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Introducing… “Give me a hand!” History Skits 1942-1945: Little-Known Episodes from World War II

By September 9, 2022May 2nd, 2023History and Drama


In 2016, while on Spring Break from teaching at a high school in Switzerland, I visited friends in Spain. They took me to a café where I met a few British expats. In the course of the conversation, one man mentioned that when he was a boy in England, a German POW made a toy crocodile for him. “It was joined in three parts and swiveled around when you pulled a string attached to it.”

My world stopped. I needed to know more: the how, why, what, and where questions. 

Eventually, I did find out details, which in turn led to a greater understanding of how Britain remained economically stable during World War II.

THAT was the start of my book.


“Give me a hand!” stands out because it’s not about battles and strategies. Instead it focuses on true stories of compassion, friendship, and survival.

  • Are you studying internees and enemy aliens? There are two skits.
  • Are you interested in how the field of audiology began? Find out with a skit about a friendly fire accident and how Helen Keller helped a soldier.
  • Would you like to hear something funny related to the Royal Air Force plane or an incident on a ship in the Pacific?
  • Find out how two French POWs in Germany helped five German women escape from the Russian Army.

These skits can be used in history or English classrooms to introduce topics or as steppingstones for additional research. They can also be performed as a set for a drama event, or combined with music from that era for a performance. They are perfect to use for a Veterans Day program or for educational programs connected with World War II museums.

There are four pages of teaching ideas and each skit comes with background information on the event and the characters.

I loved every minute of writing this book. Special thanks to thirteen friends who graciously shared their stories with me. I’m grateful to you for the inspiration these stories give others.