Although referred to as a diary, it is more accurately described as a humorous account of the daily life of a prisoner, written in rhyming German. The diary was created by Herrmann Hildenstein, who wrote the rhyming verse and Herrmann Gensler who illustrated it with watercolour drawings. These two men became close friends while imprisoned at the Le Marchant Camp in Devizes from November or December 1944 until February 1946.
The prisoner of war camp in Devizes opened in September 1944 and was built on an area of the Le Marchant Barracks on the London Road. Originally a transit camp it became a permanent prison camp in November 1944. By December that year there were 7,500 German and Italian POWs in the camp.