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WWII German Prisoners of War in U.S.


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#26 farmer's daughter

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 01:37 AM

My family's farm was in Christian County (Hopkinsville), Kentucky, near Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Going through my parent's papers recently, we found a form with the names of the German POWs who worked on the farm for one day. My parents have told the story many times. The soldiers helped harvest the corn. My older brother and sister, close to the ages of 6 and 4 at the time, were with my parents the day the POWs worked. The POWs were guarded by our soldiers as they worked, and the civilians were not allowed to give them food or anything. One of the soldiers, upon seeing my brother, was able to indicate to my mother that he, too, had a young son. I want to do research to find any of the POW survivors and/or their families.

I know of one other family farm where POW's worked that my parents spoke of. As I recall, my parents said one of the POWs visited the family after the war and retained a life-long relationship.

I was not yet born, so I can only recall the story as my parents reflected upon those times. I can assume German POWs worked on numerous farms around Christian County.

#27 LRusso216

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 01:44 AM

Hello, farmers daughter. Welcome to the forum. Perhaps you could scan the work paper and upload it here. I'm sure it would be of great interest.

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#28 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 03:48 AM

Here's a link on a local one:

Papago Park POW prisoner of war camp in Phoenix Arizona

and another good site

http://www.gentracer.org/powcamps.html

#29 sunny971

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 07:23 AM

really interesting story.. I wonder what the story behind those German POW 's and who they were.

intersting, thanks for sharing.

#30 d. Gaddie

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:35 PM

Farmer's Daughter, That is really great that you have the paper work after all those years. I am afraid the letters that my Aunt had were thrown away after her death. I would have really liked to have some names so I could do some research. If you are interested in German prisioners of war in Ky, I have learned that the University of Ky,'s library has some material. My Grandfather had his farm in Fayette County, near Lexington. There was a detention center in Lexington that housed German prisoners. My cousin who was about 4 or 5 years old remembers them working on our Grandfather's farm. d. gaddie

#31 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 04:00 PM

You might try that second link I gave for the names you have of POWs. That site is set up to help geneology reserach on family members.

#32 d. Gaddie

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 10:32 AM

Since writing this thread, I have done a lot of research on German POW's in Ky. I have read the Book "German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass" by Antonio Thompson. I finally was able to obtain it thru, inter library loan. To Farmer's daughter. I highly recommend this book. There is a lot on Fort Campbell and farmers who employed the POWs. He did interviews with farmers who employed the POWs and some former German POWs. Actually one farmer he interviewed in Fayette County was a neighbor of my Grandfather. Another good article is "Swastikas in the Bluegrass State Axis Prisioners of War in Ky. 1942 - 1946" by Dr. Richard Holl. d.gaddie

#33 Earthican

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 04:29 PM

Excerpt veteran's memoir:

Several incidents are clear in my mind, however. Camp Carson was a post
holding and utilizing prisoners of war (POW). Two countries had POW's here -
Germany and Italy. The Germans were all former Africa Corps soldiers (and tankers)
and wore fatigue clothes with PW printed on the back in large black letters. The Italian
POW's lived a much easier life. In fact, I never saw any of them on a work detail and
they would wear our khaki uniform with a green "Italy" shoulder patch. They seemed
to have had full run and access to the post. I never understood this partiality. POW's
are POW's - why should any preference be granted?


I came across this paragraph in a veteran's memoir and at first reading I did not pause long enough to consider the status of Italian PW's in 1944. I am posting this before I do any research. I expect there are some interesting legal and practical matters.

#34 Biak

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 09:33 PM

Here is a map of WW2 POW camps in the US.
http://www.ibiblio.o... /><br /><br />

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#35 The_Historian

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:40 PM

I came across this paragraph in a veteran's memoir and at first reading I did not pause long enough to consider the status of Italian PW's in 1944. I am posting this before I do any research. I expect there are some interesting legal and practical matters.


