Have you ever heard of black bread? This is something many prisoners of war from WWII in Germany know a lot about. Let me share it with you…
The Germans gave prisoners of war a small piece of black bread, about two inches thick. It was hard to eat, but if you sliced it thin, you could eat it. There’s a lot of things in it that are not very appetizing, but when you’re hungry, you’ll eat it. This piece of bread was supposed to last one person one week, so you had to ration how much of the bread you ate every day — if you ate it every day.
In addition to the black bread, prisoners were given some other foods to eat. For example, we had a stew once. It had potatoes and carrots in it — along with some meat of unknown origin. In other words, it didn’t look like beef. We were supplemented by the International Red Cross food parcels that were prepared in the U.S. and shipped over. But the Germans rationed the parcels so that two of us had to share one food parcel each week. There was not a lot of food to eat.
In those parcels was canned meat, crackers, a small piece of cheese, a pack of cigarettes and a candy bar called a D-Bar, which was a semi-sweet chocolate bar. Since I didn’t smoke, I would trade my cigarettes to people who did smoke so I would have extra candy to eat. I learned to like semi-sweet chocolate, and I still do to this day!
If you would like to learn more about what was in the black bread that we ate, you can look at this recipe that was printed in the Ex-POW Newsletter some years back: