A willing accomplice (audio)

00:10, Apr 23 2012

Ivan Dey's bleak existence as a prisoner of war in Germany was brightened by "ray of sunshine" Frenchman Henri Joulou.

Looking for someone to trade with inside the prison camps, black market entrepreneur Mr Joulou put word out via a truck driver that he sought a willing accomplice.

"Naturally, I elected myself," Mr Dey said.

The POWs exchanged chocolate, tea and coffee from Red Cross parcels for eggs, bread, tobacco and "anything else Henri could supply".

Mr Dey collected the goods from a pre-arranged point in town and carried them into the camp hidden in the sleeves of his coat.

The two men struck up a friendship by correspondence.

That winter, a soccer game was organised for the POWs 5km away from their camp.

Mr Dey let Henri know, wondering if they could finally get to meet.

Marching to the game, a man in a leather coat joined their ranks.

It was Henri, and he had an outrageous suggestion. Click on the audio link to hear more.

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The Southland Times