You're not kidding. Italians who agreed to join the Allied forces after the country surrendered in 1943 were given "co-belligerent" status, hence the "Italy" shoulder flashes in the above quote. They enjoyed equal status with other Allied troops. Those who didn't remained PoWs.
And that's very brief summary.
Regards,

Gordon

#36 LRusso216

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 01:52 AM

Here is a map of WW2 POW camps in the US.
http://www.ibiblio.o... /><br /><br />

It would be interesting to know who was housed in each camp. The map itself is fascinating. I didn't realize there were so many places that had POWs. Thanks Roger, and HyperWar as well.

image001.png

Lou


#37 aussyss

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:18 AM

You're not kidding. Italians who agreed to join the Allied forces after the country surrendered in 1943 were given "co-belligerent" status, hence the "Italy" shoulder flashes in the above quote. They enjoyed equal status with other Allied troops. Those who didn't remained PoWs.
And that's very brief summary.

Same rules applied for the Soviet Union soldiers. In-fact, Russian were seen as heroes after WWII.
aly

#38 LRusso216

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:25 AM

Soviets were never POWs of the allies after 1941. When the Germans invaded the SU, their soldiers did become the heroes of WW2. I think without them, the Allies were in trouble.

image001.png

Lou


#39 aussyss

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:34 AM

There were even German POWS in Melbourne Victoria, not sure if they worked on Farms or help out in the community. Would Germans POWS be allowed in general public areas? such as, etc...outside of prison camps and farms to help build roads, houses, clean up bomb mess?
aly

#40 aussyss

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:52 AM

When the Germans invaded the SU, their soldiers did become the heroes of WW2. I think without them, the Allies were in trouble.

The only reason why the Russians turned 'Allied' is because Hitler attacked and invaded SU. Hitler never invaded/attacked Russia you wouldn't be saying the Russian were heroes. Russians received a 'Got out of jail card' at Hitler expense. Today, only the Germans are seen as evil in WWII but the fact are; two other nations, SU and Italy were in full favor of NS Germany and NS Italy and communist SU Europe. Which the Allies were dead against from the very start of WWII. No, I do not see Russians as heroes, though, with Hitler screwing up, the extra Russians were so beneficial to the Allied war effort' it swan the war over to the Allies side.
aly

#41 OpanaPointer

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 11:13 AM

My mother's family lived near the camp in Weingarten, Missouri, #18 on that map. She walked past it every day on the way to school.

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#42 The_Historian

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 11:28 AM

There were even German POWS in Melbourne Victoria, not sure if they worked on Farms or help out in the community. Would Germans POWS be allowed in general public areas? such as, etc...outside of prison camps and farms to help build roads, houses, clean up bomb mess?


German and Italian PoWs were classified according to their political beliefs-
Non-Nazis= 'A' or 'White'
Unclear= 'B' or 'Grey'
Nazi/Fascist= 'C' or 'Black'.
Under the Geneva Convention of 1929 Officer PoWs couldn't be forced to work (although they could volunteer), whereas other ranks could. They could not be used in work directly related to the war effort, or that was considered dangerous (ie mining).
In practice only whites and greys were sent out to work under guard, blacks being considered too dangerous/unreliable until well after the war finished. They were paid by the government for their work (a portion of which was usually in money or tokens which could only be spent in camp, the rest being credited to their personal account which was paid in full upon repatriation).
http://www.iwm.org.u...-united-kingdom

Edited by The_Historian, 21 October 2012 - 12:28 PM.
Forgot to add link

Regards,

Gordon

#43 OpanaPointer

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:15 PM

[h=2]HISTORY OF PRISONER OF WAR UTILIZATION BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY, 1776-1945 (DA Pam 20-213)[/h] Former DA Pamphlets
CMH Pub 104-11-1, Paper
1988, 2004; 278 pages

http://www.dtic.mil/...oc?AD=ADA438000

Meh copy, but readable. I'll have to see if my sources can get me a better copy to PDF.

