Derek Niemann

Birds in a Cage

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This is the inspiring true story of how a passion for birds enabled four young men to escape the horror of internment in a German PoW camp… and brought about an extraordinary moment of cooperation and mutual understanding between them and their captors. Soon after their incarceration at Warburg in 1941, Peter Conder, John Buxton, John Barrett and George Waterston discovered a shared love of birdwatching. Before long, their obsessive quest for information on the nesting habits of chaffinches, redstarts and others took over the whole camp — including some of the German guards, who began to assist the PoWs in their observations at great risk to their own lives. In this tender, revelatory book, Derek Niemann draws on original diaries, letters and drawings, as well as the memories of those who knew them to show how all four men were forged by their experiences as POWs into the giants of postwar wildlife conservation. Their legacy lives on, in institutions such as the RSPB and the British Wildlife Trust.
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320 printed pages
Original publication



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