Oct 082013
Geoff: a coda

Longtime readers will remember a series of posts I wrote earlier this year, following a trip to Slovenia and Austria, about my grandpa Geoff Skinner’s experiences as a prisoner of war in Austria. While he was adapting to his new reality, the war dragged on around him. While in captivity, he sent off for textbooks and put in the study that allowed him to train as a doctor, after the war was over. And without that, I would not be sitting here today, because he was introduced to my grandmother by a teacher, while, aged 26, he was back at his old school, cramming for the exams he’d never have Read full post >>

Jun 042013
At Waidmansdorff

Both Carinthia and Yugoslavia suffered in WW2. I’ve always found it interesting that Geoff’s experience, was very different – not freedom, to be sure, and not as he would have wished it, but in the circumstances, and compared to other places, pretty tolerable. This surprised me because before I really started considering it, I had an notion that captivity under the Nazis would be all hardship. Read full post >>

Feb 132013

Back in November 2011, I wrote about my grandpa, Geoff Skinner, who had died the previous year. A few days after I did, a short comment appeared on the post, from an IP address in Slovenia. The writer of the comment was called Breda. She said: Ben, your grandfather (or Uncle Geoff, as I call him) was a prisoner of war imprisoned in the Work Camp 10029 GW in Weidmannsdorf (Klagenfurt). Here’s a link to a site about the camp. Love, Breda I was astonished, and immediately recognised the name Klagenfurt – the city in Austria where my grandpa was held captive from 1941 to 1945. This blog post is my attempt, Read full post >>