Léopold Sédar Senghor prisonnier de guerre allemand

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in French Politics, Culture & Society
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Senghor was a German prisoner of war for twenty months. The article examines his claims about his captivity in light of archival evidence, in particular an unknown report about his experiences in two POW camps that he deposited at the French diplomatic mission for POWs a few months after his dismissal. The article confirms that Senghor identified himself foremost as a French patriot but argues that his claims about having been a Gaullist and resister of the first hour rest on insecure ground. In particular, Senghor after the war dramatized the story of his combat experience and made dubious claims about having been sent to a reprisal camp as a punishment for helping some prisoners escape. His captivity report, however, provides much evidence on the effects of German pro-Islamic propaganda and on corrupt prisoner networks. The report also describes many experiences reflected in his poetry cycle Hosties noires.