Even under the best of circumstances being a prisoner of war or “POW” is an unpleasant situation. Since it is easier to accept a surrender than to have to fight the enemy to the last man it would be logical to treat POWs well and publicize that fact to encourage more surrenders. War however breeds hate and prisoners are often badly treated. Having been a POW rarely results in any honors or recognition other than sympathy and that is why POW medals are very uncommon. Only a few countries officially award medals to honor their POWs, The United States and France come to mind and there may be a few more. As a result most POW medals are privately made, often by the POWs themselves. For example during WWI a lot of German POWs were interned on the Isle of Man and were so well treated that they were able to make a very interesting series of medals commemorating their time behind the barbed wire. The medals are made of some kind of white medal and can some times be found in neat little wooden boxes. Illustrated below are a few on the Isle of Man medals. Next week some American POW medals from WWII.