"One of our King Tigers could take five of your Shermans, but you always had six of them."


WWII Resources. Primary sources.
The Myths of Pearl Harbor. Demythologizing the attack.
Hyperwar. Hypertext history of the Second World War.
Pearl Harbor Attack Message Board
Veteran: USN, 1969-1989

#44 mdenis046

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 07:05 PM

Thanks to members, Cowboy 6 and OpanaPointer for name of book and site. In meantime heard from my cousin. She remembers about 5 German Prisoners working on our Grandfather's farm in Lexington, Ky. She said that after the war they wrote letters to the family for many years. Her Mother (my Aunt) kept them for years. My Aunt is deceased. I am going to try to find out what happened to the letters. They could contain interesting information. d. gaddie

I'm doing research on a "branch" camp in Danville.  There were actually TWO "branch camps" in Lexington.  Antonio Thompson's book, German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass, is great for this topic.



#45 Bevertails

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 01:38 PM

I think there was one in kentucky, Breckinridge? Or something along those lines. 

I did a bit of research apparently a fort campbell and a fort knox (Questioning the legitimacy of knox) 



#46 gtblackwell

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 07:33 PM

We had a similar thread that I cannot find but I posted about the POW camp in Opelika, Alabama, about 8 miles from where I live. POW's definitely worked on farms  and in various industries in the area for compensation. They were furloughed on Sunday  and could eat in restaurants, go to the movies, shop in stores, etc. Interestingly the Tuskegee Airman trained about 20 miles to the West of me but they could not eat in "white only" places not go to movies or drink at a public water fountain . The POW's  were offered classes by what is now Auburn University  and created an orchestra with instruments they bought or were given by the town people. In turn they provided concerts attended by locals. A couple of barracks existed as well as a guard tower, when I first moved here in 1974 but the area is now an industrial park..  I gather it was making the best of the situation by all concerned.

 

I read, somewhere that fractionally more German POW's died in our camps than American POW's did in Germany but cannot find the source. Anyone know anything about that? It would seem the opposite would be true given the worsening conditions in Germany. It may not be true but more information would be interesting. ( Just found a figure saying .15% of German POW's died in US camps  so the difference would have to be slight and says my recollection may be wrong, have to go work so will check back later.

 

Another POW camp was located in rural West Alabama at Aliceville. It even held reunions of guards and POW's until  a number of years ago. The POW's there largely worked on farms.



#47 Bevertails

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 10:05 PM

 

 

Another POW camp was located in rural West Alabama at Aliceville. It even held reunions of guards and POW's until  a number of years ago. The POW's there largely worked on farms.

 

 

The POW's had reunions lol



#48 gtblackwell

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 12:20 AM

" The POW's had reunions lol " Indeed they did. For a number of years some returned to Aliceville and being a very small town they stayed in local houses as guest. They meet with each other, some now living in the US and with their friends in town.

http://www.cityprofi...ral-center.html

Aliceville has a population of about 2500, I am guessing it was probably 1500 during WW2 so the camp exceeded the town in size. There was lots of interaction.
It is in west Alabama, very rural and the poorest part of Alabama. the camp was big business .

Gaines

#49 FalkeEins

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 08:32 AM

 

I read, somewhere that fractionally more German POW's died in our camps than American POW's did in Germany but cannot find the source. Anyone know anything about that? It would seem the opposite would be true given the worsening conditions in Germany. 

 

 lots of Germans died in American "camps" set up in Germany itself right at the war's end. These were usually just holding camps - open fields mostly-  where there were no facilities or even food/water for days at a time, perhaps this is what you might be referring to...



#50 urqh

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 04:28 PM

The one I know of and have seen a memorial to was at Remagen...We have a few threads on this subject if you wish to search em out.


British Army 1939-1945 - World War II Tribute Video

 

 

[URL="http://youtu.be/Zbp_4XBmD4w"]

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 





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