World War II was at its height in 1944, and although London had been
designated to host the Games if the War had ended by then, it had not,
and the Games were cancelled. No preparations had been made, as all the
UK's resources were consumed in fighting the war, so no posters or poster
stamps were created.
However, "Polish Prisoners of War (POWs) in the Woldenberg (Dobiegniew) Oflag
II-C POW camp were granted permission by their German captors to stage an
unofficial POW Olympics during July 23 to August 13, 1944 and an Olympic
Flag made with a bed sheet and pieces of coloured scarves was raised.
The event has been considered to be a demonstration of the Olympic
spirit transcending war."
The camp had an active postal service, which issued its own stamps, and
according to DuBois, "At the motion of the Camp Olympic Committee the camp
post, upon the closure of the Woldenberg games, issued a commemorative
postage-due stamp of 10pf. face value."
Woldenberg POW camp stamps
It was "Designed by graphic artist Czarnecki. Printed on small pieces of paper,
just large enough to hold one stamp, hence, does not exist in pairs. A total of
17,500 stamps were printed." All stamps were printed in red, but 100 more were
printed later in black. Then the "plate" was defaced. Stamps in other colors
are considered spurious.
The news about the Camp Olympic Committee in the Woldenberg camp soon reached
the Gross-Born camp situated several dozen kilometers away. There, too, a Camp
Olympic Committee was set up and organized the Gross-Born Games which lasted
from July 30th to August 15th. On the opening day three Olympic stamps were
During the final days - i.e. from August 12th to 15th, the local
philatelists club (there was one in the camp) organized an exhibition of stamps.
This event was commemorated with a miniature sheet which depicted the three
above-mentioned Olympic stamps, in different colors. Only 1155 copies of the
sheet were printed.
Gross-Born POW camp stamps
Read Sherwin Podolski's excellent paper with the full story of the POW Games
HERE (PDF document)
Read Roman Babut's excellent paper with the full story of the POW Games
HERE (PDF document)
NOTE: An expert on this issue once told me that at least 90% of the
items purporting to be from the two sources described on this page
are fakes, even some with "expertizing." So caveat emptor.