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WWII German Prisoners of War in U.S.

Discussion in 'Information Requests' started by d. Gaddie, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. d. Gaddie

    d. Gaddie Member

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    My Grandparents had a farm in Lexington, Ky. During the war they were sent several German Prisoners of War to work as farm hands. Has any one else heard of this? Was there a prison camp in the Lexington, Ky. area? I thought this was interesting when my Grandfather told us. d. gaddie
     
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy

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    I have a book at home that I can look at tonight.

    It was very common for PoWs to work on farms. My father was a little boy and very much remembers seeing the men working in the fields. He was warned to stay away from them, but found them to be mostly friendly men to him. There were subcamps all over the place in rural areas.
     
  3. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    I have read and also heard about German PWs doing farming work. The area of Houston where my Mother was raised-had a German PoW camp located near by. This camp was full of mainly men who served in the Afrika Korps as well as in the Kriegsmarine-though they did have a few LW personnel as well.

    Anyway, my mother and some fo the neighborhood kids used to go by that camp often and would get toys thrown over the fences for the kids to enjoy. These toys were all made by German PWs. Also, my mother recalls that they also had a Bakery in that camp-and you could smell all the nice smells for sizable distances around the camp.

    Also, she did see that some were trucked to nearby farms to be used as farm labor. Also, on Fridays and Saturdays-she remembered seeing Germans unescourted, going to restaurants and theaters.

    A great book to read about German PWs here in the USA-is called: The Faustball Tunnel. These Germans also were DAK and Kriegsmarine.
     
  4. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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  5. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Good God!!, they forced Germans to work on farms - that sounds horrific.

    Okay no joke guy's,

    I know of French or Russians POW's working on farms or factories in Germany. However I never got any info in regards to US or Brit POW's.

    When one watches movies - one always gets the "wrong"? impression that the US and Brit POW's were just hanging around in those Stalags playing baseball or digging tunnels.

    Anyone info on that? - thanks
    Regards
    Kruska
     
  6. d. Gaddie

    d. Gaddie Member

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    To all: Thanks for the information. Will check out book and prisoner camps in U.S. d.gaddie
     
  7. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

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  8. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    Those types of films are usually set in Officer's camps, Krusk. Officers couldn't be forced to work under the Geneva Convention (though they could volunteer), so they literally had plenty of time to sit around planning escapes.
    On the other hand, other ranks were paraded every morning for work under supervision by their own ncos.
    No prisoner could be forced to work in a dangerous job, one which exposed him to warfare, contributed to his captor's war effort, or which could be deemed humiliating. Not that the Nazis ever cared............
     
  9. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello Historian,

    thanks for your reply. I am aware about what you wrote - therefore my question was more related to those POW's that could be used to work.

    However I have never come upon a report or eye wittnesses in Germany reporting about GI's or Brit's working on fields or factories - so I keep wondering.

    Sorry to you guys, for using the wrong thread for my question

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  10. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy

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    They were not forced. It was offered to them and they were paid for their labor. It was not in US dollars, but in script that was redeemable in the camp canteen or in US dollars after they war
     
  11. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello Slipdigit,

    I know about the voluntary work, my original sentence was meant to be as a joke.

    One of the reasons for Hitler Germany to change its views towards the USA was indeed the news brought back by those who had been in US captivity.
    Thousands didn't even go back to Germany or Austria, or returned as fast as possible - see Vale and Aspen in Colorado.

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  12. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy

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    :D
     
  13. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    My Father's Father was a German POW at Camp Beale, Ca (now Beale AFB). He met my grandmother while he was working in the orchards/ fields around Willows, Ca.

    Managed to "slip one passed the goalie" (resulting in my father) and avoid being sent back to Europe for war clean up.

    Brad
     
  14. d. Gaddie

    d. Gaddie Member

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    I have looked up several sites on the POW question since posting my original question. There were several camps in Ky., including, Camp Breckinridge, Camp Campbell, Fort Campbell, Fort Knox and a FEMA detention center in Lexington, Ky. I have written the University of Ky. Research Library for more information on the one in Lexington. This would have had to be one that supplied farm labor for my Grandfather. Thanks again to all for the leads. d. gaddie
     
  15. 107thcav

    107thcav Member

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    Camp Atterbury in Indiana was home to Italian and German POW's the German prisoners were given permission to build a Chapel on the grounds to worship and it still stands. But both nationalities were allowed to work on farms in the area and I think in some of the wood mills as well. I'll look for some pictures to post.
     
  16. d. Gaddie

    d. Gaddie Member

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    Heard back from the University of Kentucky main library. They have book "German Jackboots on Kentucky Bluegrass: housing German Prisoners of war in Kentucky, 1942-1946" by Antonio Thompson. Will try to get my local library to get it on library loan if it is allowed. The main library is also referring my question to the Special Collections Library at the University of Ky. They have been of help to me before on other questions and have a great photo collection from the past. If they have any pictures of German POWs in Ky. on farms.will post. To 107th Calvary member: Use to live in Indiana. Been by Camp Atterbury. Would appreciate seeing any of the pictures. d. gaddie
     
  17. rattrod30

    rattrod30 Member

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  18. 107thcav

    107thcav Member

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    Did you ever go fishing in the gravel pit in the area? The book I have was written in 1983 by Custer Baker middle school. The title is the Atterbury file. I'll post some pics from the book and a POW cartoon drawing I have from there as well. My personal photos I took from there are on a memory card and I can't seem to find it. But will share with you when I can. The POW chapel is there and most of the ww2 barracks still stand as well as the hospital. Access to the camp was tightened after September 11th so you are limited by what you can get to. I still visit the family cemetery that is located on the grounds in the summertime. In what was the old community called Kansas. I am attaching a link to the history of the camp for you as well. If you remember the area on what is called hospital road the houses that sit off to the side are original homes moved during the demolition of the farms to house the commanding officers and their staff a few have fallen in and have been torn down since then. But the larger victorian looking homes still stand and are used still today.
    THE HISTORY OF CAMP ATTERBURY
     
  19. jimwest

    jimwest recruit

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    Just to clear up a few "problems" in some of the above replies regards the POW camp at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

    The "Chapel in the Meadow" as the small Catholic Chapel is now referred to, was constructed by the Italians, not the Germans. 3,500 Italians were the first held there, and when Italy surrendered, 10,000 Germans replaced them.

    Of couse the POWs were allowed to work on local farms. They were offered and most accepted, probably just to get outside a little. Both Italians and then the Germans worked on farms. Germany had a similar routine for the American POWs, except they were not asked, and many did not live thru the experience. Read stories of American POWs at http://www.indianamilitary.org, and select "German POW Camps".

    Of the original 1,500, the only remaining buildings at Camp Atterbury, are the Italian POW-built chapel (restored by US Army) and the scene of an annual picnic by Italian Heritage of Indianapolis, four buildings of the former Wakeman Hospital (unused and derelict) and one Chapel in the current Camp Atterbury compound used by the soldiers. A couple of former maintenance buildings remain in the now Hoosier Horse Park, but were gutted and converted to stables.

    There are numerous photos and details concerning the POWs, and Camp Atterbury at the same site, http://www.indianamilitary.org, the official site for Camp Atterbury History.

    The Italian & German POW sections of this site, also contain a partial re-built rosters of the prisoners.
     
  20. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hello jimwest,

    thanks for the link on American POW in Germany.

    Regards
    Kruska
     

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