camp have the choice between four different clubs, with 25 teams all in all, and tournaments are regularly organized. The results are published in the newspaper of the camp.
The fact that on the sports associations list published in “Die Insel-Woche”, represent three clubs of field hockey can seem surprising because this sport was relatively less popular in Germany. Its presence in the camp gives us indications of the geographical, and social origin of prisoners: introduced to Germany by English students, at the end of the XIXth century. It was mainly practised in some western regions and in North of Germany, the centres of the economic power at that time. It remained linked to the students circle and to the university graduates.
Other articles on sport in the pages of the newspaper “Die Insel-Woche”:
·Ballspiel, (Ball games): “Die Insel-Woche” N° 4, p. 3
· Sport und Winke für den Einkaf eines Tennisschlägers (Sport and Advise for the purchase of a tennis racket: “Die Insel-Woche” N° 7, p. 3
· Ergebnisse vom 12. - 18. Juni on 1917, (Results of 12 to 18 of June, 1917): “Die Insel-Woche” N° 16, p. 3
. Unser Sportplatz (Our stadium): “Die Insel-Woche” N° 51, p. 3
Translated from French by Barbara and Roger